Guelph Grads on the Go – Visiting U of G to Give Back

Recruiter creates opportunities for recent graduates

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Jennifer DiRaddo

Visiting U of G is more than a trip down memory lane for Jennifer DiRaddo, B.Comm. ’06; it’s an opportunity to give back.

She was on campus in November to interview students for a leadership development program she oversees as manager of campus recruitment at Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. She says the 18-month program is more than an internship; recent hospitality graduates are assigned a mentor and begin working in supervisory or assistant management positions. Fairmont also fills positions throughout its global chain of properties.

“We’re looking for someone who’s very passionate about the industry,” says DiRaddo. “It is feeding our leadership pipeline. If they successfully complete the program, we will find them a place in the company.”

Each year, Fairmont hires almost 100 graduates worldwide, and many are from U of G. “Guelph grads are very impressive, and they have some great experience, especially because of the co-op program,” she says.

DiRaddo also travels to Fairmont’s partner schools in Europe, Asia and the United Arab Emirates to recruit the best talent.

In 2011, she was named one of the hospitality industry’s Top 30 Under 30 by the Ontario Hostelry Institute. Her passion for food, people and travel inspired her to work in the industry, and she says her role at Fairmont combines all of her interests.

Before joining Fairmont, DiRaddo spent four years working at Oliver and Bonacini, a restaurant chain where Guelph professor Bruce McAdams, School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, served as vice-president before joining U of G in 2009. They have kept in touch over the years, and DiRaddo gave a presentation to his class during her recent visit to campus.

She says she has nothing but praise for U of G’s hospitality program “because they have quite a few professors who have had experience in the industry and can share that experience with students.”

After earning her own U of G degree, DiRaddo enrolled in the human resources management program at George Brown College and is currently pursuing a certified human resources professional designation.