Alumni Tale: Lisa English ’88

What did you study at UNH?

Hospitality Management

Did you have an internship experience at UNH?

Our senior seminar capstone was at the Sheraton in Boston, overseen by Professor Joe Durocher (may he rest in peace) who was the most enthusiastic and grounded professional, and a spectacular role model for all of us!

What were you doing 1 year out of college?

I was recruited out of the UNH Hotel program by Trump Plaza to be a management trainee. I was just the second student from UNH and had an incredible experience during the height of the boom in casino business in Atlantic City. My job included being a relief restaurant manager in all of the food and beverage units; I also worked on special events such as the Miss America visits, and many Wrestlemania and boxing matches that catered to high rollers and celebrities.

I transferred over to the Trump Taj Mahal to become a member of the opening team in the catering department. It was 6 and 7 days a week and worth every minute!

What were you doing 5 years out of college?

After about 3 years in Atlantic City, I was hired by a client to join the team of a national convention consulting firm to open their Washington DC regional office. The next  7 years were an incredible journey that took me around the country 100 days a year on travel for corporate and non-profit association clients. I planned and managed hundreds of special events, from Walt Disney World to San Francisco and became skilled at client relationships, vendor contract negotiation, collaborating with hotel and entertainment professionals, and managing event teams. It was a fabulous job and I crossed paths with many UNH hospitality alumni in my travels.

What were you doing 10 years out of college?

After starting a family in suburban DC, we decided to move back to my husband’s family hometown on the Jersey shore (the nice one, not the one you see on TV). Taking my skill set to the market, I transferred into higher education as an alumni officer at the business school for Rutgers University. Throughout the next ten years, I grew as a manager and collaborator and eventually was overseeing the entire campus of Rutgers University’s alumni relations program at Newark. This exciting job allowed me to work with the headquarter campus in New Brunswick and also with colleagues in South Jersey. I took on many roles tangential to my duties including acting executive director for the system-wide department of alumni relations for nearly a year. During this decade, I also earned a master’s degree from Rutgers GSE and began the doctoral program.

What are you doing now?

Currently, I am six months into being the inaugural director of alumni engagement for the Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences division. In this role, I am building the alumni relations program and bridges to the schools and units to the Rutgers University Foundation. I am a member of the senior leadership team for the RUAA, the university’s alumni association, and a member of the RBHS Advancement team alongside fundraisers, annual giving and corporate relations directors, and administrative staff. I finished my doctorate in education (Ed.D.) this spring and graduated with Rutgers 250th class!  I also am an adjunct instructor for leadership courses at the environmental college (SEBS at RU).

How do you feel your time at UNH has had an impact on where you are today?

I still keep in touch with many roommates, classmates and have been a volunteer for UNH Admissions – all of those relationships have kept me connected to my personal and professional network; my friends and I have met President Huddleston on a number of occasions and continue to be impressed with the growth in reputation of our alma mater. My incredible college experience helps me succeed in my job at Rutgers every day because I believe in state education’s impact on each individual.

Why do you believe in UNH?

I believe in UNH because the university has continued to improve in absolutely every aspect of the student experience – academically, in residence life,  athletics, etc. Our daughter is now a Wildcat!!! Her experience within COLSA in environmental conservation and sustainability is top notch! She is involved, has incredible faculty mentors (like Dr. Ashcraft) and is living the dream – every day is a great day to be a Wildcat!!!