Traveling the world

Jones satisfies her travel cravings as Four Seasons’ worldwide sales manager.

Jones (shown above) says her work has taken her to almost 50 Four Seasons hotels throughout the world. “I’m the kind of person who is always going,” she says.

“I  love what I do,” beams Jennifer (Frahm) Jones ’94. And why shouldn’t she? As a worldwide sales manager for Four Seasons Hotels, the world's leading operator of luxury hotels and resorts, Jones has traveled the world, entertaining clients in foreign locales in order to persuade them to choose the Four Seasons for their company meetings and events.

A business major during her time at Illinois Wesleyan, Jones knew that she “wanted to sell a service rather than a product,” and it was her undergraduate internships that sealed her decision. With help from IWU’s Career Services, Jones networked with alumni who were also in the hospitality business. “Networking is so important,” Jones emphasized. “I learned that at Wesleyan, and I’ve kept it going.”

Indeed, it was a connection that helped her land her first job as a sales assistant with the Wyndham Hotels. It wasn’t long after that Jones set her sights higher: “I knew that if I was going to stay in the hotel business, I wanted to work for a luxury hotel company,” she says. She worked for Rosewood Hotels before landing with Four Seasons Hotels, doing sales on the East and West coasts while still living in Chicago. It wasn’t until four years ago that she moved to New York to work from the East Coast sales office. “I’m the kind of person who is always going, so I guess New York is the perfect city for that!”

A typical day for Jones includes devising creative events within the hotels and surrounding areas for potential clients. One such event was a progressive dinner that started with drinks at the hotel bar, moved into the main dining room for dinner, and ended in the kitchen with the hotel pastry chef helping the clients make their very own gelato. “I liked that event particularly because it’s personalized for the customer,” Jones says. Other events have included fly-fishing in the Jackson Hole area and skiing and snowmobiling in the mountains. “I like selling and being with customers,” says Jones.

Jones’ work has taken her to almost 50 Four Seasons hotels throughout the world. Among her favorite locations is the one in Hong Kong. “I love the destination,” Jones says. “The service is outstanding; they always know what you need.” Jones’ interest in travel stems from an IWU study abroad course to St. Kitts, Nevis, and the Dominican Republic. “It really opened my eyes to other parts of the world,” she remarked. Still on her list of places to which she’d like to travel are Australia, Thailand, India, and parts of Europe. Jones encourages everyone to take up a language and to travel abroad, and is happy that these two events are more commonplace now. “You begin to crave travel after that first experience,” she says.

Jones noted that her undergraduate classes and activities helped prepare her for her current career. During her time at IWU, Jones kept busy working in the Admissions Office, and serving in leadership roles in the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority and the Dance Team. “Being involved in an activity and holding an officer position in that activity gives you the ability to be organized and well-spoken,” says Jones.

In the classroom, Jones says that it was Associate Professor of Business Administration Fred Hoyt who really made a difference in her education. “He opened up my mind to the service industry,” remarked Jones, who took all of the marketing classes Hoyt had to offer and helped him with some TA work. “He didn’t teach from a textbook,” says Jones. “He taught from the news—he got us into the habit of reading the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, which I still do every day. His lessons were very relevant. We would discuss globalization, not knowing much about it, and now look at how it affects our world.” 

A former member of Illinois Wesleyan’s Chicago Alumni Association, Jones remains involved in her alma matter as an active member of the Alumni Executive Board and the Council for IWU Women, and as president of the New York Alumni Association. A successful woman herself, Jones has her sights set high for the current generation of working women. “I think today’s women can have it all, but it’s a qualified answer,” says Jones, who married her husband, Charles, in August 2006. “You don’t need to choose between having a career and having a family. At least that’s what I’m striving for.” Having recently visited campus for Homecoming 2007, she is excited to connect with alumni for regional networking and social events. “Coming back to IWU is fun. And the connection extends beyond the bubble; it’s amazing how many other graduates you run into even in a city as big as New York.”

As far as advice goes, Jones had the following to say to anybody graduating from IWU: “The world is your oyster. If you have a dream or an idea, go for it. The world is smaller than you think.” And she would know. She has traveled it two to three times over.

— Amanda ReCupido ’07