IranSeyed-Jalal Hosseini '96
Associate Director for Education Programs
AIDS Prevention Initiative in Nigeria
Harvard University School of Public Health
A native of Iran, Jalal played soccer for the Saints while earning an individually designed degree in political science at Siena Heights. After graduation, he earned a master’s degree at Suffolk University in Boston, interned with the United Nations Association of Greater Boston, and handled research in immigration law. Since 2001, he has worked for the Harvard School of Public Health.
His current position includes communications, program planning, project management and frequent international travel, especially to Nigeria. His work in AIDS prevention is both frustrating and rewarding, he says. “I enjoy being part of something noble that is trying to alleviate the pain and suffering in Africa,” he explains.
Reflecting on his Siena Heights education, he notes,“It is a never-ending struggle to be competent, purposeful, and especially ethical, when the world around is not ethical.”
Jalal is fluent in Arabic, Farsi and Kurdish as well as English — and also speaks 10 Arabic dialects. He received the 2006 Recent Graduate Award from the Siena Heights University Alumni Association.
BBA, Class of 1983
Owner of 10 Tim Horton's Stores in Canada Got His Start at Siena Heights
It was my lifelong goal to go to the U.S. and attend an educational institution there. As I was getting ready to go to college/university in the mid-1970s, I started to write to admissions offices in different colleges and universities in the U.S.
I wrote to about 31 different directors of admissions in different colleges and universities in the United States as I was looking for scholarships and grants to help me pursue my education there. I received seven positive responses.
Siena Heights University offered me a partial scholarship with a letter from then Director of Admissions, the late Sister Anne Marie Brown, along with a letter from the President, Dr. Louis Vaccaro. I was thoroughly impressed by these gestures and my parents were very impressed and encouraged by this also.
As our family lived in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, attending Siena Heights University was a convenient choice. We decided it would be best for me to begin Siena Heights in the fall of 1979. Little did I know my life would never be the same again.
As I reached the Siena Heights campus, I knew I was home, and it has been my second home ever since. It is the most caring community, positive environment and was the perfect place to grow and expand my mind, heart and soul.
From day one I started to get involved in campus activities. I won my first student senate election and became sophomore senator and continued to participate and won every election. I sat on the college finance committee and four other committees throughout my undergraduate years.
In my junior year I was selected as a Resident Assistant. “nu/kappa” hall and “the beautiful losers” were my direct responsibilities. I continued my responsibilities as student senate member and as RA throughout my undergraduate years.
As I was completing my senior year (spring of 1983), I was offered a full scholarship to continue my postgraduate studies at Siena and work as the assistant to the director of students events and activities and also carry out the responsibilities as a graduate RA. I took a year off and headed for California. I returned to Siena Heights in fall of 1984 and started to work and continue my postgraduate studies.
When I left Siena, it was time to find a meaningful career where I could flourish and advance. My teacher, guidance counselor and academic adviser at Siena, Bill Blackerby, always told me I should be where I could deal with and interact with a lot of people. He would always remind me I am a people person and I should be gainfully employed in retail or in human resources.
I looked for opportunities where I did not have to work 9-5 Monday through Friday and be a normal person. “Normal” is not my norm, and I kept searching until I found something interesting in fast food.
In November 1985, I joined Wendy’s of Canada as a management trainee. After eight weeks of intense training (it was like a boot camp with extreme discipline) I had my first posting as an assistant manager in a small store in Georgetown, Ontario and after three months there I was transferred to Toronto to be part of an opening team for the new Wendy’s restaurant in town. By the fourth of July 1985, I was promoted to co-manager. I was part of a management team that helped open another Wendy’s location in downtown Toronto. A few months down the line, I was promoted to restaurant general manager and oversaw Canada’s largest Wendy’s restaurants. During this time I was awarded the best customer service manager and the best food cost manager.
By October of 1988, I was brought over to the highway division to manage Wendy’s, Tim Horton’s, Baskin Robins and the vending division. This was much different from managing a single in town store. I managed to help build some of the most high volume highway sites on Highway 401 from Montreal to Toronto. By 1993, I wanted to aim higher and to achieve more.
By summer 1995, I started the process to my first Tim Horton’s store by December . By September 1998 my wife and I had opened our fourth store, grossing more than $3 million in business and with more than 100 staff members.
In July 2007, we opened our 10th store, and we were adding more management, more staff and fine tuning every aspects of our operation. Currently our stores generate more than $10 million in revenue, with a payroll of more than $3 million and close to 300 staff and management.
The good part of doing the same thing over and over again is that eventually you get good at it, and I was no exception. The key to success is to do the right thing, be the best in everything you do, surround you with good dedicated, smart and honest people and have fun. It does not hurt either to have a calm, caring and dedicated wife who can manage the home front, especially with two young children.
I have been very fortunate in my personal life and in business. The good Lord has been kind to me, and people have lent me a hand when I needed one. Siena Heights University also made a major impact on my life and my success.