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Judy Brandau

BA 1970, Spanish
MA 1971, University of Missouri

Vice Pres. International Business Operations (retired), Marriott International, Orlando, FL

While many parents worry about the effect that moving might have on their school-aged children, for Judy Brandau, self-proclaimed “Air Force brat,” moving is exactly what inspired her. As a kid, she lived in several U.S. locations, as well as Japan and Germany. “Some people respond later in life by wanting to have roots,” she explains, “but it had the opposite effect on me. I developed a strong desire to see as much of the world as I could, and to understand and appreciate the diversity that exists among people, cultures, and religions.”

Her wanderlust was fulfilled in part by her career with Marriott International, where she worked in five different divisions, including airline catering, franchise and full-service hotels, and corporate divisions for sales and marketing and human resources. Her international experience encompasses establishing sales and marketing distribution channels in Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia, and she speaks on the travel and hospitality industry around the globe. Her latest challenge is consulting for Hard Rock International on their newly licensed resorts in Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

But her desire to see the world had to be based around experiences—not just checking off destinations on the globe. “I get bored easily,” Brandau notes, “and look for new and different things to do.” Her adventures include trekking gorillas in Uganda and travel on all seven continents—using a variety of modes of transportation. “My motto in life, both personally and professionally, has been, ‘The world is full of people who will go their whole lives and not actually live one day.' She did not intend on being one of them."

Purdue Influences
At Purdue, I enjoyed the integration of academics, extracurricular activities, and the social interaction of different people from all over the world. As a sophomore I had Professor William Gass’s Aristotelian ethics class; he changed my outlook on life when wrote in my blue book next to my A+, “If your life is this organized, it must be as boring as hell.” It was not a compliment!

I was a Spanish major at Purdue and again at the University of Missouri for my master’s degree. At Missouri, we used textbooks written by the very professors that I had had at Purdue. I never knew how expert and talented they were in their fields at the time!

Purdue Memories
Block P, senior cords, Neil Armstrong, Leroy Keyes, the Golden Girl and Silver Twins, Airport Road—take your pick! At Purdue the “experiential wanderlust” included being both socially and academically involved, from the Homecoming Court, Ag Queen, Grand Prix Girl, and Pi Beta Phi sorority to the honorary societies Sigma Delta Pi and Alpha Lambda Delta, working on the Debris, and graduating summa cum laude in three years.

Purdue Now
When I think of Purdue now, I think of lifelong friendships, quality education that opened doors, and pride in what the University has and continues to accomplish.

As a foreign language major, I found a profession where I was able to use the language as an instrumental part of my career, starting in human resources, but then moving into sales and marketing, where so much of our targeted market spoke Spanish as their primary language. It is truly an example of how my major in Spanish helped me have a successful and accomplished career. My liberal arts education also completed and complemented the life I have lived and wanted to live: the diversity and challenge of thought, the multitude of options, the plethora of ways to think. 

Greatest Achievement
Developing people, connectivity, and relationships—the influence you can have on people’s lives.

Living Person I Admire
Bill Marriott, Jr. and the shared values, traditions, and successes that provided the personal and professional opportunity for my 32-year career.

Idea of Perfect Happiness

What I’m Reading
I’m re-reading Abraham Verghese’s Cutting for Stone. 

Profession I’d Like to Try
Travel journalist