❍ Year of graduation: 2000
❍ Field of current or former occupation: Other
Question: What is your current occupation and where do you live? Please briefly describe your duties and responsibilities. How long have you been at this position?
Donald Wood: I’m currently a Director of Brand Management for Sodexo, a leading provider of “Quality of Life” services, which encompass food and facilities management, among other areas. I lead our National restaurant brand partnerships – working with over 40 brands such as Starbucks, Qdoba, Einstein Bros Bagels, Subway, Taco Bell and others. I also look for potential new brand partners and lead our celebrity chef partnerships for several of our internal programs. I’ve been here a year. I live in the Washington, DC area in Rockville, MD.
Question: Did studying Russian language and culture at Williams help you in your professional and personal development? If yes, then how were Russian Studies were useful to you? What opportunities and challenges did the Russian major open up for you both specific to your current occupation and more generally?
Donald Wood: I loved the fact that our Russian classes were only 3-6 students and the interaction with our professors and TAs. I’ve been able to go to Russian restaurants in the Philly area and order in Russian – I think they are humoring me, but they say I sound Russian. I’ve always been very interested in international relations and different cultures so the Russian certificate was a window into a different culture and even though I haven’t yet, I still hope to some day travel to Russia and bring my family along. Beforehand I plan to see how much Russian I can relearn so I can interact fully over there.
Question: Please share your advice or recommendation about the Russian department at Williams to a prospective student who is considering taking courses or majoring in our program.
Donald Wood: Taking Russian is one of my favorite memories about Williams – the department is so tight knit and the language is so unique, I think it is unlike anything else you can experience. The banya in the middle of Winter Study is (if they still do that) quite the experience as well.
If you would like to write to Donald Wood, please contact Baktygul Aliev.