We Are Cpp

Ari Friedman

Broncos at Work

Ari Friedman

Hospitality Management

Class of 2018

Program Manager, Global Early Career

Tell us about your journey in the management/HR field.

My path to HR was untraditional, and I would not change it for the world. Originally, I aspired to be a general manager at a Disney hotel. I thought to myself, to be a great GM, I should understand human resources. My first HR role was as a senior leave associate. This experience inspired me to make my career in human resources.

How did Cal Poly Pomona prepare you for your career in human resources?

Once I got my start in human resources through full-time jobs at Disney, I pursued a minor in HR at Cal Poly Pomona. While I did not have direct work experience, I leveraged my learnings in class to follow my passion in talent acquisition. I grew in the talent acquisition space and then moved to a HR program manager role.

What is program management and what do you enjoy about this field?

Program management is the ability to curate, execute and impact the business through thoughtful and calculated risk. My favorite part about working in this profession is the ability to try something new; expand diversity, inclusion and belonging; and support the people who make up the organization. I am proud of the impact HR can have on organizations.

What career advice would you give to college students?

Leverage the Cal Poly Pomona network via alumni events and LinkedIn. Your network is your net worth for your career. Most importantly, secure an internship to showcase your learnings in the workplace.

Who were your mentors and how did they support you?

My mentors were my career counselor from The Collins College and an alumnus who worked at Disney at the time, DJ Norman (’93, management and human resources). Their impact was instrumental. Both held me accountable and provided me with feedback that I needed.