The Academy of the Sacred Heart and the Rosary Sacred Heart Alumnae Association are pleased to announce Julie Jaye Jacob as the recipient of the 2021 Alumna of the Year Award. Julie, who graduated from in 1994, currently serves as the Human Resources Director of Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group. In addition to her active involvement in the Rosary Alumnae Association (through her two consecutive terms as Secretary and often working behind the scenes to support our many events), Julie consistently volunteers for any opportunity to be involved at the school, and enjoys participating in our long-held traditions, such as Basket Mass. Though she never seeks the spotlight or any recognition for her service to Sacred Heart, the Rosary Alumnae Association is in her debt for the countless ways in which she supports our mission and continues to live and share the values and goals of Sacred Heart in our community, and we are proud to name her as our 2021 Alumna of the Year.
Could you tell us about your current role?
When I graduated from Loyola University New Orleans, I started work at Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group. During my 23-year tenure, I worked in private party sales and marketing. I spent the last 18 years in human resources. In 2003, I decided to go back to school to pursue an MBA from Tulane University and graduated two months before Hurricane Katrina. Through the devastation and heartache, we learned a lot as a community and as a company about the importance of leadership, dedication, friendship, compassion, and resilience. These values were instilled at Sacred Heart and help me throughout my career. In my role as Human Resources Director, I am tasked with overseeing and coordinating personnel related duties for the restaurant group of 800 employees. My role includes employee benefits, legal compliance, recruiting and retention. Since March 2020, I have been tasked with COVID-protocols, safety, and compliance.
What does Sacred Heart mean to you?
As Sister Miller said in her Prayer for Sacred Heart Graduates, “We pray for you as you leave Sacred Heart that you will leave here knowing that Sacred Heart is not just a school but a way of life, a gift to be lived, and shared for the rest of your life.” When I reflect on my life, I can honestly say that my years at Sacred Heart were the best years of my life. I cherish all the memories and people that make Sacred Heart special including Hearty Meals, Gouter, the gymnastics team, Christmas Basket Mass and May Crowning. I am grateful for the staff that nurtured and taught me. The love from faculty like Mrs. Schroth, Mrs. Melito, Mrs. Mattesky and Mrs. Grenier are what make Sacred Heart the gift of a lifetime. A few years ago, my parents and I had the honor to see Mater Admirabilis in Rome, Italy. It was an opportunity I will always treasure and had it not been for the ASH Passport, we would have missed seeing Mater as the Trinita dei Monti church was undergoing renovations. Seeing the fresco gave me a deeper appreciation of the beauty and tradition of the annual celebration of Mater’s feast. Sacred Heart gave me a deeper faith base and prayerful attitude that has helped me during challenging times. I cherish any opportunity to go on campus to volunteer, visit or celebrate special events. I am fortunate to participate in the Headmistress Circle, Future Founders, and the Alumna board. During the pandemic while the gates were closed, I would park in front of school and spend some time in peaceful prayer and reflection. Sacred Heart will always feel like home and holds a special place in my heart.
How did your Sacred Heart education prepare you for where you are today?
The rich education I received at Sacred Heart was fundamental to where I am today. Each child has different gifts, and Sacred Heart gives students the opportunity to learn in a loving and caring environment. ASH prepares women to make a difference in the world, and I am fortunate for the gift of this education that has helped me in my career.
The values instilled in me during my time at Sacred Heart are fundamental to who I am today. From an early age, my parents instilled in me the importance of gratitude, kindness, compassion, resilience, an active faith in God and giving back to those less fortunate. Life inside the gates of Sacred Heart helped me understand the importance of the values my parents taught me. As we navigate the challenges of today’s world, I find comfort reflecting on the tradition, values, and love of my Sacred Heart education.
What is your favorite Sacred Heart memory?
My favorite Sacred Heart memory is finding joy in helping those in need. My family embraced Wednesday Hearty Meals, and we always took pride in filling the bags with extra treats to hopefully spread joy to someone going through a difficult time. My family still participates in Christmas Basket Mass. In addition to the list of items, we include a personalized card and a Christmas decoration and small gift for the family. Attending basket mass and seeing all the baskets fill the bleachers is a wonderful Christmas tradition. The gift of generosity to those less fortunate has always been important to my family, and Sacred Heart gives students opportunities to share a piece of their heart with those in need.
With love and gratitude, thank you for such a wonderful honor of Alumna of the Year. My Sacred Heart education was a tremendous blessing, and I am grateful to my parents for sending me to such a special place that I will always call home. I consider my Sacred Heart education and any opportunity to be on campus as an alumna the true gift of a lifetime and one I treasure.