Two graduates of UT Dallas’ Naveen Jindal School of Management were recipients of this year’s Women in Business awards from the Dallas Business Journal, which honored the women at a reception on Aug. 21.
Judy Hendrick MS’86 was nominated by Aimbridge Hospitality, where she serves as executive vice president and chief financial officer. Hendrick focuses on the $4.8-billion company’s mergers and acquisitions and capital markets.
Hendrick spent the first 10 years of her career as a commercial bank loan officer with Chase Manhattan, CIBC and First Republic banks. She later joined Wyndham Hotels as director of finance and, after the company went public, became treasurer and chief investment officer. She joined Aimbridge Hospitality in 2008 as chief financial officer.
She credits her experience at the Jindal School with preparing her for a successful career.
“I received some great advice from JSOM early in my career that was instrumental in creating the path that has led to where I am now,” she said. “The finance concentration led to a transition from more general business as a commercial banker in real estate lending, into a corporate finance focus, which led to a treasurer role in a publicly traded company and eventually to chief investment officer. The combination of a background in real estate lending and corporate finance gave me the flexibility to qualify for both career paths.”
Hendrick established the Hazel Elise Rogers Fellowship for Finance to honor her mother and to assist others in realizing their dream of higher education. She has participated in mentoring initiatives, including hosting a Dinner With 12 Comets, a University program that pairs local alumni hosts and students for small, intimate dinner parties.
She serves on the board of the Dallas Regional Chamber Executive Women’s Roundtable and on the board of directors for the American Heart Association Dallas district. Hendrick also serves as chair of the AHA Dallas Go Red for Women 2019-20 campaigns.
Sejal Desai MBA’99, the current business engagement director for the Communities Foundation of Texas for Business, was nominated by Kathy Hoke, a client and partner with The Shields Group.
Desai, who also received a master’s degree in liberal studies from Southern Methodist University, moved to Dallas from New Orleans in 1998 when her husband took a teaching position with SMU.
“We didn’t know anyone when we moved here,” she said. “The School of Management — as it was known then — provided a platform for me to get to know people. The faculty took a keen interest in the students, and I personally benefited from that.”
While attending the Jindal School, she received scholarships that helped finance her education and that moved her to establish the Desai Family Fellowship to offer similar opportunities to other students. She also has given her time to several programs and events at Jindal School, including the Women’s Leadership Series. She co-hosted an event for a major UT Dallas fundraising effort, Realize the Vision: The Campaign for Tier One & Beyond.
Desai serves on the boards of Trusted World, talkSTEM, Hunger Busters and the North Texas Food Bank’s Indian American Council. She is co-founder of the Orchid Giving Circle at Texas Women’s Foundation and Be the Change Youth Giving Circle and founder of SevaYatra, a social venture offering short-term service project opportunities at non-governmental organizations in India.