Professional Development Lunch Series with Alumnus Mike Zarrelli

Professional Development Lunch Series with Alumnus Mike Zarrelli

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Jacob Sokol
October 18, 2013

Thirteen interns from TWC's fall 2013 semester were selected to attend a professional development lunch series (PDLS) at the Amway government affairs office in Washington, D.C. Mike Zarrelli, a 1998 TWC alumnus and managing counsel/federal affairs manager at Amway, hosted the students on Friday, October 18th.


From a Small Campus to the Big City


Mike Zarrelli received his degree in Political Science from Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York and attended TWC’s “Leaders on Leadership” academic seminar in the fall of 1998. After his first few days in the nation’s capital, Zarrelli knew that this city was the right place for him.


Prior to joining Amway, he served as a political appointee for New York City Mayor, Rudolph Giuliani, in his Washington Bureau. He has also served as an advocate for Mobil Oil Corporation, the American Petroleum Institute, the American Bar Association, and the law firm of Faegre & Benson, in a federal affairs capacity.


Today, Zarrelli is a lobbyist. In this role, he is responsible for monitoring governmental actions, both congressional and executive, and influences them to positively impact Amway operations and the direct selling industry. Emphasizing the importance of paving your own path, Zarrelli said, “when you hear the sound of the guns, run to them. This means if you really want to make a name for yourself, take challenges head-on and that’s how you will gain the best experience.”


International Perspective


Zarrelli emphasized the global reach of Amway and how both international challenges and change have an impact worldwide. This was especially relevant to the thirteen fall interns who attended the lunch, representing a multitude of cultures and nationalities spanning from:


  • Canada
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Mexico
  • Japan
  • South Korea

Ambassador Advice


As a surprise, Ambassador Richard Holwill, vice president of public policy for Alticor Inc., which is the parent company of Amway, also joined the students. Based in their D.C. office, he is responsible for managing government affairs activities for the corporation and its affiliates around the world. Ambassador Holwill advised the students “to have a broad world view, which will help you in any industry you want to pursue, regardless of location.” Students stayed well past the time allotted for the lunch, asking questions of both Zarrelli and Ambassador Holwill.

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