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Leslie (Araiza) Lorenzo '88

Leslie (Araiza) Lorenzo graduated from USD in 1988 with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication Studies and a minor in English.  After spending 16 years in public relations for the hospitality industry, she branched out and started her own business in 2004 doing public relations and marketing for hotels, restaurants and chefs.  She is a native San Diegan and still resides in San Diego with her husband Conan and two boys (Blake, 3 and Brock, 1).
1: What have you been up to since graduation?
Immediately after graduation in 1988, I worked for a couple of years in a local PR agency before joining Marriott Corp. as the Regional PR Manager, launching a new West Coast Division for the international hotel company. For the next four years, I developed and implemented a public, community and media relations program for the four local properties.  In 1994, I accepted a new position as the Director of Marketing & Membership Services for La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, Inc., owner and operator of the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, the La Jolla Shores Hotel and the Marine Room restaurant.  I spent the next 8 years here before leaving San Diego for a brief hiatus in Seattle.  I later returned to join Fairbanks Ranch Country Club where I spent the next two years as the Director of Membership.  In 2004, I branched out to start Araiza Marketing, handling marketing, public relations and advertising for a variety of hotels, restaurants and chefs.  After marrying a tennis pro, buying a house and having two kids, I have scaled back my client list and now exclusively serve as the Director of Marketing/PR for La Jolla’s Four Diamond Grande Colonial Hotel and NINE-TEN Restaurant.
2: What is your fondest memory of USD?
Definitely freshman orientation week.  I remember like it was yesterday one night when a hypnotist came to entertain the students.  We were all sitting on the ground somewhere on campus watching the show and I was chosen to get hypnotized.  Being a non-believer of the practice, I was sent back to my seat not knowing I was actually under hypnosis.  All of a sudden, I stood up with a couple of other “non-believers” and started belting out (A cappella, I might add) “Lucky Star” by Madonna.  While I arrived at the USD campus not knowing too many other students, needless to say, I knew quite a few after this night!
3. What is your favorite place on campus, why?
My favorite placed on campus, when I was there, was the deli on the ground/basement floor of Serra Hall (I’m sure it’s long gone by now).  It was the only other option for dining at that time aside from the cafeteria located between Founder’s Hall and Camino Hall. They made the best toasted bagel and Swiss cheese sandwiches in town.  I actually crave them every-now-and-then.  I know that the food services on campus are far superior today, but I defy anyone up there to make a bagel sandwich as good as the ones from the old Serra Hall deli!
4. Who was your favorite USD professor or class?
I can’t name just one… I have to say I had three favorites, all from the Communications Department:  Dr. Larry Williamson, Dr. Roger Pace and Dr. Linda Perry. When I arrived at USD, I had no idea what I wanted to be when I “grew up”.  But it is because of the education, guidance and advice I received from these three professors that I found my way to public relations and have never once looked back! In terms of my favorite class, it would have been Small Group Communication. It was great practice for working with different types of people and understanding team dynamics.
5: How have you remained involved with USD since graduation?
Being a native San Diegan, there really wasn’t any reason for me to leave after graduation. So it’s been easy for me to stay involved over the years. I am a parishioner of the Immaculata and have had both my 3-year-old and 1-year-old boys baptized there. I have also remained a huge basketball fan and attend as many Torero home games as possible. (My husband is from Washington State and grew up a Gonzaga fan, so going to games is even more fun. Although I think I almost have him 100% converted!)
6: If you could offer a current USD student advice, what would it be?
There are two bits of advice I would give any college student. One: Take advantage of the opportunities the school provides to study abroad. I don’t regret much in my life but not participating in USD’s amazing study abroad program is certainly a regret. And two:  Get involved in an internship during school! I can’t even imagine how difficult and competitive it must be today for a recent graduate to find a job. And it must be that much more difficult without any practical experience. I was lucky enough during college to internship at 91X Radio, which I’m certain helped my resume stand out above someone else’s without firsthand experience.  Other than that, just have fun while you’re there!  Study hard… but have fun! You only get your college years once!

To contact Leslie email her at

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