Bruna Iacuzzi

Leadership plus

When Bruna Iacuzzi took a test to discover her strengths, the top five characteristics were leadership, command, competition, focus and achiever.

So it’s no surprise that the 20-year-old Italian is leading the Johnson County Community College Student Senate this year, as well as going to class, working at Lidia’s Kansas City, and being involved in several other student groups.

That combination of strengths and experience will serve her well as she pursues her dream of returning to Sardinia, the island off the coast of Italy where she grew up, to grow tourism and open the first of a string of restaurants there.

Here are six things you need to know about Iacuzzi:

From Italy to Kansas: Iacuzzi arrived at JCCC via tiny Brookville, Kan., a town of fewer than 300 people just west of Salina, where she’d spent a year as a high school exchange student.

What inspired her career: Iacuzzi’s family is involved in food and wine, but her career goal was cemented during a perfect meal eaten at Felidia in New York City. “I wanted to provide people with the same experience,” she said. Iacuzzi did an internship in the kitchen at Lidia’s Kansas City, also owned by Felidia owner Lidia Bastianich, and now works in the front of the house as a hostess.

In her spare time: Iacuzzi is a member of International Club, the Academic Excellence Team, the Hospitality Club and the Culinary Knowledge Bowl Team.

Learning to lead: Iacuzzi is a graduate of the Cavalier Leadership Development Program, a semester-long program offered through Student Activities that focuses on practical, real-world topics related to leadership. The training helped Iacuzzi learn how to relate with all kinds of people – a skill that she said will come in handy for someone who wants to own her own restaurants and spend time in front of the house meeting customers.

Keeping students informed: Iacuzzi’s main goals as the Student Senate president are to keep students informed about what’s happening at JCCC and to make them aware of services available to them. Once a month, the Student Senate leaders set up a table in the Carlsen Center lobby to chat with students and learn what they’re concerned about.

Looking ahead: Iacuzzi will receive her food and beverage management certificate from JCCC this month, and will graduate with an associate of arts in liberal arts in May. She plans to transfer to the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg for a bachelor’s degree in hotel and restaurant administration. From there, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in hospitality management. She has the University of Hawaii in her sights, in part to see how that island state approaches tourism with an eye toward how what she learns could be applied in Sardinia.