Savvy alum joins Hall of Fame, pays it forward
Youngest in program history
Published: Monday, June 25, 2012
Updated: Monday, June 25, 2012 09:06
Heissam Jebailey shows the act of giving really does pay off.
The 34-year-old UCF alumnus, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in advertising and public relations in 2000, feels it is essential to give back to those who helped him along the way.
Jebailey became the youngest inductee ever into the Nicholson School Hall of Fame at the second annual COMM Day on April 13 due to his career accomplishments and many generous contributions to the Nicholson School.
Jebailey is currently the managing partner of Jebden Management Inc. He runs the event-planning company Press On Events and is also a member of the UCF Alumni Association and serves on its board of directors. Jebailey is a member of the UCF Foundation, the Golden Key National Honor Society, the President’s Medallion Society and an honorary member of Quotes, the public relations club at UCF.
Jebailey was also owner and publisher of the Central Florida Future for six and a half years before selling it to Gannett, the current owner.
Jebden Management Inc. is co-managed by Jebailey’s business partner, Brian Linden. As it turns out, this company affects some UCF students involved with the School of Communication. If you have ever entered the Knight Newspapers office located in the Quadrangle business complex across from UCF, then you have stepped into a building owned by Jebden Management, Jebailey said.
Press On Events, his event planning company, is a unique venture that he has taken on by himself.
Jebailey said he single-handedly puts together an event for a different charity each year.
“For example, one of my staple events is that I host the largest ‘Black and White’ party in the United States for three years,” Jebailey said. “It’s Central Florida’s largest gathering for charity."
Jebailey says that event planning almost feels like a hobby to him. He enjoys running Press On Events and boils it all down to a simple question.
“Basically when you’re in the event business, people are iffy," he said. "You never know when to count on people to be there or not. All I want to know is ‘Are you in?’”
Ryan Sheehy, now an advertising and public relations professor at UCF, is a former classmate of Jebailey’s and a long-time friend. They both serve on the board of the UCF Alumni Association.
There is one outstanding quality in particular that seems to drive his success, Sheehy said.
“He exudes passion, and I think that’s what it is. He inspires other people,” Sheehy said. “It’s his ability to just get things done. He makes things happen. He does what he says he’s going to do. People really like Heissam. When he wants to get something done, it’s almost hard to say no to him.”
Joan McCain, also an advertising and public relations professor, agrees.
“Heissam has an unstoppable and infectious level of passion. He is one of those people that when he walks into a room, he brings energy into that room. You just cannot help but feel it and be pulled into it," McCain said. “He gets fired up, and he issues that challenge to every NSC student to step up and give back to the school themselves. That’s a great thing and can definitely lead to great things in the future for the Nicholson School.”
On top of all his accomplishments, Jebailey owns two Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt bars in Winter Park with his business partner, Linden. When the yogurt craze first hit two years ago, Jebailey’s business-oriented mind knew a trend when he saw one. He also saw it as an opportunity to give back to the community.
“It’s nice to have businesses in Winter Park because there’s a lot of schools and churches and organizations that you can support on a daily basis so with all these businesses we do, we make money, but we give money back too,” Jebailey said.
So how did a man much like many of the students here at UCF get from graduation day to where he is now in just a little more than a decade? Jebailey describes his work ethic as a UCF undergraduate as “diligent.”