Letter from the Dean – May 2021 Leadership Issue

By: Arun Upneja, Ph.D.

“A View From the Top” may have been the title of this Boston Hospitality Review issue on Leadership if we weren’t where we are today. Over the past year since the pandemic struck, we have seen and heard leaders, from chefs to CEOs, in this most trying of times, working to keep up the faith that we will make it through this crisis together. The pandemic has humbled us all and prompted leaders to take a deep look within themselves and their businesses. 

Through this metaphorical “war,” as some of this issue’s authors describe the fight to keep going, true leadership means recognizing that the worth of a company comes from people, not profits. You will find in this most timely issue on Leadership, thoughtfully produced by Editors, Drs. Taylor Peyton and Priyanko Guchait, that leadership is in a deep state of not just evolution but revolution and rebirth right now. Whether you, our readers, are in a leadership position or aspire to be in one, the topics addressed in this issue from the perspectives of both academics and practitioners in the industry, will help you to rethink and rebuild the way you do business.

Modern-day hospitality pioneer and restaurateur Danny Meyer, who recently received the prestigious ICON award at BU SHA’s annual Hospitality Leadership Summit, reflected on this momentous and transformational period. He expressed that closing his restaurants during COVID provided the rare opportunity, as he put it, to “dry dock the ship” and inspect it in its entirety, illuminating the parts in need of serious repair. Although there is still much work to be done to restore the broken pieces, with optimism for the future, Danny shared his renewed understanding and appreciation of the meaning of hospitality. He distilled it into one word: “hope.” 

I, too, feel that hospitality provides hope for a better and brighter future. Hope does not exert itself “from the top” downward. Much like effective leadership, hope rises to the top and uplifts all those in its midst. 

And on the leadership note, I hope you will join me in celebrating the rising leaders graduating this year who will shape the future of hospitality in positive, productive, and exciting new ways!


Arun Upneja, Ph.D.,
Dean of Boston University School of Hospitality Administration


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