Letter from the Dean – Leadership

May 2022

Dean's Letter

“Those lobster rolls were amazing, weren’t they?” extolled David Pavelko, Global Hospitality Partnerships Director of Google Travel. The combination of humor and humility won over the enraptured audience as he took on the tall order of being the closing speaker after many inspiring Talks at our school’s recent Hospitality Leadership Summit.

In addition to validating our student-faculty-led event committee’s selection of this not-to-be-missed New England specialty, David’s remark drove home the point of the irreplaceable delight of in-person events. Adding further credence to the importance of these shared sensory experiences – emblematized by the aforementioned lobster roll – Denis Drossart, Vice President of Education & Talent at Selina, presented on creating connections and communities. He spoke about how these ephemeral moments spark emotions or feelings which, in turn, become memories. And this cascade of memories imbues our lives with meaning. 

The Summit featured executives from innovative companies that are pushing the boundaries of “traditional” hospitality sectors including Medallia, REEF Technology, SDS Ventures, The Culinary Edge, Toast, and WeWork in addition to the previously mentioned, Google Travel and Selina. At the heart of it, these experience-based companies, different in many ways, share a common mission to increase human interaction. Even the BU SHA 2022 ICON awardees, the founders of Airbnb, who have made a transformative impact on our industry, still ascribe to a deep tradition of hospitality: forging relationships between hosts and guests.

This special edition of Boston Hospitality Review on Leadership, edited by Taylor Peyton, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Boston University School of Hospitality Administration, and Priyanko Guchait, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Houston, Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, delves into the substance of leadership. Leadership conjures up that beguiling magic that we saw from the Summit stage. At the same time, this issue addresses that strategy and vision must take equal footing with humility. Leaders are being called upon to act more responsibly and responsively by valuing their team’s time (both inside and outside of work). 

Rising to the intensity of the “Who’s Coming with Me?” scene in the movie, Jerry Maguire (1996), our workforce is undergoing tumultuous turnover a.k.a. “The Great Resignation.” Graham Humphreys, CEO of The Culinary Edge, another Summit speaker, raised the issue of the cost of emotional labor, intrinsic to the service industry. The pandemic has brought to light many disparities and injustices in wages, working conditions, and access to opportunities. Leadership is under fire to make changes, not just to “what” their companies produce or do but “how” work gets done. 

Summit speaker Quendrida Whitmore, Executive Coach and Career Consultant of her company, Coach QuenⓇ – Quendrida Whitmore Coaching & Consulting LLC, discussed identifying our own “unwavering values.” In her Talk, she turned inside out the narrative of “The Great Resignation” that focuses primarily on leaving a job. Instead, Quendrida called this movement, “The Great Reflection,” highlighting that employees are reevaluating how they spend their time. She emphasized the opportunity to take back our lives, livelihood, and what’s more important, our self-worth. 

Time one of our most precious resources is when we make memories that shape our interpretation of our life’s purpose as well as our contributions to the people and world around us.

We hope this Leadership edition fills you with ideas and inspiration and gets you to seek out those meaningful shared lobster roll moments that create memories of time well-spent!


Yours in hospitality,

Dean Arun Upneja

Arun Upneja, Ph.D.

Dean of Boston University School of Hospitality Administration


  1. Interesting topic, but I don’t think it’s fully covered in this post. And time is really the most valuable resource of a human being. amzy

  2. I don’t think Truongs accepts students halfway through year 12 but this was a few years ago, things may have changed.

  3. Your writing is so excellent, I couldn’t help but share it with everyone. We hope you will share more with us! Wishing you a happy time with your family and planet clicker free.

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