After serving for 15 years as dean of New York University's Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management, Lalia Rach has stepped down from the post to pursue research and teaching at the university full time. Rach spoke with M&C about her plans, her legacy and the evolution of the hospitality industry.
What's next on the agenda? I'm taking a sabbatical -- which I've never had -- to refocus myself, then I'll enter into the classroom full time. My area of specialty is strategy, related to marketing, service and the organizational culture of our industry, so that's what I'll focus on. It's time for a new leader at the Center, and time for me to do different things. I miss writing, research and teaching.
What is one of your prouder accomplishments as dean? One of my goals was to refashion higher education's position in our industry. In doing that, we've become partners with industry, not followers. Our focus is not hands-on technical skills, but rather having a knowledge base of finance, marketing, technology and development, from both the meeting planner and supplier perspective.
How have things changed since you started? To be a leader in the industry today, you must know the business of hotels or meetings. Technical skills are important as logistics, but meeting planners are directors of information. They must understand trends, economic situations, rising and declining industries, and strategize with leaders of corporations -- these are different skills than site selection. Today, it's the business of hotels rather than the hotel business.