Coffee With Lalia Rach of New York University

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. 


On the Move

PlannersAxt joins American Diabetes Association
Susanne Axt has joined the American Diabetes Association's special events and fundraising office in Princeton, N.J., as associate manager, where she will oversee the annual Princeton Tour de Cure fundraising event. Previously, Axt worked as an events and marketing consultant for the organization.

Botvinick establishes D'or Solutions
Marie Botvinick has started D'or Solutions, an Oceanside, Calif.-based meeting planning company specializing in global hotel contract negotiations for corporations and associations. Prior to this, she served as senior planner for Meeting Sites Resource, a site-selection and hotel contract negotiations firm headquartered in Irvine, Calif.

Phillips joins Landry & Kling and
Mark Phillips has been appointed chief operating officer for cruise meeting and incentive company Landry & Kling and its newly launched online portal for cruise meetings, Previously, Phillips was managing director and vice president of international markets for StarCite.

Suppliers Visit Baltimore has promoted Amra Elmore to associate director of sales, new business development. Her previous title was national sales manager.

Rob Huff, CMP, has been appointed vice president of industry relations for The Meeting Strategy Group, a boutique meetings management firm in San Francisco.

Mark Lauer has been named general manager of the 1,980-room Hilton New York.

David Mascot and Peter Wendy have been hired as event and trade show team members at Access TCA, a Whitinsville, Mass.-based exhibition management company. Mascot will focus on the growth of Midwest markets, while Wendy will work with companies on the West Coast.

Jacklyn McBeth has been appointed senior event planner at One Atlantic, an oceanfront event space in Atlantic City.

Joni M. Peru has been named vice president of sales for the Tropicana Las Vegas.