Industry Update
Press Release13 December 2019

Boston University School Of Hospitality Administration Presents Its Hospitality Leadership Summit 2020

Connecting established global leaders in hospitality with rising stars of the industry for this symposium designed to inspire, empower, and equip the next generation.

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Boston University SHA Hospitality Leadership Summit 2020

Boston University's School of Hospitality Administration (BU SHA) presents the SHA Hospitality Leadership Summit 2020, Leadership in a Rapidly Changing Hospitality World, Friday & Saturday, March 20-21, 2020 at The Hotel Commonwealth. This symposium features a dynamic line-up of speakers, sponsors, and panel topics on pressing issues and current trends shaping the hospitality industry. The School of Hospitality Administration (SHA) welcomes industry professionals, both local and global, in lodging and lodging/mixed-use development, restaurant and food and beverage companies, consulting, tourism, and event planning - to connect with its graduate and undergraduate students and engage in thoughtful dialogue and discovery surrounding a shared passion for service and hospitality.


"The SHA Hospitality Leadership Summit is a premier industry event that brings together top-tier leaders in all areas of hospitality, said Arun Upneja, PhD., Dean of Boston University's School of Hospitality Administration. "The Summit offers the opportunity for our graduate and undergraduate students to polish their skills and hear from some of the leading figures of hospitality with insights and inspiration to catapult their journey into our industry."

"There is currently no other event in the Greater Boston area like this," adds Dean Upneja. "We are proud to introduce this to the hospitality community as an opportunity for all of us to learn and be inspired. We are grateful to our host hotel, The Hotel Commonwealth, for its dedication and passion as well to support this endeavor."

"We are excited to bring together outstanding minds from all aspects of hospitality to connect with our students (and faculty), who, as the next generation, will bring new approaches and innovations into our field," added Leora Lanz, Chair of the Master of Management in Hospitality program and Chair of the SHA Hospitality Leadership Summit. "This Summit will also bring together SHA alumni who are key decision makers in numerous hospitality businesses while also welcoming Greater Boston and national companies who are there to hear from the speakers and network with our students - to identify the talent of the future."

BU SHA is honored to present as the Keynote Speaker, Marie Perry, Corporate Board Member; Ruth's Hospitality Group and EVP Chief Financial and Administrative Officer, Jamba Juice.

Featured speakers include senior executives from Aramark, American Express, Bisnow, CM Group, Gensler Group, Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau, Hersha Hospitality Management, Kimpton Hotels & Resorts, Montesquieu Wines, The Wing, and more. Panels, keynotes, and live podcast sessions will highlight the topics of talent retention, leading in a time of disruption, essential skills all hospitality professionals need to know, and a special lunch conversation with Skift Editor inChief Rafat Ali, and TripAdvisor's President of Core Experiences Lindsay Nelson.

Visit to see the full agenda. Please note that Saturday, March 21, 2020 will be dedicated to leadership workshops and panels for current BU SHA graduate and undergraduate students.

Among the esteemed speakers and moderators are:

  • Alison Birdwell, SHA '88, Regional Vice President - West Region, Sports & Entertainment, Advisory Board, School of Hospitality
  • Allie Wainer, SHA '11, EVP & Chief Customer Officer, Sid Wainer & Son
  • Amy Finsilver, General Manager, XV Beacon Hotel
  • Ann Fastiggi, BU '88, Consultant Spencer Stuart, Advisory Board, School of Hospitality Administration
  • Anthony Melchiorri, Co-Creator, Host, and Co-Executive Producer of Hotel Impossible
  • Cameron Sperance, Hospitality Business Reporter Bisnow
  • Catarina Chang, SHA '11, Co-Owner, Koy Restaurant
  • Dana Waud-Floberg, SHA '07, Director, HVS Chicago
  • Denise Korn, Creative Director, Gensler
  • Fonda Hopkins, CEO, Montesquieu Wines
  • Glenn Haussman, Host of No Vacancy Podcast, President, Rouse Media
  • Heather Southard, Director of Human Resources, Hotel Commonwealth
  • Ivy Mtetwa, Trainee Manager at Wilderness Safaris - Ruckomechi Camp, Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe
  • Jagruti Panwala, Chairwoman, Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA)
  • Jessica Stifel, Vice President of Strategic Meetings & Congress Management, The CM Group
  • Karla Brooklyn, Global VP, Enterprise Sales, SiteMinder, Start-Up Mentor, The Growth Works
  • Katrina Jazayeri, Proprietor and Wine Commander, Juliet and Peregrine Restaurants
  • Leslie Lone, Senior Manager of Events, The Wing, SHA '06
  • Mara Mendell, Director, Global Dining Program & Benefits, American Express
  • Mariana Safer, Director of Digital for the Northeast, Kimpton Hotels
  • Martha Sheridan, President and CEO, Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Rebecca Fitzgerald, COO, George Howell Coffee Company
  • Sapna Bhatt, Chief of Staff, Hersha Hospitality Trust
  • Varaidzo Michelle Kabwe, Camp Manager at Wilderness Safaris - Ruckomechi Camp, Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe many more impressive industry movers and shakers.

Summit Sponsors

BU SHA is grateful to the generous support from our Summit Sponsors* who have made it possible to present this unique opportunity for the hospitality community to meet network, and learn: Diamond Sponsor: Hotel Commonwealth; Platinum Sponsor: Access Point Financial; Gold Sponsors: Aramark, Hilton Hotels, and Pinnacle Advisory Group; Silver Sponsors: HHM, HMS Host, Longwood Venues and Destinations, Seaport Hotel, and Spot On Ventures; Supporters: Sid Wainer & Son.
*The Sponsor List is current as of December 4, 2019.

For more information and to learn how hospitality companies can participate and attend this special event, please visit or contact Summit Chair Leora Lanz at [email protected].

Related Event

Boston University SHA Hospitality Leadership Summit 2020

Hotel Commonwealth — Boston, MA United States
event information

About Boston University School of Hospitality Administration

Established in 1981 and now celebrating 40 years of Innovating the Business of Hospitality, Boston University's School of Hospitality Administration (SHA) offers students a combination of rigorous academics, liberal arts curriculum, and international experiences for the pursuit of success in lodging, restaurants, food service, and other avenues of the hospitality industry. SHA has a unique relationship with the city of Boston, where the area's hotels and restaurants provide students with numerous opportunities for internships to satisfy work experience requirements for their degree. The next SHA Leadership Summit is open to students and industry executives and is scheduled for March 26, 2021, and includes a keynote from Adventurer, Explorer and Travel Reporter Peter Greenberg, and the presentation of the BU SHA ICON award to legendary restaurant pioneer, Danny Meyer. Visit to join us for what promises to be an inspiring industry event.

About Boston University

Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized institution of higher education and research. With more than 33,000 students, it is the fourth-largest independent university in the United States. BU consists of 17 schools and colleges, along with a number of multi-disciplinary centers and institutes integral to the University's research and teaching mission. In 2012, BU joined the Association of American Universities (AAU), a consortium of 62 leading research universities in the United States and Canada.

Mara Littman
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