by Lerzan Aksoy

Thank you Rod Brodie for nominating me for this article!

This is a difficult task as there are so many people I admire in the service space. I’m choosing to focus on 3 in particular as these individuals have played a tremendous part in shaping my career.

Parsu Parasuraman is one of my 3 academic role models. Parsu is a kind and generous human being always willing to support young scholars. He invited me to join the editorial review board of Journal of Service Research early in my career where I now serve as AE. His career is one that has been consistently impactful spanning decades — and most importantly the kinds of papers he writes pushes the boundaries of the field in many important ways! At the SERVSIG doctoral consortium I recall him telling the story of how the seminal SERVQUAL paper got rejected from a top journal, how they did not give up and published it in the Journal of Retailing.  Very few papers in our field enjoy more than 30,000 citations!

Kay Lemon is the second of my 3 academic role models. I very much admire her ability to bridge scholarly research with managerial relevance. I have over the years tried to emulate this connection in my own research. She has also been a personal mentor to me. As a fresh newly tenured associate professor, over coffee at the Hudson Hotel in New York City, Kay gave me valuable direction on how to establish my identity in the service field. This is what led me to co-chair my first Thought Leadership Conference in Nijmegen, The Netherlands with Jay Kandampully and Allard Van Riel.

Speaking of Jay… Jay Kandampully is the third academic role model I would like to acknowledge. Jay is an editor who identifies great papers that may be risky and takes a chance on them. His generosity towards young scholars entering the service field, especially those from nations and institutions that may not have the same level of resources is commendable. I got to know Jay much more closely when we organized the Thought Leadership Conference in Nijmegen together with Allard Van Riel. It was the first time I organized a conference and thought to myself… We produced an impactful outcome with this wonderful group, I learned a lot… and it was so much fun! This event gave me, and more importantly others in our community, the confidence that I could bring together successfully high profile events such as the SERVSIG doctoral consortium, Frontiers in Service Conference, and other thought leadership conferences. On a final note, Jay embodies values that are so dear to me… Being humble, down to earth, loyal and living the mission of making the world a better place….

Here are a few mantras I’ve personally adopted over the years:

  1. Conduct research that is relevant
  2. Be generous
  3. Work with people you like
  4. Pay it forward
  5. Never give up on your papers

I would like to nominate Sertan Kabadayi for the next edition of My Academic Role Models. Someone I very much admire and respect! And if I may add, the reason I am at Fordham University. When Tim Keiningham and I decided to get married, I was an associate professor at Koc University in Istanbul looking for academic openings in the New York, New Jersey area. There was a position at Fordham University and I applied — albeit quite late! Since Sertan and I share being from Turkey in common, he knew the institution I was at very well and pushed the marketing area to interview me! The rest is history. I got the job. Thank you Sertan — I am eternally grateful!

Lerzan Aksoy
Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies
Professor of Marketing
Fordham University