Guest article by Lia Patricio.

When I was invited to write “my academic role model”, I realized we have plenty of role models in Service Research. In fact, I feel that the service community is itself a role model, as a welcoming, open, constructive and lively collective. 

But if I think of the most influential role model in my academic life, I choose Ray Fisk. I met Ray Fisk as my MBA Marketing Professor more than 20 years ago. He introduced me to service research, became my Ph.D. co-advisor later in 2001, and we have collaborated ever since. Along these years working together, the values of the service research community Ray Fisk has helped to build and share have been very important to me and I believe to many other researchers.

  1. Be open. Ray has encouraged me to be open and explore new grounds. This was crucial to explore technology-enabled services through the integration of service marketing and IT perspectives that were at the core of my PhD research. Later on Jim Spohrer and Steve Vargo, among others, were also a great source of inspiration to continue doing multidisciplinary research in value cocreation, customer experience, service design and service innovation. 
  1. Build a community. Ray has always highlighted the importance of building the service community. As the founder of SERVSIG AMA special interest group and a co-founder of the SERVSIG conference, Ray is a wonderful example of a key contributor, but we are also fortunate to have other strong pillars of our service community such as Parsu Parasuraman or Mary Jo Bitner. These researchers have played leading roles in advancing service research and in creating a supportive and collaborative environment for new members to feel welcome and grow the field.
  1. Make a difference in people’s lives. Ray strongly advocates that service research should make a difference by improving wellbeing through service, with special attention to underserved populations. Together with Amy Ostrom and Laurie Anderson, the service community has brought Transformative Service Research to the top of research priorities, being a vibrant and growing area. 
  1. Foster a new generation of service researchers. Ray Fisk was, not only a nurturing PhD advisor, but has also been the advisor of several PhDs of the following generation, such as Jorge Teixeira. With his support and encouragement, we not only now have a service research group at the University of Porto, but together with researchers from five countries, have coordinated the Service Design for Innovation Network, with nine PhD candidates who will help forming the new generation of the service design and innovation researchers. 
  1. Have fun! Finally, Ray works hard, but also enjoys the pleasures of being part of a warm and enthusiastic service community. Service scholars are great conference hosts, offering excellent service and enjoyable social events. Traveling around the world to meet our old and new friends in these conferences, workshops and meetings is a wonderful part of our academic life. 

Ray Fisk’s role model was very important to me, but I believe it is also a source of inspiration for attracting and nurturing a vibrant set of new service researchers, and to help them develop their careers in an impactful and enjoyable way.

Lia Patrício
Associate Professor
Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, University of Porto