Cornell honors Meyer and Kyricos

The Cornell Peter and Stephanie Nolan School of Hotel Administration held its 14th annual Cornell Hospitality Icon & Innovator Awards at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in New York at the close of the 45th annual NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference.

The event honored restaurateur Danny Meyer, founder/executive chairman/former CEO, Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG) with the 2023 Cornell Hospitality Icon of the Industry Award and Mia Kyricos, president/chief love officer, Kyricos & Associates LLC, a strategic advisory firm dedicated to the business of wellness and well-being, with the 2023 Cornell Hospitality Innovator of the Industry Award.

At age 27, Meyer launched his career in hospitality with the opening of his flagship restaurant Union Square Cafe. Since then, USHG has created some of New York City’s most acclaimed restaurants, including Gramercy Tavern, The Modern, Maialino, Daily Provisions and more. In 2004, he founded Shake Shack, which began as a hot dog cart in Madison Square Park and went on to become one of the fastest-growing restaurant chains in the U.S. and abroad.

“Danny Meyer is a legendary leader whose vision for the guest experience, philosophy for revitalizing local communities and forward-thinking employee practices have been adopted by restaurateurs around the world,” said Kate Walsh, the E. M. Statler professor and dean, Nolan Hotel School. “Danny created a new paradigm for fine dining in New York City and beyond, but he didn’t stop there. With his ever-evolving Shake Shack and Daily Provisions concepts, he brings enlightened hospitality to his guests around the globe. The Nolan Hotel School is honored to recognize Danny for his legacy in bringing the true meaning of hospitality to life.”

Kyricos is widely respected for her role in helping to define the global wellness economy and transform what it means to be well at work and in life. She has held multiple wellness-driven brand, leadership and advisory roles in the hospitality industry spanning more than 100 countries and she brings the insights and experience gained to Kyricos & Associates, a firm she founded in 2012 to help organizations of all kinds leverage wellness as a strategic differentiator, whether commercially, internally or a combination of both.

She adopted the “chief love officer” title after she had studied and published findings on the power of love as a business strategy in 2020, and in 2021, she trademarked her company’s proprietary approach to identifying and activating “Ecosystems of Wellbeing” designed to make people, community, and planet inherently well. She sums up both efforts by saying “the business of wellness is the ‘what’, love is the ‘how’ and both are proven to impact the bottom line.”

When Kyricos was SVP/global head of well-being at Hyatt Hotels, she created and led Hyatt’s global commercial and colleague well-being strategies spanning nearly 1,000 properties, 20 brands and more than 130,000 employees. As chief brand officer of Spafinder Wellness, she led the company’s brand evolution and cofounded the Global Wellness Travel Awards.

As director of global spa brands at Starwood Hotels & Resorts, she led the creation of six international spa brands, helped to reposition Westin into one of the hotel industry’s first wellness-focused brands, and managed the Starwood Spa Collection, a consortium of 60 wellness travel destinations across 26 countries.

“Mia is a pioneer in the wellness and spa industries whose trailblazing work is now defining new health and wellbeing standards across the hospitality industry and beyond,” said Walsh. “We are delighted and proud to recognize Mia and her achievements with this award.”