SMITHA HANEEF, Managing Director
Smitha Haneef, Managing Director for Harvard University Dining Services, a division of Campus Services, joined Harvard in April 2021. At Harvard, Haneef oversees hospitality and dining for Harvard College’s residential living and learning experience, as well as University professional schools and campus catering. Harvard University Dining Services serves almost 5 million meals annually through more than 30 different campus operations.
For Harvard University Dining Services, Haneef has shared a strategic framework with seven intersecting areas of work: student and community engagement; food and agriculture; student advocacy; diversity and inclusion; food systems, climate change, health and environmental impact; operations strategy and innovation; and quality assurance, safety, risk assessment and mitigation. With continued inputs from every facet of the community, Haneef is shaping a food program that prioritizes health and wellness, cultural sensitivity, religious sensitivity, and community life. The goal is to build a shared vision for the future of hospitality and dining in service of Harvard community.
Prior to joining Harvard, Haneef served as Assistant Vice President for University Services at Princeton University. At Princeton, Haneef served on multiple committees and boards, and led a team of 400 hospitality professionals in delivering excellence through food and beverage service and production. Haneef formed the Food and Agriculture Initiative, and as the co-chair led several curricular and co-curricular partnerships and programs with faculty. Haneef implemented a transformation plan at Princeton with service excellence, team and people excellence, and efficiency and effectiveness as its guiding principles. Princeton Campus Dining served approximately 3 million meals each year through its award-winning program that included residential dining, retail venues, catering, athletic, and vending programs.
Before entering collegiate dining, Haneef helped launch the LifeWorks Restaurant Group, a premium on-site restaurant division of the food service company Aramark. She served as district manager for LifeWorks, leading large staff teams and overseeing restaurants, catering programs, cafes, and other food service operations at multiple Fortune 500 companies. She was directly involved in expanding LifeWorks into Walt Disney Studios, Nike, and Cisco Systems. While in the position, she established partnerships with community organizations and global food programs to educate clients and restaurant guests about healthy and socially responsible food choices. She earned Aramark's company-wide employee award for Most Valuable Partner in 2011.
Haneef also helped develop the culinary arts curriculum at the International Culinary Center in Campbell, California, where she served as a guest faculty member. She also volunteered with the Santa Clara Unified School District in California, introducing hospitality careers to middle school students. Before working for Aramark, Haneef was chef and owner of Aha Bite Corporation, an award-wining restaurant and catering company outside Birmingham, Alabama. She collaborated with top chefs in the area to develop a global menu of Indian and fusion cuisine that used local ingredients. She also has led several restaurants and large catering events in Chicago.
Haneef began her career in food and beverage departments at five-star hotels and restaurants in India. She earned a bachelor's degree at Osmania University and a diploma in hotel management and catering technology from India's National Council for Hotel Management and Catering Technology. Haneef graduated from the Harvard Graduate School of Education Institute of Education Management and is an alumna of Harvard Business School through its General Management Program.
BARB KEMPKEN, Director for Residential Dining Operations
Barbara (Barb) Kempken joined HUDS as Director for Residential Dining Operations in January 2023. She first entered collegiate dining and the Ivy Leagues in 2017 at Brown University, after almost two decades in foodservice in elementary and secondary schools. At Brown, Barb was the Director of Dining Operations and Strategic Sourcing; in 2021, she moved to Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, to lead their overall dining program. She has worked in both contract operations and self-operated hospitality programs.
Barb’s original education background was in business administration, but her love of food and cooking led her to get additional certifications from Johnson & Wales in Culinary Arts and Cornell in Plant Based Nutrition. She brings an expertise in forging strong teams and fostering operational excellence.
JOE FLUECKIGER, Director for Retail Operations
Joe Flueckiger joined HUDS as Director for Retail Operations in November 2023. In his role, Joe manages our portfolio of professional school and campus cafes, which range from small, student-staffed coffee bars to a multi-venue graduate school hospitality program with catering.
Joe joined HUDS most immediately from Amherst College in western Massachusetts, where he was the Executive Director of Dining and Hospitality Services for a program that included a board plan, retail food & merchandise, catering, a hotel and restaurant id services, and a campus farm. Having also worked at the Kripaulu Center and UMass Amherst, Joe has extensive experience in cost control measures, revenue-building and team building. Prior to working in college and university foodservices, Joe had extensive experience in grocery operations, including with Whole Foods.
He is a graduate of Providence College.
MARTIN BRESLIN, Director for Culinary Operations
Martin Breslin is the Director for Culinary Operations at Harvard University Hospitality and Dining Services. In this role, he sets the culinary standards of the department by overseeing all culinary operations, serving close to five million meals every year. A native of Dublin, Ireland and a graduate of the Dublin College of Catering, Breslin demonstrated his talents at prestigious restaurants, hotels and universities throughout the United Kingdom, New York and Boston. With HUDS, Breslin has won Five American Culinary Federation (ACF) gold medals – four silver and a bronze. Additionally, he is a member of the Research Chef’s Association of America, the American Culinary Federation, A board member of the Cancer Nutrition Consortium and a founding member of the Healthy Menus Collaborative. He is also a standing member of the Harvard School of Public Health’s Nutritional Round Table. He is currently responsible for overseeing and directing all culinary, nutrition, and technical services that relate to food technology, food science, and food presentation, for all culinary operations within Harvard University Dining Services. In this capacity, Chef Breslin oversees all recipe development and is responsible for the quality and cost of food, development of culinary staff, and sanitation standards, meeting all FDA and USDA requirements for food manufacturing.
ROBERT LEANDRO, Director of Operations & Facilities
Robert Leandro, Director for Operations & Facilities, has been with HUDS for 50 years. Throughout his career, he has held positions in General Service and as General Cook, Butcher, Pantry Steward, Production Manager, Assistant Manager, Chef Production Manager for the Harvard Faculty Club, General Manager, Director for Residential Dining, Director for Facilities, Interim Manager for the Harvard Faculty Club, and Director for Operations and Facilities. Promoted to his current position in 2010, Bob oversees maintenance and renovations and is the environmental safety and compliance manager. Bob renovated 11 of the house kitchens and was integral in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification awarded to the Dunster and Mather dining hall renovations. He regularly consults with University project management teams on kitchen and foodservice facility build-outs, retrofits existing facilities for improved sustainability measures, and is a trusted colleague to numerous design consultant and architects.
KYLE RONAYNE, Director of Catering
Kyle joins Crimson Catering after more than two decades with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Tanglewood. He led Food & Beverage, Catering, Events and External Concert business for Symphony Hall & Tanglewood. Overseeing multiple venues and clients, he ensured that the BSO’s reputation for excellence was embodied in the dining and hospitality events hosted at there properties. He brings a deep understanding of client care in a high-profile environment which is grounded in his own career growth as a culinarian and hospitality professional. Prior to Boston Symphony Orchestra Kyle had worked in various roles in the restaurant industry. Kyle holds a B.A. Hotel Restaurant Management and A.S. Restaurant Management from Johnson & Wales University.
CRISTA MARTIN, Director for Strategic Initiatives and Communications
Crista Martin joined HUDS in 1998 and with her team coordinates online and print marketing, social media, market research, and public and media relations. The Communications team has won numerous awards from such organizations as the University & College Designers Association and the International Association of Business Communicators. Crista is a frequent presenter and volunteer with NACUFS, including as its Regional Director and Regional Conference Chair.
Crista also spearheads HUDS Strategic Initiatives, guiding the planning and implementation of work in the areas of sustainability, food donation, business development and planning, customer service and more. She serves on the Menu of Change University Research Collaborative spearheaded by the Culinary Institute of America and HSPH, and was named a "Food Hero" by the City of Cambridge in 2015 for her work on HUDS' food donation program. Crista has worked for several non-profit associations, and has degrees from Boston University and American University in public relations and creative writing.