A stellar education and consulting career led Josh Leibowitz to the pinnacle of the cruise industry. But it took more than brains and achievement to emerge as the president of Seabourn; at every major juncture, he had a mentor to nudge him forward. Born in Chicago, raised in Los Angeles, Leibowitz has a résumé studded with elite signifiers: University of Chicago, Harvard Business School, Booz Allen Hamilton, McKinsey & Co. With that kind of background, right away you start amassing lessons and wisdom that will serve you well in your later career. In Leibowitz’s case, that intellectual foundation ultimately launched him into the stratosphere of the cruise industry, first at Carnival (chief strategy officer), then onto Cunard (senior vice president for North America), and finally to the position he now holds, president of Seabourn, which is, by most measures and surveys, the industry’s top cruise company. This is the line that has a culinary partner in no less a luminary than Thomas Keller (Per Se in New York, The French Laundry in Napa Valley), the first and only American-born chef to hold multiple three-star ratings from the prestigious Michelin Guide. (The Miami-based Carnival Corporation is the parent company of both Cunard and Seabourn, as well as Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and several others.) MEANINGFUL MENTORS When asked about a key early lesson he learned that informs his leadership style, Leibowitz offers a story that’s highly specific—and gracious. “The hardest test I ever took during all my years at school was with a Nobel Prize-winning economist named Robert Lucas,” he recalls, referring to the University of Chicago’s John Dewey distinguished service professor emeritus in economics and the college. (Lucas nabbed the incomparably prestigious prize in 1995.) “Prior to that, I’d gone to see him, and I said that I was nervous about the class and really worried about the exam. And he said, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll do it pass/fail,’ and I said, ‘Fine.’ ” The exam turned out to be based on the professor’s thesis on macroeconomics that earned him his Nobel Prize—exalted, abstruse and intimidating subject matter, to be sure. “The one thing I learned from that was to be humble about the people around you and their accomplishments,” Leibowitz says. “And rather than me thinking about it as the hardest test I ever took, it gave me an appreciation for having that kind of professor, and an appreciation for his understanding of my learning process. It gets me through moments like that—to go through a hard test with a smile.” Jump ahead a few years, and Leibowitz came upon a decision point—one that enhanced his career prospects even as it lightened his wallet. When his offer came from Booz Allen a few years after graduation, it was a sweet one: He would have the title of lead consultant, with the Chicago office agreeing to bankroll his MBA. The global consulting firm wrote him a check and Leibowitz enrolled at Harvard. End of story. Except it wasn’t. While at Harvard, Leibowitz was hearing more and more about McKinsey. “It was really focused on business transformation, profit transformation and cultural transformation,” he recalls. He realized it could be a turning point in his career. This was a moment for transparency, so he went to see his mentor at Booz Allen and told him about his newfound interest in McKinsey. “He was a senior partner who I’d spent a lot of time with,” Leibowitz remembers, “and he looked me in the eye, and said, ‘You know, Josh, I think that’s a really good decision.’ And then he helped me prep for the interviews at McKinsey—even though I’d be leaving Booz Allen.” He won the job—no surprise. Leibowitz would be assuming the role of associate at McKinsey in New York, leading projects focused on e-commerce, marketing and profit growth. It was quite the coup.

Bruce Caprara spent over four decades operating in virtually every capacity the restaurant industry offers and helped manage the opening of six successful establishments over his career. Still, nothing could’ve prepared him for the challenges he currently faces. As COVID continues to adversely impact the industry, restaurants must now deal with supply chain shortages, a labor deficit and increases in food and rent prices, which makes operating, let alone opening a restaurant, immensely perilous. “I’ve been doing this for over 40 years and this is the worst time to open a restaurant in my life and I wouldn’t have said that two years ago,” he says. “We’re getting hit from all sides.” As the managing partner of Seminole Reef Grill, a new fresh seafood and sushi restaurant scheduled to open in January/February 2022 in Palm Beach Gardens, Caprara has seen the eatery’s original opening date of Dec. 15, 2021 pushed back more times than he prefers to count. Whether it’s finding matching silverware, proper equipment for the kitchen or hiring close to 100 qualified employees, Caprara confronts issues he’s never had to encounter before on a daily basis. “Everyone is overloaded and short-staffed,” he says. “When I order anything, they say it’ll be four to six weeks out. And then six weeks go by and they say it’s going to be another two months and it’s happening over and over and over. Everything is just taking way longer and the cost in every direction is going up.”