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Getting To Know A True Teacher And Mentor

Tuesday April 24th, 2012 - 9:27AM


Jay Schultz, Sr. VP, Hospitality Group

Over the years, the positions I have held with HOTEL BUSINESS® have enabled me to meet and, in some instances, get to personally know some of the hotel industry’s most iconic figures.
Individuals such as Mike Leven, Steve Bollenbach, Barry Sternlicht, Eric Danziger, Gary Tharaldson and Stevan Porter just to name a few. Hasmukh (H.P.) Rama, chairman & CEO of JHM Hotels who was recognized last month with the 3rd Annual Hunter Conference Award for Excellence and Inspiration, can now be added to the list of influential executives I’ve had the privilege of getting to know better.
During the award ceremony at the 24th Annual Hunter Conference, two quotes by Walt Disney came to mind.
The first was, “I have been up against tough competition all of my life. I wouldn’t know how to get along without it,” as the aforementioned Mike Leven spoke of the passion and commitment H.P. has for the Asian American Hotel Association (AAHOA), which he helped create more than two decades ago. The other was, “A man should never neglect his family for business.” You only have to speak with H.P. Rama once to
realize that his friends and family are, without a doubt, the number one priority in his life.
As the Hotel Business team created the special edition and video dedicated to the award winner, I was impressed with the lineup of industry executives, including Bill Marriott, Chris Nassetta and Joe McInerney who passed along their sincere congratulatory messages. Just as impressive were the appreciative words sent by the next generation of leaders, such as those by LaQuinta’s EVP and chief development officer Rajiv Trivedi who views Rama as a teacher and mentor.
Just like Trivedi, it’s likely there will be a large number of future hoteliers throughout India who will look upon Rama as a teacher and mentor as well. The past chairman of AAHOA and the American Hotel & Lodging Association currently spends the lionshare of his time in Surat, India, serving as the president of Auro University. Established by JHM International, AU is Surat’s first private University offering courses in business and hospitality management.
It would be no surprise to me if, a few years down the road, there will be a generation of hotel leaders impacted by H.P. Rama standing on stages all over the world receiving awards just as their mentor did in Atlanta last month.