LOS ANGELES—Do you believe in second chances? Hotelier and social entrepreneur Sunil Tolani says it’s a vital part of his upbringing and everyone’s responsibility.
“We need to find the moral imperative as a society to secure places in our workforce for those who just need a chance to prove themselves, and it must be part of our collective response to keep our streets safe and our communities healthy,” said Tolani, CEO, Prince Organization, a hospitality, real estate development and lifestyle company based here. “My father says, ‘A person becomes a better person through other people’ and through the Fair Chance Pledge, we’re putting them back on the track of life, love, health and prosperity by helping them find jobs,” said Tolani. “I want to take a chance.”
Tolani signed the Fair Chance Pledge, an initiative launched by the previous White House administration, urging members of the private sector to improve local communities by removing barriers for those with a criminal record—essentially, offering them a second chance.
“I bring a business approach to doing good by unlocking the potential in local communities for prospective employees, such as the homeless; young adults disconnected from their families, school or work; formerly incarcerated individuals; and those suffering from disabilities, mental illness or addiction,” he said. “They are single adults, veterans or parents. By providing training, support and work, we have the ability to make improvements in human and societal well-being, rather than solely maximizing profits. As a result, many people have built long-term skills and career paths. The direct result is greater economic sufficiency, life stability, respect in society, upward mobility and more opportunities. When more people contribute their fair share of taxes positively, everybody wins.”
Of the many disenfranchised populations, Tolani is now keenly focused on dedicating time and resources to helping to end domestic violence.
“To fight against domestic violence is one of the key tenets of our identity and corporate social responsibility through a wide variety of impactful activities. We hope our team members around the nation feel equipped to take a stand against abuse and assault every week of the year,” he said. “What would your mother, your mentor, the media and—if you’re inclined—your maker think? The Prince Organization has embraced the principles and teachings as outlined in the holy books and Bhagavad Gita in ethical decision making—what is right, what is good, and what is fitting? This is my obsession to fulfill this sense of personal destiny.”
Further, Tolani explained that the company welcomes and encourages hardworking women with a drive and passion, a winner’s mindset in management and C-suite offices.
“Nobody has a right to physically, mentally or emotionally abuse any woman or squelch a woman’s right to have a voice, freedom and dignity,” he said.
Among the efforts, Tolani has been spreading his message via social media, Facebook and word of mouth in order to effectively and rapidly raise awareness. He noted that he’s also reached out the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), the hotels in his portfolio and other partners.
“I have always wanted to integrate social responsibility with entrepreneurship, providing my employees an education focused on personal growth and career development in an effort to change and impact their lives in a positive manner while igniting their passion,” he said. “This purpose is my calling as I continue to put my vision in action, achieving my lifelong dream.”
Another of Tolani’s initiatives is Room Seva, which is available to the local community and employees with friends or relatives who are in hospitals, nursing homes, or treatment centers over the holidays. The supporting family members can stay for free and receive meals at his hotels.
“It’s not just taking a chance, it’s also changing a life—and not just one life, but also their family members’ lives. The ripple effects are incredible,” he said. “The emphasis on work is strategic. It’s about jobs for a future. There’s no such thing as a job that doesn’t bring dignity. Jobs create peace in a family and the community as they get a new life full of positivity.”