Home: San Diego, CA. Age: Young in mind and spirit. Birthplace: Africa (Nyasaland, now Malawi). Profession: Business owner and hotelier. Organization: Pinnacle Hotels USA. Title: Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer. Significant other: My wife, Hema, who is also our company’s executive vice president. Alma mater: Glasgow University. Languages spoken: Gujarati, English.
Current project: Just completed the $12.5 million renovation and rebranding of a hotel property in Dallas. Recent recognition: Some of my past and present employees recently praised my leadership in an interview. Recent professional development: Member of the Hilton Owners Council. Latest accomplishment: Closed a significant hotel loan in extremely short time and on very competitive terms, despite adverse circumstances. Latest contribution to others: Provided funding for scholarships to several AVID students. What’s been your big (or biggest leap)? Making a significant hotel investment at the peak of the great recession of 2009. Hobbies: Walking and hiking along the coast; watching football and cricket; swimming and boogie boarding in the ocean; reading. Recent travel or adventure: Hiking through Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon. Last book read: The Changing World Order, by Ray Dalio. Recently viewed and recommended: Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (Netflix).
Personality profile: Focused, driven, compassionate, caring. What one word would your closest friend use to describe you? Fun. Moral compass: Not to compromise my values in the quest for financial success while trusting my gut on big decisions. How do you define a perfect friendship? Honest, sincere and no selfish motivations. How do you define an ideal business relationship? A mutually beneficial partnership with strong communication and transparency, without any hidden agenda. What is your greatest joy? Seeing my business and family thrive. What is your greatest fear? Loss of my family. What is your guilty pleasure? Ice cream. What’s a newly discovered enjoyment? Old Fashions. What word or phrase do you use far too often? That’s so stupid. Oh boy! What natural talent have you neglected? Playing pickle ball. What occupation, other than your own, do you most admire? Teachers. I try to teach throughout my life and have great admiration for those who do it every day. What is your favorite place (or way) to spend money? The Ascot Shop in La Jolla. What is at the top of your bucket list? Nepal and Tibet. How do you relieve stress? By going to the ocean. What is your go-to workout? In my later years, I have begun to use the Peloton and the 7-minute workout plus a 90 second plank. I’ve never felt more spry and energetic. What ingredient is essential to your perfect vacation? My wife, and no rigid schedule.
What was your first paying job? Making briefcases at a luggage factory in East London. What was your favorite childhood toy or game? Cricket. What book have you repeatedly read? Inner Engineering, by Sadhguru. What movie have you repeatedly watched? End of the Road: How Money Became Worthless. What’s prominently featured on your home or office wall? Photos of nature and of my family. Besides your parents, who has had the greatest influence on your life? My House master at King’s School and U.S.A., the country. What’s the best advice you received growing up? It’s easier to get to the top than to stay there (my father). Go ahead, you can do it! (my mother). What’s the best advice you received in your career? Beware of recessions. They can cause significant losses, or, you can make huge gains by investing wisely. What modern technology innovation do you most appreciate? Zoom. What is your favorite app? Cricbuzz. What is your go-to source of news and information? The Wall Street Journal and The San Diego Union Tribune. What is your go-to source of creative inspiration? Travel. What company or organization do you most admire? Tesla. What world event has had the greatest influence on your life? Covid. What personal circumstance has had the greatest influence on your life? Moving to the United States, which gave me the inspiration and courage to pursue my dreams.
A triangle of caring. Sincerely caring for your associates, guests and assets will bring you success in the hospitality industry.
What change are you working on to effect in your profession or field? We need to attract more people to join our workforce in the hospitality industry. For this to happen, we need to better inform the high schooler students about the potential opportunities for them in our industry and improve the payscale. What change would you like to see in the world? Less division, greater tolerance, greater pleasantness; holding our leaders more accountable to the serious issues that our planet faces. What message do you want to send out into the world? Let’s take care of each other; we are one, we are the citizens of Earth. What widely held belief do you reject? That money does not bring you happiness, and, that wealthy individuals are bad. What mega-trend most excites you? Artificial intelligence. What mega-trend most concerns you? Artificial intelligence.
What title would you choose for the movie about your life? The Courageous Risk Taker Who Lived Life to the Fullest. What actor would you choose to play you in the movie about your life? Brad Pitt . Who would you like to spend an evening with, in heaven? Mahatma Gandhi. As a kid, what did you first want to be when you grew up? A doctor. That’s all I knew to be. After your loved ones, what object would you first save from your burning home? My father’s stamp collection. How would you choose to spend tomorrow, if you knew it was your last day on earth? Taking a long walk on the beach with my wife, son, daughter-in-law and two grandsons, followed by a fantastic meal at home, with home-made Old Fashions. What advice would you give your younger self? Go to business or finance school. It would have made those early days as an entrepreneur much easier. What day in your life would you choose to re-live? The day my son was born. I have never experienced pure joy like that. What period in your life would you do differently, if you could? I would not have gone to medical school.
Personal mission: To help others better their lives, through education, medical care and a place to stay. Personal motto: Spread pleasantness, but don’t let others take advantage of your perceived softness. Favorite quote: “ You are never too old to set another goal, or to dream a new dream” (C.S. Lewis). Desired epitaph: He followed his dreams, lived life, and you should too.