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October 5, 2020: Arjun Channa, former manager of the Westin Calgary Hotel, speaking on “Life with a Purpose” via Zoom from his current posting in the US Virgin Islands.

Highlights of the presentation include the following:

  • A dynamic diary of his life and travels through 12 countries, over thirty years, where he learned six languages, and with the mission in his hotel management work to leave the world better than he found it. He talked about how, through his work as a hotel manager in some of the world’s major cities, he influenced change and enabled people he worked with to become better and more enabled to succeed.
  • He started in Basel, Switzerland, where he was a hotel management student and worked as a waiter and mastered German and French, following his origins in India.
  • Algeria, where he learned about the local folklore and stared to learn Arabic and the customs of the north African people.
  • Abu Dhabi, where he learned the culture of the Emiratis and the way work was handled there. He learned about diversity and the country was very international. The locals did not work, but they hired others to do their work for them!
  • Amman, Jordan, where he learned how creativity can be a winner.
  • Beijing, where he worked food and beverage with a team of 700 in a 1000-room hotel. He learned Mandarin very quickly.
  • Dubai, where he worked on a project called ‘meals on wheels”.
  • Nairobi, Kenya, one of his most amazing tours of experience.
  • Sanya Island, Hainan province China, where the hotel experienced 96% occupancy year round, and he had connected with the tourists from Russia to increase volume of traffic to the island.
  • Port Vila, Vanuatu.
  • Udaipur India, back home where he originated and where he was charged with converting a Rajasthan Palace into a hotel.
  • Toronto, Canada, which they really enjoyed and where their children went to a Canadian school for a steady two years.
  • Calgary, Alberta, where they stayed for five years before heading south again,
  • St Thomas, USVI, where they are currently posted.

He summarized his learnings by saying: “You cannot do it alone.” Life, family and teams are important. People come first, and profit will follow; correlation between profit and value; seek to be different and unique; to succeed. Do what you do best, not what others are doing. Disruption is here to stay, so embrace it. Learn new trends and seek to move with change; innovate your thought process regularly; you will never satisfy everyone, but keep striving.

Life has no regrets for him, it has been an adventure that he and his family has grown to enjoy as global citizens.

To thank the speaker, the manager at the Grey Eagle Hotel, Kevin Yates, recognized Arjun as a friend, mentor and a fellow manager of great repute, with whom Kevin has enjoyed many fellowship opportunities on boards and associations.

reported by Saadat Keshavjee

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