My first encounter with Japan was as a general manager of The Ritz-Carlton, Osaka, in 1996. I moved from Aspen, Colorado — a little ski town — to this large metropolis in Japan. I immediately became enthralled with the exactness, love of tradition, kindness and harmony of Japanese culture. I also began to understand the long-term strategic thinking of Japanese companies.
I have a couple, with the first being: “As long as you want to do it there is little preventing you from doing it. Do not blame others.” This reminds me to pursue things with a passion. Secondly, “Have respect for everyone, whether the president of a company or the night cleaner of that company.” It is crucial to remember that everyone wants to and deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.
I am proudest of the associates that have worked for me that have progressed in their careers. There are about eight or nine general managers of The Ritz-Carlton Hotels who were my division heads. I am also proud of the employees that have grown in their careers to whatever level they are now because of the culture of integrity, commitment and the environment we have created in our hotels.
My personal goal is to continue to travel around Japan and enjoy all the beauty of this country along with the uniqueness and traditions. For work, I will continue to be passionate about our Ritz-Carlton culture and to create an environment where constant improvement in our product and engagement with our guests is foremost in everyone’s mind. And I will continue to have compassion for people and help them succeed.