Welcoming Remarks at the 2012 Winter Dinner at
Welcome to the
First Annual FTA “A Winter Evening in Ho Chi Minh City with Very Special
Friends”. We gather in New York City
spring and fall, and annually at Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Beijing, Bangkok,
Mumbai, Shanghai, Hong Kong and now at
Shenzhen and Saigon to recognize hospitality excellence; in the names of those
whom we honor, provide scholarships at schools of higher hospitality education;
and to make charitable contributions.
An industry is
only as strong as the wisdom, vision, compassion and actions of its leaders;
leaders who define excellence for the benefit of all those who look to them to
know the way to realize their dreams and ambitions and not be left behind.
In the end we are judged not by whom we include, but by whom we exclude.
Great leaders inspire and teach all those who seek to be included,
because serving the least of us is truly the highest calling and the only
measure of service from the heart.
This evening we
come together to announce the 2012 FTA Hospitality Awards for Excellence and to
donate to charity. This is truly a
very special evening for us all and I thank you for joining us, because as I say
at every FTA dinner, YOU are the dinner.
But the deeper
meaning of why we come together is really at the very heart of why the
hospitality industry is so special to those of us who have come to consider it
about SERVICE and in particular, Service Excellence.
Service is truly the Highest Calling.
It is not what we do for ourselves, but what we do for others that are
the measure of our worth to humanity: And simply because it is the right thing
to do: Not for personal recognition.
The truth is that
we are free to dwell at any given moment in as beautiful a place as our hearts
are open to loving others and our willingness to serve them without regard to
Life is a series
of micro steps from the time we arrive to the time we depart and the quality of
our life is but a reflection of the quality of our contribution to the peace and
happiness of others: It is not about pleasing ourselves or collecting “things”:
It is about serving others and after one’s basic, personal needs are met,
allowing what remains of what comes our way to pass through our fingers for the
benefit of those less fortunate.
While I have nothing against luxury goods, when it is your time to pass from
this life, do you want to be remembered for your collection of Rolex watches or
your charity for those less fortunate?
I am confident if Mother Teresa or Gandhi was given a Rolex, they would
have honored the gift for 24 hours and then offered it to someone they thought
would cherish it. So, why should we
be any different? I ask you to
consider making charity your way of life, rather than an annual after thought
for a tax advantage.
I ask everyone to
please remember those less fortunate, especially the estimated 350,000 refugees
at the United Nations camp in Kenya, which is running out of water and food.
And the floods in Pakistan, India, the U.S., Bangladesh, China, the
Philippines, Vietnam and everywhere else; as well as the massacres taking place
in Africa and the Middle East. The
suffering of the survivors continues, as does their need for your compassion,
including the recent natural disasters in Japan and the U.S.
I ask you to consider your comfortable lives and accordingly, open your
hearts, just a little more to those less fortunate and in need.
have a beautiful saying, “One never knows which comes first, the next morning or
the next life”. I pray that as a
result of our coming together this evening for higher purposes, namely
recognizing human excellence, providing much-needed scholarships for worthy
students of limited means and charity for those less fortunate, that we will all
be reminded that people are more important than things and that we all wake-up
in the morning in THIS life; but rededicated to devoting our lives to serving
others, simply because it is the right thing to do; and not for others to praise
us or to cater to our ego. For
service with an Open Heart and Right Intention is the foundation of our
hospitality industry: So, from this moment forward, let it be your mantra, until
it is your time to wake-up in the NEXT life.
Thank you very much.