Sunday 7th April 2019
By Michelle Hammond
Q1 - How did your childhood influence your work ethic and attitude towards business?
I had such a great childhood growing up in Quebec in a middle class family of 6. My
parents made sure we got to live to the fullest and taught us that anything worth doing is worth doing well. I had the right social and emotional support to be the best I could be even when I didn’t manage to be. Like at my last hockey game at age 6 when I was placed in the goals and we lost 13-0. My parents realised it was probably better to pick another activity where I had a better chance to excel. Why do we spend so much time in our lives trying to improve our weaknesses and not enough time on improving our strengths? If you have to pick, become better at what you’re already good at!
Q2 - What do you believe the principles of a successful business are today?
Take time to build relationships with the people around you and continue investing in those relations over time. They will play a key role in your success as you can’t do it
alone. Never compromise your ethic, ever. Build your personal brand as it will follow
you through every new opportunities in your career.
Q3 - Looking back, what was your best business decision?
Closing my Chinese furniture store in 2014. My partner and I had our own business for 12 years where we imported Antique and newly made Chinese furniture as well as home décor. We had a blast and had some of the most memorable years of our lives. Towards the end however, we both felt that the business was not allowing us to fulfill bigger and better aspirations. I missed not being able to tap in the years I spent studying health and nutrition, but most of all I missed the inspiration I get from my team. We closed the business and never looked back.
Q4 - Who has influenced you the most through your career?
I have had the good fortune to be in the presence of great leaders throughout my career who definitely had a huge influence on who I am today. However, my team throughout the years have been my most significant source of inspiration. Whether I was living in Beijing, Beirut or here in Toronto looking after this region, I am in awe every single day on how great they are. My admiration is not only for their great accomplishments towards the success of our Spa and fitness services but for who they are and the personality they bring to work with them each day.
Q5 - What was your most diﬃcult / worst business decision?
The most difficult one was definitely having to ask to be let go from my GM a few years ago when one of my employees was wrongfully terminated. I loved my job and my team but I could not turn a blind eye for something so ethically unacceptable. This was in a country where such things unfortunately happen too often but it didn’t mean I had to let it happen “on my watch”.
Q6 - What would you say was the single most advantageous character trait for success?
Believe in yourself! Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. If you feel you don’t have it in you to reach a goal or accomplish a task, nobody needs to know.
Surround yourself with people who complete you and who you also complete, and at the end everybody wins!
Q7 - What happens when you’re stressed or overwhelmed?
I take a nap. My initial reaction to stress is an overwhelming sense of tiredness. I am not sure why but I don’t fight it. I believe in the power of sleep in solving issues that I prefer not to solve in moments of stress. When I wake up, my “reset” button has been activated and I usually have a solution to the stressful event.
Q8 - How do you invest in your own wellbeing. How do you look after yourself?
I never, never feel guilty for taking naps, even when I am not stressed. I believe sleep to be one of the most efficient ways to impact wellbeing. At lunch time I take fitness classes; Spin, HIIT, Yoga, I do them all and keep it fun and varied. I have also been a runner for 35 years and often take my Jack Russell for a run; it’s our quality time together.
Q9 - If you could change one thing about the spa and wellness industry what would it be and why?
In the hospitality industry it is too often about ROI (Return on Investment). It is time for a mind shift for our stakeholders towards ROE (Return on Experience). Trying to quantify in dollars the impact spa or wellness programs will have is, in my opinion, missing the much larger picture of where we are going as a society. If we provide our guests with experiences truly worth living and sharing then we won’t have any issues getting heads in beds.
Q10 - Finally, What’s your favourite quote or the best advice you’ve ever been given?
I forgot who said this but happiness is achieved in life by having someone to love,
something to do and something to look forward to. We are all guilty of focusing too much of our time and energy on one of those aspects, often it is work and we forget about the others. Life then starts to feel unbalanced. I think I need to book a trip soon; something new and exciting I haven’t done before…
FLASH FACTS - FOR FUN SECTION
1. What’s your favourite book?
Can’t pick a favourite but the one I am reading now is Big Potential by Shawn Achor.
2. What’s your favourite film of all time?
Farewell My Concubine. That’s when I had my first date with my now partner of 25
years. I don’t remember much of the film…
3. If you could have dinner with anyone, past or present, who would it be and why?
Melania Trump. So many questions, so many…
4. You get taken to your favourite place to be, where are you taken?
Phi Phi Island snorkeling before having Thai food and a cold beer at sun set.
5. Your perfect dinner is?
Just getting home from a business trip, my partner made one of his specialties, wine is served, pups are cuddly and we all watch Netflix!
6. Your go to drink is?
These days, Gin and Tonic… Or Rose, I can always drink Rose!
7. Your favourite sweet treat is?
Dark chocolate with roasted almonds, every day.
8. What’s your favourite essential oil / scent?
Any of those marine or ocean scents as it smells of vacation.
9. You go for a treatment - what do you have and why?
Definitely Hydra Facial, if you try one, you’ll know why!
10. What’s your favourite flower?
Any white flowers except carnations, no one likes carnations…
11. You want to sleep deeply, what do you do?
I just go to bed… I am a pro at sleeping, a pro!
12. You want to energise fast, what do you do?
A quick walk, 10 push ups, water and a healthy snack!
13. The theme tune to your life is?
One Moment in Time by Whitney Houston.
14. What makes you laugh to your belly?
Watching my two pups having a play fight.
15. What’s your favourite season?
Fall, when the leaves are changing colours and you can start layering your look.
16. What’s your favourite colour?
Dusk. The colour when the light is at its best and the sun is setting.
17. Your favourite time of day is?
6am, at home, latte in hands catching up on LinkedIn and emails, prepping my day
18. If you could have been anyone or anything else, what / who would you be?
Me as a kid again, but with the knowledge I have today so I can have another go at it. Have more time to do all I want to do and avoid the unfortunate fashion decisions I
made in the 90s.
19. What’s your current TV guilty secret?
Ru Paul’s Drag Race or any of the reality cooking shows.
20. Magic dust - you can learn one new skill instantly, what is it?
Public speaking. I listen to Ted Talk all the time and those people are so good…
Overlooking the spa, fitness and recreations programs for all of Accor’s portfolio in the region since 2014, Daniel is no stranger to hospitality with a career in the fitness industry that spans over 30 years touching every position imaginable.
For almost a decade during that time, Daniel headed the recreation facilities at a large community center in Vancouver and developed multiple rehabilitation programs, most still being offered almost 20 years later. Daniel’s hotel experience started over 15 years ago when he was the Spa Director in three luxury properties located in China and in Lebanon.
Daniel holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology and a Master of Science degree in Nutrition with a specialisation on exercise and breast cancer.
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