Today's Hotelier - May 2016 - (Page 44)

Mike Leven's A first-hand account of the history and evolution of AAHOA and "The Godfather's" lasting impact on our community and industry. by STEVE VISSER MIKE LEVEN HAS HAD MORE THAN A little success since he started his hotel career in 1963 at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City. He has run the show at chains such as Days Inn and Holiday Inn, started his own hotel franchising company and turned around the Las Vegas Sands. In his sort-of-retirement years, he is the CEO at the Georgia Aquarium, one of the jewels of Atlanta. But if you ask him what accomplishment is the most significant, he won't mention ascending to the top executive suites, making buckets of money or even a decent golf game. Straight out he cites helping start the Asian American Hotel Owners Association 4 4  | MAY 2016 | TODAYSHOTELIER.COM (AAHOA), the trade association that gave a voice and power to a then new and embattled immigrant group fighting for its piece of the American Dream. Asked as the AAHOA's meeting approached in March, whether co-founding the organization was one of his top career highlights, the 78-year-old Leven corrected. "I think it is the most important accomplishment of my career - rarely do you have an opportunity to do something that is particularly different and important," he said. "Lots of people can make financial turnarounds and grow businesses, which I've done. "But when you have a chance to establish an idea and an organization that changes the course of history and changes the course of many lives, well that stands out as a very important accomplishment to me." new form of discrimination As a Jew, Leven had seen his share of discrimination, from obnoxious signs at Cape Cod that said "No Blacks, No Jews, No Dogs" while growing up in Boston to finding himself banned from buying a house in certain neighborhoods in Chicago. While working The Roosevelt, he was appalled to be told http://www.TODAYSHOTELIER.COM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Today's Hotelier - May 2016

Letters From Leadership
Lobby Bytes
AAHOA Spotlight
The Making of a Great GM: 8 Skills to Master and Cultivate
Food & Beverage
Thinking Local Without Limitations
Government Affairs
AAHOA's New Chairman: Bharat (Bruce) Patel
Finance & Revenue
Marketing & Sales
Mike Leven's Most Important Accomplishment
Outdoor Spaces
Founding Members
AAHOA Events
Advertiser Index

Today's Hotelier - May 2016