Today's Hotelier - May 2016 - (Page 44)
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
"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
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Today's Hotelier - May 2016
Letters From Leadership
The Making of a Great GM: 8 Skills to Master and Cultivate
Food & Beverage
Thinking Local Without Limitations
AAHOA's New Chairman: Bharat (Bruce) Patel
Finance & Revenue
Marketing & Sales
Mike Leven's Most Important Accomplishment
Today's Hotelier - May 2016