Introductions, 2016 & Onward

saji_alila_goaIn keeping with the resolution made here, to share more in 2016 of what we care about , the buck starts here. No excuses for my recent quietude, but a note of thanks to those I handed off blogging to in 2015 so I could tend to our organization’s growth and development. Rosanna in India, Jocelyn in Costa Rica, Seth in Ithaca & Jamaica & Costa Rica, and a cast of others too numerous to name now, all kept our blog real, lively and on point. Thanks to them for that.

Now it is time for me to share again, and I may as well start with our organization. 2015 was a milestone year, and we have started 2016 with new leaders for both our Asia and our Latin America operations. In the photo to the left you see Saji Joseph, who now oversees La Paz Group’s Asia region from the organization’s home office in Kerala, India. Just one thing to say about him for now.

When we started this organization in 2010 the first thing I did to prepare for what would eventually become La Paz Group was to ask everyone I met in the hospitality business: who do you consider to be the best hotelier in India? The response was consistent, with stories about Saji’s leadership in various stories that sounded far-fetched to me at first, but now I believe completely. Maybe one day he will share some of those stories in these pages…

EugeniaAnd across the waters, let me introduce Eugenia Solano. She and I go way back, so I am quite ready to introduce her as the leader of our growing Latin America operations. And first things first: in the bio that I asked her to provide me so that I could introduce her to others, the photo to the right was the accompaniment to the text she provided. That kind of says it all.

(It helps that her husband is a wildlife photographer, right?)

When Amie and I first visited Costa Rica just over two decades ago, we had an experience that changed our lives. During a very busy week of work presenting my doctoral research, we took one day “off” and had our first day in a rainforest. I will share more on that day later, but what is important in introducing Eugenia is that she was a junior employee in the nature attraction we visited that day. Within a year, Amie and I had relocated (with 4-year old Seth and 2-year old Milo) to Costa Rica.

unepgrpDuring our first year in Costa Rica I co-authored a study published by the United Nations Environment Programme, and hosted a  conference for our UNEP co-authors in Costa Rica that brought us back to that rainforest enterprise a couple years after our first visit (Seth and I are front center in this photo and Amie is to the left in back of us). After re-aquainting myself with that enterprise during that second visit, I was soon invited to join the board of directors of that organization where Eugenia was an already-promoted manager. The rest is history, as they say.

19 years after starting with that organization, as General Manager Eugenia had overseen its growth to multiple operations in several countries and saw it was time to move to a new challenge. She started her own firm four years ago advising and coaching high performing teams in remarkable organizations in the same line of work as La Paz Group. When we were reunited in 2015, it was a natural fit for her to consider, and accept, moving over to our organization and taking up regional leadership.

Welcome Eugenia and Saji, and we look forward to doing great things together in 2016 and beyond.

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