Leading With Your Gut

“Trusting my gut became life or death. If you read nothing past this line, you must take this in: We absolutely can live or die by our convictions.”

For entrepreneurs, gut instincts can often be the difference between success or failure. Every leadership book ever published includes at least one chapter on trusting your instincts. But truthfully, leading with your gut somewhat challenges human nature . . . it’s much more natural to second-guess ourselves and turn a deaf ear to our inner voice.

A couple weeks ago, one of my colleagues sent me an article, “Here’s the Real Cost of Ignoring Your Problems.” It was written by Jason Saltzman, an acquaintance of my colleague. I asked him to share it with my leadership team, and I wanted to share it here on my blog as well. Many of the people I know are entrepreneurs and have become successful by following their convictions. Many have also likely put their professional success ahead of their personal interests. This article serves as a critical wake up call. We all need to work as hard on our health as we do on our business!

I hope you take a moment to read and become inspired by this article.

Cachet Hospitality Joins Strawless Ocean Movement

I am proud to announce Cachet Hospitality Group’s global participation in the “Strawless Ocean” movement, organized by the Lonely Whale organization.unnamed We are thrilled to support Adrian Grenier and his team at Lonely Whale in their efforts to bring attention to the plastic pollution issue. All CHG properties will commence to switch from plastic straws to paper straws in support of the cause.

Most people just do not think about the effects a simple plastic straw can have on the lives of generations to come. By 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans, and we are eager to do our part and start to make a difference. The hospitality industry has an obligation to get behind this cause and begin reducing the amount of plastic waste it generates, and this initiative is perfectly aligned with Cachet’s mission to be the leading innovative and socially responsible hospitality company in the Asia Pacific and North America.

I encourage everyone to do their part. To learn more about the Strawless Ocean movement and the Lonely Whale organization, please visit their websites.

Brave New World Relations

“We are likely to see more change in the next 15 years than in the last hundred. But who will run that world? Who will hold the keys? Are you ready?”

maxresdefaultI wanted to share a link to a TedxBrussels presentation, “Brave New World Relations,” presented by retired U.S. Ambassador to Belgium, Howard Gutman.  The former Ambassador is a sought-after speaker throughout Europe and the United States and a thought leader of our time. His presentation examines the sometimes-conflicting roles and objectives of government, business, and technology and challenges us to think about what the “Brave New World” of tomorrow will look like.

I found this fascinating and encourage everyone to take 12 minutes out of your busy day to watch this!

Sand Hollow Named Best Course in Utah!

Doc1 (2)Congratulations to the management team and staff at Sand Hollow Resort. For the 9th consecutive year the Championship Course has been ranked as the best course in Utah by  Golfweek’s 2018 Best Courses You Can Play. The most recent national rankings, “Top 100 Resort Courses in the United States,” rank the course 54th.

Jake Bracken, Adam Jasperson, and the entire Sand Hollow team work hard to manage the property and meticulously maintain the course, and this recognition validates their efforts. Sand Hollow Resort offers an unsurpassed golf experience, and we are continuing to enhance the property with amenities for golfers as well as for adventure travelers and those looking to relax and unwind in a gorgeous setting.

Come out and experience the unsurpassed golf and beauty of Sand Hollow Resort!

Food and Family

The Roche family makes ravioli. Our Top Chef, Joe, is on the left.

With my busy schedule, I don’t often get an opportunity to watch TV, but I haven’t missed any episodes of Top Chef this season since my nephew, Joe Flamm, is one of the competing chefs. It’s been exciting for our entire family to watch Joe’s progress, and now he’s one of the final two contestants!

For those of you who have not seen the show, Top Chef is an American reality TV competition in which experienced chefs from across the country compete in culinary challenges and are judged by a panel of professional chefs. Watching Joe compete week after week in such high-pressure situations, I’ve been reminded of the work ethic that I was taught from a young age.  The road to the finals was certainly not a direct path for Joe. Mid-season, he was eliminated and had to regroup, refocus, and fight his way back on the show through a second chance “twist” the show created.  It makes me even more proud of what he was able to accomplish.

Joe has had the opportunity to share stories about the influence my mother, Mary, and father, Ed, played on his cooking. He frequently mentions that his love of cooking came from spending time in his grandmother’s kitchen making homemade pasta. My mother actually appeared in a recent episode. She cooked up our family-famous rigatoni and meatballs, and Joe’s challenge was to elevate the dish. Seeing Joe with my mother made it very clear that she has positively influenced not only her children, but also her grandchildren.

Joe and my mom, Mary.

Long before his Top Chef fame, I was proud of Joe’s work ethic. In addition to elevating my mom’s pasta dishes, Joe has risen to her high standards. She always passed along the advice of her own mother and taught  us all to, “Make work your hobby, and have fun.” I have certainly built my career around that wisdom, as has my nephew. Joe has absolutely embraced his professional endeavors, and his “fun” seamlessly blends into his work.

I will be cheering Joe on when the finale airs on Thursday. However, win or lose, the outcome will not impact his future success. His work ethic, integrity, and unflappable nature will take him far, and just as I’ve been excited to watch his adventures on the show each week, I am equally excited to witness what’s next for Joe because the next phase of his adventure is just beginning.

I hope you’ll tune in for the exciting finale on Thursday!


Celebrating the Year of the Dog

chinese-new-year-2018-greeting-card-year-of-yellow-dog-Download-Royalty-free-Vector-File-EPS-350605Next week, nearly a sixth of the world’s population will celebrate Chinese New Year and welcome in the Year of the Dog. China’s most celebrated holiday will begin on Friday, February 16, and continue for more than two weeks. Like many businesses in China and around the world, a number of Roche Enterprises companies view the Chinese New Year holiday as an opportunity to showcase their brands. And, the economic windfall from the holiday is one small example of China’s vigorous economy and its impact across the globe.

While Cachet Hospitality Group’s (CHG) properties have expanded beyond China into other continents, Chinese New Year is still significant to its consumer market.  In recent years, evolving traditions find Chinese consumers and families travelling over the holiday.  This travel rush, referred to as the “Spring Movement,” will see more than 400 million Chinese travelling over the weeks around the holiday, representing a 30 percent increase in travel-related sales.

This year, CHG launched its first global Chinese New Year campaign in hopes of bringing its clientele across borders to experience and enjoy the many different facets of Cachet’s unique hospitality. Chinese New Year promotions include a Chinese New Year tea at Cachet Boutique New York’s EDEN Local, a Chinese New Year Family Dinner at Cachet Boutique Kunming Artime’s Porterhouse by Laris, a mystery gift from Cachet Boutique Shanghai, deluxe food and beverage offerings at Cachet Boutique Zhejiang Circuit, and a massage for two at URBN Boutique Shanghai.

Grocery and food & beverage sectors also see significant sales increases during the holiday weeks. The days leading up to Chinese New Year are some of the busiest for Shanghai-based IS Seafood, an industry-leading importer and distributor of high quality seafood from Iceland.  IS Seafood delivers responsibly sourced seafood to over 800 leading hotels, restaurants, and catering companies throughout mainland China. And, with many Chinese businesses hosting holiday parties, these customers are ordering large quantities of seafood. The company has served over 100,000 portions of their top six selling items in the 30 days leading up to the New Year. To help spur sales, IS Seafood is offering customers a discount off their seafood order that can be used for their internal staff parties, and the promotion appears to be working!

The Chinese New Year holiday presents a tremendous opportunity to showcase our brands and build relationships with our customers. I’m pleased to see our businesses engaging in effective marketing to help ring in the Year of the Dog.

Wishing you happiness and prosperity in the New Year!




As Washington Fights about Budgets, Immigration Presents Opportunity for Common Ground

As Congress and the White House look for ways to pass a new budget and avoid yet another government shutdown, leaders in both parties are searching for common ground. They should start with providing permanent protection for Dreamers and finish by modernizing our antiquated immigration rules.

Late last year, I was proud to join more than 800 CEOs from the tech, manufacturing, financial services, and other industries across the country in calling on President Trump to leave DACA in place. The President unfortunately announced he would end the program, which allows individuals, who are undocumented, came here as children, and do not have a criminal record, to legally work and study in the United States.

The moral case for protecting these children and young adults, known as “Dreamers,” is not up for debate – we shouldn’t punish people who find themselves living in the United States undocumented at no fault of their own. And the economic case for immigration reform, including legislation to allow Dreamers to stay in the U.S., is also clear.

A new analysis out last month from the Center for American Progress (CAP) finds that passing the Dream Act would add nearly $23 billion per year to the U.S. GDP. These gains would grow over time as Dreamers gain more education or skills, a requirement of the program, and others age into the program.

After decades in the hotel industry, I have experienced firsthand how our antiquated immigration system stifles business. According to CAP’s analysis, passing immigration reform that provides legal status to Dreamers would bring certainty to nearly 3 percent of the workforce in the hospitality industry. This would help relieve workforce shortages, improve customer experience, and bring certainty to both employees and hotels.

Immigration reform also needs to improve our system for admitting the more than 77.5 million foreign travelers who come to experience our great country and spend $245 billion on hotels, dining, and attractions. Tourism represents about 11% of America’s exports.

I operate hotels across the country and around the world. Here in the United States, we regularly hear about potential customers who are hoping to stay with us, but have had difficulties obtaining a visa.

While it may seem fairly simple to travel internationally as an American, the U.S. makes it challenging for foreigners from many countries to travel here. In some cases, a visitor must apply for the visa months in advance. Then, she must make an appointment at a U.S. embassy or consulate for an interview, which might take weeks to schedule. At that interview she must bring a variety of documents, but not just a passport; the interviewer is looking for proof of “compelling ties” in the home country, such as letters from family, employers, or even proof of owning a car.

With this high barrier, it is no wonder foreigners looking to travel abroad may be more likely to choose one of the many countries with more efficient visa procedures. Improving our system would make a big difference. Progress made during the Obama Administration demonstrates that reducing visa waiting time directly increases the number of international visitors who travel to the United States.

Attracting more visitors would have ripple effects throughout our national economy; one in eight private sector jobs is supported by travel. According to the U.S. Travel Association, international travelers support 1.1 million U.S. travel jobs. From housekeepers to waiters, from front desk clerks to landscapers, workers in the travel industry depend on international visitors.

Humanizing how we treat Dreamers and modernizing the Visa Waiver Program as part of comprehensive immigration would boost our economy and create more jobs. Efforts to do this have received bipartisan support in the past and should again now. Immigration reform is an instant jobs bill and an example of the kind of common-sense fixes policymakers should make the focus of their work.