Famous Hotel Entity Set to Buy Historic Algonquin Hotel
Made famous for its unique salt water baths, Atlantic seaside location, and restorative humidity free air, the Algonquin Hotel has existed as a sanctuary for Canadian tourists for over a hundred years. And with the recent relationship development with Marriott Hotels, the adored resort’s unique relevance could be preserved for generations of travelers to come.
A recent news release issued by the government of New Brunswick Canada reported a “Consortium negotiating to take over Algonquin Hotel,” and detailed the impending collaboration between New Castle Hotels – an entity with a strong operational relationship with the Marriott franchise – and Southwest Properties in managing the operations of the culturally embraced Algonquin Hotel.
The historic hotel-- a gorgeous Tudor style resort built in St. Andrews in 1889—is currently under the stewardship of the Government of New Brunswick, and has recently undergone a publicly discussed terminated operational relationship with Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. The recent consortium could make the illustrious Marriott chain the new operational owner of the historic property; however the ultimate decision is left up to the scrupulous discernment of the Crown.
The New Brunswick government has stressed the importance of the hotel in creating industrial profits within the province, “We recognize that the resort is a major economic generator for Charlotte County and the surrounding region,” said Tourism and Parks Minister Trevor Holder. “New Brunswick continues to be proud of the Algonquin as a tourism icon. We all want the same thing, a rejuvenated, revitalized Algonquin that will remain the jewel of the Fundy shores for decades.”
This commitment to the hotel’s legacy has spurred meticulous action on the part of the government, “Specific details will be negotiated during this due diligence period with a consortium that knows the resort and hotel business,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Claude Williams. “We are entering into serious discussions with a joint-venture between New Castle Hotels & Resorts and Southwest Properties.”
If all goes to plan, the Algonquin Hotel will join the ranks of other enormously famed resorts and hotels as part of the Marriott’s Autograph Collection. “The unique heritage of the Algonquin will, upon joining the Autograph Collection, affiliate the property with some of the most distinctive hotel and resort destinations around the world.” David Buffam, New Castle’s chief executive officer.
While the government has played protector in guaranteeing the proper preservation of the famed hotel, the fate of the Algonquin ultimately relies on the operational integrity of its franchised owner. However, if a fleet of famous resorts, and decades of profitable success are any testament to future victory, than the hotel is in good hands, and the Marriott is bound to maintain the pristine legacy of the hotel for years to come.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.