Azim Saju ’94 has built second chances into his business model. Saju, who co-founded HDG Hotels with his brother, says the company’s investment in its people is well worth the risk. Saju and his family have built their company in part by hiring people for whom life hasn’t always been easy, and helping them help themselves. He says one out of every 10 hires turns into a long-term success story, but there’s no such thing as an undertaking of significance without a healthy dose of risk. One gentleman came to work for the Saju brothers after serving time in prison. Ten years later, he joins the business partners at some of their industry-wide hotel conferences across the country. Another team member, a single mother, started out as a housekeeper, and she recently celebrated 20 years with the company. She is now a regional manager and an equity partner.
“You’re going to stumble a lot more than you’re going to succeed,” he says, “but when you hit it—when you connect and engage with a person and see the posture start to improve and the self-confidence start to grow—it is well worth the risk.”