To change the world and leave people in awe, you don’t need a cape or pyrotechnic special abilities, lacking. Also important to note: lacking flame-throwing prowess could be a good thing if you’re trying to convince a fire marshal to take your side. Of course you know that, but a reminder never hurts. Actually, a bit of “We can do it, so can you!” encouragement never did, either. That’s why the three people we profiled as our Heroes and Mavericks landed their starring roles in our June issue (digital edition is live, here).
You know José Andrés’ name as an avant-garde chef who’s changed the face of American dining, and the founder of ThinkFoodGroup. You also know him, via his role as chairman, World Central Kitchen, as one of hospitality’s most visible humanitarians, serving comfort and meals to people after natural disasters and during other times of instability, such as fire and emergency crews battling wildfires in California or federal workers during the recent government shutdown. Here, he offers design insights (spoiler: fussy doesn’t sell with him) and cut-the-fluff advice on making a difference, even if you don’t have celebrity status.
Gary Mendell, chairman, HEI Hotels + Resorts and founder and ceo, Shatterproof began his game-changing foundation out of unimaginable pain: his son Brian died after a long battle with addiction in 2011. Since then, he’s fought for better treatment programs, education for those suffering from addiction and their families and legislation designed to help make sure those battling addiction have resources available to them. And, before you think it’s somebody else’s issue, addiction is wildly prevalent in hospitality.
Kia Weatherspoon, president, Determined by Design, has every reason to say “I don’t have time” to change the world. She runs her own small firm and argues that work-life balance is not really achievable unless you make your life and work function as a unit. That’s her secret to being a change maker: weave her principles into her firm’s day to day by advocating for design equity in affordable housing. Here, she also lays out her dreams for a truly diverse hospitality industry, with actionable steps to make that happen in reality, not just in theory. One way is her work as a member of the board of directors for Room to Rebloom, which focuses on empowering low-income victims of domestic violence via services (including interior design) that create a positive environment.
So, what are you waiting for? Let’s see how you make someone else’s life better.Let us know what you’re up to.