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Reposted from March 2019

Mike Leven is one of the most prominent US hotel icons, but it is his warmth, wisdom, humility and commitment to leadership and customer service which is quite unique. The way he works to improve and empower those around him really makes him stand out. Mike Leven has been working internationally throughout his entire career. He is a person who is up-to-date in most areas, including philosophy, psychology and politics, and has experienced a lot of challenges. He has always been motivated by achievements, by developing others. He says that in order to be a mentor you first have to be yourself and know yourself. As a mentor you have to be a simplifier, and be able to develop the confidence of a mentee to share their values. “Everybody” wants a piece of Mike Leven, and he loves to share his competence.

HSMAI interview about

  • What advices would you like to share with us from all your years of being a leader?
  • What to expect from a good mentor?
  • What do you gain from mentoring?
  • What topics do you normally agree that you should not address?
  • What challenges have you encountered?
  • Based on your experiences, what advice will you give to those who now enter the role of mentors?
  • What advice would you like to give to the mentees?
  • And more


Mike Leven, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Georgia Aquarium, Inc
Michael A. Leven, also known as Mike, has been the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Georgia Aquarium, Inc. since January 2015 in his sort-of-retirement years. Before that he was the President and Chief Operating Officer of Las Vegas Sands Corp.

He is a longtime industry leader and a “hotel icon”. He has an impressive career in hospitality, with over 50 years of experience in top positions in hotels. His previous managerial positions also include the President and COO of Holiday Inn Worldwide and the President of Days Inn of America, as well as the Vice Chairman of the Marcus Foundation, a philanthropic organization founded by Bernie Marcus, co-founder of The Home Depot, Inc.

Michael is a great supporter of HSMAI. In the US the HSMAI Leadership Day is named after him, in honor of his extraordinary leadership skills and his lifelong commitment to developing the industry. HSMAI Region Europe has named its mentor program after him – The Mike Leven Mentoring Program, as well as its new program, Excelling at Customer Centricity – a program guiding a customer centric organization to excel –  based on his philosophy.

Interviewed by:

Robin Deyo, co-founder, of Cendyn
Robin, co-founder of Cendyn, has 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry, including executive sales positions with Hyatt Hotels & Resorts and RockResorts, among other independent hotels. She is a former member of the MPI Foundation Board and its American Council, and currently sits on the boards of several nonprofit organizations in South Florida which focus on education, child & family welfare, as well as cultural history. Robin’s role at Cendyn is concentrated on sales and operations, oversight of 3rd party sales channels and strategic partnerships.

Hear the full interview from March 2019 here:

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