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Meet Kenan Tekin of Residence Inn Beverly Hills in West Los Angeles

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kenan Tekin.

Kenan, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My life was full of challenges from the day one and I really didn’t expect a lot from it. The life span of people around me was usually pretty short. I met an amazing person, Robert Foss, in 2001 in Istanbul. My Los Angeles Experience started on my friend Robert’s sofa in February of 2003. The angel without wings. I applied for political asylum in 2003 and finally in 2009, it was granted. Working on an annually renewed work permit was a stressful challenge. Waiting can be one’s biggest nightmare. I started with Marriott Hotels as a front desk agent in July 2004 and in June of 2017, I was promoted to the general manager position. It was not a smooth road. A lot of bumps and setbacks. I had pleasure of working with all of good co-workers and supervisors. I also worked for some lost souls who enjoyed making everyone else miserable. I have promised myself not to be one of those not so nice managers. There is nothing more powerful then calling your work place home, a place of sanctuary. My team is everything to me and I ensure they feel it every day.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I think I had a very humble start in Los Angeles. I was sleeping on my friend’s sofa and I had to take two bosses to get to work for over three years. Money was very tight and I would not have made it if my friend and roommate at the time, Robert Foss, wasn’t there for me.

I will never forget the bus driver’s strike where I had to walk to and back from school (From Highland Park to Downtown LA). Being broke is not a choice sometimes, it’s an obstacle we have to face. English language and American culture as a beginner was another challenge. Just completely different. Another challenge was people’s work ethic. Apparently sometimes people don’t do what they say. Especially, one would expect one’s supervisor to do what was said. The challenge was to overcame the culture shock.

So, let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Residence Inn Beverly Hills story. Tell us more about the business.
We are Marriott Residence Inn Beverly Hills and I proudly can say I manage the business as the general manager. Our guests are very important to us and our business would not survive without them. However, my employees always come first. A business that doesn’t take care of its employees or doesn’t see them as an asset will never achieve its full potentials.

What set’s us from any other business that I know is our love for our team. We are a big family. In our line business, employees usually jump ships very fast, but not here. We have employees that have been here for over 20 years and we have some that are getting ready to retire. Everything starts from me. I have communicated and I will continue to communicate to my team that I am an employee as well and my name tag doesn’t make me better than anyone, respect is mutual, and this is our sanctuary. Having a healthy work environment makes all of us enjoy coming back to work every day. I understand and I have lived the pain and challenge of working for an unreasonable supervisor and I refuse to be one. The smile on my team’s face is more important than my pay check.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I would definitely say in business would be the role of HR. It has been very rewarding to me. I think a lot of people forget employees have life outside of work as well. Listening to them and trying to help them to overcome their challenges or guide them was not just rewarding, but it was eye opening as well. The typical standard answers only apply to work issues or concerns. Truly knowing what someone is going through in life and being there for that person makes the person to enjoy one’s work life way more. Being human and being understanding is very important. It’s easy to terminate one’s employment. It’s the easy out. To work with someone when it’s need it and not give up on the person is the quality. I exercise it to the fullest.

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