Author: Interviewed by Charlotte Wiseman
Author: Interviewed by Charlotte Wiseman
Kicking off the Good News Series project, a collaboration between Aldgate Connect Business Improvement District (BID) and Charlotte Wiseman Leadership & Wellbeing Consultants, Charlotte interviews the Head of Human Resources at Canopy by Hilton London City, Basel Jabri. The Good News Series is an initiative aiming to inspire and promote well-being throughout the City of London and further afield.
What three words would you use if you were going to describe the Aldgate area?
Culture, diversity & opportunity.
What do you love about working at Canopy by Hilton?
Having worked in numerous luxury five-star hotels, such as Me by Meilá I can say that the difference between Canopy is that we are approachable and offer easy access to luxury. Canopy provides a friendly yet luxurious standard, whilst still offering the highest service. There can be a certain perception of five-star hotels, but Canopy is different to this norm, we are easy and professional, making us unique. We are a place for everybody and we put a big focus on ensuring we are welcoming.
Which employee or company initiative are you most proud of?
Our commitment to the environment is something I am very proud of. In many hotels that I have worked with in the past, the environmental commitments are just a poster on the wall or a notice board that you update every quarter, and it just stops there. Here at Canopy, the commitments to the environment are taken seriously. Everyday the management team gets together to assess how we can be environmentally friendly, and implement realistic plans that can be put into action with everything that we do.
Another initiative I am proud of is the commitment we have to the neighbourhood, and this is something that not every hotel does. When talking about Aldgate specifically, we support the local soup kitchen, through donations and volunteering opportunities. This has been facilitated by the Business Improvement District (BID).
Ultimately, we don’t just look at the big names to partner with, we look within the community for smaller charities. For example, Providence Row, a charity in Aldgate that supports homeless people in the area through education courses to help them to build their life again. We support this charity by helping people to prepare for job interviews and also hiring people from the local community centres in London City, and we have recently been appreciated by the City of London because of this. If there’s a will, there’s a way.
What challenges have you faced, and how have you overcome these?
Of course, nothing is going to be easy but I would say that communication with each other and the local community is important. Everything is a team effort, so tackle these challenges as a team. For example, Basel and Charlotte alone cannot change the world, but if Basel and Charlotte have a well-executed plan that is communicated well, we can do beautiful things together.
One of the challenges we have faced is the communication barriers, both cultural and language barriers. We are working with a very diverse place here in Aldgate, and we want to reach everyone. So, it was a challenge but together with Aldgate Connect & City of London, we tried to understand the different cultures and reach all of these.
So, what’s next?
The sky’s the limit! It was a successful 2022, and we are looking to do more in 2023. We are learning from our mistakes and moving forward in the right direction. We know which charities we want to support, and we are continuing our commitment to the soup kitchens, and any initiatives that give back to the neighbourhood. We have big plans for being greener. We are also supporting within our industry, for example, we are supporting the Hospitality Action: Summer 2023, Mental Health Awareness Month 2023.
What three tips would you give for businesses looking to follow suit?
Finally, keep trying! When there’s a will, there’s a way, so don’t give up. Sometimes people can be slow to reply or busy with other things, but you should keep trying. I would recommend Aldgate Connect, they always respond promptly, always have creative ideas and are your neighbourhood community centre.
We hope this has inspired you and we encourage you to keep an eye out on more Good News interviews coming your way! If you want to learn more about Canopy by Hilton Hotel, you can get in touch with Basel at the Canopy Hotel or via LinkedIn, and if you would like to be involved with the Good News Series, get in touch with Aldgate Connect’s BID Director Zoe Barwick via email or LinkedIn.
About Basel Jabri:
Basel Jabri is the Head of People and Culture at Canopy by Hilton, part of Hilton International. Jabri has worked within the hotel human resources sector since 2004. He has worked globally, in countries such as Dubai and Doha, before moving to the United Kingdom in 2018. He has worked in a variety of five-star hotels from Jumeirah, Raffles, Shangri-la, Fremont, and also Meilá Hotel International.
About Canopy by Hilton London City:
Based in East London, Canopy by Hilton is Hilton’s first lifestyle brand. The hotel is a place in the neighbourhood to relax and recharge, offering simple guest-directed service, comfortable spaces and thoughtfully local choices.
About Aldgate Connect BID:
Aldgate Connect is a Business Improvement District (BID) set up in April 2020, raising £3.9 million over 5 years being invested back into the local area. With a vast array of cultures, businesses and places to enjoy, it makes this area one of the most diverse and exciting places to be, work, visit and live. Together with the local authority partners, (City of London Corporation and London Borough of Tower Hamlets) and other key stakeholders, the BID works with the businesses and community to enhance it as a destination for all. Inspiration and inclusivity are at the heart of the BID’s ambitions – working on programmes and projects that make it a more appealing, welcoming, stronger and safer area.
About Charlotte Wiseman Leadership & Wellbeing Consultants:
An international consultancy that supports companies to apply positive psychology in the workplace helping people to think, feel and perform their best, and businesses to improve engagement, performance and retention. Drawing on over 35 years of empirical research, global experience and a unique methodology, their work focuses on two main areas; leadership development & employee wellbeing so everyone can optimise their mental fitness, enjoying better results and greater workplace satisfaction.