|Phoenix — October 24, 2003 — Morris Lasky, the founder and chairman
of The Lodging Conference, was honored at the event last week for his long-time
work on behalf of numerous charitable causes.
Steve Belmonte, c.e.o. of Hospitality Solutions LLC and a partner with Lasky in Belmonte/Lasky Asset Management LLC, presented the award to his friend and associate.
"Honoring Morris in this way is long overdue and I am pleased that it could take place at a conference—his conference—that has become such an important part of the landscape of the worldwide hotel industry," Belmonte said. "He works hard to do his part to ensure the strength of the overall industry, but he does so while never losing sight of the bigger picture of the need for constant humanitarian action."
Lasky has been involved with Childreach, an organization that provides help and assistance in many forms to children throughout numerous Third World countries. He also has been active with charities such as Mission Helpers, the Multiple Sclerosis Society and is a strong supporter of The Nature Conservancy.
"The work Morris does with The Nature Conservancy has formed in him a business model that recognizes the importance of the environment and that is borne out in everything Morris does in hotel operations," Belmonte said. "He understands that as hoteliers we have a duty to protect and nurture the environment, not just because many of our guests do so at home and expect to stay in hotels that do so, but because it is the right thing to do."
Lasky also has worked in mentoring programs, has helped fund scholarships for hotel students, provided free registration at his conferences for students visiting from other countries and generally encouraged young people—especially those who worked in hotels he has owned and/or operated—to consider hospitality as a career.
"I am pleased to be recognized for all these things, but nothing I do on behalf of these organizations is with the goal of being honored," Lasky said. "There are many people in the U.S. lodging industry—Steve Belmonte included—who are far more deserving than I am for such an honor.
If I were to begin to mention fellow hotel-industry executives who do work to help the poor, the sick, the homeless and others who are culturally, educationally or otherwise deprived, I would surely leave someone out," Lasky said. "Suffice to say that every company in this industry has one or more people who should be recognized for doing good works."
Lasky said that the best thing that can come from his being honored is that it might encourage other people to increase the work they do for charities, or begin working on their behalf.
"Whatever work that the hotel industry does for those in need is a source of good and inspiration, but there is always more that can be accomplished," Lasky said. "Whether in this country or overseas, the possibilities to assist others are limitless."
Belmonte said the hotel industry is fortunate that people like Lasky are able to use their talents in areas that help the bottom line as well as areas that boost the human spirit.
"Morris Lasky has long been seen as someone who helps to define the future of the hospitality industry through his ability to take underperforming properties and make them winners," Belmonte said. "He also helps define ways we can all be winners by helping others."