I was going to start this greeting with the customary protocol of acknowledging my fellow Executive Committee members, the Board of Directors, the Sages, the members and the sponsors. Then, I suddenly realized that over the course of the past 8 years serving on the Executive Committee and especially the last two years as your President, it felt more natural to use the term “friends.”
We have an incredibly diverse organization spread to four corners of the world with one goal: “in service through friendship.” Our motto becomes even more important in times like these where we are gathered at the birthplace of our international organization as we know it. This year also marks the 90th birthday celebration of Les Clefs d’Or France as a national section. And as if two major celebrations are not enough, we also get to celebrate the incredible career of one of the most inspirational leaders our organization has seen, our Past International President and Sage, Mr. Roger Bastoni as he starts enjoying his retirement.
This year we also get to take part in democracy in action. As my mandate as your President comes to an end, with the unbiased elections your board of directors will have the opportunity to cast their votes on behalf of their sections and appoint the next leadership of our organization. The election process will not only include the Executive Committee, but will also bring the Zone Directors in to the mix so that their mandate mirror the same process.
I am thrilled to be in Cannes and sharing the remaining days of my Presidency with my “friends” in the Riviera where the existing French organisation was joined by prominent concierges from Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Great Britain and Ireland, along with observers from Belgium, Denmark and Spain on 25th April 1952 under the leadership of Ferdinand Gillet to unite national organizations and professionals under one multinational association and creating UICH Les Clefs d’Or today.
I have mentioned friendship throughout this letter. I would like you to indulge me for a moment while I talk about a great friend to UICH and a great friend and mentor to me personally and countless others: The gold of our golden keys are studded with diamonds; there are people who not only shaped our society with their contributions, but who have given much more. The contribution of these individuals is the essence what became one of the greatest hospitality organisations in the world. The obvious names come to mind, Pierre Quentin, Jean Gillet, Andre Demonte, and Marjorie Silverman to name a few. It is an honour to celebrate the retirement of one of our brightest diamonds, Mr Roger Bastoni. I hope that you will join with me in raising a glass to the illustrious career of the most distinguished, Roger Bastoni.
Lastly this is election year and I would like to wish all the candidates good luck and may the best person win. It is extremely encouraging to see so many names being put forward and can only be a good thing for the future success of our wonderful organisation.
Looking forward to seeing you all very soon
Vive Les Clefs d’Or
UICH Les Clefs d’Or