Bruce Himelstein is the Ritz-Carlton executive who transformed customer service for one of the world's most recognizable luxury brands, as featured prominently in the New York Times bestseller, The New Gold Standard.
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Thriving in Disruption

The following is a partial transcript of Bruce’s Speech on “Thriving in Disruption.”
Please check out his video below the transcript.


Disruption centers around an environment in your organization. It really centers around what kind of leadership exists within your organization because, trust me, disruption thrives on this.

“As humans, we’re tempted to embrace a likely scenario and stick to it. But in volatile times, the smart idea is to pursue multiple paths and not be afraid to change direction.”

The most successful people that I’ve ever worked with aren’t afraid to change.

For example, I was approached years ago, by Bill Marriott. At the time, I was Vice-President of Sales for Marriott hotels, a $2 billion worldwide brand. I had a great job.

Then I get a call from Bill Marriott to come in his office.

He doesn’t drink coffee, so I know I’m not having a cup of coffee with him. He said, “We have a senior living division that’s not performing well. I’d like you to go in and see what you can do to turn that around.”

Wait a minute. Senior living division? I’m a hotel guy.

He said, “Yeah, I know, but I want a different lens on it.”

“You got it.” I was there two years and it was the best two years of my career.

Why? Because I took a shot. I wanted to enter into an area that I was not comfortable in. I wanted to become a student. Again. Personal disruptions.

What happened two years later was they allowed me to do what I wanted to do. Change the business! We brought in new people, and asked the field what they thought. No one had done that before.

All of the marketing plans and the strategic plans came down out of corporate to the local units. The challenge was that the people running the units were never at the table. They were never asked, “What do you think?” They were handed instructions saying this is what you will do, in a nice way of course.

We changed that. We had monthly meetings where the general managers of those facilities, and their directors of sales sat in, and we discussed what would make this business more successful.

Within two years, the move-in rate, which is the metric for that industry, went up 18.5%.

  • Breakthrough creative marketer behind award-winning advertising campaigns and brand revitalizations
  • Global leader in building customer connections with a strong record of identifying and anticipating consumer trends
  • Drove efforts to "blow the dust off the lion and crown" by transforming one of the world's most recognizable luxury brands...the Ritz-Carlton.
  • Business and marketing guru with a powerful wealth of accumulated industry insight, relevant anecdotes, and insider tips to share
  • Powerful professional speaker with extensive experience and a natural predilection for audience engagement
  • Pioneer in change management and business growth both in the hospitality industry and on a corporate & exectuive level
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