Up close and personal with Jonathan Humphries, HoCoSo and Glion Institute of Higher Education

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In the latest of a regular series, we find out what makes some of the leading figures in the serviced apartment and aparthotel sectors tick. This time, we speak to Jonathan Humphries, chairman and owner of consultants HoCoSo, and head of international hotel development and asset management specialisations at Glion Institute of Higher Education.

• The best part of my job is…
"Working with clients and teams which are thinking and behaving differently and trying to game-change the industry, and creating new concepts and educational programs. Also I get a real kick out of seeing what the people I've trained or educated end up doing."

• The most challenging part of my job is…
"Finding enough time to be with my team and clients, and family, as much as I would like to, and finding time to start new initiatives. Learning to say "no"! Focusing on the MITs (most important things)."

• My biggest achievement in business is…
"Bringing together great teams (both in education and advisory) and working with really motivating and dedicated people."

• My biggest mistake in business was…
"Not starting early enough with my passions in entrepreneurship and leadership. Taking time to realise that there is never the right time to start something new, whether a new business, a family, etc, and that the most important thing is to make a start, and take a risk and listen and act on instinct rather than too much logic."

• If I wasn’t working in our industry I would like to have been…
"An architect with a private pilot's license flying from project to project in Africa."

• The best piece of advice anyone ever gave me was…
"Life's too short not to....(fill in the blank)". Alan Hopper was a legend in consulting in the UK when I first started in advisory, he gave me this advice when I was in my mid 20s. Sadly he passed away, less than a year later.

• If I could tell my 18-year old self one thing it would be…
"Don't chase safety and security and salary - there’s no such thing today - several of the companies I have worked for don't even exist today, such as Arthur Andersen and Forte Hotels. Make sure you learn as many languages as possible. Go and live in Asia and South America for a period of time. Take a sabbatical! Learn to meditate - it's not for wimps!

• The person I admire most in hospitality is…
"There are too many to mention - all those people who have taken risks to grow a new business (and all those people who have quietly supported them who maybe didn't receive the recognition).

• The person I admire most in history is…
"Those who have dared to dream big and challenge the status quo: JFK (for the moon landings), Rosa Parks (for saying no), Martin Luther King (for his I have a dream speech), Freddie Mercury (for combining many genres and challenging the music industry), Douglas Bader (he was a pilot who despite a double amputation and being told he would never fly again, became a top pilot and an impressive golfer), and of course John Lennon.

• I am surprisingly good at…
"Getting up early in the mornings (well compared to UK standards, not Swiss standards - people regularly wake up at 5am here!)"

• I am surprisingly bad at…
"Getting enough rest and sleep. I'm trying to prioritise this, but I want to max out the days.

• My perfect day off would be…
"Early morning yoga with the sunrise, a chilled sunny day walking (before midday) in nature with good friends and family, exploring a great book store (or comic store for my boys) and finding amazing coffee, followed by learning something new - making tapas, dancing (I have no rhythm!) and supporting my boys at their sports."

Footnote: "These are my responses today at the age of 45, they would have been very different 10 years ago, and most likely 10 years from now..."

Jonathan Humphries is hosting an interactive workshop session at RECHARGE 2020 in Barcelona on the subject of "Turning the apartment in to the hospitality and community service of the future". Click here for more details.

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