Stephen’s comprehensive knowledge of the global hospitality industry has helped us produce a strong, forward looking undergraduate program. But more than that, Stephen’s leadership, together with his passionate commitment to superior brand standards, while providing an outstanding customer experience continues to influence my work on a daily basis. Stephen made a difference.
William Garrett, PhD
Vice President Academic & Provost
Sprott-Shaw Degree College
It has been an honour and a privilege to have worked with Stephen Darling for more than two decades. He was my first client (Mandarin Hotel) when I opened up my public relations agency in 1987 and we continue to collaborate on a variety of projects and programs in the hospitality and tourism sectors.
His leadership and involvement in Vancouver’s referendum for the 2010 Olympic Games ensured a positive vote that enabled the Olympic bid to go forward, resulting in Vancouver being awarded the Games which are now one of the most successful Winter Games in Olympic history.
Stephen understands the value and importance of public relations in reputation management. He is a strategic thinker and an ideal spokesperson, often sought out for his opinions by leading journalists and media outlets.
Stephen’s dedication to his profession and the people around him are well known. His pursuit of excellence has a profound and positive effect on all who are fortunate enough to have worked with him.
President, The Barkley Communications Group
Senior Counsel, Fleishman-Hillard Canada Inc.
While Stephen headed up Shangri-La’s expansion into the United States, I had the pleasure of working with him on three separate projects in New York, Chicago, and Miami; my firm, The Greenwich Group International, was responsible for bringing these situations to Stephen for Shangri-La. Stephen was the consummate professional, responsible for negotiating these three relatively complex transactions on behalf of Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts.
The Greenwich Group International LLC
Stephen took on the Group’s expansion into North America with gusto. Through his great commitment, drive and passion, he strategically networked in the US, Canada and Mexico; and delivered six hotel management agreements in four years -some now delayed due to the US financial crisis. Working closely with investors, lawyers, and developers from coast to coast, he gained a reputation for the company as a capable and pragmatic deal-maker. Most significantly, he put together a highly complex deal in Manhattan that involved multi-national partners and local players. Stephen’s clear vision, relationships with key players and understanding of projects are tremendous advantages that have earned him a great reputation for dynamic integrity in his community and further afield. Laterally, he successfully opened Shangri-La’s first hotel in the Western World and created the North American Tigers programme as a method of translating the style and culture of Asian hospitality into the West. Stephen is a passionate hotelier and well respected in the industry: It was my pleasure to work with him -and his assistance in introducing Shangri-La in North America was a great success!
Giovanni Angelini, CEO (Retired)
Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts
Stephen personally hand picked and led a dynamic team at the Westin Grand in Vancouver through some of the most challenging times our industry has seen. Delivering outstanding results in brand standards, customer satisfaction and market share, he continually found new ways to innovate and simplify the delivery of superior guest service. He took the best of the Starwood system’s tools and combined them with common -sense to consistently rank one of the top Westin hotels worldwide. In addition to the external market challenges, he steered the business through the complexities of condominium hotel ownership. I was extremely impressed by how proactive he was in communicating with me as the Senior Vice President of Westin Franchising.
Through attention to detail, a common sense approach and respect from his team, he truly stands out as the epitome of a hospitality executive of the most professional caliber. My work with Stephen over the years and communication with him since has been of the very highest order.
Formerly, Senior Vice President Westin Franchising
Starwood Hotels and Resorts