Posted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 10:03 am Post subject: Ismaili Business and Professional Alliances
About Jubilee Hospitality Association Canada
The Jubilee Hospitality Association Canada (JHAC) is a registered non-profit organization that represents a dynamic community of hoteliers across Canada. Our members have joined together to share best practices, develop relationships, build better business opportunities and source cost savings.
Inspired by His Highness the Aga Khan’s encouragement for businesses and organizations to work together in their respective sectors; JHAC works to benefit members through advocacy, collaboration, education and leveraging of the group’s capacity.
At the JHAC’s first meeting in Vancouver, BC on March 12, 2011, delegates expressed an interest in cost-efficient group buying opportunities and developing shared resources for IT and internet-based travel reservation systems to address influential sites such as Trip Advisor, Travelocity and Expedia.
Membership in the JHAC is an investment in your business and our community. Being a member provides numerous benefits: invaluable industry expertise, a network of support, cost-efficiencies, investment opportunities, networking opportunities, joint marketing initiatives and so much more.
Tap into your billion dollar advantage by joining the Jubilee Hospitality Association.
Alnoor Nanji appointed Chair of Jubilee Hospitality Association Canada
Alnoor Nanji – Calgary, Alberta Chair
Alnoor Nanji immigrated to Calgary, Alberta, Canada in 1974. After earning a Bachelor of Arts in hotel management from Michigan State University, Alnoor joined his father in the hospitality industry. Before buying his own properties, he worked as a general manager in a joint venture group and operated five hotels. In 1991, his family bought one of the independent hotels from the joint venture group and converted it into a Super 8.
Five years later, Alnoor was the first Asian to be awarded Manager of the Year for the Super 8 franchise in North America. Alnoor has opened his own investment and management company operating properties and has won numerous awards with Intercontinental Hotels Group including the Quality Excellence Award, Newcomer of the Year Award, Torchbearer Award and AHLA Housekeeping Award.
Launched in 2012, Alliance Conference Canada (ACC) began as a platform to facilitate strategic business and professional alliances. In these 5 years, ACC has grown beyond alliances into a highly anticipated, annual forum for Ismaili business leaders to leverage our community’s diverse social, intellectual and economic strengths.
To help realize Mawlana Hazar Imam’s priorities for the Diamond Jubilee year, we are especially challenged to think bigger and act bolder – to harness our knowledge capital, to shape our future and build for generations to come.
We are proud to introduce the IGNITE SUMMIT 2017 focused on catalyzing our professional and personal growth.
Interactive Knowledge Exchange with Talented Ismaili Professionals: Diamond Jubilee Alliances Conference USA
BY ISMAILIMAIL POSTED ON AUGUST 24, 2018
A two-and-a-half day conference to enable an interactive knowledge exchange with talented Ismaili professionals, the Diamond Jubilee Alliances Conference starts September 28-30, 2018 at Hyatt Regency DFW, Dallas, Texas. The conference will feature speakers’ lineup of industry leaders with various Ismaili alliance groups including Finance, Education, Media and Communications, Healthcare, Technology, Legal, Public Service, and Business. This Diamond Jubilee initiative is an excellent opportunity for the Jamat to build bridges, initiate dialogue and share knowledge.
Track B of the #DJAC2018 will focus on service as the epicenter of our community. Various speakers will focus on how to amplify a global impact and further our reach through service. #KnowledgeSociety #OneJamat #Ismaili #AgaKhan
Your professional value is the sum total of your knowledge and your network. Siloed knowledge can only take you so far, but a deep and diverse network of alliances can propel you to new heights. Never before have we had so much professional prowess within our community, yet so few of our leaders and innovators are connected. How can we facilitate an intersection point to learn, collaborate and grow from our unique pool of talent?
Solution #1: Join an Ismaili Professional Alliance Group. The role of Alliances is to enhance the careers of Ismaili professionals by creating valuable connections to industry-specific organizations, events, and of course, to one another. Alliances have established management teams with a demonstrated commitment to career mobility, an engaged membership base, quarterly events that focus on a knowledge transfer of new trends, best practices, and a curated exchange of ideas. Additionally, we are working towards uniformly monitoring and evaluating frameworks that will track the efficacy of Alliances both meeting and superseding their objectives. Alliances don’t exist to solve a problem we have, but to achieve a vision of what could be.
Solution #2: Attend marquee events, such as the Diamond Jubilee Alliances Conference. DJAC is an energetic two-day conference to enable an interactive knowledge exchange among talented Ismaili professionals from our various Alliance groups including Technology, Finance, Professional Ventures, Public Service, and our cross-functional Women’s Alliance. Additionally, our sister organizations to Alliances include IHPA (Healthcare), IMCA (Media and Communications), IPEA (Education), AICC/NATA (Commerce and Trade for Small Businesses), and Legal. We are all facing many of the same headwinds -- why not come together and redirect the wind to our backs?
Diamond Jubilee Alliance Conference takes place in Dallas
“As a Jamat, we are fortunate to have access to the best education and opportunity to build for ourselves, and it’s now an opportunity to build for our children and our grandchildren...the themes of this conference are sharing knowledge, best practices, coming together, lifelong learning, and building for future generations. What is more befitting for the United States Jamat than to have this Conference as our last Diamond Jubilee initiative?” -Zahir Ladhani, Vice President, Council for USA
The Diamond Jubilee Alliance Conference (DJAC) was held in Dallas from September 28 to 30, 2018. It was perhaps the largest conference organized for the US Jamat, with the objective of encouraging knowledge-sharing among Ismaili professionals and entrepreneurs.
Zubair Talib, the Chairperson of the Ismaili Professional Network (IPN) and member for the Economic Planning Board for the USA, opened the weekend by highlighting the main objectives of DJAC, which include creating awareness, connectivity and knowledge exchange amongst high caliber industry leaders, and working together to catapult our community forward by strengthening the capacity of our professional and business alliances. He said, “We are fortunate to be able to have this as part of the Diamond Jubilee, to provide a rich setting for accomplished and diverse individuals to get together, to provide interesting topics for discussion and innovation, a forum to engage on our careers specifically, and for a community platform to help catalyze these alliances.”
Transforming, engaging, and inspiring: Ismaili Economic Forum hosted in Kenya
Over 500 delegates from the Jamats of Eastern, Central, and Southern Africa gathered for the launch of the Ismaili Economic Forum (IEF) held in Nairobi in April 2019. The Forum was organised to bring together Ismaili businesses, professionals, and entrepreneurs, to discuss and respond to rapid change in Africa and advancements in technology on the continent, and to build economic and knowledge capacity within the Jamat. The forum included workshops and sessions on the future of work, gender equality, innovation and creativity, strategy, succession planning, and more.
Forum delegates represented 20 nationalities, lending significant strength through their diverse socio-economic and cultural outlook, which greatly enhanced participation and overall contribution. In a bid to quench their thirst for knowledge, to network and to learn from some of the most renowned professionals and entrepreneurs in Africa and the world, delegates explored ways in which growing global complexity has and continues to affect businesses and professions, and how to innovate in response so as to stay relevant and prepare for change.
A key theme of the Forum was disruption. Although the term “disruption” connotes negativity, disruption, whether in industry or technologically, is a necessary and welcome process that drives innovation and creates fresh opportunities through new thinking and behaviour. We live in an increasingly dynamic global environment where changes in technology and culture are moulding consumer behaviour and creating new ways to market and sell. Mobile, cloud, and global networks are breaking down physical boundaries in favour of virtual communities. Concern for the environment and climate change is compelling even greater individual and corporate stewardship, and is requiring organisations to be ever more conscientious and climate resilient as they seek opportunities in a changing economy.
Months of meticulous planning by dedicated volunteers resulted in a well-organised and pioneering Forum which included a grand Expo comprising of exhibitors ranging from small cottage industries to large scale manufacturers, along with agencies of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN).
Keynote speakers included Asiff S. Hirji, former President and COO of Coinbase, a world-leading crypto currency company; and Timothy Oriedo, a Data Scientist certified by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Other speakers included Google’s Farzana Khubchandani, and BBC Africa’s Maya Hayakawa.
A series of inspiring presentations at the Forum included real life stories and experiences which demonstrated the importance of collaboration, engagement, investment, partnerships, and learning. Speakers described the various challenges they had faced, and shared how these were overcome. Sessions on leveraging social and financial capital, sourcing financial instruments, strategic business planning, accessing revolutionary platforms for marketing and selling, as well as the importance of self-appraisal were some of the themes that sought to inspire and transform the outlook of delegates.
The event was well-attended by members of the Jamat, especially young people, including recent university graduates and entrants into the job market.
In welcoming the delegates during the opening ceremony, Ismaili Council for Kenya President Nawaaz Gulam said, “We need to work to ensure that these young families are successful 10 – 20 years out. That we manage our financial and human resources well, that we remain relevant and at the top of our vocation, career or enterprise. That we have global mobility. That we connect. We have a worry, a concern; many face dwindling incomes, are unable to keep up with the cost of living for the desired quality of life, and many are trying to compete in a very competitive environment on their own.”
Networks were forged during the event, in-person and online, through the Forum’s mobile app. Job openings and career opportunities were widely posted on the app, while knowledge and information continues to be shared and industry alliances formed.
“As illustrated by the engagement through the Forum’s App, we have many, many talented, educated and qualified murids that are well employed but who are looking for opportunity, looking for investment and investors to be able to build enterprises,” continued President Nawaaz.
The Forum was met with much appreciation: “What a fantastic weekend! I’m completely blown away by the speakers, the attendance, the participation and the whole atmosphere. Not only do I feel honoured and proud to be a small part of this but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it,” said Tehzeen Kantaria.
President Nawaaz expressed the need to excel in all areas, saying, “We have a couple of trump cards. We are in the right geography. We are in this geography with experience. If we combine the pursuit of knowledge, build economic resilience, rebuild our social capital, plan well and network, we will succeed. Importantly, we will contribute even more to making our countries ‘Countries of Opportunity.’ Add to that the main trump card. What we need to do for our children – educate them to the highest level, teach them how to learn. Teach them about diversity and tolerance and expose them to global culture. Give them mobility. Learn languages – at least two or more human languages and one machine language. You will today hopefully understand why and be firm in your faith and its teachings. Best practice will build the valuable partnerships needed.”
AKFED Director Mr Sultan Alana also addresse delegates, and provided a perspective on the global trends that will impact future Jamats across Africa and the world. Mr Alana provided a comprehensive understanding of the impact that trends such as climate change, artificial intelligence, aging populations, and shifting economic powers will have largely in the growing populations of global cities.
The event was organised by the Ismaili Council for Kenya through the Aga Khan Economic Planning Board (EPB), whose mandate is to assist the Jamat to improve its economic standing by providing information, counselling, and advice, as well as forming alliances and associations.
The quality of content and engagement at the Forum have led to outcomes that have transcended the three-day conference. Representing some of the African Jamat’s best talent drawn from professional, entrepreneurial, corporate and industry sectors, Forum delegates have continued to collaborate and explore areas of mutual and community interest.
Positive developments include important collaborative efforts by businesses to further women’s empowerment and financial literacy that will include training programmes to prepare women for corporate board participation. Aspiring women entrepreneurs and existing business operators from the community are now participating in Diamond Trust Bank’s Inuka Financial Literacy Programme. For the youth, In Development is an entrepreneurship programme that will feature economic camps and enterprise development with young volunteers drawn from the Youth Coordinating Forum of the Council (YCF) as well as a proposed Innovation Hub, in conjunction with the Aga Khan Foundation. This together with the spike in registrations for the Kenya Chapter of the Ismaili Professionals Network, all illustrate a resounding commitment to transformation and service at every level.
Ignite a spark: Envisioning opportunities for young professionals
The annual Ignite Summit, organised by the Aga Khan Economic Planning Board in Canada, was held in Calgary earlier this year. Each instalment of the conference is hosted for entrepreneurs to meet, discuss themes of relevance, and exchange ideas. Farkhunda Niazi — an attendee and conference participant — wrote the following article, recounting her experiences at Ignite.
The 2019 Ignite Summit, themed ‘Adaptability and Resiliency,’ was an outstanding conference for me on a personal level. As a young professional, I found it empowering and informative, and I have no doubt that other young entrepreneurs who attended shared similar sentiments.
The weekend-long conference was a useful platform for many young professionals to learn, engage, and connect with skilled and experienced professionals from a diverse range of sectors. The conference gave us a rare opportunity to converse with some of the foremost industry leaders within our Jamat from across North America, and to learn about their personal journeys and success stories.
Two major topics discussed over the course of the weekend were the advancement of artificial intelligence and an entrepreneurial mindset, among many others relevant to our futures in a globalised world.
Among the invited speakers, Asiff Hirji, former President and COO of Coinbase, discussed the evolution of machine learning and virtual reality and its implications on professionals. He also shed light on the future of blockchain and its potential to change the way that financial institutions work.
During a breakout session, Lisa Caruso, founder of Toddler Monitor, advised aspiring entrepreneurs to be iterative and agile, build a network of experts, test their ideas, conduct market research, leverage e-commerce, and negotiate as much as possible.
One of the most inspirational speakers to me was 15-year-old technopreneur Zaynah Bhanji, who stated that the Ignite Summit was the best conference she has ever participated in, having already attended over 40 such conferences around the world.
Zaynah shared stories of her visits to developing countries and talked about the future potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help with improving quality of life in these parts of the world. She discussed possible uses of AI in classrooms, where it can be harnessed to administer and monitor lessons when teachers are not available.
For me, the women in leadership panel discussion ‘Breaking down barriers’ was one of the most empowering sessions of the conference. The speakers consistently focused their discussion on the importance and the need for women leaders to come forward, and for women to not be afraid of balancing family responsibility with serving in leadership roles or aspiring to progress along a chosen career path.
Manjit Minhas, a judge from CBC’s Dragons Den, shared an inspiring story of how she built a successful business from the ground up. Meanwhile, Karima Ramji, a certified advanced Cultural Intelligence professional, discussed the importance of cultural intelligence and how it enables us to understand one another, and work together towards building a stronger community.
Communications expert Ryan Townend discussed the significance of personal branding and its importance in entrepreneurship and leadership, while Mayor of Calgary Naheed Nenshi addressed the importance of closing the gender pay gap, and developing an enhanced sense of community.
During a Startup Showcase, experienced judges emphasised the key qualities of entrepreneurs they take into consideration before making an investment. These include drive, resilience, coach-ability, technical expertise, and an entrepreneur’s confidence to enact positive change in the world.
As a recent university graduate, I learned about the importance of building a network - not only to augment my personal career goals, but also to contribute towards the development of civil society in Canada and further afield.
Throughout the conference, many of the speakers called upon community members to facilitate and offer mentorship to the young professionals present. Their encouragement prompted me to reach out to some of the speakers and attendees for help and advice.
I eagerly look forward to beginning my professional journey in Canada and I am immensely grateful to the volunteers for organising and facilitating a world class conference in Calgary, the city I call home.
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