This week we sat down with the Principal and SVP of Global Vision Hotels/Owner of EnVision, Shikha Talwar, as part of our ongoing Spotlight series focused on female entrepreneurs.
After moving often as a child, Shikha took the skills she acquired from that experience and turned them into a business. Today, her brand enVision owns and operates a series of sustainable, boutique hotels that specialize in welcoming environments and personalized experiences. We sat down with her to discuss how she creates a space to make people feel welcome, going sustainable, and navigating the challenges of life as an entrepreneur.
What drew you to the hospitality business?
ST: I grew up in India and my father had a transferable job. As a result, I moved every two to three years. This involved changing schools, learning to make new friends quickly, adjusting to new places and learning new cultures. This may have been the basis for my career choice. A career in hospitality gave me the opportunity to use these skills every day.
What inspired enVision?
ST: It all started when our company, Global Vision Hotels, got a unique opportunity to design, build and operate a hotel in Boston. This project sparked an idea because the building for the new hotel was set in a neighborhood filled with charm and history, which spoke of times past, yet it was located next to one of the largest and most technologically advanced medical facilities. It created a vision to find other projects, where an old building could be restored or renovated to create a vintage design, connecting the guests to the past history of the space. We set about to share the stories of these spaces, neighborhoods, towns or cities; while providing all the contemporary amenities and technology for a very comfortable stay.
How do you make people feel welcome?
ST: I believe the basis of hospitality is the same all over the world. It starts with a smile and a personal interaction. People feel welcome at a place when you take the time to listen and engage with them. If you can remember the preferences of frequent guests and personalize their experiences, you can make them feel welcome each and every time.
What is your philosophy at enVision?
ST: enVision Hotel Management Company strives to create a unique experience for guests at many different levels. There is a promise to deliver the highest level of personalized service, provide a comfortable stay, create a unique design, tell a story and to offer all of this at the best possible value.
How do you incorporate sustainability into your business model?
ST: We are committed to choosing an environmentally sustainable strategy where possible. We believe in ‘Going Green’ because it’s the right thing to do. We are constantly looking for ways to adopt green practices that help minimize harmful environmental impact. A few green practices that we have in place include recycling; use of energy-saving LED lights; water conservation best practices; use of recycled material for paper goods; and energy efficient wireless guest room thermostats.
ST: Global Vision Hotels is looking for new opportunities to grow the enVision Hotels brand in major markets. The first enVision hotel in the Boston, Longwood Medical Center area helped us create a blueprint for consistent service, comfortable beds, and a functional design. With each new enVision, we want to replicate the basics while staying fresh and unique by capturing the spirit of the local area.
How do you maintain a balance between work and your personal life?
ST: Work-life balance is a struggle for most entrepreneurs and achieving that balance is a continuous process. I try to use a calendar as much as possible for work and personal tasks. This forces me to make time for non-work related things. It’s also important to understand that as an entrepreneur you never really switch off but prioritizing your personal life like you prioritize work is helpful in managing to do both.
What is your go-to self-care routine?
ST: A good night’s rest and some form of daily exercise help me feel my best. I enjoy cooking or baking with my children and I try to do that on the weekends.
What advice do you have for fellow entrepreneurs?
ST: Congratulations on finding what you truly love doing because if you didn’t love what you do, you wouldn’t be here. No matter what challenges the next day brings, believe in what you started and keep moving forward.
Words you live by?
“Whatever you are, be a good one.”
– Abraham Lincoln
“Be so good, they can’t ignore you.”
- Steve Martin