The Morality of Sunil Tolani: Prince Organization’s CEO is Rewriting the Rulebook on Corporate Leadership and Philanthropy

CEO SUNIL TOLANI: Charity is not how much you give—it’s about how you live

There are many paths to success in business. The one Sunil Tolani took began with hospitality. The modern-day American dream is found within a hotel room. Or so says Sunil Tolani, the immigrant from India who is the owner, developer, and operator of Hilton, Marriott, Holiday Inn, and other top-quality hotel brands. His Hindu faith guides him. Tolani said, “You come into this world to do good, to be tested by God. You have to think about your eternal salvation, that’s what counts in the end. Living a life full of gratitude and giving has given a great meaning to myself and my family.” 

Mr. Tolani signed the White House Fair Chance pledge, bringing a business approach to doing good by Unlocking potentials in the local communities for potential employees like homeless people, young adults disconnected from family, school, and work, people who were formerly incarcerated or suffering from disabilities, mental illness, and addictions. Many are single adults, veterans, or parents with children. They provide such people with training, support, and work, making improvements in human and societal well-being. Many people have built long-term skills and career paths with them, and the direct result is greater economic sufficiency and life stability and respect in society with upward mobility and greater opportunities.

Prince is regarded for his work with women’s domestic violence welfare, workplace sexual harassment trainings, and wage equality for women, emphasizing people over profits. His approach to philanthropy promotes practical efforts at self-improvement and social change has yielded international celebrity. As an award-winning company, Prince Hospitality has spent the last decade building relationships and social work, receiving numerous awards and accolades from the industry’s top-tier brands, including being America’s most honored business.

The White House thanked Mr. Tolani for his commitment to strengthening the American economy. If they gave out grades for corporate names, the Prince Organization would get an A-plus. Tolani has devoted his heart and soul to making life better for people down on the road. The founder of Prince Organization succeeded by mastering grunt work and has planted a flag in the world of prestige hospitality industry for nurturing young talent, detecting the diamonds in need of polish. His company operates on principles of meritocracy, rewarding hard-working high performers, and the 52-year-old hotelier is polishing a reputation as a forward-thinker employee-centric focus.  

Mr. Tolani encourages morality with his philanthropy with emphasis on character and virtue; he believes that the right way to get ahead and contribute to your community is by creating opportunity for others, putting a human person at the heart of business life where a good business can be a force of good and positive change. Good business leads you to improve your ability to help others improve their lives. He understands improving the lives of others as a form of Hindu service; the golden rule became a conviction Tolani has never outgrown. 

“Sunil never forgets his roots,” said Mrs.  Neelam Tolani. “He identifies with the struggles of immigrants and is committed to social entrepreneurship, telling Krish and Aryan that when you grow up, be your own boss and make your own money, doing values-based businesses, something of some service to someone else. Then and only will you know, on your last dying breath, that it mattered that you were born.”  He feels lucky doing his best in this world and is in fact a great, and very doting dad to his kids, setting an example. Mr. and Mrs. Tolani are teaching their children about giving back to the community. 

“Their remarkable story is about two immigrants who came to America with nothing, but always had everything. Through their belief in themselves, faith in God, their characters, and hard work, they are building an amazing legacy of family that will live on in their children and great-grandchildren,” said his aunt Deepa Israni.

Marriott Hotels CEO Arne Sorensen, a long-time friend, wrote, “Always a treat to hear from him. “He brings a smile to my face doing some extraordinary work. You don’t have to be a traditional nonprofit to make a social impact, the right kind of business can move the needle.” 

Mr. Tolani said, “Being conscious about profiting and giving back is the best decision I have ever made as an owner, and the No.1 recommendation I can make to anyone looking to not just improve their profits, but also all the lives around them. There is no better way to a path forward towards our ideals of dignity, inspiration and positive actions.”

Prince Hotels follows the same management principles and best practices of the Top management ranking of U.S. public companies by the Drucker Institute—measuring corporate effectiveness in customer satisfaction, employee engagement and development, innovation and social responsibility. People in the community get a chance to work for a company which competes with Fortune 500 companies in terms of values, ethics, and integrity. Employees see the traits of a great boss in action with factors like building confidence among employees, discipline, and setting goals with attainable performance benchmarks, consistency, and strong loyalty to the company and those within.  

“Mr.Tolani has overcome life’s adversities and become a resilient, determined fighter who never gives up or runs away. He never loses hope and gives his 100%,” says Mr. Rodrigue, attorney of legal and business affairs. “He meets success like a gentleman, failure like a man.”

He wants to own his businesses “forever,” and it’s rare you find owners who are so committed and admirable. In addition to Sunny’s determination, his advice is to surround yourself with people who are intelligent and kind hearted, listen to ideas, and collaborate together. “Life is too short to do business with people that aren’t nice and kind,” he adds. Pope Francis has written that business can be a “noble vocation.” The Tolani family is also blessed by the Dalai Lama and Bishop Desmond Tutu.

“You see why Prince Hotels are the way it is.” Hilton CEO Chris Nassetta and Mr. Tolani met at the Hilton Owners Conference. “You get to spend some facetime and you say, ‘Aha’…It’s clear who sets the tone. Ownership is everything. Because he is blessed with good fortune, he feels a responsibility to give back to society, He lives that credo every day of his life.”


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