Philanthropic Spirit Award: Auro Hotels
His grandfather’s family farmed mangoes, rice, and sugarcane in India. One day, seeking more opportunity, the patriarch paid 25 cents to sail in a steamer’s hull to Malawi, the tiny East African nation where Dharmendra Rama was born.
Rama, who goes by “DJ” now, remembers his parents, years later, cleaning hotel rooms that ultimately led to Auro Hotels, a sprawling hospitality empire. Today, he serves as president and CEO of this company.
“The key in life is we all receive help along the way. Somebody’s helped us, too, and from humble beginnings,” he says, noting that their philanthropy tackles poverty and education. Auro’s One program donates one percent of its profits, one percent of hotel rooms, and one percent of employee hours—that is, paying employees for volunteer work.
Rama echoes that same sentiment when he mentions the Sanskrit mantra, atithi devo bhava — “a guest is God.” “At the end of the day, you remember it all depends on what your purpose of life is, and mine is basically serving others and being a humble servant-leader and helping my organization to enable them to do what they do.”
Regarding Auro Hotels’ recognition, he says, “We have 3,000 families in our company, and we’re helping each other to make their family a better day tomorrow than today.”
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“Auro Hotels gives back through its unique resources to better the welfare of our community and to help others prosper. It’s with great pleasure that we’re able to recognize Mr. Rama and the local contributions of his organization.” – Howard Einstein, Division Manager, Marsh & McLennan Agency