February 13, 2020 – Calgary-based executive search firm Pekarsky & Co. has placed Sol Zia as the new executive director of the Calgary Hotel Association. Principal Erin Dand led the assignment. “We have loved working with a caring, efficient and giving company as Pekarsky & Co. that brought us our new executive director Sol Zia,” said Arjun Channa, director and chair of the governance committee.
The search firm was charged with finding a leader with five to 10 years of senior leadership experience, ideally in the hospitality and tourism and/or not-for-profit sectors, with a track record of delivering superior results. Mr. Zia fit that bill. He spent more than 25 years in the hospitality, travel and loyalty industries, where he held a number of senior sales and marketing roles.
As the head of WestJet Rewards, Mr. Zia led the strategy, analytics, partnerships and program development of WestJet’s frequent guest program, co-brand credit card program and WestJet lounges. He also spent many years as associate vice president, international business development at LoyaltyOne, where he focused on developing membership programs across the U.S. and Asia. Most recently, Mr. Zia served as the chief commercial officer of Hubudub (Loyalty) Ltd., the first loyalty platform that rewards members for time spent in the community.
Mr. Zia also brings 10 years of political advocacy experience, gained in both partisan and non-partisan roles in federal, provincial and local municipal politics. He has been able to translate his mastery of data analytics from the loyalty and travel industries to the political realm and has provided consulting services to a number of current political leaders.
“It is my honor to be appointed as executive director of the Calgary Hotel Association,” said Mr. Zia. “The association plays a vital role in the health and vibrancy of Calgary’s hospitality and tourism industry and I am humbled to work with such a visionary membership.”
In his new role, Mr. Zia will report to the board of directors and work on behalf of the hotel industry. He is responsible for leading and directing the operations of the CHA and advocating on behalf of the hospitality and tourism industry in Calgary.
The Calgary Hotel Association is an independent, member-based body dedicating to delivering and maintaining a positive business environment for the hospitality and tourism industries in Calgary through advocacy, investment and collaboration.
Adam Pekarsky, founding partner of Pekarsky & Co., who has been recruiting executives in western Canada for over 17 years, is widely regarded as a top connected person in the Alberta legal community, although not as a lawyer. Prior to founding Pekarsky & Co. in 2009, Mr. Pekarsky was a client partner in the Calgary office of Korn Ferry, where he was a member of the firm’s global industrial markets energy sector, as well as the legal center of expertise.
Ms. Dand leads executive search mandates across a variety of industries and roles. As a recovering corporate lawyer, she has particular expertise in conducting legal searches, but her experience extends to senior leadership searches across a number of sectors, including the not-for-profit, tourism and hospitality, and professional services industries, to name a few.
Pekarsky & Co. recently formed a partnership with Creative Coaching, an executive coaching and leadership development firm also located in Calgary. Through the alliance, each firm will be able to offer its respective clients a much deeper and broader suite of services, said the firms. The two organizations will continue to operate entirely separately, maintaining their own unique brands, websites, processes and personalities and ensuring the utmost discretion within the four walls of each firm.
Mr. Pekarsky said the partnership allows his firm to stay true to its strengths while offering clients access to executive coaching and leadership assessment through Creative Coaching. “We are often asked by clients about our capacity in the area of leadership assessment and executive coaching, but we prefer to excel in the area we are best known for, which is executive search,” he said. “We find that the executive search firms who bring this coaching and assessment piece in-house without proper accreditation or training invite unintended consequences.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media