Braintree’s marketing team was able to sit down with our recently appointed CEO, Eric Danziger, and talk about Braintree as a whole, and how culture plays a major part in the success of a company. Below are the main takeaways from this sit down.
Q: What caught your attention about Braintree over other companies, especially considering your vast experience?
A: Braintree had a soul and a conscience, as well as a drive for building a big business. There was more to this company than just the “make money” aspect, there was an aspect of making money through meaning, and developing our employees, and our business.
Q: What guidance do you think you can bring Braintree both inside and outside of the Hospitality side?
A: I believe in great people doing great work, brings great growth. I assess where the gap is between where we can be, and where we are. I do not share goals; goals limit growth and our goal is unlimited growth. Let us be better than anyone else in our industry.
Q: What excites you most about starting with Braintree?
A: What excites me is the unlimited opportunity, this is a great company, with great people. We have a small market share, there is a huge opportunity to grow our market share. I am a grower and I want to go out and acquire. At Windham, we had 8000 hotels and added a hotel a day, but I had more fun taking Doubletree from 5 hotels to 100 though. It is more rewarding to build up to that point, rather than to be at that point and coast.
Q: What do you see as the biggest opportunities for Braintree Group?
A: I think we can be more synergistic. Multifamily and hotels are similar in many aspects, which is where I think we can become more aligned between hospitality and properties.
I get more excited about what we do within the company. Seeing employees grow and be put into new positions and opportunities to succeed within is what I look forward to. Making their opportunities and optimizing on them.
Q: Do you have any leaders or mentors that were particularly helpful to you early in your career? What were your takeaways?
A: Absolutely, three. I had 3 mentors that gave me the opportunity to grow into who I have become now. At 20 years old, my manager was a man named Jack Haughn. There was a front office manager opportunity that he allowed me the opportunity to learn from him. He helped me learn grace and the technical parts of the business. The next was the President of DoubleTree, that I worked with for 10 years. And last was Jim Car, Chairman of Wyndham. All 3 took a chance on me and believed in me and gave me the opportunity that I needed to grow.
I have made my business by advancing individuals and bringing them success, everyone needs a “Rabbi in their life” and I like to be that guy. My wife said if I died, we would have to rent a stadium because of how many people I have been able to inspire.
10 years ago, my wife Jenny was going to a show, I called the GM of the hotel that she was staying at, to see if I could upgrade her room. The GM that I called used to be the executive housekeeper under me as a GM and they were now the GM and told me it was due to my guidance. That is what is most rewarding for me. My job is to be a leader, not a manager. You manage the process, you lead people.
Q: What makes Braintree stand out to you, what sets us apart from other companies?
A: Braintree has a deeper sensitivity to people than any other place. When you start with founders that recognize they employ people rather than workers, you have a much more cohesive work environment. Everyone says they care about their employees, but I have never seen it to this extent and this company is proof.
Q: What has kept you in the hospitality industry?
A: It truly is a case of if it is in your blood, it is in your blood. There is no other business that has the influx of that amount of people in a hotel. The rush for this job comes from every day being different, different people, atmospheres etc. Hotels also remind me of running a city with all the various facets of business. The hospitality business offers unlimited opportunities for people.
I was in hotel leadership at 25 years old. Not to be egotistical, but I find so much drive-in hospitality, I will out-hotel anyone. I want to use my credibility to help the company in any way I can. It is what I do, I grow stuff.
Q: From your time in the hospitality industry, what has been the most rewarding part?
A: For me it is about the impact on people. Enriching people not only career wise, but also financially. I have been able to bring many companies public, seeing the employees of those companies celebrate that feat is amazing. If the company is doing well, the people that contributed to that should be rewarded.
Q: In your experience, how have you seen culture affect a workplace?
A: Culture is 100% of it, it is ballgame. CEO and founders going around and saying hi to everyone is amazing. A great culture helps drive people to want to do more, and to do better because they are in an environment where everyone wants to be there and is committed to the common goal. I want everyone at Braintree to have fun, work should never be negative, it should be what you get to do, not what you have to do.
It was a great opportunity to sit down with Eric and we really appreciated all the great answers he gave us. We are so excited to see the direction that he provides and where Braintree will go under his leadership!