Up close and personal with Ngoc Thach, My Place Hotels of America

As seen in Serviced Apartment News (George Sell)

In the latest of a regular series, we find out what makes some of the leading figures in the serviced apartment and aparthotel sectors tick. This time, we spoke to Ngoc Thach, director of public relations at My Place Hotels of America.

The best part of my job is….
Our relationships and how they’re as unique as they are abundant. My Place Hotels celebrated five years of franchising this year, and this September marks my four-year anniversary with the team as well as my 30th anniversary on earth. So, while I understand My Place and I are both considered relatively “young”, I also cherish how our relationships and their diversity in nature have accelerated our brand’s development as they have my own. By paying attention to every person and partnership I’m exposed to, I’ve been able to learn and do more in these four years than I imagined I could in 10.

The most challenging part of my job is………
In terms of having a story to tell, I believe I’ve won the communications lottery of the century, but, my greatest challenge lies in knowing just how unique our story really is while communicating it with the efficacy and authenticity I believe it deserves. When so many hotel brands have been launched or acquired by so few companies, many end up communicating their differences in the same, blurry way. That’s not us, and that’s not our path. So, being who we are often entails choosing a new path. At a time when the creative choices we have are nearly infinite, I think it takes a lot of humility to own our choices, character to deliver, flexibility to adapt, and confidence to continually choose a path where there was none.

My biggest achievement in business is…….
Earning the trust and confidence of our teammates and partners.

My biggest mistake in business was…….
Some feedback indicates I’m a perfectionist, and I believe the perception is a barrier to the transparency I’m actually seeking. It might sound benign, but I find truth to be essential in partnerships of every kind, and the lack of it to be an impediment. I’ve been reminding myself to communicate why it’s transparency that I value, and not perfection.

If I wasn’t working in our industry I would like to have been a……
There’s a short list: journalist, public servant, diplomat/and or secret agent.

The best piece of advice anyone ever gave me was……
I’ve known some irreplaceable thinkers and mentors so I feel I should summarise with a Mad TV bit. Bob Newhart repeatedly yelling “Stop It!” really stuck with me. Wherever I find resistance—in myself, circumstances, or otherwise—I’ve found it better to first identify what I’m doing wrong and… “Just stop doing it!”
If I could tell my 18-year old self one thing it would be…….
What’s to come is completely unexpected and beyond your best hopes.

The person I admire most in hospitality is…..
Ron Rivett (My Place founder). He inspires us to be ourselves, challenges us to be the best at it and teaches us what he knows. Among the many lessons we’ve learned either first or second-hand, Ron has taught me what’s simple, what’s memorable, what works and what can happen when it all comes together.

The person I admire most in history is…..
I’m not certain of who I admire most, but I acquired a deep sense of admiration for Lou Andreas-Salomé through my love for Rilke’s poetry. Aside from the fascinating life she led as an author, my husband and I found her thoughts to be as unique as her personality compelling. We even named our dog, Lou, after her.

I am surprisingly good at…..
Most people don’t know how much or how long I’ve enjoyed video games. I still frequently play strategy games.

I am surprisingly bad at……
Mario and pretty much everything produced by Nintendo.

My perfect day off would be……
My whimsical bouts have been refreshing, so I’d begin by waking up with the sun and spend it listening to my whims. That likely includes cooking a meal that really satisfies me, catching up with family and friends, working on pet projects, and kicking back with my dearest ones. If I’m travelling, I find coffee shops, museums, and walking to be most invigorating.