Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Noel

John Noel

Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Noel Group

John M. Noel is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Noel Group - a diversified organization that invests in promising companies and has a history of building successful businesses in the areas of insurance, concierge, emergency travel assistance, customer service, financial services, emerging technology and real estate. Noel Group operates on a value-based philosophy of serving its clients and employees with honesty, integrity and respect. The company is based in Stevens Point, Wisconsin and operates under the philosophy "Our direction is led by our values." Mr. Noel has overseen many successful companies including MultiNational Underwriters and Travel Guard International. He started Travel Guard in his basement in 1985 and grew it to become one of the most respected travel insurance and emergency assistance providers in the world. Travel Guard was sold in 2006 and is now part of Chartis. In 2008 MultiNational was sold to HCC Insurance Holdings and renamed HCC Medical Insurance Services. Noel Group also owns the MyAssist service, live personal assistance for the mobile lifestyle. Other Noel Group companies include CallForce, a customer service contact center; Compass Properties, a real estate investment company; and Insure America, a specialty insurance company. In 1993, Mr. Noel and his wife Patty established the Make A Mark Foundation a non-profit, humanitarian program focused on making a positive difference on both a local and global level. Through a network of partners donating time, abilities and finances, Make A Mark has built clinics, schools and orphanages in developing countries throughout the world. Over the past two decades, Make A Mark has focused its attention on the looming orphan crisis in sub-Saharan Africa, which was caused by the devastating AIDS pandemic. In 1996, the Noel's established The Noel Compass Scholarship Program to provide access to higher education for low-income, high-achieving students from Wisconsin's urban communities. The program includes room, board and tuition at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point as well as a paid internship at Noel Group. Today, the Noel's "extended family" includes over 20 Compass Scholar college graduates. In recognition of their many philanthropic endeavors, the Noels were presented with the Franklin Covey Humanitarian Service Award, given to "outstanding individuals who reach out to improve the quality of life for individuals, groups or humankind." Noel Group has also been recognized by Working Mother Magazine as one of the top 100 companies in the nation for working mothers. Mr. Noel is a graduate and facilitator of the Covey Leadership Center, which is based on the "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" created by renowned author Dr. Steven Covey. A subsequent book by Dr. Covey entitled "Living the 7 Habits" includes a chapter written by Mr. Noel, where he shares the positive impact that the program has had on his personal and professional life. Mr. Noel earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and was recognized as the University's "Alumni of the Year" in 1999. The University's performing arts center was also dedicated in 2006 as the Noel Fine Arts Center.

Mr. Noel can be contacted at 877-692-7747 or jnoel@noelgroup.com

Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.