In America, hospitality is a word. In South Africa, it’s a way of life. For Ashley Greenberg, Regional Hospitality Manager at Action Property Management, hospitality is a passion that he is proud to pursue. “I was born to serve,” he says with a distinctive South African accent.
His passion was first put into practice at the age of 13 when his mother’s friend asked him to help serve at an event she was catering. When he stepped into that venue for the first time as a server, he looked around, soaking up a world full of opportunities. As the day progressed, he vowed to continue pursuing a career in the hospitality industry. True to his commitment, Ashley has made it his life’s work to serve others.
When he was old enough, he enrolled in the International Hotel School in South Africa. This experience prepared him even further for a career in five-star luxury accommodations. Upon graduation he secured positions in South Africa with The Radisson Blu Hotel, Johannesburg and later with the Beverly Hills Hotel in Durban, and finally with the Fairmont Zimbali. These positions helped him form the compassion-oriented management philosophy that he embraces today.
Knowing he was destined for bigger and better things in America, Ashley eventually accepted a position at the Lowes Regency Hotel in San Francisco. With only three weeks to prepare for the move, he sold his house and car and headed across the ocean to a new life in America.
”We care about people is one of Action’s core values. For Ashley Greenberg, it’s not something you can just say. In order to care, you must be physically present and tangibly involved in the lives of other people.
While employed at the Lowes Regency, Ashley often worked 18 hour days, taking advantage of the opportunity to fine tune his leadership skills. Today his management style is defined by a perpetually optimistic attitude. From the moment he wakes up in the morning, Ashley looks forward to putting on his coat and tie so he can go to work and change someone’s world.
When challenges arise within his team, he frames those situations positively and leaves his people with a feeling of hope. For him, a good day is not measured by how many hours are worked or not worked. A good day is measured by how many lives he changed.
The workday for Ashley Greenberg doesn’t end with his feet up and the TV on. At least not at first. A day at work is not complete without a few moments of reflection at home. With his notepad on his lap, he asks himself, “What could I have done differently today?” He then reviews the notes from the day, searching for opportunities to improve. He credits his work ethic to his late grandfather who often told him, “You never stop learning until the day you die.”
For a people-person like Ashley, San Francisco is the perfect place to thrive. While the city has many positive attributes, its homeless population has come to be a problem, but Ashley doesn’t see it that way. When he first arrived in the Bay Area, he came across a homeless man and wanted to help. Though a recent immigrant who himself was on a tight budget, Ashley pulled $10 from his wallet and gave it to the man. He then watched him take that money to another man on the street, perform a very quick transaction, and head on his way with what was, presumably, a small amount of illegal drugs.
That moment made an impact on him, but rather than become cynical and stop giving to needy people, Ashley simply changed his approach. Now instead of money, he brings food to hungry people because he knows that they, like every human being, should be treated with respect and dignity. Though he is sharply dressed in a suit and tie and spends his days catering to the wealthy, he greets everyone, rich or poor, with a smile and leaves them with hope.
Now that he has joined the team at Action, Ashley brings truth, honesty, and transparency to the job. He isn’t afraid to get to know his team members on a personal level. When someone is sick, he will call to check on them. When someone is having a rough day, he will step in and give them a break.
We care about people is one of Action’s core values. For Ashley Greenberg, it’s not something you can just say. In order to care, you must be physically present and tangibly involved in the lives of other people. His goal is to bring this value to his team every day, because without a team, the individual cannot succeed. And that is what is at the heart of true South African hospitality – even in San Francisco.