Finding the real value in giving back.
Sanjiv Suri - Founding President & CEO, Zatisi Group
Sanjiv Suri worked in the hotel industry for 12 years, but never felt entirely comfortable in a large corporate structure. He never planned a career as a restaurateur, but when he first came to Prague in the early 1990s, he realized that the culinary world was still uncharted territory.
Growing up in India, Sanjiv became aware of how much poverty exists in the world. Although his parents earned a modest income, they gave 10% of their earnings to the poor regularly. Sanjiv follows their philanthropic example, and uses his own success to aid some of the less fortunate, by donating up to 50% of his company's profits to various charities every year. The aid organizations to which he contributes include Good Angel (which supports the families of disabled people in the Czech Republic), Akshaya Patra (which provides warm, nutritious food to schools and children across India) and Village Enterprise (which provides funds and training to start small businesses in Africa).
In 2007, Sanjiv spent a few hours with the Dalai Lama, who told him "Sanjiv, the people in my life do not get in the way of my spiritual practice; they are my spiritual practice." This concept allows him to stay calm under most circumstances. Any business is just a business, and its nature is to make money or sometimes lose money, just as the nature of a dog is to bark. While Sanjiv is passionate about what he does, he tries to stay emotionally detached from the result. He says, "I would be more content after a race where I gave my best and came last, compared to a competition where I did not give my best and won."