I called my brother in New York where he was staying for a week with my sister. He was there for a much needed break. Before leaving Budapest, he went through an audit at the same time he hosted a regional finance meeting. He was on his last day of vacation before going back to Europe. I wanted to catch him before he left.
He informed me that the audit went well. There were a few more things that he needed to fix but overall, operations are beginning to run smoothly. It took close to three years before he was able to turn things around in Prague-his first assignment. This time, it took him eight months.
My brother left for Europe in 2003. On a stop over in London, he had a panic attack. Luckily, his friend Mae was there for moral support. Things happened quickly. In two months, he packed his life and moved abroad after being in Philadelphia for five years. He didn't even have time to read up about the Czech Republic. He went in cold turkey.
The first two years were very difficult. Apart from the language barrier and living alone, he had trouble deciphering the Czech's way of life and work. After a few failed attempts at getting his team on his side, he finally succeeded. My brother has this unique ability to manage people using humor and empathy without losing his sights on the tasks and goals at hand. He has mastered the fine balance of being firm and having fun.
On his spare time, he taught an Accounting course in a nearby university and recruited promising students to work at the hotel. He trained, developed and improved his staff's skill sets that he was able to promote four of them to overseas assignments both in the US and Europe. By doing so, he has improved their lives. He has earned the trust and respect of both his staff and his colleagues.
Just recently, he gave his current staff a raise. After the audit, he invited them for a barbecue at his place and announced the good news. "They deserved it," he said. " They really pulled together and worked hard for it."
On his farewell bash after accepting his assignment to Budapest, his GM (General Manager) organized an Asian fête at the ballroom and invited all the employees of the hotel. He was given a standing ovation and each department gave him a gift. His GM put together a slide show recapping his time in Prague. He was very touched. He admitted it was difficult to say goodbye.
I am so proud of him.
This morning, my phone rang at 5:00 am. I unplugged the phone on the night table last night so I had to bolt out of bed and run down to the other room to pick up the call. It was my brother letting me know he was back in Budapest. He said he was going through Season 1 of Brothers and Sisters and while watching the show, he was beginning to miss his family. He wished we could be like the Walker family where we could call each other up and spend time together. I couldn't agree more. Both my sister and I are fans of the show and we love it for the same reason. I stayed with him on the phone, half asleep, as we reminisced about the past and talked about our plans to see each other next year.