Canada - Mark Wilson
Bailli Provincial of the Prairies
Partner and Vice-President of the Hotel Arts Group in Calgary

Born and raised in Calgary, Mark Wilson grew up in a family-owned restaurant environment. With four decades in the Calgary hotel and restaurant scene, he is a rarity having achieved all his success in his home city.

His hospitality experience began at age 11 working as a bus boy. Whilst studying part time for a Hotel and Restaurant Administration diploma at SAIT he worked at the Westin where he rose from bartender to Maître d’ by the time he was 24.

Building on these foundations, Mark honed his leadership skills at the Westin from 1985-2000 with roles leading to being Director of Catering and Convention Services. From 2000-2005 he performed a similar role at the Hyatt Regency.

Promotion to General Manager with Hyatt would have meant moving from Calgary, so, putting his family first, he decided he did not wish to relocate. For such an accomplished manager, positions in Calgary were readily found. Currently he is a Partner and Vice-President with the Hotel Arts Group.

This dynamic hospitality group has in its portfolio: the upscale Hotel Arts in downtown Calgary and the boutique Kensington Riverside Inn. Mark is General Manager of both properties.

Giving back to the profession and the community are key for Mark. For example, he is on the Board of Directors of Tourism Calgary, and an Advisory Board member for Hospitality Management at SAIT (where he studied).

In the Chaîne Mark held several local Bailliage offices in the Bailliage of Alberta in Calgary before being promoted to Bailli and ultimately to his current grade of Bailli Provincial of the Prairies.

Recently, Mark shared some thoughts …

From where does your love of gastronomy come?
My mother’s entrepreneurial spirit starting her own restaurants inspired me. I loved the excitement, passion and dedication to be successful. An obvious secret code I unlocked.

What have been the biggest developments in hospitality that you have witnessed in your career?
When I began there was only one way to cook, i.e. with tried, true techniques for decades. Today there are still basic principles and the same language, stylistically though things have changed so much. Now many genres of food exist today from street food to 3-star Michelin restaurant tasting menus. All are accepted and sought-after gastronomically.

What advice would you give to young and aspiring Hoteliers?
Find the very best mentors; work in the best possible establishments. But what’s in your heart will decide what you achieve. Be patient, build relationships, share and collaborate. It is your path, your desire and your destiny… what will be your legacy? It takes patience, great teams and an amazing attitude.

Eric Jones
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