Frank Ashmore | Crain's Phoenix

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Frank Ashmore


The Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia is flagged under the Omni Hotels & Resorts brand. Inspired by Spain’s Andalusia region, Omni Montelucia offers an exclusive getaway in the Arizona enclave of Paradise Valley. Omni Hotels & Resorts has 60 luxury hotels and resorts across North America.

The Mistake:

Believing that if you’re the guy at the top, there’s less room for other people.

Competing, being a driven personality and staying at the top of everything I do have been in my DNA since I was a little kid.

I had my first job, a paper route, when I was 10 years old. I started in this industry when I was still in college, and I kind of fell into it by mistake. My degree is actually in international economics. I was kind of conditioned to think like a business guy, early on. I was very analytically minded.

When you’re a competitive, driven person, you have this propensity to follow your instincts, whatever they’re telling you. You start pushing people hard and going after the things you need. You don’t take “no” for an answer. When someone tells you that you can’t do something, you pursue it even more until you figure it out. 

There’s this notion that it’s lonely at the top, that the corner office can be a lonely place, but it comes with the territory. You have to make decisions that aren’t always popular. On any team, whether you’re the captain or the coach, there’s an expectation placed upon you that isn’t placed upon everybody else. 

In hindsight, that’s probably a mistake. It’s a misnomer that it’s lonely at the top — that if you’re the guy at the top, there’s less room for other people. It’s an ideological falsehood.

If I’m not mindful of what my employees need, my guests will never be happy.

The Lesson:

As I look back on it now, the lesson I’ve learned is that over time, when you reach the pinnacle of anything you do, you have to be able to look in the mirror and feel good about how you got there.

In the spirit of honoring and serving others is this notion of servant leadership, which is very popular in today’s world. You have to understand that there is collaboration along every step up the ladder, no matter what you do.

Most importantly, I’ve learned — especially in the job I’m in now — that my employees are the closest people to the customer. And in my business, it’s all about making sure that I have happy customers and making sure that my guests are satisfied. That can’t happen if my employees aren’t satisfied. If I’m not mindful of what my employees need, my guests will never be happy. That's because the people closest to them won’t feel that they’ve been included.

I learn a lot more by listening than I do by speaking, especially to those who are closest to the people I’m trying to serve. It starts by coming to work every day and asking everyone, even the person that’s washing the dishes, “What can I do for you today and how can I make your life better?”

My dad said to me a long time ago, “If you think you’re a leader but you don’t have anybody walking behind you, then you’re just a guy out for a walk.”

Follow Omni Montelucia on Twitter at @OmniMontelucia.

Photo courtesy of Frank Ashmore

Do you have a good story you’d like to share, or know someone we should feature? Email

And be sure to sign up for your local newsletter from Crain's Phoenix.