“I am constantly inspired by all of the talented people that we are fortunate to collaborate with and how many of them are trying to make positive impact on community.” Jonathan Plutzik
Jonathan Plutzik retired as a Vice-Chairman of Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB), in 2003, after a 24-year career. Currently he is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and has served on the Board of Directors of Fannie Mae since 2009. Jonathan received his B.A. from Brandeis University and his M.B.A. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is Co-President of the PG Family Foundation in NYC, and principal owner and Chairman of The Betsy South Beach, home of The Writer’s Room and Vice-President of PACE, The Betsy’s own vehicle for driving awareness through Philanthropy, Art, Culture and Education.
THC: What inspires you and why?
JP: I am constantly inspired by all of the talented people that we are fortunate to collaborate with and how many of them are trying to make positive impact on community. When I consider the hundreds of partners we’ve had since starting the PACE, program at The Betsy, in 2009, I am struck by the scale, diversity and authenticity of their efforts. Many of them live and work greater Miami, but we have also collaborated with creatives in communities across the USA, and around the world. The fact the Betsy has been able to contribute in some small way, as a catalyst for creating more closely connected communities and in helping our partners expand the impact of their work is a source of personal pride and motivation for all of us who are part of the Betsy family.
THC: How did you get into your business?
JP: My family purchased The Betsy Ross Hotel in bankruptcy court in 2006. Never expecting to become a full time hotelier, I admired the buildings unique architectural façade and thought it would be personally fulfilling to engage with a project that celebrated historic South Beach. Before long, my wife and I decided to do something more – to renovate the building and to create a unique destination in Miami Beach, one that combined a commitment to luxury, personal service and connection to community. Now, of course, we are in the midst of expanding that vision, as we double the size of the Betsy and create a larger platform for our PACE vision.
THC: What are you working on right now?
JP: In November we will more than double the size of the Betsy to 130 rooms, and substantially increase our public gathering spaces to more than 10,000 square feet. Most importantly our PACE program will expand to accommodate new partners and audiences and to embrace deepened programs in all of our spaces: philanthropy, arts, culture, and education.
THC: How do you see your space evolving?
JP: Recent media reports have championed the continued vibrancy of independent hotels and the importance of deepening the guest experience beyond simply a luxurious room. At a time when there are so many places to stay, we continue to believe that by reaffirming our commitment excellent service and to our PACE programming, we will continue to grow and flourish. Over the years we have been flattered to receive many positive guest reviews and recognition from community organisations. It’s been reported that we have ‘more awards than rooms … ‘, and while we don’t do what we do, to get awards, we are pleased that our work has been embraced, and we hope, will inspire others to join with us on our PACE mission.
THC: Who is your hero or icon?
JP: I know this might sound trite, but my parents are two of my heroes. Our commitment to poetry at the hotel begins with my father, Hyam Plutzik’s legacy hyamplutzikpoetry.com, and his words. He was a mid-century poet who died when I was only 7 years old, yet his work lives on, even in The Betsy’s tagline: Expect no more. This is Happiness. His writing desk is the centre piece of The Betsy Writer’s Room thebetsywritersroom.com and serves as an inspiring point of connection between and among all of the nearly 450 writers who have been in residence at the hotel. My mother too, at 97 years old, is someone I deeply admire because of her deep intense ongoing commitment to power of the arts and education.
THC: Where is your favourite spot around the world?
JP: There is nothing I enjoy more than sitting on the front terrace of The Betsy observing the diverse community from around the world that frequents Miami Beach. Further, I am deeply enriched when I get to attend, often simply as an interested observer, one of the hundreds of PACE events we convene in our Betsy public spaces.
THC: What is your favourite injection of culture into a brand?
JP: There are so many examples of good work among socially conscious business owners, emerging and established. At the Betsy we are seeking to engage individuals and institutions who are committed to building stronger, more resilient and deeply connected communities.