Can a corporation have a soul? If you ask Jonathan Tisch, who leads the hotel division of the Loews Corporation, the answer is arguably yes — one that he channels every morning at his ritual 6:00 a.m. SoulCycle class. “I have found that a lot of the principles I’ve taken from SoulCycle are very much a part of what I try to articulate to our team members,” says Tisch.
Though a longtime Soul apostle, Tisch traces the spirit of his company much further back. “It goes back to my father, uncle and their parents making a risky decision back in the mid-’50s, the early ’60s,” he says at the company’s Upper East Side headquarters, referring to his grandparents Al and Sadye’s first business – a boys’ summer camp in the Poconos. “Bob Tisch, my father, and Larry Tisch, my uncle, turned a summer camp into today what is Loews Corporation with assets of about $80 billion.”
As the family’s empire grew, absorbing the Loews Corporation theater chain in 1960 and expanding to 24 hotel locations across the U.S. and Canada, community remained the bedrock of the business. “Work, family and community are issues that are really important to us,” says Tisch. “And it’s incumbent upon us to ensure that every member of this organization understands our goals and aspirations.”
In late 2017, the company announced a full plate of new goals and aspirations, pledging to add approximately 7,700 rooms across six hotels to its existing 13,500-room portfolio. “When you add it all up there are approximately 2 billion dollars worth of hotels in development or under construction,” says Tisch — a nugget representing about 10% of the company’s total market value.
The expansion represents uncharted territory for the company; while much of its existing real estate is concentrated around coastal pockets of the U.S. from SoCal to Seattle, the proposed blueprint includes flyover country like Arlington, Texas, and St. Louis. But Tisch says he leaves nothing to chance when it comes to location. “This is not about looking at a map of the United States and picking a city and putting a pin in that particular central business district,” he says. “They’re not cookie cutter.”
Indeed, from Orlando to New York, each Loews hotel seems to possess its own unique spirit. But when it comes to Tisch himself, his heart and soul can still be found in the studio of a spin class. “When I was a freshman in college, which was a long time ago, I weighed 255,” he says. “So exercise and commitment have been really important to helping me understand that there are really no barriers to you can’t break through.”
Main image: Scott McDermott