For the school, which celebrated 32 years of operation in May 2023, the ethos of contributing to its local and global community and making a tangible impact on the lives of those in need, is entrenched. Embedding its students as leaders with a higher purpose is a fundamental trait of BMIHMS leadership courses.
The collective energy, dedication, and passion displayed by the Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School (BMIHMS) community for the cherished charities they support made last year an absolute standout year in philanthropy.
“It's truly a time to revel in celebration and gratitude, and to marvel in awe for the compassion and generosity that define our vibrant community,” said Associate Professor Simon Pawson, Associate Dean, at BMIHMS, Torrens University Australia.
“The BMIHMS’ ethos was born from the founders’ beliefs, which require our students to look beyond themselves and consider what they can do to create meaningful change in the world,” explains Associate Professor Pawson. “It is very much part of our B Corp ethos.”
“We educate and graduate amazing Hotel Management course students with a global mindset, and we also want to inspire them to have a deep sense of care and service.”
Local fundraising events
In 2023, the BMIHMS Leura campus was a bustling hub of philanthropy, hosting four outstanding charity events, with an additional contribution towards a fifth event in Sydney, and the exciting launch of an ongoing initiative. The commitment and enthusiasm demonstrated by the BMIHMS community truly made a difference in the lives of those they aim to support.
“Our local and global relationships are so strong and committed, we are proud to have excelled with so many triumphant charity events at our Leura campus in 2023,” said Associate Professor Pawson.
Cancer Wellness Support Gala
In May 2023, BMIHMS had the privilege of hosting the Cancer Wellness Support Dinner Gala, a heartwarming event that raised a staggering $17,000 for the Katoomba branch. The funds generated from this gala will play a crucial role supporting Cancer Wellness Support, an innovative, compassionate, community-driven organisation offering holistic care to clients and their families.
BMIHMS students volunteering at the Sala Bai Dinner on Leura Campus
Annual Sala Bai charity dinner
The annual Sala Bai Hotel School fundraising event in August 2023 was a resounding success, raising a phenomenal $37,500 for Friends of Sala Bai Australia. The generosity flowed through ticket sales and auctions, featuring luxury items and experiences, including wine and accommodation packages, donated from elite hotels in Sydney and across Blue Mountains. The event truly showcased the power of coming together for a common cause.
In addition, at the Sala Bai charity dinner, BMIHMS launched a new sustainable initiative that will generate an ongoing fundraising stream to support the critical work Sala Bai Hotel School undertakes.
BMIHMS founders, Friends of Sala Bai Australia (FOSBA) Consuls and BMIHMS staff and students united to develop and operate contemporary luxury accommodation next to the school’s grounds with students involved in the daily operations. They hosted their first guests late August, and all proceeds of the Sala Bai Cottage and Studio will go directly to FOSBA.
Sala Bai Hotel School trainers at Leura Campus late 2023
The Sala Bai connection has been going strong for two decades thanks to an initiative ignited by BMIHMS Founders, Max Player, Fritz Gubler, and Gavin Faull. The objective of Sala Bai Hotel School is to provide hospitality and tourism education for 150 underprivileged young Cambodians per year to provide economic security and independence, as well as improve the living conditions of their families in rural Cambodia.
“The longevity is quite astounding,” said Associate Professor Pawson. “We've certainly established credibility and recognition that what we do makes a positive difference in the lives of many students less fortunate than ourselves through this particular institution, and the proof is in the pudding.”
Leura Gardens Festival
Over the long weekend in October 2023, BMIHMS' Leura Campus played a vital role in supporting the local community during the Leura Gardens Festival. With over 400 guests enjoying the campus amenities, coffee cart, and café, the guests contributed to raising over $100,000 for the Blue Mountains District Anzac Memorial Hospital. This substantial sum will be instrumental in acquiring critical equipment for patient care.
Blue Mountains Health Trust charity gala
In November 2023, BMIHMS hosted a Charity Gala Dinner for the Blue Mountains Health Trust, raising $15,000 through ticket sales and auctions. The event featured a moving address by Blue Mountains local, Thanjon Michniewicz. As a Blue Mountains Health Trust scholarship recipient, Thanjon was financially enabled to complete his medical degree, and is now a practicing GP in Faulconbridge, giving back to the community who supported him. A wonderful full circle moment and a true testament to the impact of community support.
HM Awards for Hotel and Accommodation Excellence
BMIHMS has been the co-host of the HM Awards for Hotel and Accommodation Excellence for over 10 years, and last year was extra special as BMIHMS had the largest number of alumni nominated across the 52 award categories, along with Associate Professor Pawson judging for the first time.
BMIHMS colleagues celebrate at the 21st HM Awards (November 2023)
Left to Right: Senior Marketing Manager Allison Harris, Tamara Petric, Petra Eckerova, Assoc. Prof Pawson, Senior Lecturer and BMIHMS researcher Amanda Ting, BMIHMS Learning Facilitator Natalie Reid, Kimberley Roberts, Given Angel Marcial
The 21st HM Awards for Hotel and Accommodation Excellence also featured Sala Bai Hotel School during the awards ceremony as its principal charity. This provided BMIHMS an opportunity to share a video co-produced by James Wilkinson, HM Magazine Editor-In-Chief, and HM Awards Founder and Chief Judge, to an audience of over 1100 hoteliers showcasing the work BMIHMS does as a Certified B Corp organisation to support Sala Bai Hotel School in Cambodia.
“Incredibly pleasing that over $20,000 was raised at the event for Sala Bai,” said Associate Professor Simon Pawson.
End-of-year Sala Bai fundraising dinner in Sydney
As the year drew to a close, dedicated BMIHMS students learnt their unwavering culinary and hospitality volunteer support and enthusiasm to the end-of-year FOSBA event in Sydney. In November, this fundraising dinner raised $25,000 and closed the impressive final chapter of the school’s philanthropic journey for the year.
“BMIHMS students are wonderful, they are so helpful and invaluable in assisting with setting up our end-of-year charity dinner,” said Suzanne Stanton, spokesperson for FOSBA. “They interact and speak with the guests in a very informed way about the merits of Sala Bai.”
A collective accomplishment: $114,500 directly contributed to charity
BMIHMS’ outstanding efforts are a remarkable achievement that is a testament to the generosity and community spirit that defines BMIHMS.
“I am immensely proud of these exceptional efforts,” said Kimberley Roberts, Director of Operations and Applied Training at BMIHMS. “Together, we have directly contributed a whopping $114,500 to charity, and our efforts led to a grand total of $214,500. It speaks volumes about the heart and soul of the compassionate BMIHMS community who are committed to making a real difference in the lives of those in need.”
In 2024, the BMIHMS community eagerly anticipates continuing this tradition of generosity.
If you are planning a trip to Cambodia, BMIHMS recommends you stay and dine at Sala Bai Hotel and Restaurant.