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Din Somethearith: Chief Executive Officer of eight hotels

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

Din Somethearith: Chief Executive Officer of eight hotels

Learning from the experience of someone successful in both goal setting and goal achieving is very important. Many people know how to set goals, but not many people know how to achieve them.

“My first goal is to get higher education,” says the businessman behind the success of Frangipani Villa Hotels, a famous accommodation group. “Those who are well educated will have a successful life.”

“I knew that business is a big dream. To make the dream come true, I needed higher education,” he elaborates.

With the mention of Frangipani Villa Hotels, some may already know who this man is. Din Somethearith, 40, is a co-founder and chief executive officer of Frangipani’s eight hotels located in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.

Growing up, Somethearith lived with his mother, his father was killed in Pol Pot regime. He couldn’t afford to study all high school subjects part-time. On top of that, he walked to school everyday until he was in grad 11, when he got his first bicycle.

Despite the hardship, he still received good grades on his high school final exam. “Only 20 to 30 students got the grade at that time,” he recalls. For his bachelor degree, he decided to pursue his passion in structural design by studying Architecture and Urbanism at the Royal University of Fine Arts.

A Bachelor of Arts wasn’t enough for Somethearith, he wanted a master degree. Without sufficient money to pursue his Master’s, he knew he had to score high on English and computer skills to get a scholarship.

Students typically spend hundreds of dollars a month to study English and computer at good schools. Somethearith didn’t have this luxury. He says, “I spent 300 to 500 riel per hour to study English, and I just sat down and watched my seniors working at the computer and asked them whenever I didn’t understand anything.”

By the end of year 2000, the persistent young man achieved his second goal for a scholarship to pursue a Master Degree in Urban Environmental Management in Thailand following his Bachelor of Arts graduation. He could finally receive a master degree like he always wanted. But what he needed more at the time was experience working in the fields related with his major, says Somethearith.

“When I came back [from Thailand], I worked as a consultant for five years for various institutions such as, UN, ADB, JICA, etc. All of my work was related to urban development,” he says.

In February 2007, Somethearith’s life reached high note when he became Country Manager for the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN Habitat) in Cambodia.

Also in 2007, the now-Frangipani Villa Hotels CEO, who has always wanted financial freedom in addition to higher education, began to build up his business team of three members and started his first boutique hotel –Frangipani Villa 60s Hotel.

Because of clear goals and strong commitment them, supported by the strong team, the Frangipani group expanded to one more hotel in 2008. Somethearith left UN Habitat in 2010 to concentrate on his business. Under his refocus on Frangipani, the group established another hotel in 2010, two more in 2011 and three in 2012.

“Success is when I set a goal and achieve it in a period of time,” says Din Somethearith, giving an example. “When I was young, I wanted a bicycle. So if I could save money to afford it, it’s my success.” says Somethearith.

Looking back to 2002 when he returned from studying in Thailand, his friends were driving cars already while he had little money left. Despite this, he knew clearly that he was on the right track. “I had nothing, but I didn’t worry because I had high education, so my next steps would be faster than other people,” he says. Because of this belief, the hotel group has established eight successful hotels in only five years.

There are four main steps behind his success to goal achievement: choosing the right mentors –mostly his relatives, seniors and teacher, studying what he loves, gaining experience, and in particular, withstanding the challenges. Din Somethearith adds, “don’t give up when you face obstacles because they just come to test your life.”

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