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Our Team

We are pleased to present current board members of the Jubilee Hospitality Association Canada. Board members hold one-year terms with annual elections occurring at the hospitality association’s conference. Our association is managed by a volunteer board; members are appointed for a maximum term of one year.

To nominate a hospitality association member for election, please contact our offices.

JHAC Board of Directors

Azim Lakhoo - Co-Chair, Calgary AB

Azim Lakhoo is the Vice President, Finance for the Coastal group of companies with business interests in the oil and gas industry, commercial and residential real estate, land development and hospitality sector. Coastal Hospitality’s portfolio includes Ramada, Best Western, Four Points by Sheraton, Delta, Holiday Inn Express and Aloft by W hotels. Azim also manages residential real estate and hotels for the group. Azim completed the Certified General Accounting (CGA) designation in 1984 and obtained his MBA from the University of Liverpool, U.K.

Minaz Rahemtulla - Co-Chair, Toronto ON

A veteran in the hospitality industry, Minaz Rahemtulla is currently Managing Director of LHM Canada. LHM is an integrated Hospitality Company which primarily focuses on acquisitions, development and management of existing assets and new ventures across the globe. With more than 20 years of experience in the industry, Minaz has participated in or acted as a principal in several acquisitions of properties ranging in size from $5m to $20m. Areas of expertise include due diligence, structuring, brand selection and negotiation as well as financing, new construction and more recently third-party management.

Ray Halani - Director, Toronto ON

Ray Halani is currently Regional Services Manager with Best Western Hotels and Resorts. Previously Ray served as the VP of Operations for Mayfair Hotel Group. After earning a diploma in hospitality, restaurant and tourism management, Ray worked at Four Seasons, Westin and Fairmont hotels. Ray has also owned and managed hotels in US and Canada in diverse markets with IHG, Wyndham Hotels and other brands, as well as boutique hotels. He is an experienced and knowledgeable hotel professional with more than 30 years in the hospitality industry and a leader in the local business community. Ray's vast career encompasses consulting, technology startups, operations, acquisitions, financing, feasibility studies, sales, marketing, procurement and e-commerce. Ray now resides in the Greater Toronto Area, ON.

Farhan Kassam - Director

Farhan Kassam is the President of Sterling Group Inc., a private family-owned and operated real estate company focused primarily in the hotel investment, development and management sector. Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, the Sterling Group portfolio comprises of notable brands across Canada, US and Europe that include Choice Hotels International, G6 Hospitality, Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG), Marriott and Wyndham Hotels Group.

With over 25 years of experience in the hospitality sector, Farhan has led the growth and diversification of Sterling’s portfolio through acquisitions and redevelopment opportunities. With a strong focus on market trends and operational excellence across brands, Farhan’s expertise has driven the family business from their entrepreneurial beginnings into an award-winning market leader in the hospitality sector.

Farhan is currently the Chair of Choice Hotels Canada Franchise Advisory Board (CCFAB), a Board Member of the Hotels Association of Canada (HAC), and a member of the Canadian Freshii Franchisee Committee. He is a 2020 nominee for the Mark Pearce Spirit of Hospitality Award.

Ali Damani - Director

Ali Damani practiced pharmacy in Washington State and Alberta before specializing in operations through his previous roles as Regional Pharmacy Director with Rexall Pharmacy Group LTD, and Vice President of Operations with Medicentres Canada Inc. Ali also worked as Director of Operations with Equitable Holdings LTD, a family owned real estate development company. There, he oversaw the day to day operations of the group’s hotels and directly oversaw the construction of two new hotels. 

Currently, Ali is the Director of Professional Affairs at the Alberta Pharmacists' Association, focused on building out the newly created department. Ali also works with Equitable Holdings LTD; where he provides consultation and assists with project based initiatives.  

Ali has served as a board member and president of the Alberta Pharmacists' Association, board member of the Canadian Pharmacy Benefits Association, member of the Faculty of Pharmacy Dean's Advisory Council and vice-chair of the Education Board for the Ismaili Council for Edmonton. Ali was awarded Top 40 under 40 by Avenue Magazine in 2017.

Ali enjoys spending time with his wife, son and daughter, and riding his motorcycle. He also enjoys playing soccer and ball hockey and has a passion for travelling, music and the Oilers.

Ishtar Esmai

Ishtar Esmai

Ishtar Esmail is an Asset Manager for Marquee Group, a family-owned real estate company, whose portfolio consists of hotels, apartments, and commercial mixed-use buildings located in North America. Marquee Group owns and operates reputable brands such as Hilton, Marriot, and InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG).

Ishtar is responsible for developing, operating, maintaining, and disposing of assets cost-effectively. Her expertise includes marketing, operations, revenue management, land acquisitions, and property development. She is presently the Vice President of the Amazing Brentwood 2 Strata Council and formerly served on IHG’s Emerging Leaders and Rewards Club Committees.

An ambitious individual with a fiery spirit, Ishtar loves new challenges and opportunities to find solutions. She fosters a balanced work environment and strongly believes her greatest asset is our people.