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Hotel management and the priesthood are not so different, says British-born Ian Powell, managing director of the Inn at Laurel Point as well as the cathedral’s priest to the city. "The foundation of both is hospitality," he said. If he presides at a weekday service, he keeps his clerical collar on at the hotel, saying it can calm the occasional irate customer. Last week in Kelowna, Powell received the BC Hotel Association’s top honour - BC Hotelier of the Year - capping a career of more than 40 years.

Powell, 63, was active in the Anglican Church from a young age, serving as boat boy to his father, the thurifer. As an adult he played many lay roles including MC while pursuing his hotel management career with the Fairmont Hotels chain. While working in Bermuda, he heard the call. In 2006, he moved back to Victoria, joined the Inn at Laurel Point, and took courses at the Vancouver School of Theology. He was ordained as deacon in 2008 and priest in 2009. Last year, he coordinated the inaugural Order of the Diocese of B.C.

As a guest lecturer, he tells hotel students not to refer to a “career track.” "That must be one of the worst metaphors," he said. "Because a track goes from A to B and you know exactly where it’s going. I have yet to find life that predictable. If you stay on track you might miss opportunities." Powell practices what he preaches and wouldn’t have it any other way, using as his HR mantra: "firm, fair and fun." "I could not have survived a job where I had to do the same thing all the time."  - Susan Down  Read the Times Colonist story HERE  Times Colonist Photo