In India, an estimated 98 million citizens are approaching the golden age. Unlike the generations before them, these independent, financially stable, well-travelled, and socially connected individuals approach life – retirement or not – in their own way. They defy the conventional notions of senior living and demand a fuller life.
Columbia Pacific Communities was founded to address this growing demand in the country and to completely reimagine senior living.
We are a part of Columbia Pacific Group, one of the foremost developers of senior living communities in the United States and South East Asia, and the promoters of Columbia Asia Hospitals, a pioneering healthcare service provider with 13 hospitals in India that established new standards in high-quality medical care.
Today, we are the largest senior living community with 1600 homes in 9 communities in 5 cities.
Founded in 1989 by Seattle-based entrepreneur Daniel R. Baty and his sons, Stanley L. Baty and Brandon D. Baty, we benefit from his 40+ years of experience in designing, building, and managing senior living communities and healthcare services across the world.
At Columbia Pacific Communities, we build, manage, partner, and care.
The value of the banyan tree runs as deep as its roots. In ancient scriptures, it is sometimes described as the Tree of Immortality, known to survive and thrive for centuries. It is also called Kalpavrisksha, the fulfiller of all wishes. Lord Buddha is believed to have sat under a banyan tree to contemplate his new-found enlightenment, making it sacred to the Buddhists as well. For the rest of us, the banyan tree is a natural meeting place, a giant umbrella of dark green leaves that protect and foster.
No wonder then that we found resonance in this magnificent symbol, in our corporate values of constancy, stability, and permanence. In our contemporary adaptation of the tree as our corporate logo, the vibrantly-coloured intersecting arcs represent the intersection of hospitality, wellness, and real estate; the three pillars of Columbia Pacific Communities. The colours are a combination of fuchsia, amber, aqua, and lavender which are representative of the zest for life and an ode to the spirit of positive ageing.
With a sharp sense of business, young Dan Baty was destined to be a prodigy. It was his innate tenacity to do the right thing at the right time, coupled with his education at Harvard Law School that gave him the firepower to win in the corporate world. His stints at PwC and CPA also helped him expand his horizons.
He is a visionary who saw the merit of expanding into various businesses across industries. And with Columbia Pacific Management’s many successful ventures across healthcare, senior living, winery and wealth management, Dan’s vision has paid hefty dividends to him and his partners.
He has been involved in senior care business for 45 years across the US, UK, and France. His company Columbia Pacific Management is the largest developer of senior housing in the US, building over 14 projects a year. He believes that owing to the rapidly changing cultural relationship between parents and children, India offers a huge opportunity for senior care/living. Especially because there is almost a blank canvas to paint on, with very few developers focusing on senior living in India. Having been in the healthcare business in India for over a decade now through Columbia Asia hospitals, he has a head start; one he is poised to turn into an assured win.
Mohit started his career in hospitality with The Oberoi Group in 1986. Since 1996, he has been in leadership roles, heading hotels – across brands (Novotel, Trident, and Oberoi), geographies (India, Mauritius, and Egypt), with a diverse range of responsibilities. Columbia Pacific Communities, Mohit’s second organisation in a 30-year-old career, allows him to bring to the fore all the skills that he has gained over the past three decades.
According to Mohit, Columbia Pacific Communities is a vision, a culture, and a mission that is worthy. It’s an opportunity for him to apply his knowledge and skills in domains as diverse as land acquisition; design and development of the communities; construction – on quality, on time, on budget; sales and marketing of real estate, but with heart and empathy; and ultimately, continuing the association with the buyers and residents by servicing the community and the needs of the residents.
To Mohit, the sole objective of Columbia Pacific Communities is to provide senior people with a safe, secure, and engaging lifestyle in an environment of genuine warmth and care.
They aren’t all about excel sheets, pin-striped suits and board room meetings. The core team at Columbia Pacific Communities is vivacious, fun-loving and as colourful as the brand’s logo.
Here’s to the idealists, the go-getters, the changemakers and the happiness agents who are building a legacy of their own by shattering stereotypes and reimagining senior living in the country.
With over 31 years of service in the Indian Navy, Commodore MT Ramesh (Retd), or “Commodore”, as he’s fondly known as, has probably heard every navy joke that exists.
Armed with a dual degree – M.Sc from Madras University and Post Graduate Diploma in Human Resources Management from the Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, Pune, Commodore joinedwas commissioned in Indian Navy in 1987. He is a specialist in Navigation and Direction and is an alumnus of Defence Service Staff College, Wellington and College of Naval Warfare, Mumbai.
In his career spanning 31 years, he had held various instructional, staff and Command appointments. He has also served on board Training Ships of Indian Navy. He has been awarded with Commendation by Chief of Army Staff, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief and Chairman, Chief of Staff Committee for his meritorious service over the decades.
With his vast experience in the multidimensional arena, he is presently heading Operations of nine communities across Bangalore, Coimbatore, Kancheepuram, Puducherry and Chennai. His practical approach to problems and excellent interpersonal skills made him a familiar personality among the residents.
Commodore is a person of many interests. He is a keen golfer, a horse rider, a trekker and also enjoys his squash and yoga sessions.
After her Master’s in Communication, Piali started her career with journalism. After writing extensively on the business of fashion for publications such as The Times of India and India Today Group, she decided to explore other facets of communication such as marketing and advertising. What ensued was impactful stints at Myntra, Amazon and the oldest advertising firm in the world – Publicis Groupe.
Her raison d’etre is to help brands find their mojo and fulfil their business objectives by telling compelling brand stories. Armed with a keen eye for detail and a perpetually curious mind (a result of her years in journalism), Piali constantly tries to balance the yin and yang of marketing.
Her journey in Marketing has won her many awards including the MCube Woman Marketer of The Year 2020 at Masters of Modern Marketing, Top 40 Marketers under 40 by Social Samosa and Top 10 Content Marketing Leaders in APAC by Content Marketing Summit Asia.
She finds working with talented minds invigorating. A hands-on leader, Piali believes that an idea is as good as its execution.
A wise man once told her that she was a snail in her previous birth. In this birth, however, she eats them. A devout carnivore, she takes her food quite seriously and lives to eat.
She believes it’s chocolates more than love that makes the world go round and counts visiting the chocolate museum in Paris as one of her most prized moments. This intrepid traveller has travelled to 17 countries across Europe and Asia. There are just another 178 to go. And she hopes to circumnavigate the globe someday much like Phileas Fogg in the famed novel, Around The World In Eighty Days.
Piali is also a mental health crusader and believes that there’s no shame in talking about mental illness. The shame, in fact, is in stigmatising mental illness. She is a leader at the Seattle-based The Stability Network, that works towards raising awareness around mental illness.
Paradoxes define him. Take this, for example. A teetotaller who was instrumental in launching the first canned beer in the country.
In Satyendar Khurana’s world, everything is forgiven in lieu of a good Chole Bhature and a golden ‘Bachchan’ oldie.
In a career spanning 27 years, there are very few things Satyendar hasn’t tried his hand at. Starting his career with Rajasthan Breweries Limited, he joined Airport Authority of India in Delhi Airport thereafter.
Hospitality beckoned post that. First with Oberoi Udai Villas and then with the iconic Imperial Hotel in New Delhi. This IIM-Ahmedabad alumnus considers converting the old Imperial Hotel into a brand new one as one of his career highs.
In his current role, he has built a lot of the key Columbia Asia Hospitals from scratch. Over the past eight years at Columbia Asia, he has traveled far and wide – from Singapore and Malaysia to the south of India, in his effort to build world-class hospitals in the country.
The key to success, according to Satyendar, is to stay focused and true to your job and be a great mentor to his team. And when he’s not constructing hospitals, he’s unwinding with Bollywood classics such as Mera Naam Joker and Kabhi Kabhi. Aah… the simple joys of life!
He’s the Lord High Treasurer of Columbia Pacific Communities.
Sivakumar, or “Siva” as he’s fondly called, is our resident Mr Moneybags. He signs off the cheques so we can fulfil our dreams.
Siva’s humble demeanour and simplicity belies his professional achievements and success. A Chartered Accountant by qualification with an all India rank of 23, Siva spent over 20 years in finance across industries as diverse as software, telecom, financial services, real estate and senior living.
His most significant professional high includes reviving two loss-making companies from a state of debt to making them attractive to investors.
Yet his life is not just marked by the excel sheet and number crunching. The true blue Chennai-ite is devoutly spiritual and never misses an opportunity to visit a temple. And when he is not keeping a fast, he relishes a home-cooked mean bitter gourd curry!
Siva is also a passionate gardener and enjoys nurturing potted medicinal plants such as Tulsi, Basil, Rosemary, Peppermint and Ginger at home. A good Rajini film on a Sunday afternoon and spending quality time with his son and daughter are some of his favourite things to do.
Our resident number cruncher wasn’t a lover of numerics growing up. In fact, he hated Maths. Talk about ironies! But what Ramesh did like were challenges. One of his friends challenged him to pass the CA exam, and he ended up clearing it! Now…if only all of us were blessed with that level of grit and determination.
In an illustrious career spanning 15 years in real estate across financial control, planning, fund raising, budgets and corporate strategies, Ramesh has worked with Ozone Group, Sobha Developers and Bhoruka Park Pvt Ltd. among others.
The doting dad (father to 10-year-old Harika) is quite the clairvoyant. Ramesh had written about doing away with the Rs 500/- and Rs 1000/- notes in order to eliminate corruption much before the Government banned the notes in 2016.
That’s not all. Ramesh is the author of India’s first real estate book on Central RERA Act – named “Pragmatism of Real Estate Act” for which he received appreciation from the Prime Minister’s Office, no less. It’s little wonder then that this enterprising Finance leader made it to the shortlist of Yes Bank’s Most Promising Future CFO Of The Year in 2016.
An avid reader and much published writer, Ramesh loves to play chess, badminton, go on road trips with his better half and fly kites with his daughter, during his leisure hours. That apart, there’s his rainbow shark fish, Goldee, who gets a large share of his attention.
There are dreamers. And there are builders. And then there are dreamers who build. Poornima Harendra has always dreamt of building. And build, she does.
A chance encounter with architect Koshy Varghese in Trivandrum when she was in standard eight changed her life. She found her calling at that very moment, and it wasn’t long before Poornima graduated from Government College of Engineering, Thiruvananthapuram with a Bachelor in Architecture.
A meritorious student, Poornima’s next stop was the prestigious IIT Madras, where she did her M. Tech in Building Technology and Construction Management.
After a year-long stint at JLL (Jones Lang La Salle), she joined Columbia Asia Hospitals, where she spent the next 12 years of her career. After successfully building world class hospitals in Bangalore, Pune, Ahmedabad, Ghaziabad, Patiala and Mysore, she’s currently involved in planning and building senior living communities designed to international standards in India.
Architecture, for Poornima, is more than a profession. It’s her religion. She’s inspired by the work of celebrated Indian architect Charles Correa. His style of architecture, marked with straight lines and simplicity, fascinates her. The space planning part of architecture is what excites her the most.
When she’s not looking at floor plans, Poornima loves to spend time with her nine year old son Varun. A self confessed cleanliness freak, she’s hates clutter and is almost obsessed about keeping things clean and in order.
There’s one more obsession. Poornima loves to solve sudoku puzzles on her phone and takes all of five to ten minutes to solve them. Her love for sudoku started 10 years ago and someday, she hopes to participate in a sudoku championship.
How many organisations outside of the hospitality industry can boast of having a Master Chef in their leadership team?
Well, we can. Just one of the many things that lends us that extra spoon of zing!
After 26 illustrious years in hospitality, Girish Krishnan took the leap of faith and joined Columbia Pacific Communities to help seniors live healthier, happier and better for longer.
An alumnus of IHMCTAN (Institute of Hotel Management Catering Technology and Applied Nutrition), Jaipur, he spent his formative years in ITC Rajputana in Jaipur.
His next stop was Oberoi Hotels & Resorts, where he spent eight years across Jaipur, Mumbai and Delhi, charming everyone with his mastery of Indian cuisine.
At Marriott International Inc, where he spent 15 years of his career, Girish delighted patrons in Goa, Chennai, Hyderabad, Delhi with his signature Tandoori Chicken with Roomali Roti and mint chutney.
But it’s not just the kitchen that he has reigned. In his last assignment as Hotel Manager, Four Points by Sheraton, Mahabalipuram, Girish demonstrated expertise in revenue management, finance and audit compliance, customer satisfaction, and cost restructuring.
His prowess in Indian cuisine took him to countries far and wide – from Seychelles to Sri Lanka and from Japan to Switzerland. But his love for cooking blossomed very much at home, where he would whip up a mean stir-fried potato when what was on the table for dinner didn’t please him much.
For the recipient of the “Chef Of The Year 2008” award by FHRAI (Federation of Hotels & Restaurant Association of India), honesty is the strongest currency, and the pursuit of perfection is second nature.
Outside of work, Girish enjoys road trips on his Enfield Bullet with his author wife Maulshree, sampling local cuisines on the go and indulges in food photography.
Disclaimer: The author of this piece was not bribed with Tandoori Chicken and Roomali Roti.
It’s not easy to describe Mohit Nirula. But we try.
Picture Don Corleone from The Godfather, minus the cigar of course. The raised eyebrow, the steely-eyed gaze, the husky voice that commands undivided attention. Now add the following to that potent mix.
A heart as vast as the ocean. Razor sharp wit. A “dry as martini” sense of humour. A stickler for details and a contagious zest to raise the bar continuously.
With over 30 illustrious years in hospitality with The Oberoi group, nothing escapes his sea green eyes – from a missing comma on communication to finger marks on office walls.
An avid cricket lover, Mohit says he would have made a better Harsha Bhogle than Bhogle himself. His love for the outdoors and wildlife takes him to places far and wide for a spot of birding and animal watching.
Having impacted thousands of young minds as the General Manager of Opening Hotels and Dean of the Oberoi School in his last assignment, Mohit believes that there is enough good in each individual. “If one can’t find it, one is not looking hard enough.”
In his second innings at Columbia Pacific Communities (CPC), Mohit is deeply committed to making a difference to and a real impact on India’s seniors. Simply put, Mohit is a maverick CEO. His biggest strength is the rare ability to wear his designation lightly.