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Jean Cohen

Former Vice President & General Manager, The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman

Jean Cohen says about Michael Ryan, “I find him to be a visionary, a really big thinker. He understands the big picture very quickly. He’s a passionate leader; he has an extraordinary work ethic, doing whatever has to be done to drive his project forward.  He is straightforward, businesslike, tenacious and energetic. No obstacle is too big for him. He’s just unflappable.”

 

As an example of his character, Cohen cited Ryan’s response to Hurricane Ivan that devastated the Cayman Islands in 2004. Cohen was off-island when the storm hit and was desperate to care for her staff. “We had to evacuate our people. I called Michael to see if he could do anything. ‘I’ve just arranged for a 737 to take them out,’ he said.  Those were my people he was talking about. These were not Michael’s people; they reported to me. He somehow commandeered buses to get them to the airport tarmac. He went into the departure area and told all those waiting that he had 10 empty seats and asked if anyone wanted to leave.  He told them that women and children should go first. They (her staff and the residents he helped) would do anything for him now.”

 

“During difficult times you tend to see someone’s character. He has very strong moral fiber,” Cohen added.  He also turned the hurricane into an opportunity to improve the resort project, she said. “After the hurricane, he maintained a positive attitude and his optimism. He didn’t waver for a second. His approach was ‘It’s not every day you get an opportunity to rethink the project.’ He has positive drive around the clock.”

 

Cohen observed that Ryan’s determination to make The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman Resort the best possible resort led him to take every step necessary, including many that were not required.

 

“After more than 30 years in business, I can pretty much pick and choose my projects and the people I want to work with. It was truly a pleasure to be on this project and to be affiliated with Michael Ryan.”

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