Industry mourns Bill Pallett’s passing

Bill Pallett (right) with Joe Baker of Centennial College.
Bill Pallett (right) with Joe Baker of Centennial College.

TORONTO — Mentor. HR professional. Educator. Friend. Hospitality and Tourism Legend. Those are some of the themes that played out in the many online tributes to Bill Pallett, who passed away Dec. 27 at home, surrounded by family, at the age of 68. He leaves his partner of 25 years, Charlie Corrado, his sister Sandra and husband Bill, mother in law Corradina, sister in law Angela (Sam), and sister in law Pacia, plus numerous nieces, nephews and great-nieces.

Bill grew up in Mississauga and started his career by graduating from Ryerson School of Journalism. He joined the hospitality industry working with Wardair, then moving to the training and development area that defined his later career in a job with Canadian Pacific (CP) hotels.

After furthering his career in continuing education and learning and development in Vancouver, he returned to Toronto as the director of executive development for Four Seasons. He then spent 25 years with Delta Hotels and Resorts, as the company’s senior vice-president, people resources. In 2015, he launched his consulting company, WJP and Associates.

A committed volunteer, he dedicated countless hours to several organizations, including the Canadian Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC) and Mount Sinai Health System in Patient Care, as well as his welcome and enthusiastic contributions to Tourism HR Canada.

Charles McKee.

Charles McKee, who worked with Bill at Delta and is now executive director at Markey International, had this to say on LinkedIn: “For more than two decades, Bill was Delta Hotels and Resorts’ driving for force in the creating a high-performance organization, parlaying its service culture to become Canada’s leading hotel company AND one of Canada’s Best Employers a record-breaking 15 times. Rarely have I had the pleasure of serving on a executive team with a finer individual or more effective leader.”

Philip Mondor.

“Bill’s guidance and leadership with Tourism HR Canada will leave an indelible impact,” Tourism HR Canada president Philip Mondor posted in a blog last week. “His ability to connect with each board member and other stakeholders contributed to the identity and success of the organization. He will be missed dearly. We are grateful for having known him, and the legacy he leaves behind. Our heartfelt condolences to Bill’s partner of 25 years, Charlie Corrado, and to Bill’s family and friends.”

Shari Avery.

“My heart hurts right now at the thought of his passing,” said Shari Avery, director, human resources at Delta Grand Okanagan Resort. “Bill was a mentor and was instrumental in my career…..but more importantly he was also a dear friend and we enjoyed many laughs over the years. I will always remember his words of wisdom and hold them near and dear to my heart.”

Darrell Schuurman.

“Last week we lost a great leader,”said Darrell Schuurman, CEO at the Canadian Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. “I was fortunate enough to have known and worked with Bill Pallett for over 20 years. When I moved to Ottawa and started working with the CTHRC, Bill became a mentor to me, supporting me in my career in the tourism industry. In 2016, Bill joined me on the Board of Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC), becoming Chair of the Board in 2018. I am privileged to have been able to work with Bill, and to call him my friend. He showed me the value that authenticity has in today’s business world and that achieving success while being true to one’s self was possible. He will be missed.”

Joe Baker.

“2019 ends on a very sad note,” said Joe Baker, dean of hospitality at Centennial College. “My friend and mentor, the legend Bill Pallett has left this world. From the moment I got the opportunity to work at Centennial, Bill was at my side. With strategic advice, encouragement and a wicked sense of humour. He never let life overwhelm him and he never missed a chance to treat every human being ‘with all due respect’. 

“Bill, those you left behind will miss you dearly. But the ones who knew you best will know that you’re just on to your next adventure. See you in the skies, the hotel lobbies, the exquisite bars and restaurants around this world and the next. Be well my friend. Rest easy.”

A Celebration of Bill’s Life will be held on Feb. 10 at the Delta Toronto.