With reindeer antlers in abundance, SkyLink held its Annual Holiday Dinner Event at Bar Milano on Dec. 12. Eighty staff, suppliers, media and honoured guests gathered to celebrate a successful year over dinner and drinks - and to take pictures wearing the most festive of hats.
“It’s our yearly event to thank our team,” said Yuvraj Datta, president, SkyLink. “And also to say thanks to our suppliers as well as they are part and parcel in it. This year was one of the busiest in SkyLink history.”
“We had a terrific year, both at SkyLink and across all the Mondee properties,” said Mitch Gross, CEO, Mondee. “And it’s all on the shoulders of great people. The SkyLink team has delivered beyond every expectation.”
Gross mentioned some technological advancements that served growth this year. “We launched a new platform on the ticketing and QC side that puts us leaps and bounds ahead of anything that’s been done. We check over 800 business elements automatically. So big quality leaps.”
“We have seen many ups and downs and the most important thing we’ve learned over the years is to keep your costs in control and have your focus on the business model,” said Datta. “As long as you maintain the balance, you’re a winner. And that’s what we’re doing.”
Gross said his hopes for the next year were more of the same continued growth to come. “We’re all here to support the expansion of our partner airlines. We’ll also continue to build our technology and all on the backbone of great service.”
The event also marked the retirement of Surjit Babra, founder and chairman/CEO, SkyLink, whose family was present at the event.
“This is a bittersweet night because we do see the legendary Surjit moving on to the next chapter to be written in his amazing story,” said Gross. Gross then said that while Babra will not be in their office daily, his presence and influence lives on in the success and creativity of the business he created.
“Surjit picked me up, he put me in various departments in this company,” said Datta. “Surjit, where I am today is because of you. And I promise you whenever you look to SkyLink, we’ll make you proud.”
“There is no sadness here. We’re going on different paths but we’re here to celebrate life,” said Babra.
Babra told of his journey of starting his business with only one employee.
“Today I have fulfilled my promise. When I started out, I had challenges. Somebody told me I couldn’t succeed because I was not only a physical minority but a double whammy with a turban on my head,” said Babra. “And I told them it’s not what’s on the outside. It’s what’s on the inside - what’s the fire in the belly that’s going to succeed. And I promised myself I would create a company that people could be proud of. And today as I exit SkyLink, I think I’ve kept that promise to myself.”
Barbra also noted he did not build a company - he built people. “My fuel and fire comes from my family and this family at SkyLink.”
Babra mentioned how this was the start of exciting new plans for his life, including building entrepreneurship skills in children and continuing his work with the SkyLink Children’s Foundation. “I have a lot more in my life than SkyLink so watch me,” said Babra. “There’s still a lot of fire in my belly.”
“People asked me why I was leaving when the company was at the top,” said Babra. “People usually leave when the ship is sinking, not when it’s charting new waters. So I came up with a small song.” Babra then requested all in the room hold hands and listen as John Denver’s “I Want To Live” blared from the speakers. Employees and suppliers then presented Babra with tokens of thanks for his dedication and exceptional leadership.
For more information on SkyLink, visit www.skylinkcanada.com.
PHOTO: Niraj Gandhi, general accountant, SkyLink; Sandeep Mamgain, director sales, SkyLink; Mitch Gross, CEO, Mondee; Yuvraj Datta, president, SkyLink.