The travel industry this week mourned the passing of Pallavi Shah, someone so many called "Auntie," for her caring nature and professional approach to helping others succeed.
In her professional life, Shah was president and CEO of Our Personal Guest (OPG) in New York.
Prior to starting OPG, she worked for Air India in New York for 27 years, as director of special marketing, hosting special events for the public and media at museums, department stores and corporations, creating "one of a kind" cultural promotions and publicity events to highlight the airline's destinations.
In 1989, she founded Our Personal Guest, a company specializing in high-end customized travel to Europe, Asia and Latin America, working wholesale with the retail travel agent community.
But more importantly, Shah was known for her caring nature, mentoring travel agents and even introducing future spouses to each other.
Michael Holtz, founder and head of SmartFlyer in New York, in a letter told his team Shah "will certainly be missed by the entire world, and the luxury travel industry specifically."
"I will be forever grateful to her for her good intentions and the wealth of knowledge that she shared with me and everyone around her," he wrote.
Lola West, co-founder and partner of WestFuller Advisors, a boutique investment advisory firm in New York, wrote on Facebook how she met Shah on a trip to India. "She made the trip an extraordinary experience. She was loved by the people in every restaurant, hotel, store we entered."
Maxine Albert said Shah "dazzled all in her inimitable style when she introduced me to the treasures of India."
Michelle Finkelstein Murre talked about how Pallavi had been her mentor when she worked for her at OPG for five years; "she taught me everything she knew about the travel industry, running your own business and how to succeed."
In fact, Shah introduced Finkelstein to her future husband, Roderick Murre, who had just begun working at a Paris hotel. (The two eventually started their own luxury travel company, Azurine.)
Finkelstein recounted how Shah "promptly emailed me saying I must add him" to a site visit she had scheduled soon after Shah met Murre at a trade show in Marrakech. "The rest is history," Finkelstein said, including the birth of their daughter Amelie, who also saw Shah as "Auntie."