Excerpt from Forbes
At first blush Marriott International’s annual corporate awards ceremony looks the part. Eight hundred people crammed into a hotel ballroom, just 2 miles from headquarters. Eighty-one-year-old Chairman John Willard 'Bill' Marriott Jr. lording over the festivities, with Arne Sorenson, the new chief executive officer, sitting across the aisle. Top brass in from as far away as Hong Kong seated cheek by jowl with a dozen Marriott family members.
Videos cue up the ten people who are about to get an award. But rather than the expected tributes to top-earning salespeople or retiring board members, attendees are introduced to the likes of Richard Rivera, a hotel doorman from Cleveland’s Marriott Downtown, who’s nicknamed the “name-dropper” because he seems to know the name of every guest in his 385-room hotel and the regulars who walk by. A breakfast “ambassador” named Jinney Byrne from the Fairfield Inn & Suites in Temple Terrace, Fla., who despite rheumatoid arthritis often delivers morning meals–and prayers–to her numerous guests visiting a nearby cancer care center. Phyllis Hill Johnson, the senior director of franchise services, talks about how landing a job as front-desk clerk at the Charlottesville Marriott 21 years ago lifted her out of abject poverty. “I am here because the people at Marriott have believed in me,” she says, tears flowing, as the audience wells up simultaneously.
After the last award Bill Marriott welcomes them to the family: “All of you are Marriotts.”
Logos, product and company names mentioned are the property of their respective owners.