Hi, my name is Valerie McSwain, I am a concierge at the Washington Marriott, and here today, I am guest blogging for Mr. Marriott.
Before I came to Marriott about 11 years ago, I was on welfare; and at that particular time, I knew that that wasn't enough to take care of my family. So, they had a program called the Pathways program, which was a program to help families get off welfare and to become employed. I truly thank God for the Pathways program because it truly led me to a life of freedom, job opportunities, better education like never before and it's truly been a blessing to my family.
When I first started with Marriott, my first job here was at the front desk. But, at that time I was computer illiterate, so I moved on to the restaurant - I was a hostess in the restaurant. Then from there, I did room service - as well as room service operator - and my wonderful General Manager - that we had before - noticed my personality and he came to me one day and said, "Valerie, I want you in the concierge lounge because I feel like you can make a difference." And, I've been in the concierge lounge ever since and it's truly been a blessing to me because I enjoy people from all nationalities and all cultures. I enjoy my job. I enjoy making people happy. And if I can just see a smile on someone's face, it makes me happy. It's not just a job to me.
It made a huge difference in my life, as well as my family's life, because I didn't have a car, for one, and working at the Marriott, I was able to buy a car. And I was able to help put my kids through school - I have two sons who go to Morgan State University, one is in his senior year of college, the other is in his first, and I have a daughter who just graduated with her Master's degree. So being employed at the Washington Marriott has truly helped me to take better care of my family.
My future ambition is to write a book - to tell the beautiful ladies and children out there, "You can make it!" In spite of the obstacles in your life, in spite of what you have gone through, just hold your head above the water. I pray to write a book so I can tell my story. I just want to share with the people out there that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. There are job opportunities and there's better education out there for your children, and if I did it, you can do it too.
Marriott's got it going on! It's keeping me on the move - I'm never going to stop. I'm going to keep loving and keep laughing. We're going to grow together, we are team players and we are truly a wonderful family.