Serving Opportunity in New Orleans

July 11, 2011

 

Listen to my blog

One of my favorite days of the year is Marriott’s worldwide day of volunteerism known as “Spirit to Serve Our Communities Day.” 

Spirit to Serve Day

I like to help out, especially in the kitchen.  So this year, I visited the Universities at Shady Grove campus in Maryland to talk to its hospitality students about our industry.  Together we prepared meals for those in need.


One of the most important messages I shared was our company’s guiding principle called “Spirit to Serve.”  “Spirit to Serve” is not only about helping our guests, but it reaches out to the community through volunteerism.  On this special day, I learned all about Café Reconcile. It’s a non-profit restaurant, located in the severely distressed Central City neighborhood of New Orleans, one of my very favorite cities.  It serves as a training ground for ambitious students who want a career in the food service industry.  This program is a recipe for improving one’s life skills.  An important part of that recipe is learning how to cook-up some of the best Po Boys and gumbo in all of New Orleans.  

Our Ritz-Carlton New Orleans associates learned about Café Reconcile a few years ago and started to volunteer on their days off.

Today, The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans has made Café Reconcile a volunteer partner.  Through the hotel’s Community Footprints program, it provides financial and in-kind donations.  But that’s not all.  Students visit the hotel for cooking demonstrations, mentoring and internships.  It’s hands-on experience in one of the top kitchens in the country.  But the partnership with Café Reconcile doesn’t stop there.  Many recent graduates who interned in our kitchen are now working full time. 

Whether at Café Reconcile New Orleans or Universities at Shady Grove in Maryland, it’s all about building stronger communities. 

Whitney in 2nd grade violin class

One quick footnote on New Orleans:  we’re issuing our Katrina Disaster Relief Report.  In the first five years after the hurricane struck, we contributed six million dollars and hundreds of volunteer hours.  So, check out the report and find out more about our efforts to rebuild New Orleans. 

I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the Move.

 

Katrina Disaster Relief Report

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Our stay at the Marriott in ATL/Buckhead was made a MOST memorable visit by the OUTSTANDING and Very IMPRESSIVE level of customer service and care offered by the entire staff but most notably -Mr. Quintin McAllister . Beyond charming and articulate , this young man offered us an 'insider's' guide to the best spots in town. We followed his suggestions and were not ever disappointed. This young man is a STAR among a staff of courteous and pleasant folks. Not even my country cousins who have lived in ATL for at least 20 years were able to guide as smoothly from our shoping to the best food in town. I was the envy of my fellow travelers as I recounted my delectable and affordable meals as well as world class shopping - on a dime ! Please express our deepest appreciation to Mr. McAllister and the desk clerk , Melvin . The staff at this site make every EFFORT TO ASSURE comfort and care. This will be the destination and meeting place for me and my family as long as these standards are maintained. A great vacation - THANK YOU !

Posted By: Sunil Gandhi (07/25/2011 at 09:18 AM)

Nice to see my above-mentioned post of 07/25/2011 at 09:18 AM published on the blog .

Hope Mr.Bill Marriott has gone through it and I hope needful action as desirable by him shall be initiated for the benefit of other associates .

Will appreciate learning of same, if he so desires .

Our good wishes and gratitude again to the Marriott family .

Kind Regards,
Sunil Gandhi

Dear Mr Marriott,

I have been proud to call myself a Marriott Platinum guy for a very long time. In fact I take pride every year when I achieve that status. I spend 80 - 100 nights a year at marriott properties and have your marriott credit card, primarily because I feel there is value in the points I accumulate. But over the last few years, I have found it harder and harder to get the value from these points. In the last 18 months I have tried to book vacation club properties, and have encountered black out dates, I have tried to book hotel rooms in philadelphia and have been told no availability, when I later found out there was, and in the last three months I have tried to use your "free nights" you give me, but because they are cat 1-4 a courtyard does not qualify? The latest issue revolves around banking my points for roughly three years, to fly my wife and I to hawaii. I would have to transfer points to a frequent flyer number but that seemed simple and straight forward. It wasn't! I tried to book just my wife a first class ticket through Delta airlines (157,000) miles to find out that would equal 375,000 Marriott points.

This broke the camels back. 375,000 points! This sounded like lunacy and at the same time it showed how little value the points in your progam are worth. Essentially they are worth about .30 on the dollar. I never took the time to figure it out, but that is what they are worth.

So I have made the decision to cut up my Marriott credit card, purchase what i can with these point from the sky miles program, quit your program and never stay at a marriott again.

This program is not user friendly, nor does it hold much value.

I have decided tonight will be my last night in a marriott.

Not sure you care , but I thougth you should know you have lost one of your platinum guys!

Respectfully
Kevin

consider men like you born to build the human community ! was a happy moment in Nov'09 when our son was selected to be a Mgt Trainee with your esteemed organization, and happier occasion when he took off from home in Aug'10 to join the workforce . had phenomenal experience and growth in less than a year having joined the largest property in this part of the globe in its pre-opening stage . was commended by the mgt for his untiring efforts when hotel finally opened in Nov'10 . Am in a great dilemma, if I call today the happiest or saddest day when it was his last working day, being a victim of adamant and obstinate behaviour of none other than a HR head when they ought to be pragmatic, pro-active, compassionate at least providing a patient hearing and comfort to an area of request he made but was bluntly turned off leaving him distressed and cheated . Also, today he learnt of a commendation to serve has been served to him which carries your signatures . Guess this is not a father's grievance or ire, but a professionals open heart talk to you to apprise you of the ground situation . Hope we all need to function at both 30000 feet and 3 feet levels simultaneously . Did not wish to put this earlier so that it may not be misconstrued as a request to retain him . But today as he moved out of the organization he was performing so well with all hardwork, sincerity and dedication and wished to continue for times to come, I felt its time to apprise you of a ground reality quite contrary to Marriott's mgt philosophy and culture especially for associates which makes such a good and fulfilling reading and hope for our children's future, but alas some at the helm of affairs cannot come to terms with aspirations and forthrightness of young 22+ generation . Have just written whatever came to my heart rightaway, and am not sure if you will have the time to see and go through it and perhaps do something to know this and save many other associates from such prejudices of some close-minded individuals at the helm of affairs . My best regards and best wishes to you and the entire Marriott family . Goodbye....

please add to the manager's comment 'high volumes' thank you.

Great site very interesting thank you…cheers Peter

Start treating the Elite Members better and the Business will grow.

Thanks for all that you do. From all of us At Universities at Shady Grove. I was very happy to see that you remembered Cafe Reconcile.
Michael Priddy Past President Board of Advisors USG

Hello,
Just wanted to thank you for taking such wonderful care of autistic people and their needs in your hotels.
www.autisticglobetrotting.com

I can't find a way to compliment your employees on the site, so I'll post my comment here. A platinum desk employee named Doris just provided superb service. I had tried to book two vacations in two different continents six months apart (London and Sydney). I tried booking online and was informed that there no rooms available for points at the hotels I had selected. I called the platinum desk to let off steam, with zero expectations of accomplishing anything, and encountered Doris. She listened, said to let her try, and minutes later I had the nights and hotels I wanted in both cities. I had over half a million points built up and without Doris the chances that I would devote any future efforts to building up Marriott points was approximately zero. You have an excellent employee in Doris.

I can't find a way to compliment your employees on the site, so I'll post my comment here. A platinum desk employee named Doris just provided superb service. I had tried to book two vacations in two different continents six months apart (London and Sydney). I tried booking online and was informed that there no rooms available for points at the hotels I had selected. I called the platinum desk to let off steam, with zero expectations of accomplishing anything, and encountered Doris. She listened, said to let her try, and minutes later I had the nights and hotels I wanted in both cities. I had over half a million points built up and without Doris the chances that I would devote any future efforts to building up Marriott points was approximately zero. You have an excellent employee in Doris.

Bill - Bravo to you and the Ritz Carlton New Orleans staff for demonstrating Marriott's heart and commitment to the communities it operates in.

Your folks are fantastic! As a long time, many time Marriott guest, please keep it that way.

This is very good news. Having the Ritz-Carlton helping the community will be very beneficial. It is very inspirational for me personally and for businesses. I hope other companies will follow suit. There is so much good that can be done.