My family has lived the American Dream. My father started out herding sheep and saw an opportunity and drove cross-country from Utah to Washington, D.C. to open up an A&W Root Beer stand. That was way back in 1927.
Many of us forget where we came from, but not me. I was reminded of all this when I recently received the “Keepers of the American Dream Award” from the National Immigration Forum. The honor is what Marriott is all about: opportunity, no matter where someone is born.
At the awards ceremony, I talked about the fact that 50% of our hotel General Managers started in the hourly ranks. Those are the kind of opportunities our industry offers.
I also talked about Marriott’s language training program called Sed de Saber, which means “thirst for knowledge.” We’ve helped thousands of associates improve their English.
I know it’s more difficult than ever for people to realize the American Dream—whether it’s immigrants or native-born Americans. That’s why I’m hopeful our elected leaders will start making some progress on improving the economy and the job market so they can also start focusing on other important issues like comprehensive immigration reform.
I haven’t forgotten my family’s beginnings. And after accepting this award, I’m going to keep doing everything I can to help others achieve the American Dream and open doors to a world of opportunity for our associates.
I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.