The big 8-0. So, how does it really feel? A lot like turning 79. But obviously there’s more significance to eighty. These “zero” birthdays are tough. But once the celebrations die down, I’ll be retired as CEO and entering a new phase of my life.
Below is a video from a suprise birthday party from my extended family of 1300 GM's and associates. I was barely able to hold it together. Take a look.
I do want to share highlights from my birthday party at the JW Marriott Camelback Inn Resort & Spa:
The best part -- I was surrounded by family and every year the family gets bigger. When the photo was taken, we had 39 people in the picture -- 15 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren. The newest arrival is Donna Rae who was named for my wife, Donna. She was thrilled to have this new little girl enter our family named for her.
I had a great big birthday cake. It was a lemon chiffon angel food cake with icing shaped like daffodils. It may not be what you'd imagined from someone who drives fast cars, but it’s really delicious, especially the ice cream.
A highlight this year was the surprise birthday card I received from Marriott Rewards Insiders. Your warm and thoughtful messages are very much appreciated!
As everyone sang happy birthday, I looked at all the faces and couldn’t help but think of my parents. In 1927, when they drove from Utah to Washington, D.C., they never imagined what they had started. Not only did they start a business – the Hot Shoppes restaurants – they started an amazing family.
I’m not a reflective person. I’m always looking ahead. I’m also very impatient. This is sort of becoming a curse, I guess. But these days, I’m looking in the rearview mirror some more and I think I've done OK. I’ve tried to hand down the lessons my parents taught me. All four of our children started out working for Marriott when they were teenagers. They learned to really work hard. My dad taught all of us the value of work. I hope it’s passed on to the grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
So what's ahead? Much of the same except I no longer have to attend six-hour meetings. I don’t play golf so I’m going to do many of the things I’ve always done like visiting hotels and working with our executives as Marriott continues to expand around the globe. My wife, Donna, has told me many times that she “didn’t marry me for lunch.” So, I’m going to be busy and active away from the house.
I am an 80 year old who will still enjoy lunch at the office and I'll do my very best to keep this great company that has been my life’s vocation and avocation on the move.
This is Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.