Siu Lam has worked for Marriott at the Boston Marriott Copley Place hotel for 22 years. Her first nine years at the hotel were as a housekeeper making up 15-plus rooms per day. Her last 13 have been spent as a senior housekeeper, supporting, deep cleaning, inspecting and covering any extra unassigned rooms.
Siu Lam came to Boston from Hong Kong to be with her husband’s family. She had two children along with her, ages 6 and 11, and she spoke no English as they arrived at their in-laws’ home. Once she got to Boston, she set out to find a job that would allow her to provide for her family. With little professional training and zero language skills, the task seemed almost impossible.
Her friend, Mei Z, also from China, suggested that Siu Lam apply at her company, Marriott, where a housekeeping position was available. Mei Z acted as a translator for the interview. The interviewer said that Siu Lam was not ready, and suggested that she should take English classes for a month and come back again. Sure enough, a month later, after several free English lessons at her local church, Siu Lam returned an interview with more confidence. She claims that her English was really awful, but she did enough to get a job.
Over the last 22 years, Siu Lam has seen Marriott as a “great provider” to her family. She talks about her children as great success stories that have flourished because of the stability and opportunity that Marriott provided. Like many other hard working associates, Siu Lam has dedicated herself and her earnings to her family, and the outcomes have been truly remarkable. Her oldest son, for example, grew up in the Boston public school system. He learned a combination of perfect English, Cantonese and Mandarin. He excelled in high school and earned a spot at the University of Massachusetts, where he studied economics and finance. Recently, he received a major promotion to a high position with the Hong Kong office of State Street, a leading provider of global financial services.
According to Siu Lam, “Marriott give you a chance; all we hoped for was a chance.” She continues, “I clean the toilets and the bathrooms, we all do, and we are happy to do it, because in return Marriott gives my children a car, a college education, a job, a house and a life that we wouldn’t have otherwise.” A few years ago, through diligent saving and smartly investing in her 401k, Siu Lam was able to purchase her very own city apartment in Boston. She has also returned to school with Marriott’s back-to-school refund program. And, as her kids grew in English proficiency, so did Siu Lam. She now acts as translator to those searching for new talented associates.
As a company, we at Marriott pride ourselves as opening the doors of opportunity for all our associates. I’m very proud of Siu and many others in the Housekeeping Department at our Boston Copley hotel who have shared their stories of accomplishment.
I’m Bill Marriott and thank you for helping me keep Marriott on the move.