Hiring for Character

October 24, 2016
Bridges - JWM blog
My brother, Richard Marriott, with Los Angeles Youth Achievement honoree, Henry Aguiluz, employed for more than one year at the JW Marriott LA Live.

Before my dad opened the first Marriott hotel in 1957, he had already spent decades building and growing the restaurants and airline catering business that were the forerunners of what today is Marriott International. He needed good employees who would be loyal, friendly, hardworking, and dedicated, all attributes that were as important back then as they are today. He didn’t necessarily hire for experience. He hired for character. In fact, one of his 12 rules for success was “It's more important to hire people with the right qualities than with specific experience.”

That’s why I think he would be so proud of the many legacies he made possible, especially the Marriott Foundation for People with Disabilities and its Bridges from School to Work program. For more than 25 years, Bridges has set the standard for school-to-work transition for young adults with disabilities, intervening with more than 21,000 youth in nine major cities at the critical juncture between high school and young adulthood. My brother, Richard, is the chairman of the Marriott Foundation for People with Disabilities and its Bridges program.

Each fall, timed to coincide in October with Disability Employment Awareness Month, my brother travels around the country presenting awards to exemplary Bridges youth. And each year he tells me how much he is struck by their character, heart, and humility—and by their deep appreciation for the opportunity to have a job, to help their families, and to build a future. Equally remarkable is that many of these young people are not only getting their first jobs through Bridges, but in many cases their second, and in some cases, their third.

Take for example Henry in Los Angeles, now employed as a banquet set-up aide at the JW Marriott LA Live. His first Bridges job came as a courtesy clerk at a Ralph’s grocery store, where he did such a fine job that he was featured in the company’s employee newsletter. During Henry’s moment in the limelight receiving a Bridges Achievement Award from my brother, Henry shared his moment of glory with his mother and presented her with a bouquet of flowers.

And there’s Jonathan in Dallas, now working two jobs, one at the Dallas Marriott City Center, whose managers are asking for more referrals just like him. And Tim in Atlanta, working at the Marriott Marquis since September 2013, where he has been promoted to a lead banquet aide. His outstanding contributions have paved the way for the hotel to hire nine more Bridges youth. And while the focus of Bridges is not necessarily on training and placing young adults in hospitality careers, we are delighted when fine young people like these find rewarding job opportunities in our hotels. 

These young people—and the thousands who came before and the thousands who will come after—exemplify the qualities that my dad held dear. All of them are young men and women of character with their sights on the future. What better way to celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and what better way to honor my dad, than to celebrate the abilities of Bridges participants, both those working for Marriott, and those working with countless other businesses. My dad would be proud. And so am I.

I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for keeping Marriott on the move.


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I am thankful that I work at Marriott. The company which makes living on Earth a much happier place for everyone.

WOW.... We still remain and will always be the best hotel company to work for. Marriott leaves no stone unturned. Am thankful for being part of the team

I am proud of what Marriott is doing. Not only with the Bridges program but the community outreach as a whole. This company truly does give back and that makes me proud to work for the Marriott Corporation.

This is a goodwill to humanity and will be forever appreciated in the heart of the beneficiaries

Reading about the Hiring For Character - National Disability Employment Awareness Month, my heart leapt and I feel real proud that SW has become part of the Marriott Family. I hope not to be disappointed because my dream is that my Country Nigeria would truly experience the presence/arrival of the Marriott Group not just in buildings but also in the moral boost of every now Marriott Employee who I am hoping and praying would experience what it truly is to be in the employment/under the umbrella of a World Best Employer in terms of justice fairness and opportunities. Personally I hope and pray that I would have the singular opportunity to shake your hands sir in a thank you gesture for equal opportunities given to all that proudly bear the Name MARRRIOTT irrespective of where we are within the Continents. May your strength continually be renewed Mr. Bill Marriott and may you and your brother Mr. Richard Marriott and your entire team remain YOUNG and YOUTHFUL.

Excellent story and keeping good memorable life time experience.
and motivation young men & woman.

I absolutely could not be more proud to be a young professional in the Marriott world. As a Marriott fan since the age of four, I was thrilled when I went into the Voyage program for Food and Beverage in December of 2014 after graduation from University. In an unexpected and amazing situation, I was placed temporarily in Sales assisting where I was needed, and found my true calling selling weddings for Marriott. I was discovered by leaders who realized that I fit Mr. Marriott's rule to success “It's more important to hire people with the right qualities than with specific experience.” I am now a Catering Sales Executive for an amazing property living my incredible dream come true - just two years later! Thank you Marriott for allowing me this opportunity that led to a professional life I truly enjoy each and every day!

IHAVE BEEN WITH MARRIOTT FOR OVER 15YRS I HAVE HAD MY UPS AND DOWNS.I CAN SAY MARRIOTT IS THE MOST FLEXIBLE JOBS U CAN HAVE.
THUMBS UP FOR MARRIOTT.

Wonderful! And fully agree that hiring character is more important than experience!!

Please keep the stories coming!