Climbing Up Marriott's Ranks

January 6, 2011

Erika Alexander with Bill Marriott I was recently in Atlanta to visit our hotels and hold a town hall meeting with our associates, including two very interesting and successful women.  I’d like to share their stories with you because their journeys up the ranks of our company are great examples of where hard work and determination can take you.

First I want to tell you about Erika Alexander.  She began her career as a sales manager for a Residence Inn in Herndon, Virginia in 1989.  She worked her way up to become a general manager, and was contacted by the Residence Inn brand leader at the time and asked to join the brand team at our headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland.  Erika gained great experience working on this team and was soon tasked with helping Marriott launch a new brand, TownePlace Suites.  Since then, she has held many positions in a variety of different locations and disciplines, making her an extremely well-rounded, experienced and knowledgeable contributor to our company.  Today she serves as the area vice president for 21 of our full service hotels in the southern region of the United States.

Erica Qualls and Bill Marriott Erica Qualls began her career with Marriott on the opposite side of the country as a phone operator at the Santa Clara Marriott in California in 1993.  She only planned to work part time in order to help her husband support their family of four children, but she fell in love with her job and the industry and made it full time.  She moved around to different departments including human resources, finance and operations, and worked for several brands.  Today, she is the general manager of the third largest Marriott 3, hotel, the 1,500 room Atlanta Marriott Marquis.  We have 3,500 hotels, so she’s really up there.

When I was together with both of these women, Erica Qualls, who spells her name with a  “c,” told Erika Alexander, who spells her name with a “k,” that Erica ending with “-ca” was the correct spelling of their first names, otherwise America would be spelled with a “k.”

Both of these women have incredible success stories and should serve as an example to others just beginning their careers with Marriott or any other company.  Working hard, trying new things and gaining as much experience as possible are all essential to growing both personally and professionally.

I congratulate Erika and Erica on their tremendous achievements and thank them for their great contributions.

I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.Climbing Up Marriotts Ranks

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My previous blog was removed and I never received a response either.... climbing the ranks is not so easy...politics, favoritism can be found all over the place, graduates are favored over employees serving from years. You get a position or promotion because of whom you know, most of the vacancies are fixed in advance, imagine you working for 5 years training numerous graduate trainees but when opportunity arrives you are not considered fit or reasonable for promotion. Who gets the job the trainee whom you trained. The poor employees who are not graduates are regarded as 3rd class citizens no one can even put their voice up and the management doesn't want to listen. Reviews are only formality getting filed away. There is no specific real plan for a normal employee to excel up the ranks he needs to train in his own hours apply for jobs and get rejected. Where as the trainees get opportunity to train in all the departments and have a specific vacancy created for them and then they are posted in that position. I just cant go on on on about it

Mr. Marriott,
I applaud you for recognizing and congratulating these two great women. Both Erika and Erica are wonderful representation of the Marriott. I have worked as an intern at the Magnificent Marriott Atlanta Marquis in the Event Management department and got the opportunity to work with these incredible women; they are such an inspiration in my life. Both women were extremely supportive to me while I was there. I am honored to have had the opportunity to work with them.

Outstanding, Congratulations to both. A great step to follow for anyone who thinks or feels that they can not move up in a company after working hard. This is only the beginning as marriott has so many outstanding employees, with great potential with in thier organization.

Congratulations to both Erika and Erica. Erika Alexander is my cousin. Words cannot express how proud I am of her and all of her accomplishments. She is a wonderful family oriented and dynamic young woman and I appreciate Mr. Marriott for recognizing her potential. May she continue to succeed and keep moving up in your organization. Love you cuz.

Dear Mr Marriott, As a UK reward and vacation club member, I am very disappointed that we are not able to benefit from some of the 'specials' that US residents can get. Particularly, are you aware that there is no UK Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card. This is very unfair as it means that I can only every get 1 point for each £1 I spend. This is not as much as US people who get 1 reward point for each $1 they spend. Furthermore, the Premier card pays 2 points for every $ spent and 5 points per $ spend on Marriott stays where I only get 2 per £. I think it is time you redressed the balance and treated your overseas members as well as your US ones.

Mr.Bill,
I have been a Marriott Reward Memeber for a very long time and I think its GREAT that you have these small blogs and stories of success among ALL of your employees. I am an RN at a "#1" hospital and its like a family to me and always wondered how corporate world viewed their employees who did the "back-labor". Thanks again for the wonderful stories. You and your staff members have my utmost respect.
Farzana

Speaking of Atlanta - huge kudos to the whole team at the Marriott Alpharetta during this winter storm. Our company has a group of 100+ people here for our sales kickoff meeting. Despite impassible roads, staff not able to get home at night, lack of delivery truck access, the staff here has kept us warm, fed, and has gone above and beyond to make our stay the best it can be under very trying circumstances. We really appreciate their extra effort during this challenging time.

Kudos Ladies!!!

Great job, ladies!

Mr. Bill Marriott
I think for "Erika"and "Erica" is ultimately for making a dream come true, to be by your side for this photo. This is a very nice of you. With this only demonstrates that the gratitude that we have with people who in one way or another helps us in our lifes. My congratulations.
And to Erika, who remains so, is certainly an example for their colleagues and to many others, students and lovers of simple hospitality.
For me as a student, is an extra motivation.
Thank you for this moment.

Hello Mr. Marriott,
I really enjoy reading your blog. Speaking of gaining as much experience as possible, I would like to know how I can gain experience teaching students at the hospitality school you founded in DC. Can you direct me to the correct person for this experience?
Thank you for blogging about your travels, and for highlighting the wonderful experiences and talents associates contribute to Marriott teams throughout the world.
Best,
Julie Halstead

Hello Mr. Marriott, My name is William Coles. I love your story and how you have serve many people across the world. It has inspired me to become a entrepreneur. I want to serve my community to so I have form a foundation; How To Win Foundation. To help inner youth become entrepreneurs. I would love to speak with you considering your hotel in Brooklyn, NY near the Brooklyn Bridge. I would love to use your meeting space, to conduct business with my teens. Thank you so much for your commitment. Here is my contact info. williamhcoles@gmail.com and cell ***-***-****.

God Bless
William H. Coles

My sister, niece and I stayed at the Marriott -Burbank on Empire from Thurs-Sun. last week. We were in from Houston for the Rose Bowl Parade. We thought the staff was great, in particular Steven, who managed the restaurant. The housekeeping was great, beds comfortable. Congratulations Burbank Marriott - enjoyed our stay with you.

Congratulation to Erika
I am proud to be a friend of her parents. Congratulations to both of these women

I LOVE these stories! Keep 'em coming!

What tremendous role models these women are. Not onlyl for women in general but especially for young minority women.

They show how any job can be a stepping stone to something must larger.

They are shining examples of how determination, ambition, and hard work will help you to be successful in all walks of life.

I'm also proud to work for a company that looks at all employees equally so everyone has a chance at success!

Thank you, Mr. Marriott, for sharing their stories with us.

Cogratulations to both Erika with a "K" and Erica with a "C". Erika Alexander is my cousin and not only is she a wonderful employee, she is also a wonderful member of our family. May I also add that she is as beautiful on the inside as she is beautiful on the outside. We are very proud of her accomplishments and wish her much success in the future.
Way to go Ladies and Thanks to Mr. Bill Marriott for giving them the opportunity to be the success that they have become today. CONGRATULATIONS ERIKA WITH A "K" AND ERICA WITH A "C"

MR. MARRIOTT:

MY FIRST STAY IN A MARRIOTT WAS AT THE ORIGINAL ATLANTA MARRIOTT AT CAIN AND COURTLAND IN THE EARLY 70'S. THE HOTEL HAS BEEN REFLAGGED AT LEAST ONCE AND ONE OF THE STREET NAMES HAVE CHANGED, BUT MY FIRST TASTE OF MARRIOTT HOSPITALITY CREATED AN ALMOST 40 YEAR RELATIONSHIP. FROM THE GENTLEMAN WITH THE FEATHER-TOPPED HAT WHO GREETED ME WARMLY AT THE FRONT DOOR (AND REMEMBERED MY NAME THE NEXT TRIP) TO THE WAIT PERSON WHO GREETED ME EACH MORNING FOR BREAKFAST, IT WAS BEST HOSPITALITY EXPERIENCE I HAVE EVER HAD!

Mr. Marriott:

Congratulations on commending Erika Alexander and Erica Qualls. Their success stories are great, especially coming from the Chairman and CEO. The power of mentorship is a great and an invaluable tool in navigation through the corporate ladder. Mr. Marriott, it would be interesting to be further edified as to how both Erika and Erica trailblazing successes lend in assisting other women in their navigation of the corporate ladder which has its own intricacies. Hence the reason I found Nancy’s Pelosi book, “Know Thy Power: A message to America’s Daughter” very fascination and very good for young women who are new to the realm of the corporate ladder. It further reinforces Gladwell’s: “Outliers” both I had to purchase it for Terica. Also why “Lion In the White House: A Life of Theodore Roosevelt” by Aida Mc Donald is one of the number one for me.


Thanks again for sharing in the spirit of diversity as you keep “Marriott on the Move.”

Congratulations Erika and Erica! Both of you are awsome! Keep up the great work!