A "Bill to Bill" Meeting with President Clinton

June 10, 2013

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Bill to Bill

One of the benefits of being an old guy and living in Washington, D.C., is that I have had the privilege of meeting almost every U.S. President since Eisenhower.  Each is a remarkable leader in their own way, right for their times, endorsed through election by the American people.

Last week in Orlando, Florida, former President Bill Clinton addressed the general managers of our 2,700 select service hotels, brands which you are all acquainted with.  His keynote address focused on Marriott's core value to Serve Our World.

Perhaps no U.S. President has done more to Serve the World in the decade since he left the White House.  President Clinton has focused on response and resilience after tsunamis in East Asia, Hurricane Katrina and the devastating earthquake in Haiti.  Using his powerful personal brand and charisma, he has supported programs addressing HIV-AIDS in Africa, climate change and the environment, and empowering women and girls around the world.

Watching him speak to our general managers, for one hour without any notes, shows the power of curiosity when combined with a brilliant mind and a passion for improving the state of the world.

Backstage, we talked about the Marriott culture and how our company has been focused on serving the communities where we do business for more than 86 years, ever since my parents founded the company in 1927.  While I may not agree with President Clinton on all of his political issues, I salute his commitment to creating the change he wants to see for a better world.

When I asked him what he thought America’s challenges were, he said, “The people in Washington need to approach legislation with an open hand and not a clenched fist.”  He said, “As soon as both parties each learn to give a little, we will begin to see things get done and the country will move ahead.”  I thought that was sound advice for anybody trying to get things done, whether it’s in business or in government.

I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.

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Bill, I cannot agree more that compromise and give and take on issues is key to getting things done. Taking a party line on every issue and saying black when your opponent says white helps no one. We have complicated issues in our country that are being made even harder by each party digging in their heels. True give and take and talking about the issues and coming up with a solution has been lost in our federal government.

i been working for marrott for five years and i love ever bit thanks marriott

Dear Mr. Marriott

Our heartfelt condolences to you, your wife and family on your son Stephan's passing. We were truly moved by your letter and my staff and I want you to know you are all in our prayers. He sounded like an extraordinary human being and is in a far better place now without suffering.

Stay strong.

Lori Ann Hamilton
and the entire staff at The Fairfield Inn Syosset

Tolerance and respect for each other's opinions - in spite of their differences. Its no wonder these two individuals have accomplished so much and continue to inspire us.

thank you very much for you sapport in alot marriott new ways

As a long-standing, loyal MARRIOTT advocate, I was delighted to read about this meeting. I am very respectful of former Pres. Clinton's range and depth of knowledge and am in awe of his ability to speak with accuracy and passsion in nearly every situation. How wonderful to know that Bill and Bill were sharing ideas about common matters and issues.

President Clinton is a great speaker. That's very fortunate that he was able to speak with the Marriott GM's.

And what a privilage it was to be one of the 2700 General Managers who attended the conference in Florida - witnessing not only these 2 iconic leaders in the same room but also Indra Nooyi and Arne Sorenson too!! An experience I shall never forget and will forever be thankful for. So proud to be part of Marriott and our Spirit to Serve the World.

A really remarkable good advise. Perhaps the only to progress and get things done. Thanks for sharing to both Bills.

Bill Clinton is a remarkable person, and so is Bill Marriott. thnks for your blogs of wisdom.

Raj Bhatia
CEO, United Hospitzality

I like the photo - two respected leaders

I was so pleased to see this posting. I have for very long been a supporter and advocate of the MARRIOTT brand. I am also highly respectful of former Pres. Clinton's remarkable talent for speaking about nearly anything knowledgeably and accurately without notes, his attempts to garner world peace, and his talent for melding the ideal with the possible. I am in awe of the possiblilities of Bill Marriott and Bill Clinton joining efforts.

I agree with President Clinton that "The people in Washington need to approach legislation with an open hand and not a clenched fist.” And I think Congress could benefit from lessons learned and taught by Bill Marriott and his team. Perhaps this could help loosen the "clenched fists."

Thanks Bill for sharing this. The Two Bills have done a lot for people around the world.