April 19, 2015


Family portrait 1970
New Year's Day, brother Dick and our families with our parents

Family has always been number one in my life. As a father, I made it a point to be home for dinner every night I was in town. Over my career, I arrived at the office at 8:00 a.m. and I was home for dinner at 6:15 p.m. SHARP!

While I traveled a lot during my career, family time over evening meals was a top priority, not to mention an extremely gratifying source of daily fun and support.

Dinner in our home was high-spirited, full of love and laughter. Away from home, I may have been C-E-O, but during precious meal time, I was D-A-D.

When I would get home at night, a beautiful meal would be waiting. The kids would be scrambling around the house trying to do their homework and getting ready for dinner. They always told me about their day -- the teacher they liked the least, the most difficult problem at school, and their favorite friends. It was a wonderful sharing time to get to know the kids. We always had an opening prayer and a blessing on the food, and we had a lot of fun talking about the day and the days ahead.  And, of course, I always did the dishes. Every now and then I'd get my kids to help me. But the dishes were my job.  (Aprons became a favorite gag gift.)

Some say it is really tough to focus on family in today's working world.  I disagree.  It's your decision to make, but I can tell you it's worth keeping family the #1 priority. 

In my Marriott Marquis Washington DC hotel opening speech, I introduced my son David this way: "David runs over one thousand hotels up and down the east coast when he's not raising his three sons and daughter."  Family over work.  It's how our family business has grown, how we keep our associates and why Marriott is recognized as “One of The Best Places to Work.”  Putting family first is good for business.  In fact, if business comes first, you won't be happy for very long.

Let me know how you strike a balance between work and family.  I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.

Listen to the Family First blog

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In the early 1960's I was singing and I went to work with my accompanist before we made a recording (at that time on a record before CDs of course in a town close to Washington D.C. At that same time there was a soprano who was also there to work with him (Robert McCoy). She was Mrs. Marriott. She was a very good soprano and soon after she came to Fairbanks, Alaska, to sing in one of our many events. We sang in the same recital.

Mr. Marriott,

We need a Managed Marriott in McComb, Mississippi. It is right off a major Interstate and a Marriott would be great there. I live 20 miles from McComb and would love to work there. I currently am a Chief Engineer in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and I am driving from Mississippi to Baton Rouge every day. I love working for Marriott and my plans are to continue to work for this awesome company.

Thank you for making my job so enjoyable.

Russ Ritchey, Chief Engineer Courtyard Baton Rouge, Louisiana

No one can imagine how happy i felt while i read the story of the Family MARRIOT ,and the values given to the Familly and work.Indeed it is an amazing story that gave me the impression to submit to a vacany of J.W MARRIOT .Ihave been send my CV several times so as to be accepted in the J.W MARRIOT HOTELS ,but i did not be accepted WHY ?.
I could i wish if J.W MARRIOT can make my hope come true so as to build my carreer with their campany .

As I have gotten older, my family time has become more and more important to me. I take great delight in cooking dinner for my parents every Sunday, my Dad does the dishes, too. Monday night is for my sister and her three boys. It has been great fun having helpers as the two older boys have gotten old enough. They really enjoy baking cookies! Thank you for giving us the encouragement to spend time with our loved ones.

As a Renaissance associate I’ve always heard that family comes first. Six years ago my mother in law, in her 90’s had a series of strokes. My Sister in law stayed with her day and night. When it became obvious that the strain was becoming too much for everyone both my husband and myself asked our respective employers if we could have one week off every other month to relieve his sister as well as Mom (his Mom being the only mother I had ever known).
My Renaissance family not only gave me permission they encouraged it. My fellow assistants were included in the decision, they both stepped up and gave me to understand that I was to take care of my family and they would take care of our guests. My husband was allowed to do his part as well but under protest from his employer, he was chastised and belittled every other month.
This arrangement went on for 4 year. Every other month I would be gone for a week. I was 250 miles away from Nashville with a tiny little lady who I loved very much. I had total focus on her and her needs because this company really means it when they say family first. Mom past 8 years ago, as sad as it was my heart and my mind were at peace, I had been allowed to do all that I could while she was alive. I will always be greatful for that.

Family First always Just like Mr.Marriott mentioned it. My Grandparents (mom's side) Always though us the same and we sure grew up with a great and big family. Mr. Marriott thank you so much for sharing such a wonderful story of your life.

It was refreshing to read about getting two of our most important priorities in the right order - family first, then work. Both instituted by God, both a blessing.
A reader and commenter stated "this does not work for everyone." We all find ourselves in different situations at different seasons of our life. Maybe the commenter works the night shift or doesn't have a family to come home to. Nonetheless, the principal behind the article has been proven to work and those who want it to be a reality in their lives can pray and work to that end.

Best regards Mr. Marriott - Timothy B.

Very inspirational and thoughtful blog. Something that we need to look seriously in today's busy world.

I agree with you Mr Marriott . This way I Know Im right and will continue putting my family first.

Thank you.

wow this gives me so much hope puting the family first then work
for when I have my owne family one day

It is so true that is all about priority & family should always be a priority.
As a single mother raising my 12 years old son is quiet challenging since I am working full-time at one of the brands. But leaving home at 5am and arriving at 7.30pm I am committed to be in touch with my son 3-4 times while i'm working and also my weekend is dedicated for him only to catch up with each other. my other team members also support me fully and I'm grateful that the company i work for also fulfill my needs as a single-full time working mom.
Mr. Marriott, thank you for sharing your story on how important a family is.

This does not work for everyone.

Balance is tough. As soon as I realized that if I didn't schedule my personal life, my business life would schedule it for me I changed. I now spend substantially more time with my family at home, at their events, going places together and even volunteering in their church classrooms. I know it makes a difference in my children, my wife and in me and I am grateful/thankful everyday for the responsibility of being a Dad.

Thanks for the post and the gentle "poke" about how awesome it is to be a father. - Steve

I grew up with family dinners and learned so much about my parents through the stories they shared during dinner and we too talked about our day. My dad was a veterinarian working for USDA as an inspector. His hours were incredibly long. He was up at 4:00 am and usually not home until 6:00 or 6:30 and he also worked many Saturdays. We waited for dinner with him each night. My father did not have a lovely office or beautiful hotel to work in. He wore golashes to keep the bloody water on the kill floor from his boots or from the mud in the lots where he pre-inspected the cattle or hogs for disease. My mother's full time job was caring for our family of 5 children. I agree with others that being a duel income family makes it challenging to have family time and work days are much longer than 8am-5pm with dinner at 6pm. When taking our diversity training, the topic of how much Americans work keeps coming up for those who are new to the U.S. I think it may be time to reconsider quantity of family time rather than just quality of that time in this nation. Families must be strong again. Our children and our aging parents need more time with us.

Two days ago I just found out that I have a one year old son. His mom is back in my life and we are getting ready to make a go of the family life. Of course it took me by suprise but Im one of the happiest guys on Earth right now. Even though its not how I pictured my family starting, after meeting him today, I cant complain.

I am about to embark on lifes biggest journey, raising children and am very much looking forward to it. I hope I can find that ballance between my profesional life and my personal one. I love working for this company and being a part of the Marriott Family.

Garrett M.

Families are the backbone of every strong society. I grew up in a single parent (Mom) household. Our dinners were cozy. Sometimes rather than sitting at the kitchen counter stools, we would curl up on the couch under a blanket and eat dinner shoulder to shoulder. Her parenting mission statement was to raise me to be an happy, healthy, independent individual. We read together, did projects together, redesigned thrift store finds into prom dresses, and created adventure from a simple walk in the neighborhood. I watched my mom build a life from a single rented room in a friend's house to a home of our own. I believe I hit the genetic jackpot when I think of my mom's strength and determination to succeed balanced with her love of being my parent.

I am grown now with a navy husband, very full part time job, and a college education to be completed in the next month. My husband and I talk about the "mission' for our future children. I think we will be good parents and continue the legacy of appreciating the privilege of building a strong family.

Thank you Mr. Marriott for talking about the importance of family/work balance. As a corporate culture and personal goal.

I agree that family should always be a priority. The time we spend with our loved ones is invaluable and family dinners are so much more than just a meal. That being said, has our company thought about changing the 50 hour work week for managers to better align with these values? Often times a 10 hour day can turn into 12 hours away from home and family,especially when there is a commute involved. This can result in an offset in worklife balance and sharing memories with friends and family.

So true it's all about priority!

I have a wife and a 1 year old son, I am the Operations Manager for Downtown Courtyard in San Francisco. San Francisco is a city that never sleeps so we are always busy, my work days can esily surpass the 10 hour day. Each morning before I start my 3pm shift my wife, son and I take a family walk or to give my wife some alone time, my son and I go to the park, have lunch, he takes a nap and I get ready for work. Those quality 3-4 hours between when I wake up and leave for work set the tone for my entire day and are my motivation in my work.

Good Afternon, Mr. Marriott.

That's a wonderful reminder of what's important. Thank you for sharing.



Its very hard Sir do to children living in other states.

It is wonderful that you are reinforceing family life!

My children are in there early 40's and we talk every day and text often.

We make sure we are all together for Holidays and always talk about our days at The Lake with grandparents and friends!

If only I could still have a place at the lake were we can gather, it would be awesome! That was family life!

"So what were your roses & thorns today?" That is my partner's daughter's question at dinner ...and phones stay away from the dinner table too!
Thank you so much for sharing Mr. Marriott, Family is #1. I admit I was not true to that as I grew my career, but after experiencing a grieving loss back in 2009 (my partner at the time was victim of a hate crime), I quickly learned how my Marriott hotel family supported me. I embraced the strength and nature of how family always comes first! I thank you for supporting work-life programs to balance our lives, our work and our homes. And, I especially appreciate Marriott ONE, supporting LGBT!
BTW, I too will wash the dishes after my partner prepares our dinners. Live-Love-Laugh! ~Alejandro

Mr. Marriott;

Thank you for sharing such a warm story. It is so refreshing and even though I don't work for Marriott Corporate any longer, I feel that our franchise shares the same culture. Being a mother of a little one or being pregnant is a hard task when you work. But having an employer that understands the core value of life is a +!

Dear Mr Marriott,

Thanks for keeping us focus not only on businees but also on family which is at the end of the day our ultimate goal. I shared your leeter with my associates during the stand up meeting and they appreciated it very much.
I take my two kids to their school every day and take the opportunity to talk about school, sports, and weekend plans. In our latin culture, it is also very importatnt to get together all the family at meal time so we can share our recent experiences and discuss any family matter.

Best wishes,


Good Morning Mr. Marriott! I opened my email this morning and your blog was the first thing to appear. I love what you have written about putting family first. I have worked for the Marriott brand for almost 18 years. I used to understand work-life balance. Like you, my husband and I were always home for dinner by a certain time and we all ate together as a family. I lost the concept of work-life balance when my husband passed away 7 years ago because I became a single mom. I realize that is not an excuse and I don't use it as a crutch but it has been difficult to maintain. I have 5 children but I hear it most from my youngest son who is 7 and who was born 6 days after my husband passed away. For him, I am the only parent he has ever known. Three weeks ago I became a grandma and am wanting to regain my family time more than ever. Thank you for writing this. It has been such an inspiration for me to remember what is most important and what I need to do to make my family first again. God Bless.

As a single mother raising my daughter we also ALWAYS had dinner together and discussed our day; good, bad, fun and the silly. Then homework, bath, reading and to bed.

She is a grown women today, has graduated college and working for the Peace Corp, stationed in Botswana!

Thank you Mr. Marriott.