A Celebration of Associates, Our Family

May 31, 2018
All Awards of Excellence Honorees on Stage (May 2018)


I’m probably biased, but I really believe that our organization is one big family.

That’s why my heart was warmed when I recently met Jackie Ford, executive assistant at the College Park Marriott in Maryland. She told me Marriott is where she discovered associates could become like a family.

Jackie joined Marriott 20 years ago after moving from South Africa to Maryland with only the clothes on her back. She and her three children were living in a shelter when she was hired as a housekeeper.

She was eventually promoted to front desk associate, catering sales, and then her current role. Jackie is adored by her colleagues, who call her “hotel mother.” When her father died, Jackie’s colleagues rallied – pooling their resources so she could attend his funeral in South Africa. That’s what I call family.

During the month of May, as we celebrated our company’s 91st anniversary, we recognized some of our top associates and hotels that provide exceptional service around the world as they help create lifelong memories for our guests – and our associates.

Ten associates and four hotels were selected for their outstanding dedication, corporate citizenship, their commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion, and for their work creating a culture of health and wellbeing.

Like Jackie, each honoree has a wonderful story to tell and I wish I could share them all. I’ll highlight two others who stood out to me for their family-style dedication to their fellow associates.

Norma Noble is the wellness coordinator at both the Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel & Resort and Le Méridien Abu Dhabi, where she has worked for 25 years. When an associate there was diagnosed with stage-three cancer, Norma – a former nurse – insisted on caring for her during chemotherapy since the young woman had no family in the United Arab Emirates and would otherwise have had to quit her job and return to Zimbabwe for treatment. Norma, a cancer survivor herself, went to the hospital every night after work until the associate’s cancer was in remission.

Trey Whiddon is currently general manager of the Courtyard San Antonio Downtown, where he holds the second-longest tenure at the Courtyard brand. During his 32 years at Courtyard, he has successfully managed multiple properties throughout the country, while battling leukemia and raising pre-mature triplets. Regardless of what’s going on for Trey outside of the hotel, he finds time to mentor fellow associates. He hired a homeless woman a few years ago and worked with her until she eventually became associate of the year. Trey coached another associate in preparation for a promotion. When the mentee’s interview day arrived, Trey’s ranch was hit by a tornado. Still, he found time that hectic day to call his mentee for a status update on the interview.

I am proud of the people who work here. I see how beautifully they treat our guests, the communities we serve, and each other. That is the Marriott way. I hope you’ll take a few moments to read about all of our amazing honorees this year.

I'm Bill Marriott, and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the Move!


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Hi Bill, As a long time Marriott customer world wide, your words are right on target.
Congratulations to all the recipients!
We meet in 2000 at the newly #2000 Marriott Santiago Chile opening.
The service gets better everyday!
The locations are in top conditions.
I feel at home when I pull up for the night.
The mobile app is the best in your industry!
Thank you.
Jim Grasse 384 757 894

As a long time Marriott Associate (now retired), reading about our great associates is always so rewarding! This class of 2018 is very powerful and reminds me of the number of truly wonderful and caring people that choose to come to Marriott, work hard, work with their heart and work to make our company a very special place to spend their time and truly serve both their Marriott family and the community. It was why I stayed and worked for over 35 years. Marriott provided me the opportunity and , more importantly the patience, training and examples from other great associates!

Congratulations to all of this years recipients!

Thanks for reading, have a great day!