Marriott VP Offers Insights and Advice

More than 80 years ago, J. Willard Marriott opened a nine-stool root beer stand in Washington, DC. Today, Marriott is one of the world's best known brands and a company known for taking care of not just its customers but also its employees.

"That root beer stand symbolizes a world of opportunity for me, my family and 150,000 associates all over the world," says Debbie Marriott Harrison, Marriott International senior vice president of government affairs.

At the annual Marriott Undergraduate Student Association Business Week banquet, Harrison recounted the Marriott story and gave students valuable advice on how to reach their own success as they pursue business careers.

Starting with Marriott's determination to gain an education, the Marriott story is one of hard work and strong values. Harrison talked about Aaron Tracy, Marriott's mentor who helped him get through college, and gave him the long-term perspective he would need as he went out to succeed in the world. After starting the root beer stand, Marriott and his wife, Alice, continued to expand their vision for their enterprise, continuously working to grow into different areas of the hospitality industry.

Students enjoyed learning about the Marriott's story and the values that built the company.

"Debbie was the perfect speaker for this year's event," says Tanier Glauser, a senior majoring in business management from St. George, Utah, and a MUSA student officer. "I feel more a part of the Marriott School after learning the Marriott story."

As it has continued to expand throughout the past 80 years, Marriott International has developed a reputation for corporate responsibility and their service-oriented approach to doing business. Harrison expressed her gratitude to be involved with a company that focuses on improving its employees' lives and the communities it impacts. Harrison counseled students about searching for jobs that will lead to long-term success, especially considering the current state of the economy.

"The best advice I can give you is look for a company that has a great culture, and that takes care of its people and promotes from within," Harrison says. "Don't be so worried about your entry-level position; don't be so concerned about your salary at first; if you're with a business or company that takes care of their people, you will end up being successful."

The Marriott School is located at Brigham Young University, the largest privately owned, church-sponsored university in the United States. The school has nationally recognized programs in accounting, business management, public management, information systems and entrepreneurship. The school's mission is to prepare men and women of faith, character and professional ability for positions of leadership throughout the world. Approximately 3,000 students are enrolled in the Marriott School's graduate and undergraduate programs.  

Media Contact: Joseph Ogden (801) 422-8938
Writer: Cindy Badger