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Marriott CEO Says Company is “All About the Welcome” and Being Inclusive

November 1, 2013 Corporate No Comments Email Email

Marriott Honored by Executive Leadership Council for its Diversity and Inclusion Leadership.

“As CEO of a global hotel company, diversity and inclusion makes sense because it’s the heart and soul of our business which is hospitality. We are all about the welcome and being inclusive,” said Arne Sorenson, the company’s president and CEO, during his acceptance speech at the 2013 Executive 6a0128763ee05d970c019b00766581970c-800wiLeadership Council’s (ELC) Annual Gala. ELC is a national organization comprised of current and former African American CEOs and senior executives at Fortune 500 and equivalent companies. ELC works to build an inclusive business leadership pipeline and to empower African American corporate leaders to make significant and impactful contributions in the global marketplace and their communities.

Marriott was honored by ELC with the 2013 Corporate Award for its innovation in helping corporate America become stronger and more diverse.

Marriott was the first company in the travel industry to establish a formal diversity and inclusion (D&I) program in 1989, and the first to introduce a formal supplier diversity program in 1997. Since then the programs have expanded to reflect the needs of the many communities and countries where the company does business. Marriott’s board level Committee for Excellence complements the company’s Global D&I Council, chaired by Sorenson, to ensure the integration of its D&I focus across all areas of the company. The Council, comprising Marriott’s continent presidents and other C-suite executives, oversees D&I strategies that both support the local across the world needs as well as global priorities to attract and engage a diverse stakeholder community of associates, customers, hotel owners and suppliers. Some of the company’s successes include:

  • Spending nearly $4 billion with diverse suppliers over the past decade; Women-owned business enterprises make up approximately 10 percent of Marriott’s supply chain.
  • Partnering with women and diverse business owners to build more than 600 Marriott-branded hotels. The company has a goal of having 700 of its hotels owned by diverse owners by 2015.
  • Offering targeted career development programs, such as the newly launched Emerging Leader Program in the Americas, which include a growing percentage of women and diverse leadership.
  • Attracting and engaging millions of Facebook fans with new social media targeting millennial customers and also associates through its industry-leading Facebook jobs and careers page and global career website.
  • Creating a fresh new look for, the first hospitality portal tailored for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) customers worldwide in English, French, Spanish, German and Portuguese. Additionally, launching a new marketing campaign, “Be You, With Us(SM),” to celebrate Pride Season in cities around the world that host gay pride parades and festivals to celebrate the LGBT community.
  • Launching the “For You, We’re Marriott®” campaign, to help showcase the distinction among our brands for business travelers as their needs and budgets change. The campaign focused on African American, Hispanic and LGBT business travelers and ran in both print and digital media.
  • Establishing and maintaining strategic partnerships with customer organizations such as the Executive Leadership Council, National Council of La Raza, National Black MBA Association, Women Corporate Directors, National Urban League, Human Rights Campaign, Asia Society, VetFran, U.S. Business Leadership Network, National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators and Developers, Asian American Hotel Owners Association and the National Minority Supplier Development Council.

Sorenson continued, “It’s important to our company that diversity and inclusion is not viewed as separate work, but as a normal course of our business. I look forward to the day when barriers are removed, everyone – no matter the difference – is valued and an environment of inclusiveness is the norm which will lead to opportunities for all to contribute and grow.”

Marriott is consistently honored for being a top company for diversity and inclusion. It has been recently honored by Great Places to Work Institute® for being one of the 2013 World’s Best Multinational Workplaces and “2013 Working Mother 100 Best Companies” for 22nd year. The company has also been listed as the #1 company for supplier diversity by DiversityInc, and has been honored by Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility, Black Enterprise, DiversityInc and Latina STYLE for D&I efforts in workforce, board membership and supplier diversity.

Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) is a leading lodging company based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, with more than 3,800 properties in 72 countries and territories and reported revenues of nearly $12 billion in fiscal year 2012. The company operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts under 18 brands. For more information or reservations, please visit our website at, and for the latest company news, visit and diversity inclusion news, visit

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