2019 So Far: Marriott International Continues Local Community Outreach Throughout Montgomery County
Two years ago, Marriott International President and CEO Arne Sorenson wrote a letter to the residents and businesses of downtown Bethesda, Maryland, announcing the company’s intent to relocate its corporate headquarters to the downtown Bethesda community.
“We’ll be joining a vigorous and diverse community whose lively urban setting is exciting for all of us,” Sorenson wrote. “As your new downtown neighbor, you can expect to see us participating and volunteering in Bethesda’s civic life,” he continued. “I want to personally let you know that we are committed to being a responsive partner… I am counting on our presence and our associates to add vitality in ways both great and small, and above all to be a good neighbor.”
To honor this commitment, Marriott International continues to remain deeply engaged in Montgomery County in 2019. Here is a brief summary of the company’s participation in Montgomery County so far in 2019.
As part of Marriott International’s commitment to “Welcome All and Advance Human Rights,” an integral part of the company’s social impact and sustainability platform, Marriott hosted “Culture Day” workshops for associates all around the world to help foster multicultural understanding, ensure welcoming environments, and increase guest satisfaction. At the Marriott International headquarters in Bethesda, MD, CEO Arne Sorenson stopped by the workshop to speak as associates learned about Indian, Chinese, and Japanese cultures.
Casey Oakes, Director of Supplier Diversity at Marriott International, recently appeared on the latest Small Business Network panel hosted by Montgomery Community Media. The panel, moderated by Taylor-Leonard CEO Kelly Leonard, also included Anna Hakobyan of AstraZeneca, and Karen Zuckerman of HZ. The Small Business Network is designed to bring the business community together to connect, collaborate, and to share best practices in an effort to stimulate economic development in Montgomery County and the region. Watch the panel here.
In May, Marriott International celebrated National Bike Month by sponsoring a Bike to Work Day pit stop for the second year in a row in Downtown Bethesda. One of more than 115 pit stops located throughout the region, Marriott welcomed hundreds of cyclists with sponsored food and prizes, including the grand prize of a brand-new Element Hotels-branded bicycle from Priority Bicycles.
The regional Bike to Work Day event, organized by Commuter Connections and the Washington Area Bicyclists Association, brings together tens of thousands of DMV-area cycling commuters to participate in a fun, environmentally-friendly and healthy way to get to work. Marriott returned this year as a Silver sponsor of the event and remains a strong advocate and supporter of biking to work.
Each year, Marriott International associates around the world dedicate a day to serving their local communities, a day fittingly named Spirit to Serve Our Communities (STSOC) Day. This year, more than 2,900 associates from Marriott’s corporate headquarters volunteered at 65 sites throughout the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia, resulting in over 10,000 hours of volunteer time.
Now celebrating its 21st anniversary, STSOC Day preserves the Marriott culture and core value of Serve Our World while supporting the company’s 2025 sustainability and social impact platform, Serve 360: Doing good in every direction. Serve 360’s priority areas, or “coordinates,” are: Nurture Our World, Sustain Responsible Operations, Empower Through Opportunity, and Welcome All and Advance Human Rights.
Chef Rainer Zinngrebe, Vice President, Corporate Chef of Luxury Brands at Marriott International, was joined by volunteers to contribute their time and talents to prepare 100 meals for local homeless individuals. The initiative was a collaboration between Marriott International, KindWorks and Community Food Rescue (a program of Manna Food Center). The meals benefitted residents of Cordell Place and Seneca Heights Apartments; housing facilities managed by the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless. Altogether, nearly 40 trays of Taiwanese chicken, spicy curried vegetables, roasted zucchini, and rice were made by volunteers.
On Tuesday, June 11, the Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce celebrated its 93rd annual installation and awards dinner at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center. As the Chamber’s flagship annual event, members, guests, and elected and appointed officials have the opportunity to welcome the new leadership, thank the out-going, honor businesses in our community, and look forward to the future with an evening of celebration.
Apoorva Gandhi, Marriot International VP of Multicultural Affairs, was nominated and accepted into the 2019-2020 Board of Directors for the Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce. Gandhi joins other prominent leaders in the Bethesda community to lead the organization through the next year of economic and community development.