A Look Back on 2019: A Year of Local Engagement with Marriott International
In December, Marriott International once again participated in Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School’s Career Partnership Day. Now celebrating its 26-year anniversary, the program is produced in partnership with Junior Achievement and the Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce. This year, more than 35 organizations opened their doors to host students of the program. The one-day event, open to high school juniors and seniors, allows students to shadow professionals in a role that aligns with their particular career interests.
At its annual Business Awards Dinner, the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce (MCCC) recognized Deborah Marriott Harrison, Marriott International Global Cultural Ambassador Emeritus, with the Emeritus Business Leader of the Year award. This award is presented each year to an individual approaching or newly retired and has had a substantial impact on the way business is conducted in Metro Maryland and who has shown, through many years of active and continuing service, a true commitment to the community. The annual Business Awards Dinner celebrates the best of Montgomery County’s business community.
Once again, Marriott International, Inc. was a proud sponsor of the 30th annual Taste of Bethesda, the lively food and music festival featuring dozens of restaurants and five stages of entertainment in downtown Bethesda’s Woodmont Triangle district. Each year, more than 40,000 people attend Taste of Bethesda to sample delicious food from local restaurants while enjoying live entertainment, arts and crafts, and much more. This year, we invited chefs from Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center to showcase some of their delicious food and beverage offerings.
Associates at the Marriott International headquarters contributed to a back-to-school backpack and school supply drive benefiting the National Center for Children and Families (NCCF) and its The Neediest Kids program, which serves students in need across the region. Combined with items donated from other participating organizations, altogether the NCCF assembled 679 backpacks for local students. Marriott International’s contributions are part of the company’s sustainability and social impact platform, Serve 360, which supports Marriott’s commitment to making positive and sustainable impact wherever it does business.
In February, Leadership Montgomery held its Corporate Volunteer Awards Luncheon. The annual event recognizes local businesses for their support to the Montgomery County community through employee volunteer engagement. Members of the public were asked to nominate organizations and businesses in one of six award categories. Winners were selected by an independent committee consisting of local leaders and previous award winners. Marriott International was proud to be an Engagement Sponsor for this year’s event.
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, 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.