The goal of Marriott International’s initiative, Women and Marriott: Partners for the Future, is to attract, advance, and retain talented women in a business that operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. After extensive internal research, the company created a three-pronged approach: improving the career planning and promotion process, creating career development tools to encourage networking and mentoring, and providing increased support for work/life balance.
A two-day Women’s Leadership Conference was held to introduce the initiative and to foster a dialogue concerning women’s leadership opportunities at Marriott. A senior advisory council on women and minority leadership development was created to initiate strategy and policy-level changes and is accountable for tangible results. Under the leadership of Chairman and CEO J.W. Marriott, Jr., the company has put many programs and activities in place related to child care, elder care, flexibility, relocation assistance, mentoring, and networking. A highlight is the customization of the Leadership Development Talent Inventory process for women, especially general managers, that includes a thorough personal assessment, extensive feedback, executive coaching, a workshop, and the creation of a personal development plan. This process allows women control over their own careers and the latitude to move throughout the business at Marriott.
President and COO William Shaw reports on the progress of the initiative and on meeting numerical goals to the Board of Directors twice a year. The results: the percent of women executives has increased from 10.5 percent in 1998 to 17.3 percent in 2001 and, over a 21-month period from June 1999 to March 2001, the number of women full service general managers increased from 17 to 34.