Name: Alecia M.
Position: Catering Sales Director
Hotel: Marriott Marquis Houston
Dream destination: Greece and Africa
Drink or treat of choice: I am an Espresso Martini girl!
As a Director of Catering Sales at the Marriott Marquis in Houston, Texas, Alecia’s focus is not on food but relationships. More precisely, “prospecting, soliciting and building relationships with local clients to secure events like galas, weddings, corporate events and more,” she explains.
Alecia started at Marriott 11 years ago as a sales administrative assistant in the Mid-Atlantic sales office. After that role, she moved up to Food and Beverage Sales Coordinator and then Area Sales Executive. Later, Alecia left the company briefly to pursue a career in luxury car sales before coming back to Marriott to land a role that was perfect for her. “I decided to come back home to Marriott and work in my dream role as a Senior Catering Sales Executive at the Renaissance Waverly in Atlanta, Georgia.”
After having experienced different properties, different roles, and different companies in different industries, for Alecia what sets Marriott apart is the culture. “It’s a culture that truly makes you feel like you’re part of a family,” she says. “The company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is also something that I deeply appreciate. I’ve always felt supported and valued as an associate, regardless of my background or identity.”
To help amplify that commitment to diversity and inclusion, Alecia joined the Black Associate Resource Group, where she’s part of the activations committee. “We focus on activations that celebrate Black culture,” she explains. “This ranges from panel discussions, fellowship events, and partnering with Black-owned brands. We also work on initiatives that promote diversity and inclusion within the company, like mentorship programs and networking events.”
Learn more about Alecia’s journey and important work with the ARG in her own words below.
How would you describe your experience as a Marriott associate?
The core values here are strong. I’ve had opportunities to give back and work in the community. From building homes with Habitat for Humanity to volunteering at career fairs. I am proud of the company I work for. It feels good to work for a company that I can brag about. The company really takes care of its associates.[At Marriott], I have also been able to grow professionally and pay it forward in my leadership role. I’ve been able to travel all over the world and have made lasting relationships with my colleges along the way. The benefits are top tier too! The training and development opportunities provided by Marriott have been instrumental in my career growth, and I’ve been able to continuously enhance my skills and knowledge.
The work environment at Marriott is also fantastic. The team spirit and camaraderie among associates create a positive and uplifting atmosphere. I’ve always felt like I’m part of a family, and that sense of belonging has made my experience truly fulfilling. Overall, my journey as a Marriott associate has been incredibly rewarding. I’ve had the chance to contribute to meaningful projects, develop professionally, and create lasting memories. I’m grateful for the opportunities and support that Marriott has provided, and I look forward to continuing to grow and thrive within this amazing company.
What is your favorite part of the job?
My favorite thing about my role is that I am trusted to be creative in my department and that my leadership team is open minded. I love that I have a great team and we work together to reach our goals as a department. I love connecting with clients and showing them why Marriott is the best choice for any of their events. I also love the opportunities for growth and development that Marriott provides. The company truly invests in its employees and encourages us to reach our full potential. Overall, my favorite part of the job is the combination of creativity, teamwork, and the opportunity to represent a world-renowned brand.
What does a good day at work look like for you?
When I get back a signed contract! It’s the culmination of all the hard work and effort put into building relationships, understanding the client’s needs, and presenting a compelling offer. Seeing that signed contract is not just a validation of my work, but also a promise of future business and a satisfied customer. It’s a great feeling to know that I’ve helped create a positive experience for someone and contributed to the success of my team and the company.
What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
Being promoted to Director of Catering Sales. This is my first leadership role, and it is in a state that I’ve never lived in before. I was so proud of myself for getting this role. It felt good to have the leadership team at the Marriott Marquis Houston to take a chance on me. This role has made me feel so accomplished in my career and happy about the continued growth with the company. I have worked hard to develop my skills and knowledge in the hospitality industry, and being recognized with this promotion was a validation of all that effort. It signifies not only personal achievement but also the trust and confidence that the company has in my abilities.
How would you describe Marriott’s culture?
Marriott’s culture is its core values. We put people first and take care of others. There are so many associates with long tenure in the company because it is a great place to work. Marriott always does MORE. We are the leading hospitality company for a reason. The company’s culture is one of inclusivity and diversity, where everyone’s unique perspectives and talents are valued. Marriott also places a strong emphasis on giving back to the community and being environmentally responsible. Overall, the culture at Marriott is one of integrity, teamwork, and a commitment to providing exceptional service to both guests and associates. It’s a culture that truly makes you feel like you’re part of a family, and that’s what sets Marriott apart in the hospitality industry.
Could you tell us about your involvement in the Associate Resource Group?
I am a part of the activations committee. It’s been incredibly rewarding to be a part of this group and to have the opportunity to make a positive impact within the company. I’ve learned so much from my fellow committee members and have been able to contribute to creating a more inclusive and supportive environment for all associates. It’s truly been a fulfilling experience, and I look forward to continuing to be a part of this important work.
What motivated you to join this resource group, and how has it enriched your experience within the organization?
I was motivated to join the Black ARG to grow my network and have an opportunity to celebrate my culture. The Black Associate Resource group helps to strengthen the workplace inclusivity. It provides community and place to be myself! Being a part of this program has enhanced my views on my future with Marriott and connected me with leaders and colleagues from all over the US. Being a part of this group makes me feel limitless.
In what ways has the Associate Resource Group contributed to your personal and professional growth?
The ARG has connected me with people I may have never crossed paths with before. I am confident the relationships I am building within the organization will help me in my professional growth on my journey towards more leadership roles within Marriott. The mentorship opportunities and networking events provided by the ARG have allowed me to learn from experienced leaders and gain valuable insights into different aspects of the industry.
Also, I have had the chance to participate in various events and discussions that have broadened my perspective and understanding of diversity and inclusion within the organization. The Black ARG has given me a platform to share my experiences and contribute to meaningful conversations about how we can create a more inclusive environment for all associates.
Overall, the Black ARG has given me a sense of belonging, fostering personal and professional growth, and creating a space where I can authentically express myself.
How do you think the ARG has contributed to fostering a more inclusive and diverse workplace?
Thanks to the ARG, we have the chance to be exposed to many panels and workshops that are motivating and informative for our communities. It also allows employees to connect with others in their workplace based on shared characteristics or life experiences. The Associate Resource groups provide support, enhance career development, and contribute to personal development in the work environment. They also foster a more inclusive and diverse workplace by creating a sense of belonging and community for employees from various backgrounds. It provides a platform for open discussions, sharing of experiences, and learning from each other’s perspectives. This not only helps in breaking down barriers and stereotypes but also promotes understanding and empathy among colleagues.
The ARGs also play a crucial role in advocating for diversity and inclusion within the entire organization. They help in identifying and addressing any issues or challenges related to diversity and inclusion, and work towards implementing policies and practices that promote equality and fairness for all employees. They have been instrumental in fostering a culture of acceptance, respect, and appreciation for the unique contributions of every individual. It has helped in building a stronger, more cohesive workforce that values and celebrates differences, ultimately leading to a more positive and productive work environment for all.
What are your future goals within the Associate Resource Group?
I am looking forward to continuing to amplify Black brands within the company. I am passionate about helping Black brands grow. I hope to expose and develop more relationships with Black-owned brands within various Marriott Hotels. My goal is to connect more Black vendors and introduce more Black owned spirits to our outlets. For Black History Month, I am working with our Black ARG at the Marriott Marquis Houston to activate a Black History Month Cocktail. I have the pleasure of partnering with Spearhead Spirits, a premium African Spirits Company to roll out the specialty cocktail. Every successful connection or opportunity I am able to provide makes me proud to work for Marriott.
I also plan to continue mentoring and supporting other Black associates within the company. I want to be a resource for them, providing guidance and support as they navigate their careers at Marriott. Additionally, I aim to continue participating in community outreach and volunteer initiatives that support the Black community. My ultimate goal is to create a more inclusive and diverse environment within Marriott, where Black voices and contributions are celebrated and valued.
How have you used the Marriott Explore Rate?
Every year I use the Explore Rate to celebrate my birthday. I have been able to travel to Thailand, London, Paris, Jamaica, Dominican Republic and more. This is one of the best perks. I moved to Houston, Texas less than a year ago and the Marriott discount allows me to travel back home to Atlanta much more often! I have also used the Marriott Explore Rate to take spontaneous weekend getaways with friends and family. It’s such a great way to make memories and explore new places without breaking the bank. The discount has allowed me to stay at some amazing Marriott properties and experience their top-notch hospitality. I am truly grateful for this benefit, it has definitely enhanced my travel experiences. Thank you, Marriott, for making it easier for me to see the world and create unforgettable memories!