How This Marriott VP Found Support for His Son with Autism
Name: Alex A.
Position: Area Vice President
Location: Marriott Premium and Luxury Brands in Southern California, Arizona and Nevada
Dream destination: We are going to Italy and Spain this summer. Hoping to visit South Africa someday soon.
Drink or treat of choice: I like trying new things — hard to pick a favorite.
When Marriott leaders pivot to new roles in new places, that move might come with relocation assistance — finding a house, packing and unpacking, getting settled, and more. But when Alex was exploring a new opportunity as an SVP at Marriott’s corporate headquarters (along with a cross-country move to Bethesda, Maryland), he didn’t expect just how great that level of support would be.
Specifically, to his son, Kyle, who had been diagnosed with autism.
“Our senior leaders got personally involved in finding schools and support services for our son,” recalls Alex. “Our ability to move and learn from new roles was significantly influenced by the genuine care and support from a community of leaders. That’s what makes me feel deeply connected to Marriott.”
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Alex, who grew up in India and learned to speak English in his late teens, has had quite the career at Marriott, starting as a banquet captain 35 years ago, working his way through operations and eventually holding the top job of General Manager for five different hotels in Arizona, Hawaii, Fiji and California. He came to HQ for a few years as a Senior Vice President (when he took that Global Operations role) and is now back “in market” as the Area Vice President for the West Southwest, overseeing 37 full-service, premium and luxury hotels in Southern California, Arizona and Nevada.
Due to his multi-decade career at Marriott, Alex has witnessed his son “grow up in hotels” (apparently, Kyle has known The Ritz-Carlton Gold Standards by heart since he was 12). So, it was a true, full-circle moment when Kyle started his own Marriott journey as a Club Lounge attendant at The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel this year.
“He absolutely loves what he does,” says Alex. “He leaves home with excitement and returns with simple stories of service and teamwork that touch your heart. He is learning to make decisions and become more independent. It’s amazing to watch him grow, learn and become more confident.”
The support that Alex has experienced himself with Marriott continues to extend to his family.
“The resort leadership has been extraordinary in supporting Kyle and have embraced him for all of his differences,” says Alex. “For him, working in a hotel has been a dream. He literally counts the hours for his next day at work. His enthusiasm and pure love for what he does is infectious and reminds me every day to be grateful for what we have.”
In addition to being a proud father, Alex is also a proud leader. He loves bearing witness to the success of others.
“There have been a few moments of personal achievements,” Alex says of his career. “But none can compare with the pride I feel when I see people I have worked with in roles that match their aspirations. Watching people grow and succeed is a reward that stays for a lifetime.”
Learn more about Alex’s inspiring career and experience at Marriott below.
How would you describe Marriott’s culture?
Humble, associate- and guest-centered, empowering, focused on continuous learning and driving results for all stakeholders. It’s honest and unpretentious. I appreciate the uncompromising approach to integrity and building trust. Marriott is a place where people can grow and develop themselves personally and professionally. It’s a place where teamwork and collaboration are encouraged and celebrated. There is a strong emphasis on hospitality and a commitment to making sure every guest feels welcome, valued and appreciated.
Which of Marriott’s values resonate most with you?
It’s hard to pick just one because all of the values connect and are personal to me. If I had to pick one, it would be to Pursue Excellence. This means to take ownership of my work, strive for continuous improvement, and always be mindful of the impact that my work has on our guests, our associates, and our company. I believe this value is central to Innovation, and foundational to our Purpose, Vision, and Growing Forward strategy.
What was your Marriott interview process like, and any tips for candidates who want a role like yours?
The Marriott hiring process is vigorous and requires preparation in various areas. For me, development is a community process. First, you have to have a vision for your career. Of course, the vision evolves over time and is influenced by people you admire. Second, it’s important to share your intent and ask for help along the way. Third, it’s critical to take risks and be open to jobs that, perhaps, only a few would consider. Lastly, adopting a mindset of infinite learner and optimizing your career for interesting and diverse set of opportunities can not only grow your career but meaningfully enhance the quality of your experience.
Favorite part of working at Marriott?
Creating compelling experiences and indelible memories for guests and associates. Of course, developing leaders and building new capabilities to drive innovation and entrepreneurship is just as much fun! But, at the end of the day, making sure that we create an environment that is hospitable, respectful and warm is my favorite part of working at Marriott.
How have you used the Marriott Explore Rate?
We have traveled a good portion of the world with Marriott. Even more importantly, Kyle’s development has been greatly influenced by the opportunity to live and visit destinations around the world. We’ve used the Explore Rate for family vacations and to explore new cities. Kyle has had a chance to learn about different cultures, try new foods, and experience new sights and sounds. The Marriott Explore Rate has helped us to make this possible and we are truly grateful for it.
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