Name: Frank J.
Position: Hotel Manager
Hotel: The Westin Peachtree Plaza
Dream destination: Bali
Drink or treat of choice: My grandmother’s favorite snack, Pepsi and a “good ol’ Snickers bar.”
For many of our associates, the ultimate career goal is to become a hotel manager. But for Frank, Hotel Manager at Atlanta’s iconic Westin Peachtree Plaza, this accomplishment is the result of a Marriott career that started by accident… or was it fate?
“I was in college pursuing my law degree — I always wanted to be an attorney — and I was working at a call center,” he recalls. “One evening, I passed a Marriott hotel and thought to myself ‘When you get home, look online and see if there’s something available for a college student.’”
Frank went home and following his inner voice he found an opening for a Front Desk position. He applied and quickly received a phone call to interview for the role. He was hired on the spot, setting in motion what would become a 16-year (and counting) career journey with Marriott.
“Since then, my life has continued to change for the better,” Frank says. Following that first position, he went on to become Front Office Supervisor, Operations Supervisor, Rooms Operations Manager, Assistant General Manager, General Manager, Director of Operations, and now Hotel Manager. “In each role, I’ve had the honor of being in a different property. I am currently at my 10th hotel in 16 years.”
Growing up in a rural town in South Georgia with a population of less than a thousand people, Frank thought his chances of leaving that environment were extremely slim. “To have this accomplishment with the world’s largest hotel company was not only a win for me, but for my family, my community, and everyone attached to me.”
Today, as a Hotel Manager, Frank oversees all day-to-day operations, from Guest Services to Food & Beverage, Event Management, Sales and Marketing, Human Resources, and everything in between. Or, as he explains, “if it moves and shakes in this building, it’s my responsibility.”
In addition to his day-to-day duties at the hotel, Frank is involved in a larger aspect of Marriott’s global culture: our Associate Resource Groups.
“I have the humbling opportunity to work alongside the Black Associate Resource Group and assist with market activations,” explains Frank, who appreciates being able to witness the impact of this work in his hometown market of Atlanta. “We’ve held networking events, fireside chats, and kickbacks, and we have more events on the horizon. Those opportunities have not only helped to grow our ARG but also connected associates across the city that likely would not have had the opportunity to meet, which ultimately has grown their professional network.”
“It’s another aspect of how Marriott’s culture continues to come to life by Putting People First,” Frank says of Marriott’s ARGs. “We focus on what’s important to our associates. Once they feel valued, it creates a strong sense of loyalty to our company, which increases retention, satisfaction, and love for the workplace. It goes beyond the walls of hotels and corporate… it’s a community of love.”
Learn more about Frank’s experience building community and a career at Marriott, in his own words, below.
What motivated you to join an Associate Resource Group, and how has it enriched your experience within Marriott?
Over the years, I have mentored several leaders and associates across the market. By doing so, I was able to learn about their lives and what’s important to them. The Black ARG is a fantastic opportunity to connect associates across the market and continue to build cultural relevance in Atlanta. We have a ton of Black history here in the city. That, coupled with Marriott’s core value “Spirit to Serve”, is a powerful combination to be significantly impactful in both areas.
In what ways has the Associate Resource Group contributed to your personal and professional growth?
Personally, it has allowed me to really connect with relevant facts on Black culture. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been extremely connected, but it has allowed me to take a more thoughtful approach to connecting history with current times. I have a responsibility to my family and community to share all the amazing black history stories. Each time I do, it reminds me of my love for who we are. Professionally, I’ve grown by being able to host events such as fireside chats and kickbacks and discussing with a broader community the topics that are important to them, including audiences of managers and hourly associates. It’s truly been a humbling and growing experience.
What are your future goals within the ARG, and how do you plan to continue contributing?
My personal future goals are to ensure that every single associate knows that we have Associate Resource Groups and to talk about all it has to offer. Once we continue to do that, I believe it’s important that I can contribute by keeping the local market active through communications, networking events, and building relationships. That’s where I can be most impactful and contribute to the growth of who we are.
What was your Marriott interview process like, and any tips for candidates who want a role like yours?
My initial interview was extremely nerve wracking! I was so concerned with saying the right thing and not babbling. Over the years, I have learned that no one knows my story better than I do, and it’s my job to give [the recruiters] a clear look into my career and why my experience qualifies me. So, the advice that I’d give is the same advice I received from a mentor, which is to be your authentic self. Tell your story clearly and concisely. One trick that helped me then, and continues to help me, is that I remember having conversations with my grandparents about their lives growing up in the 20’s and 30’s. They would tell their stories so beautifully that I felt as if I was there. That’s how I like to think of my storytelling in interviews. It’s your story to tell, so tell it.
How would you describe your experience as a Marriott associate?
Not to sound cliche, but my experience with Marriott has been nothing short of amazing. What attracted me to this company was the culture of Putting People First. Not only did I read about it, but I experienced it firsthand. From working around my school schedule, to endless career opportunities, to investing into my growth and development through training, to providing my family and I to experience the best hotels worldwide at very attractive rates, to growing financial benefits, and the countless acts of service demonstrated to the employees. If I can be a part of a company that exudes the thought of being the change we’d like to see in the world, then I want to be here for the long haul.
What is your favorite part of the job?
The ability to inspire people. I have such an incredible opportunity to influence the days of our dynamic associates, fostering a culture of joy, laughter, and hope. Ultimately, continuing to help create in all of us a winning mentality. We have associates from all walks of life, multiple cultures, and tons of personalities, and I have the amazing opportunity to be a part of it all. We work through opportunities together, we strategize together, we hold each other accountable, and we celebrate together. And this goes outside of the workplace. We became a family working together, and over the years, my extended family has grown much larger than I’d ever imagined. That’s the cool part that you don’t see at every organization.
What does a good day at work look like for you?
A good day at work is when all things are working together simultaneously. When our guests are thriving, when our associates are thriving, when you can feel the beat of the hotel as you take every step. Ultimately, when you can see our culture in every nook and cranny. We spend so much time planning and brainstorming on how to deliver on our balanced scorecard, so to watch it all in action gives a sense of accomplishment.
Proudest moment of your career so far?
I have been blessed beyond my wildest dreams in more ways than I can count since joining this company. If I had to determine the proudest moment, it would be becoming General Manager in my mid-twenties. Once I knew Marriott was the company for me, it was super important that I went all in. I was fortunate to be connected with some of the best leaders and mentors in this industry who helped guide, develop, and equip me with the necessary tools to be prepared. The moment I got my offer was surreal.
How would you describe Marriott’s culture?
Marriott’s culture is genuine. The core values are not over-complicated and resonate with people of all backgrounds. The larger one, Putting People First, is, in my opinion, the foundation of the company’s success. To be so invested in each and every single associate worldwide has cultivated a combined effort to take care of our guests, which in turn has created an expectation of the level of service that they will receive at every one of our hotels, no matter the brand or location. When you think about it, Mr. Marriott’s belief to “take care of the associates, who will take care of the guests, and the business will take care of itself” is quite brilliant. Simplistic, yet powerful.
How have you used the Marriott Explore Rate?
I’ve used it more times than I can count! It is truly one of the best benefits within our company. Whether I’m traveling locally or internationally, or whether I’m traveling with my wife, kids, siblings, or friends, there is a different brand based on what we need for travel. I absolutely love using our discount!