marriott director of operations career story mandir
Courtesy of Mandar S.

Name: Mandar S.
Position: Director of Operations
Hotel: Marriott Bethesda Downtown at Marriott HQ
Dream destination: London holds a special place in my heart. You can’t go wrong there.
Drink or treat of choice: I love a great red wine as much as I do a classically prepared Old Fashioned.

After 25 years at Marriott, Mandar is on his way to entering the Quarter Century Club. As one of Marriott’s employee benefits, the Quarter Center Club enables longtime associates — specifically after 25 years of service to Marriott or Marriott-managed properties — to be eligible to receive complimentary hotel rooms to explore the world around us.

Mandar, the Director of Operations at the Marriott Bethesda Downtown at Marriott HQ, has spent the past two decades working in a range of Marriott hotels, from Classic Select to Luxury, and across a variety of ever-ascending roles — but always around the Heart of the House. At Marriott, “Heart of the House” is our way of referring to the associates who directly serve our guests every day. They are the “heartbeat” of our business, bringing our culture of service to guests and our communities to life. Mandar has been a key part of this circulatory system during his time at Marriott.

→ We’re Hiring Heart of House Positions! Search Open Roles

Mandar, a member of Marriott’s Asian & Pacific Islander Associate Resource Group, left India nearly 30 years ago to explore new opportunities and forge new relationships always with a bright smile, insatiable curiosity and an unstoppable desire to learn from others.

marriott director of operations career story mandir

Courtesy of Mandar S.

Mandar’s hotel, which is located just steps from Marriott’s corporate headquarters in the Washington, DC suburbs, was named the #1 Full Service (non-Luxury) hotel in the Guest Satisfaction Survey in 2023, scoring across all metrics in US, Canada, and Mexico regions; a rare, heady achievement. Mandar’s commitment to his guests and his team is a hallmark of Mandar’s ethos and the driving force in his long career at Marriott.

Learn about Mandar’s story in his own words below.

How would you describe your journey with Marriott?

I began my career with Marriott as an hourly server at the Grand Cayman Marriott Resort thinking of it just as a job. That changed a year into the position when I was promoted to Shift Leader. That’s when I began to absorb our Spirit to Serve culture and I discovered the promise of a career with Marriott. I rose through the ranks to become the Assistant Director of F&B for the resort before departing to the States.

Marriott played a key role in your becoming an American; can you describe how this came about?

My Director of Operations at the Grand Cayman Marriott Resort recommended me for a role at the Bethesda Marriott at Pooks Hill, 2,200 miles away from where I was.

Yearning for new experiences and advancing my career, I aspired for the opportunity but figured it was a non-starter because I wasn’t a US citizen. I ultimately landed the job and am eternally grateful to the Pooks Hill Marriott and Marriott for sponsoring my L1 Visa, which allowed me to work in the United States. Over time, my visa was converted into a Green Card; a card to me that symbolizes emotion and Marriott’s trust and investment in me. I’m forever grateful. I met my wife at Marriott and together we’ve built the foundation of a family that now includes our two beautiful children.

marriott director of operations career story mandir

Mr. Marriott made famous the declaration: Success is never final. What is your definition of success?

Exactly as Mr. Marriott sees it. Since the Bethesda Marriott at Pooks Hill, I’ve been blessed to work alongside hundreds of associates at hotels, including the JW Marriott Washington DC, Courtyard Crystal City, College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, Tyson’s Corner Marriott and currently the Marriott Bethesda Downtown at Marriott HQ. I’ve gained valuable learnings from each.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I’m happiest when making my rounds, stealing glimpses of associates joyfully interacting with colleagues and guests alike demonstrating the values of our company. It’s incredibly meaningful to me to see associates thrive, grow and accelerate in their own career journeys. I succeed when my associates succeed.

What is your advice for associates beginning their careers with Marriott or looking to pivot and explore new opportunities?

Be fearless. Dream BIG and never give up. There is a world outside of your world; go find it. Learn from it and challenge yourself constantly. You never want to be in a position where you look back on your personal and professional lives with regret. Success is never final, but regret is.

How do you feel about Marriott’s diversity efforts?

Love it all. Marriott has made it a priority to hire from a deep pool of talent, from all corners of the world, all backgrounds, and all perspectives. I am proof of that. I am proud of my Indian heritage just as I am a tried and true American. It is terrific to witness associates in our hotels reflecting the diverse communities they serve.

What is next for you?

My next leadership role will be that of General Manager in the United States, Europe or even the Middle East. That’s why I love Marriott so much. These avenues of opportunity are realistic and tangible ones. My career journey is a dream come true to me. I have been lucky to meet Mr. Marriott and I am forever grateful to him and the company he lends his name to for shaping me into the well-rounded professional I am today. I am also thankful to the associates, past and present, I am privileged to work alongside and learn from every day.

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