Name: Miwa N.
Position: Style Coach
Hotel: W Osaka
Dream destination: Space. I would like to see our solar system with my own eyes!
Drink or treat of choice: I like a green smoothie that gives me a boost of energy in the morning.
Before becoming an award-winning trailblazer at Marriott, Miwa began her journey within the company 26 years ago, after getting her bachelor’s degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management.
“I first started as a Housekeeping Intern in 1999 and have held many leadership roles across many Marriott brands including Luxury Collection, St. Regis, and W around the world,” she explains. In 2020, she joined the pre-opening team at the W brand’s first hotel in Japan, W Osaka, where she works today, as a Style Coach.
And what does “style coach” mean, you might wonder — at least, we sure did. According to Miwa herself, she helps connect people from various cultures and backgrounds. “My area of work covers not only operations, but also planning, facilitating training to associates and passionately engaging in the hotel’s SDG [sustainability goals] and Marriott Business Council initiatives.”
Miwa is so passionate about her job that last July she was awarded the Marriott International Trailblazer recognition at the company’s APEC Winners’ Networking Session, which recognizes associates that are helping the company reach new levels in terms of sustainability and gender equality among other goals.
“It was an incredible honor to be recognized as a winner representing Japan,” she says. “For me, this award reconfirmed that Marriott embraces differences between people and people’s different needs at each stage of life. Work-Life balance can be only achieved by the trusted relationship between the employer and the employee with a lot of support from the teammates.”
At the awards’ networking session, the winners had a chance to meet and have a chat with Christina Chan, Senior Vice President of Finance in the APEC region, alongside other MI Trailblazers, and hear their stories.
“As a mother with two elementary schoolers at home, I personally corresponded well with Ms. Chan who taught me not to feel bad about getting help from others and having a reliable support system in my life. I appreciate my workplace allowing me to be who I am and continue my passion in this industry,” Miwa says.
Learn more about Miwa’s story of becoming a Marriott trailblazer in her own words below.
How would you describe your experience as a Marriott associate?
My experience as a Marriott associate has been incredibly rewarding. Working at Marriott has allowed me to pursue innovation, embrace change, act with integrity and serve our world. I have gained a strong sense of discipline and time management, which I think has helped me reach my potential. Also, I have met thousands of people throughout my career who have become my extended family. I will always be grateful for the experiences I’ve had while working at Marriott.
Which of Marriott’s values resonate most with you?
Put People First. I cherish every opportunity and encounter with people who cross my life. Every person I meet and work with teaches me something new and helps me grow as a better leader and a team member. I value every relationship at every level because, in my experience, everything is always interconnected. I truly believe in this profit chain: taking care of associates who take care of our guests, who return to us, and the healthy profit cycle continues. This resonates most with me and I am very proud to be part of this amazing team.
Describe a moment you felt like a part of a community.
I feel a strong sense of pride to be a part of the community of Marriott when we get together to fulfill Serve 360 (Marriott corporate social responsibility initiatives) activities. Most recently, 15 sister properties around the Kansai region of Japan gathered for “Road to Give” (Marriott’s annual charity run), and I felt so grateful to see so many friends and families who work and share our values together. A moment like this brought me joy to feel the power of our strong community.
Another example was when we partnered with Sekisui House, Osaka Tourism Bureau, and Out Japan to collaborate on our LGBTQ project. We shared the fund, time, and values to support LGBTQ Rainbow Fest 2023 and made such a successful event. Connecting with our partners outside the hotel industry allows us to widen our perspectives to do our business better.
How would you describe W’s culture?
I love W culture, which encourages us to be original and daring. We are all unique individuals who think differently and have different insights. I personally like to think outside the box when bringing ideas to the table and keep shaking the tree, and I feel very much appreciative of the W environment where differences are valued. W’s passion for supporting diversity and inclusion since its birth in 1999 aligns with my values as well. For me it was love at first sight with the brand and it has remained over the years.
What was your interview process like, and any tips for candidates who want a role like yours?
My interview for my current role was via remote sessions from the U.S. since we were still in the middle of Covid 19. Since it was not a face-to-face interview, I focused on providing a positive impression considering the lighting around me and the resolution on the screen to make sure I would be perceived positively by my interviewer. There are many basic what-to-dos during an interview process, but I personally try to stay calm and keep it real. I use examples of my past experiences to demonstrate how I handled different situations to make it easier for the interviewer to foresee how I can be a future asset for the team.
Favorite part of working at W?
Definitely W’s personality. We can be playful yet polished at the same time. For me, W is just like our life itself as we alternate ways of communication depending on who we speak to. Another favorite thing is the different ways in which we stretch our brains to be able to say yes to our guests. Reaching a happy guest as a result of the “all in” effort brings us a strong sense of pride.
Describe a moment you felt supported at Marriott or at W.
I’ve always felt supported by the company throughout my career but felt the strongest when I started growing the family. I met my husband, Nijad, when we both were working in the same Marriott hotel 20 years ago. Since then, we moved to various locations to further our career opportunities within Marriott, and the company has always supported us along the way.
There were times when Nijad and I were apart for an extended period between our moves, but Marriott always looked after us so we always knew we would be together in the same location again. When I was pregnant with my first son, Hugo, I had a complication and remember the tremendous support I received from my leaders and colleagues who helped me physically and emotionally.
During my 2-months bed rest period, I received countless encouragement and visits from my colleagues and senior leaders. It helped me feel understood and supported. Those were the moments where I reconfirmed we were not just a group of people who worked together, but our own warm extended family.
What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
Now. I am proud of my career journey and most proud of where I’m now. Because I made choices to be where I am today, and I am grateful for everything. I appreciate each and every day, and I don’t take any day for granted.
What is your favorite part of the job?
That it involves interacting and communicating with associates and guests from all different backgrounds. In every conversation, I learn something new, and it helps me widen my life perspectives. I take great satisfaction in connecting with talent during daily briefings and spontaneous interactions. I get to know them at the personal level. By cultivating stronger relationships, I am so blessed I’m always rescued by people around me when I’m in trouble. I love working with a team of brilliant individuals with specialized skills, diverse perspectives, and innovative ideas.
What does a good day at work look like for you?
When my time serves the purpose of providing an inspirational moment for someone. And when it leads them to learning something new.