Name: Monica M.
Position: Director for Executive, Desktop, and Smart Building Support
Location: Marriott HQ in Bethesda, Maryland
Dream destination: Seychelles
Treat: Hot fudge brownie sundae with nuts
During the pandemic, when headquarters’ associates were working remotely, Monica was tasked with reimagining Marriott’s technical support platform in order to support associates who were adapting to a new way of working. Looking back, that was one of the most exciting challenges she has faced in her Marriott career as an IT leader.
“That was quite a challenge because the support platform at the time was a walk-up support desk where associates would bring their laptops and mobile devices for technical assistance, repairs, and training [in person]. I had to figure out how to provide this service remotely,” she recalls. “The project, which launched a virtual support platform, was a huge success and allowed our associates to continue to receive stellar support remotely. The service became so popular that we still use it to support our hybrid and remote staff.”
After honing her chops in service and support management in large corporations and non-profit organizations, Monica came to Marriott three years ago as a Director of Concierge Services. Since then, her responsibilities have grown and changed, and today she holds the role of Director for Executive, Desktop, and Smart Building Support. Translated to out-of-office lingo, it means she’s responsible for Marriott’s desktop support system.
“I oversee all of the headquarters’ support teams, including our onsite and remote walk-up support desk called HotSpot,” she explains. HotSpot is Marriott’s technical support platform, and it provides instructions and technical advice to headquarters associates and virtual support to hybrid and remote associates.
Learn more about Monica’s journey in her own words below.
Describe a moment you felt like a part of a community at Marriott.
At my first Black ARG (Associate Resource Group) meeting. It was an amazing experience to attend an event with associates at all levels who look like me. I love that Marriott affords me the opportunity to be a part of associate resource groups.
How was your experience participating in the Afrotech conference?
AfroTech was a phenomenal experience. First, let me say how happy I am to be part of an organization that is dedicated to ensuring we have a diverse talent pool. Secondly, I was honored to be asked by my Vice President to attend and then further honored to be selected. Attending the conference and working at the Marriott booth was an amazing experience. It gave me a chance to meet and get to know several of my fellow Marriott associates. It was also an opportunity to talk to potential job candidates and share all the reasons I love working here. In addition to that, there were great keynote sessions and networking events that I attended. It was a truly memorable event.
How would you describe Marriott’s culture?
One of Marriott’s core values is “Put people first” and Marriott truly lives by this value. It’s weaved throughout their culture. I have many colleagues who have worked here for 15, 20, 30 years and beyond. It’s not surprising that people stay with this organization. For one, Marriott has a strong culture of promoting from within, and they are also strong proponents of developing associates so that they are ready to move into higher level positions when they become available. In addition to supporting associate growth, they also promote work-life balance and employee engagement on many levels. They encourage team building activities and devote an entire week to associate appreciation each year.
What was your Marriott interview process like?
My interview process was wonderful from start to finish. I applied for my position on a Friday evening and received an email from a recruiter on Monday morning. That was my first sign of good things to come. My recruiter took the time to explain the interview process, particularly the STAR format. To prepare for the STAR interview, I spent time recalling various scenarios from my recent career experience. When I came to the interview, I had my paperwork in a portfolio that had Nebraska on the branding. My interviewer and manager-to-be was from Nebraska and he immediately asked me about it. That was a perfect icebreaker! I was able to relax and take my time while relaying various situations and results. My preparation also paid off. I left feeling confident that I made a good impression.
Do you have any tips for candidates who want a role like yours?
If you’re looking for a role like mine, you should be passionate about service and have a desire to provide the best possible experience for our customers. If you possess these qualities, you should peruse our career page on a regular basis and if you see a role that interests you, apply! If you’re selected for an interview, preparation is key. Take time to remember all the times in your career where you’ve shined and even a few where you made some mistakes but were able to turn them into successes. Most importantly, when you get to your interview, relax and enjoy the experience.
As a person who has had my share of times being on the hiring manager side of the table, I can confirm that we want you to shine. My last word of advice is to not give up. If you apply for a job and you don’t get an interview, try again. If you make it to the interview stage and you don’t get selected, try again. Not getting selected doesn’t mean that you aren’t a great candidate, it just means that someone else had more of what the hiring manager was looking for. This is a company where you can have a rewarding career. Believe me, it’s worth another try.
How has Marriott supported your growth and given you the chance to try new things?
Marriott supports my growth by giving me opportunities to attend certification training courses and conferences. I’ve attended ITIL 4 and SAFe Agile training which were both sponsored by Marriott. I also attend two service and support trade conferences each year which help me to learn more about the industry and better implement industry standards and best practices in my team’s work. I have recently been selected to participate in Base Camp, which is part of Marriott’s premier leadership accelerator programs, designed for high-performing, high-potential leaders. This program will introduce me to leadership behaviors that will help catapult my professional growth. I am extremely excited about this learning opportunity.
How have you witnessed your impact globally?
I feel my impact globally through the technical support that my team provides. The support we provide restores productivity to our associates and contractors who work on projects and initiatives for our properties around the world.
What’s one large-scale project have you worked on for Marriott?
I was able to play a critical role in the opening of Marriott’s new headquarters in 2022. This was an exciting and challenging project to be a part of. Our new building implemented smart technology that allows associates to operate building functions such as finding a parking space, ordering lunch, reserving a workstation or conference room from their mobile devices. I oversaw the teams that provided first level support of the smart application and I was involved from the start helping to create implementation and training plans and timelines. In addition to smart technology, the new headquarters has over 300 meeting and events spaces. My team worked with setting up and certifying those event spaces.
Describe a moment you felt supported at Marriott.
There are many moments I’ve felt supported during my tenure at Marriott. I have especially felt the support of my managers and vice presidents when I needed their approval to participate on discussion panels or to speak at conferences. My senior leaders have also nominated me to attend conferences where I’m representing Marriott and to participate in learning and development activities such as the Base Camp Leadership Accelerator program. I can truthfully say that in every endeavor and challenge I have encountered at Marriott, I have always been assured by my leaders, both direct and senior, that I had their support.
How have you used the Marriott Explore Rate?
As an avid traveler, I love my Marriott Explore travel discount and I use it on a regular basis. One of my goals is to stay at every Royalton resort in the Caribbean. Royalton is a part of our Autograph Collection. I’ve used my Explore rate to stay at three of their properties, St. Lucia, Jamaica, and Cancun, this year. I have already booked a couple of hotel stays using my Explore rate for 2024 and plan to use it for a stay in Athens, Greece preceding a cruise that I’m taking next September. I can’t say enough about how much I enjoy my Explore rate benefit.