Name: Wilson L.
Position: Business Operations Manager
Location: San Antonio, TX
Dream destination: Spain
Drink or treat of choice: Dr. Pepper Shake is my go-to!
Since he first started working at Marriott as a front office intern at the then brand-new JW Marriott in San Antonio, Wilson has come a long way. Fresh out of college at Northern Arizona University, he met with a Marriott recruiter and was offered the role.
“I started as an intern but quickly moved into a supervisor role,” he recalls. After that, he dipped his toes in different departments as exciting and different as overseeing the weddings and events team or managing a Courtyard by Marriott hotel during the pandemic.
Today, in his current role as a Business Operations Manager working remotely out of his house in San Antonio, Wilson assists operations for hotels within the Marriott Select Brands category (which include Moxy, AC, Four Points by Sheraton, Courtyard by Marriott, Springhill Suites, Protea Hotels, Aloft, and Fairfield by Marriott) from Chicago to Hawaii. And what are operations? One may ask. “From ensuring the hotels are compliant with brand standards to providing strategic advice and support to the leadership team,” he explains.
For Wilson, the key that has opened door after door in his career from the very beginning is clear: people. The personal connections he’s made since his internship days and how to use those to advance in his career have proved to be for him the main takeaway.
“I learned early on in my career the importance of networking,” he says.
When he found out there was an opening for his current role, he was fortunate to have met the hiring manager previously and gotten to know her better.
“I knew this role was going to be popular and a lot of people would be interested in applying for it, even some that may have had more experience than me,” he says. So, he found a very creative way of setting himself apart from them.
After the job interview, he took inspiration from Reese Witherspoon’s character in the 2000’s classic film Legally Blonde to make an impact on the hiring manager.
“I thought outside the box, took some inspiration from Elle Woods, and created a video that summed up some of the things we talked about in the interview and reminded the hiring manager why I was the perfect candidate for the role.”
While Wilson leaned into his creativity for this job application, what’s most important when you’re applying for a position is to do your research, says Wilson, both on the role and the people with whom you’ll be working.
“Show that you are passionate and driven and can really add to the team,” Wilson advises to prospective candidates. “Most importantly, be yourself and show them why you would be perfect for the role.”
Learn more about Wilson’s story of determination and best tips for networking, in his own words below.
You transitioned from working on property at a hotel to a remote role — how was that change?
I will always love being a part of an on-property team. The relationships you build working side by side with your staff really create a strong family bond. However, the flexibility I have working remotely is amazing. I’m able to adjust my work schedule to fit my lifestyle and personal goals. What I miss most is that physical interaction with my staff but I’m able to keep connected through video calls, emails, and social media. What I love most about my current role is that I’m able to have more time to be creative and explore different aspects of the job.
How would you describe Marriott’s culture?
Marriott believes in creating an environment of respect, including the recognition of diverse backgrounds, perspectives and ideas. This is a key part of our culture, as it is essential to creating a more connected, successful, and innovative workplace. Marriott is committed to being a trusted employer of choice and a place where associates can be their true authentic selves. The Marriott Put People First principle is evident by the way leaders fulfill their commitment to associates to deliver opportunity, community, and purpose. In turn, associates are inspired to live Marriott’s core values, including putting people first in their daily lives. It is a powerful, self-replenishing dynamic. It’s the secret sauce.
When have you felt like a part of a community at Marriott?
Marriott International has several associate resource groups. I joined the LGBTQ+ | ONE associate resource group and was immediately welcomed into a warm and inviting community. We have monthly calls where we can share how we can create experiences and collaborate on how to support the Marriott culture in our respective cities. It’s an amazing experience to be a part of such a tight-knit community with a common goal and I am so proud of the work we are doing not only in our own market but the steps we’ve taken as an organization.
Favorite part of working at Marriott?
The people. Everyone I have encountered, from fellow team members to guests, have made the experience enjoyable and meaningful. I’ve made some great connections during my time here, and I’m grateful for all the support and guidance I have received. Working here also allows me to travel and explore different parts of the world.
Describe a moment you felt supported at Marriott.
In every role I’ve had I’ve always asked for special projects. One of those special projects was to develop a market onboarding training for new hires. After proposing the idea, I received support from my manager and other leaders in the company. My manager provided me with the resources I needed and allowed me to make decisions independently. This support showed me that Marriott believed in me and my ideas, and that gave me the confidence to take on even more challenging tasks.
Proudest moment of your career so far?
Surviving the pandemic. I was new to my role, new to the brand and welcoming a new General Manager to our hotel. Despite all the uncertainty of the pandemic, I was able to keep the hotel running smoothly and keep key relationships with our associates strong, until we were able to bring them all back. It was a challenging but rewarding experience that I will never forget.
What is your favorite part of the job?
That I am a go-to guy for a lot of different people. I have been able to connect and learn from an amazing group of people throughout my career and I learned early on that success is not about what you know, but who you know. I don’t always have all the answers, but I do know how to use my resources to get me in the right direction. I think what makes Marriott unique is the vast amount of opportunities that are available and the people that make that happen.
What does a good day at work look like for you?
When I’m able to help a team member solve a problem that they have been having difficulty with. Knowing that I was able to contribute to their personal growth and success is incredibly fulfilling.
What is the most exciting thing you’ve been able to do at Marriott so far?
I work with both the West & East regions to host a Quarterly General Manager orientation in Bethesda. As part of the orientation, we take a tour of Marriott’s new Headquarters. On one of the tours, we were fortunate to be passing by the executive offices and Tony Capuano and David Marriott came out and shook hands with all the new General Managers. It was all they could talk about for the rest of the week. It was an amazing moment to witness and be a part of.
How has Marriott supported your growth and given you opportunities to try new things?
In every role I’ve had, my leaders have always encouraged me to look for new ways to improve our processes. I have had the opportunity to lead and be part of various projects which have given me the opportunity to try new things and learn new skills.
How has Marriott supported your family?
One of my favorite things about working at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa was Family Day. This was an opportunity to bring my family to spend the day in the water park. I was able to show my family the beautiful resort I worked at. Working in Operations you tend to spend a lot of hours away from your family, and this was an extremely nice way to thank my family for allowing me to be away.
How have you used the Marriott Explore Rate?
This would have to be one of my absolute favorite benefits of the job. I’ve used it in Phoenix when I go home to visit family, or as close as Houston when we need a little staycation. My family and friends love it when they are able to use the Explore Rate as well, it’s a great way to help save them money on their travels.