Name: Zoe P.
Position: Resident Manager
Hotel: New York Marriott Marquis
Dream destination: Greece. My name in Greek means “life” — so it is only fitting I travel there to make the most of this life!
Drink or treat of choice: I have A LOT of natural energy! People always think I am five coffees deep throughout the day. The truth is, I drink one single shot of espresso each morning at 6 am. If I am feeling extra fancy, I melt a small piece of dark chocolate into it. This keeps me going all day long. The rest of my energy is just all me!
Math, science, and social studies never truly interested Resident Manager Zoe, who preferred social time like recess or group activities when she was in school.
“I was an excellent camp counselor and knew how to keep the kids engaged and having fun while orchestrating order and structure into their day,” says Zoe, who also knew she loved to serve.
“As a kid, whenever my parents had a party at the house, I would walk around passing out the appetizers,” says Zoe. “The positive feeling I would get from making others happy with the smallest gesture was never lost on me.”
Zoe’s older sister was the opposite — a straight-A student with a nearly perfect SAT score. When Zoe was a freshman in high school, she visited her sister at Cornell University and learned about the Hospitality Management program.
“I couldn’t believe it! An entire school dedicated to figuring out the best wine pairing, the art of service, and strategic management. Now THIS was something I could do!”
Upon graduation, Zoe began her career as a Rooms Management trainee at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel and later took on leadership roles in Housekeeping, Front Desk, Guest Relations, Food & Beverage, and Rooms Operations.
Over the years, Zoe used her creativity and penchant for strategic management to inspire passion and fun into each of the teams she has led. During her time at The Westin New York at Times Square, she was the first leader to implement a paid upsell program and she repositioned the hotel’s food and beverage operation, earning her the Marriott Sabre Restauranter Award. She was also an invaluable change leader during the Marriott-Starwood acquisition. She knows from experience that the hospitality industry can be demanding, but she loves the challenge each day brings.
“I get to go to work every day to a place where people save up their money just to visit once in a lifetime. The best days are those when the lines between work and play are blurred. When we play at work, while working hard, that’s the best of both worlds. I always remind my team throughout the day — don’t forget to have fun! This is the norm at Marriott, and the positive vibes are contagious.”
Zoe strives to be a leader who spreads happiness, even in the most difficult times.
“It is our core job to exceed our guests’ expectations to keep them happy. We certainly need to be happy ourselves while at work to accomplish this goal.”
It’s this attitude that has impacted so many Marriott customers, guests and associates. For example, during her time as the Director of Restaurant and Bars at The Westin New York at Times Square, Zoe was faced with a busy day ahead. A line wrapped around the steps to get into the restaurant. Every seat was taken, and the floor was buzzing. All staff and leaders were working at full capacity.
“As we were going, without even knowing it, we were laughing, connecting with our eyes, and fist-bumping each other.”
A guest approached Zoe and shared that he’d loved watching the teams work and that though it was busy, everyone appeared as though they genuinely loved their jobs and were happy to be doing them.
“It gave me chills to think that someone else — an outsider, nonetheless — could see the same magic. I will always remember that conversation.”
Zoe’s passion for her role and the service aspect of the hospitality industry has contributed to her success and the success of the company.
“Each night that I walk out the employee entrance, I feel fulfilled. Sometimes my body is aching, and my head is tired from a long day, but I always have the same feeling inside. The feeling that I made a difference. I had an impact in at least one person’s life today.”
Learn more about Zoe’s hotel career at Marriott below.
What is your favorite part of the job?
My favorite part of my job is developing talent on my team. I love seeing the leaders I once had as interns now running their own departments. It brings an extreme sense of gratitude. My days are also always so engaging! Just recently, my day consisted of a Q4 strategy meeting, followed by a VIP room inspection, and ended by passing out ICEEs to our overnight team out on the loading dock at midnight with the music blasting and two full hours of dancing!
What does a good day at work look like for you?
A good day at work means I took care of people, I had an influence in at least one person’s life, and I had one real good belly laugh. Recently, I had someone shadow me for the day to see what it was like to work in operations. The day started quickly, and we swooped into the stand-up meeting. There were lots of jokes and giggles, but a lot of meaningful information was also shared. As we were making our way down to Housekeeping to welcome the staff, the person asked me, “Are your meetings always that fun?” Now, I didn’t think that was even a particularly exciting one! But I looked at her and said, “Yes, yes they are.”
When you’re interviewing talent for your team, what soft skills do you look for most?
I look for passion and enthusiasm…someone who is excited about life and wants to share their thoughts/experiences with other people. In some of the best interviews I have ever had, I get to know interesting facts about the candidate that just come up naturally in friendly banter. To me, the soft skills far outweigh years of experience.
What does it mean to be a leader at Marriott?
Being a leader in Marriott means growing and developing the leaders on your team. I am constantly paying it forward because that is what the leaders before me did. This is a wonderful tradition with deep-rooted legacy. It does not matter the discipline in the hotel; the most effective leaders manage their teams with the same efficiency and care whether their output is P&L statements or the pre-theatre dinner rush. It is about caring for the people on your team and treating both your internal and external customers with the same respect and charisma.
What advice do you have for those interested in working at Marriott?
If you are ready for an exciting, fun, always-changing career — Marriott is the company for you. If you thrive in the unknown and the uncomfortable places — Marriott is the company for you. If you believe change is a pivotal part of growing and developing — Marriott is the company for you. Each of my 15 years has been better than the one prior. Every few years I get to start a new position and reinvent myself in a different discipline or hotel. I am constantly developing, and I have never been bored at work…who has the time?!
How have you used the Marriott Explore Rate?
I have been able to travel the world on the Marriott Explore rate! I was married in 2018 and took the longest trip I have ever taken in my career. My husband and I hopped on the Explore Rate throughout all the Rajasthan hotels in India. We ended our two-week high-intensity adventure with a one-week stay at the most relaxing location in the world — The W Maldives. We took a seaplane to get there and arrived on the private island where the hotel resides. We had our own private hut on the water, and it was the most special destination I have ever explored!