Name: Maddie L.
Position: Customer Success Manager, Marriott Digital Services
Location: Marriott HQ
Dream destination: Bora Bora. Specifically, The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort!
Drink or treat of choice: Sweet tea. It takes me back to when I lived in South Carolina working one of my first jobs at a country club.
After working in restaurants and event planning, Maddie was bit by the hospitality bug. In college, she studied Public Relations with a focus on Hospitality Management and started to think of the different paths that lay ahead.
“I saw Marriott as a unique opportunity to blend my public relations skill set with my passion for hospitality,” she recalls. She applied for the Marriott HQ Fellowship/Internship Program and immediately knew she was in the right place. Even at the interview!
“During the interview for the internship, the hiring manager’s engaging, considerate, and genuine approach resonated with me. The way she described the company and the team’s responsibilities not only excited me but also inspired me to learn from her.”
Maddie started her Marriott journey in 2017 as an intern on the Consumer Public Relations team. “It was a pivotal experience for me, it gave me hands-on exposure, executive insights, and connections with associates from a variety of different departments.”
After completing her internship, she was eager to return to the company. “The program structure, my team’s dynamics, and the company culture left a lasting impression and set an unmatched standard. I couldn’t envision myself anywhere else.”
Fast forward to today and Maddie has grown her career and works as a Customer Success Manager within Marriott Digital Services (MDS) at Marriott Headquarters, in Bethesda.
“MDS is Marriott’s internal digital agency that provides hotels with digital programs and products to maximize revenue and keep up with the ever-changing digital space,” she explains. “Within my role, I act as a digital guide, a primary point of contact for hotels to assist them with their digital needs to ensure a successful client experience and smooth maintenance of their websites post-launch.”
Learn more about Maddie’s journey, and her most valuable learnings from her time at Marriott in her own words, below.
What have been the 3 biggest learnings you’ve picked up from your time at Marriott?
- Take the initiative to challenge yourself when you step into new experiences. You’re gearing up for your future roles. Embrace the idea of taking on unfamiliar and challenging tasks that can broaden your professional skill set.
- Cultivate new relationships by taking the time to meet with colleagues, leaders, and associates outside of your team. Creating valuable connections can stimulate a quality working environment and also open doors for you later down the line. Opportunities and growth can come from unexpected places!
- Pause to consider the support you’ve received throughout your career. If there’s a new team member, you can offer to meet with them and help them get grounded with the organization. Or if there’s a younger associate, you can show interest in mentoring them and encourage their career growth.
What was your Marriott interview process like, and any tips for candidates who want a role like yours?
Marriott’s interview process is structured to empower you while speaking to your experience and personal interests. The hiring managers have always been thoughtful and engaging in a way that encourages self-expression, creating an environment that encourages authenticity. I would advise candidates to ensure they are speaking to the results of their learnings, and also craft a narrative that illustrates how their work experience has shaped their interests and skills to align with their desired role. It’s also important to maintain a positive perspective about your work experiences, including those that have been difficult. Even moments of challenge in your career can create valuable insights.
How has Marriott supported your growth and allowed you to try new things?
As a young professional, at first, I was uncertain about where exactly I would fit within the company. I was given opportunities to work on different disciplines that may not have perfectly aligned with my academic background and it paid off. Guided by exceptional mentors and managers, I received support in nurturing my career development. They championed me and encouraged me to find my place within the company, eventually leading me to settle my roots in MDS. Associates from different departments also always welcomed the idea of meeting with me. They were willing to share insights about their teams’ initiatives and provide career perspectives. This environment of support encouraged me to explore different avenues within the company and enhanced my professional strengths.
What are some unique or exciting projects you’ve been able to take part in at Marriott?
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to attend the Marriott Select Brands General Manager Conference in Anaheim, California. While work-related travel always brings its own dose of excitement, this trip was particularly meaningful, as it allowed me to connect with my colleagues and engage with the general managers of our Select Brand hotels. We set up a booth featuring the Marriott Digital Services signature purple, so we really stood out! Throughout the conference, our booth became a focal point for attendees seeking insights into our range of programs and products. I enjoyed meeting with members of the accounts that I help manage and also establishing new connections with hotels that were eager to understand more about our organization. My team and I tracked the count of the number of attendees we interfaced with, reaching more than 400 conversations with GMs. Adding to the experience, one of the evenings we were treated to exclusive conference attendees-only access to Disneyland’s California Adventure Park, extending the conference networking in a unique and memorable way. I’m hoping to return next year!
What’s one large-scale project you have worked on for Marriott?
My team recently took part in the transition of The Ritz-Carlton Hotels’ legacy websites onto a new, enhanced platform. This resulted in an entirely new and elevated hotel website experience. Our work on the new Ritz-Carlton website experience was featured in Ad Week! I am so proud to have contributed to this project and look forward to more opportunities for innovation and growth!
How have you witnessed your impact globally?
The creation of the MDS Guide role marked a significant milestone within the Marriott Digital Services organization. This innovative position was created earlier this year, establishing a fresh approach to client support and product experience. With MDS Guides working in tandem with clients on every continent, we’ve been able to tailor our support and product experience to meet the unique needs and preferences of diverse markets.
How would you describe Marriott’s culture?
Marriott is renowned for its commitment to nurturing its employees, with a deliberate focus on creating an inclusive, positive, and growth-centric work environment. Marriott’s dedication to fostering a sense of community has been a driving force behind my enduring loyalty to the company. Throughout my journey with Marriott, I have consistently felt supported and inspired.
Describe a moment you felt supported at Marriott.
I was tasked with overseeing the planning of a multi-day meeting, with participants traveling from out of state. I spent months handling all the preliminary work, logistics, and scheduling to ensure a smooth execution. The week before the meeting, I had a family member unexpectedly pass away. I called my manager, stressed about things falling out of place for this meeting that I had put so much time and effort into while also dealing with the grief I was facing. She assured me that our team would step up and assume responsibility for all the meeting-related tasks. She also strongly encouraged me to prioritize my own well-being, advocating for me to take the time I needed to grieve and be with my family. She and the team’s compassion went beyond their professional obligations. I received flowers and a thoughtful note expressing their condolences. Throughout that challenging week, my team continued to show compassion and regularly checked in with me. Their empathy and support were incredibly touching.
Do you remember a moment when you felt like a part of a community at Marriott?
I cherish our yearly Associate Appreciation Week. My first Associate Appreciation Week experience was my favorite! Marriott transformed the parking lot into a culinary wonderland and demonstrated a commitment to social responsibility with activities like collaborating with a local animal shelter and bringing in a group of adorable puppies for us to interact with and enjoy. There was also an organized care package packing station in which all associates from all corners of the organization came together to assemble packages for those in need. I experienced a sense of unity and camaraderie among us. It provided an opportunity for associates from various departments and backgrounds to come together as an interconnected community to enjoy ourselves while also giving back.
How have you used the Marriott Explore Rate?
I absolutely love making the most of my Marriott travel rate to explore new cities! It’s been a fantastic way for me to experience our hotels, whether I’m on a family trip, a getaway with friends, or in a pinch and need a place to stay. I’ve made it a personal goal to familiarize myself with our portfolio by experiencing as many different brands as possible. To date, I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing 17 different Marriott brands, each with its own character and charm. I look forward to continuing my exploration of our hotels!