Jennifer’s Start at a Hotel’s Pizza Hut Led Her to Become an Award-Winning Associate
Name: Jennifer B.
Position: Guest Experience Expert
Hotel: Fairfield by Marriott Anaheim Resort
Dream destination: Italy, Greece and Ireland
Drink or treat of choice: Mango smoothies
Happy and chaotic aren’t words you’d typically use to describe a job interview. But for Jennifer Brown-Reich, that’s exactly how she remembers her interview at the Fairfield by Marriott Anaheim Resort’s Pizza Hut 16 years ago.
“Yvette was the manager on duty that day and the person that interviewed me. She was trying to run the department, fix problems and run the interview at the same time. We laughed the entire time,” recalls Jennifer. “It was refreshing to see a company and workplace still able to have fun and find joy in a day when things weren’t running as planned. I knew then, this was the company for me.”
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“It actually made the interview process a lot easier,” says Jennifer, who worked for the school district’s special education department prior to joining the Marriott hotel, which is literally across the street from Disneyland in Southern California. “It was a huge change from what I was familiar with.”
After two years working in the hotel’s Pizza Hut and familiarizing herself with the ways a hotel runs, Jennifer felt ready to take on a role with more guest interaction. “The Pizza Hut was busy in the morning, but then the rest of the day was pretty slow. I wanted to be where there was more excitement.”
She applied for a temporary opening at the concierge desk and was hired right away — training for the position, however, took a little more time.
“Since I never had hotel experience, the training took me a little longer because I had never used a computer much prior to that time,” Jennifer says. “To be honest, for the longest time I let fear and not enough self-confidence keep me from learning new systems.”
Fast-forward 16 years, and Jennifer is thriving in her role as Guest Experience Expert (“in other words, I’m the hotel front desk agent”) at the same Marriott hotel in which she was originally hired. In fact, this fall she was honored with Marriott’s highly esteemed Award of Excellence, an annual company award that honors the “best of the best” at Marriott and those who exemplify the company’s core values.
Get a glimpse into a day in the life of Jennifer and learn more about her Marriott experience, in her own words, below.
What’s surprised you most about your role and working for Marriott?
There are so many online classes and resources available to all associates to help us succeed in anything we want to accomplish. The thing that surprised me about my job is that once I was used to it, how easy and truly fun it was! I am paid to share the joy of vacations, special occasions, graduations, proposals, and more, every day with people from all over the world. How amazing is that!
What does a typical day look like for you, as a Marriott Guest Experience Expert?
4:00 am: The day begins
I start a load of laundry, shower and get ready.
5:30 am: Drive to work
Before heading out the door I make sure the house is set for my family for the day.
6:00 am: The workday starts
Once I am at work, I make sure to ask my coworkers how the night was and if there is any information that they need to pass on for me to handle. I start my check list and go through the arrivals for the day just to make myself familiar with what the day ahead will be like.
10:30 am: Lunch break
I usually try to talk to my husband for a few minutes. He is a merchant marine so while he is on ship that is usually the time that I can speak with him for at least a few minutes that day.
2:00 pm: Chat with my manager
Zuyen is absolutely amazing! We have a lot in common, and I am lucky to work in a place that truly has an open-door policy with all leaders and management. At our property they make it easy to come and talk to them at any time. From GM to front Desk, Security, Housekeeping and every manager in between, they are all amazing.
2:30 pm: Head home
At the end of the day, I go home, finish laundry and cook dinner for my family every night. My mom passed away 11 years ago so I care for my dad, my 26-year-old son and my husband when he is home. I truly enjoy taking care of all of them.
8:00 pm: Take it all in
At the end of the day my favorite thing to do is sit on my porch swing and watch the world go by.
How have you used the Marriott Explore Rate?
I didn’t use the travel discount for the first 10 years I was employed, as I was raising my son on my own and we did not travel much. Now I use it all the time and love it. I have been to some very beautiful properties!
My dream destinations are Italy, Greece and Ireland. Italy because it’s beautiful, Greece because it is breathtaking, and Ireland because growing up the priest at my church always told me I needed to go and visit every pub, then go to every church to pray for my soul in between.
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