Name: Ann G.
Position: Vice President, Customer Engagement Centers – Strategic Initiatives
Dream destination: Japan is high on my bucket list. I would love to experience the urban bustle of Tokyo, then the peace and tranquility of Kyoto and Takayama. I also love the food!
Drink or treat of choice: I am originally from Texas, so my favorite drink is Dr. Pepper.
For U.S. Army veteran Ann G., Marriott’s core value to “put people first” was already a practice she knew well.
Ann served in the U.S. Army from 2001-2006 as a Transportation Officer, so she was responsible for ensuring people, equipment, and supplies were delivered in a safe and timely manner. During her tenure, she was stationed with the 1st Infantry Division and was deployed to combat operations in Iraq from 2004-2005.
So, how did her military experience inform her hospitality career with Marriott?
“Marriott and the Army have very similar core values and culture. Servant leadership is at the heart of military service and is the approach to leadership I was taught at West Point,” Ann says. “Marriott’s core value of ‘putting people first’ is another way of articulating the philosophy of servant leadership where a leader puts the core needs of others first. Working at Marriott aligns with the values and experiences that are core to who I am.”
After her service, Ann earned her master’s in business administration from Harvard Business School, where she served as the President of the HBS Armed Forced Association. While at Harvard, Ann met Peggy Roe, Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Officer for Marriott International, at a Women in Business Conference.
“I was interested in the hospitality industry as I was leaving the Army. I was stationed in Germany and loved traveling all over Europe in my free time. After meeting Peggy, I was inspired to do the same type of work that she did!”
Ann initially worked in financial services and consulting after business school, then later joined Marriott as a brand consultant, where she grew into roles in the company’s Customer Engagement Centers.
Now, Ann leads initiatives to advance customer service strategy and works alongside Peggy on the Women’s Associate Resource Group leadership team. She is instrumental in fulfilling the group’s mission to create safe spaces to voice perspectives and bring focus to belonging, empowerment, and allyship.
“I believe in the power of connection and supporting one another, and those missions are at the heart of Marriott’s Associate Resource Group program and the Women’s Associate Resource Group in particular. I believe that the Women’s Associate Resource Group has the power to create a sense of belonging and inspire interesting conversations.”
Learn more about Ann’s unique military-to-hospitality career path at Marriott below.
Do you have any advice for veterans looking to pivot into hospitality?
Veterans have what it takes to succeed in hospitality! Veterans are accustomed to a work environment built on teamwork, commitment, and service, which is what you will find in the hospitality industry and at Marriott.
Describe a moment when you felt like a part of a community at Marriott.
I enjoy participating in Serve360 events — the company dedicates time and resources to projects that serve the communities that we live and work in. I feel immense pride in working for a company that sees our hotels as cornerstones of communities and neighborhoods and seeks to give back in many ways.
Describe a moment when you felt supported at Marriott.
I was hired into two of my prior roles at Marriott through word of mouth; my friend and Marriott colleagues helped facilitate introductions. Peer networks and support are one of a kind at Marriott! I have never experienced a peer network that was so supportive of advancing one another — the relationships and collegiality are truly special at Marriott.
What is your favorite part of the job?
I enjoy working in Marriott’s Customer Engagement Centers (CECs) because the business is a different type of operation from hotel operations. We have a large (6,000+ associate) global front-line customer service team that cares for a variety of guest interactions. The CEC work environment is fast-paced and dynamic, but we also have a lot of fun!
What kind of leader do you strive to be?
I strive to be an authentic and approachable leader. I learned early on at West Point that it is important to lean into your style of leadership and communication, rather than seeking to imitate others or an “ideal” version. I am not a Drill Sergeant personality! I had to learn to embrace my unique way of connecting with and influencing others.
When you’re interviewing talent to join your team, what characteristics do you look for?
I look for two main things:
- Humility – I define this as a willingness to learn and grow, and not taking oneself so seriously. The ability to listen carefully and accept different perspectives.
- Heart – Empathy for others and teamwork. A recognition that we’re all in this together, so we need to lighten the load for one another.
How have you used the Marriott Explore Rate?
Most recently, my family and I used the Explore Rate to stay at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, over the holidays last year. We love using the Explore Rate to explore different destinations and brands.