Having worked for Marriott International for 33 years, Erika Alexander, the hospitality company’s chief global officer, Global Operations, has been with the company for a third of its 95 year history. She’s seen the Marriott transform, and in many ways, has been one of the people to help transform it.
Most recently, Marriott International opened their new headquarters in Bethesda, a 21-story, 785,000 square-foot facility that is a welcoming space for employees returning to the office. Alexander hopes the space will inspire new ways to think about furniture design, cuisine and the blending of business and leisure that the pandemic world has encouraged.
Alexander started at Marriott International as an account manager at a Residence Inn by Marriott, “which basically was a sales job,” she said.
She had just graduated from business school at George Mason University after receiving her bachelor’s from the University of Virginia, and while she was looking for a way to save some money prior to pursuing a career as an attorney, a Marriott employee offered her a job, and she hasn’t looked back.
Though one of the few women —and even fewer women of color — within the company 30 years ago, Alexander credits Marriott with encouraging a culture of “putting people first.”
“I always felt like the company had a commitment to women and creating opportunities for women to grow into very senior leader roles,” she said.
Alexander is most proud of an initiative she and her team helped develop called “Evenings of Engagement,” an informal gathering of young women leaders to discuss dreams and aspirations, as well as navigate the complexities of being a minority in a workspace.