A TakeCare Story: Nura Sakati Mendez

June 13, 2018


Every so often I get a letter from a customer or an associate that really touches me because of their positive feelings toward Marriott International and our culture.

Since my father founded this company, our most important and enduring principle has never changed: If you take care of your associates, they will take care of the guests, and the guests will keep coming back. This adage has served as the cornerstone for our tremendous success over the past nine decades.

But this wasn’t just a business strategy to my father — it was the right thing to do; the Golden Rule at work, so to speak.

So, when I reread a letter from Nura Sakati Mendez, who recently celebrated 19 years of service with Marriott, it reminded me of why our puttingpeople first culture is so important.

Nura and Husband in Belgium
Nura Sakati Mendez and her husband, Gerson, in Belgium.

About a year after Nura started at the Washington Marriott at Metro Center in Washington, D.C., she was diagnosed with cancer and would have to undergo six months of chemo and radiation treatments. I can only imagine the fear she must have felt. Just 25 years old and starting a new job; no doubt worried that she’d soon be unemployed.

The property’s Human Resources Director at the time rallied Nura’s supervisor, as well as other hotel executives and managers, and encouraged them to participate in Marriott’s Leave Sharing Program, allowing them to transfer a portion of their available paid leave to Nura. “I never had to go out on disability,” she wrote, “which allowed me the physical and mental outlet of continuing to work, while taking the necessary time off during my treatments.”

The relief and the gratitude she felt was overwhelming, even years later when she wrote me about it. The Marriott community, she said, “assisted in my ability to overcome a difficult time in my life, allowing me to fight the cancer and still have a profession to which I could look forward.”

“I can never thank you enough,” she wrote, “for the company support, leadership, benefits, and everlasting friendships.”

And that’s what our culture is about: treating others the way you’d like to be treated. Going out of your way to make someone feel at home; that Marriott is where they belong.

We believe so strongly in our culture that, in 2010, we started an initiative that we call TakeCare – our elevated focus on associate happiness and wellbeing. This movement is a commitment to helping our associates live their best lives and revolves around three pillars of personal wellbeing: (1) Helping associates feel good about themselves; (2) Helping them feel good about their part in the company; and, (3) Helping them be a part of the company’s role in society.

That’s why Nura’s letter meant so much to me. Her story is a great example of how our putting people first culture has allowed us to maintain an inclusive and engaging environment where all associates – just like Nura – can feel valued, inspiring them to create great experiences for their customers and their community.

I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott On the Move!

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