Bill Marriott Jr., CEO and chairman of Marriott International, spoke to students and faculty Tuesday in the center that bears his family’s name.
Marriott focused his remarks on the beginnings and success of Marriott International, the importance and value of education and provided insights and advice in how to be successful in the workplace and life.
According to Marriott, for a business to be successful the company must be focused on putting people before profits.
“We are a company that believes you should put people first, pursue excellence, act with integrity, embrace change and serve our world,” Marriott said. “Those values will never be compromised.”
Marriott made a point of commenting on the importance of having a balanced lifestyle and prioritizing what matters most.
“My advice is to put the family first, then the church and finally profession,” Marriott said, “and then rely on the Spirit to guide and direct you.”
Marriott expressed his admiration for BYU and stressed why education is such an important focus of the Marriott family.
“Coming to BYU is like a homecoming,” Marriott said. “We are honored to have the Marriott name on this beautiful building and on the Marriott School of Management. We are very proud of the university’s focus on ethical decision making and devotion to our shared values. My family feels very strongly about supporting education. We believe education provides the tools necessary to achieve new heights and provide much needed leadership in the world.”
Marriott used the story of the founding of the business by his parents, Alice and J. Willard Marriott, as an example of hard work and dedication. Marriott International started as a root beer stand in Washington, D.C., where they sold sodas, hamburgers and hot dogs. It then progressed to restaurants and hotels and is now operating in 73 countries with more than 3,800 hotels and revenues over $11 billion.
Before concluding, Marriott emphasized the role the gospel has played in laying a foundation for the success of the business.
“Our family’s success has been possible because my mother and father based their hard work on the foundation of the gospel of Jesus Christ,” Marriott said. “The Church has had an overriding influence on our steadiness and success, it has influenced the way we do business, how we see each person’s potential and how we care about their happiness. The Savior set this example, and each one of us would try to emulate his life.”