NEW YORK—Speaking at the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), on a panel about “Women Decision-Makers in the Global Economy,” Arne Sorenson, president and CEO of Marriott International, Inc., voiced the company’s strong commitment to supporting the advancement of women as part of the growth strategy for the global hospitality company.
“Our portfolio of hotels will benefit tremendously if women are able to achieve their full potential in the global economy,” stated Sorenson. “That’s why we are focused on advancing women in our company’s management and executive ranks, gaining their loyalty as customers, creating economic opportunity as hotel owners, and nurturing women-owned businesses through our supply chain. This is an important strategy for Marriott’s global growth and the vitality of communities where we do business.”
Through the company’s Global Diversity & Inclusion Council, which drives Marriott’s global strategy, each of the company’s five Continent Presidents, have regional diversity and inclusion goals, focusing on customers, associates, hotel owners and the women and diverse-owned businesses which sell goods and services to Marriott.
Women-owned businesses make up the largest spend with diverse groups, accounting for 10% of Marriott’s total purchases of products. In 2012, Marriott spent $257 million with 4,000 women-owned businesses in North America.
At the Clinton Global Initiative, Marriott joined more than a dozen corporations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in a five-year commitment to expand its engagement with women-owned businesses outside the United States, especially in emerging economies. Working with WEConnect International and Vital Voices, two prominent NGOs that support and promote the economic potential of women, Marriott will be part of the pledge to train 15,000 women business owners and spend $1.5 billion with their companies by 2018.
In Rwanda, Marriott has partnered with a vocational school called the Akilah Institute for Women to bring 15 women from their first graduating class to work and train in Marriott hotels in Dubai. The women are getting on-the-job skills, leadership training, and will be prepared after 18 months to return, as part of the management team, to open the company’s first Sub-Saharan Africa hotel – the Kigali Marriott Hotel in 2014.