By Kent Larsen
Marriott Tells New York Times Faith and Family Most Important
NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- In a telling essay in the New York Times' "The Boss"
column, Marriott International CEO and LDS Church member J. W. "Bill"
Marriott Jr. credits his faith in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints and the hard work that his father taught him for helping him reach
his success. The Times' "The Boss" column gives CEOs a chance to tell about
the biggest influences and accomplishments of their lives.
In the article, Marriott tells how his father taught him to work. He says J.
Willard Marriott Sr. was a "tough taskmaster" who feared that his children
"would never learn how to work" because of his success. So his father made
sure his children had plenty to do, both around the house, and, when they
reached working age, in low-level jobs in the family's restaurants.
Marriott Jr. tells of working in one of the family's Salt Lake City Hot
Shoppes (where he worked while studying at the University of Utah) one
Saturday, struggling to keep up with demand for ice cream. Practically
covered in ice cream, he looked up to see the company's vice president for
operations laughing at him, "getting a big charge out of seeing the boss's
son up to his elbows in ice cream, cherries and fudge sauce and pineapple
sauce. He was trying to see if I could actually get out of trouble, watching
me get stuck and not giving me help getting unstuck. It was an interesting
and humbling experience, a real big baptism by fire."
He also tells of seeing a real-life "widow's mite" story, personified by a
Spanish housekeeper in his ward, when he was bishop. Marriott's ward was 25
to 30% hispanic, and included a lot of single parents. "Every week a Spanish
lady ... would come in and say, 'Here. bishop, here's my tithe.' She'd give
me $3. She was earning no more than $35 a week, and this was her tribute to
the ward." Marriott said her faithful contributions had a big impact on him,
"After that, whatever the church wanted me to do I did."
In the article, Marriott writes that his faith sustained him when his
five-year-old daughter, born with a heart defect, underwent surgery at the
Mayo Clinic, one of the few places in the world, at the time, with a
heart-lung machine. "After the surgery, we went back to our room. We got a
call that she wasn't doing well. ... My wife and I were on our knees all
night praying. We called the nurses' station at 6:30 the next morning. She
did live, and we credited the Heavenly Father. She now has five children of
her own and is serving on a mission in Belgium."
Marriott also answers a couple of commonly asked questions in the column.
Echoing many Mormon parents, he says that his greatest accomplishment in
life is his family. His greatest disappointment in life is much more modest,
however; Marriott wishes he had learned to play golf.
Steeped in Family and Faith
New York Times 25Jul01 B2
By J.W. Marriott Jr.