BETHESDA, Maryland, and WASHINGTON—Marriott International, Inc. and Howard University announced the inaugural Howard Hospitality Week, an event beginning October 25, 2021, that will bring together the Howard community and hospitality leaders to discuss the need for more diverse and equitable opportunities within the hospitality industry. Over the course of five days, students, members of the faculty, and industry leaders will gather on Howard’s historic campus in Washington, D.C., to tackle key hospitality business, leadership, and social impact issues. Howard Hospitality Week is an outgrowth of the work the University and The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation have begun to create the Marriott-Sorenson Center for Hospitality Leadership housed within the University’s School of Business. The effort also aligns with Howard’s five-pillar Howard Forward strategic plan, which emphasizes initiatives that serve the community by working with corporate partners to maximize job creation and train a diverse workforce.
“Marriott International is proud to collaborate with Howard University to convene this week-long dialogue and series of educational seminars to drive necessary conversations around diversity, equity, and inclusion,” said Anthony Capuano, Marriott International’s CEO. “Howard Hospitality Week is one of the many ways we are challenging ourselves to remove barriers and improve access to career and entrepreneur opportunities at the highest levels. The development of the Marriott-Sorenson Center along with innovative events, like Howard Hospitality Week, are intended to build a pipeline of diverse leadership talent, which is a priority for Marriott and our industry.”
“We are very excited to welcome Marriott International to Howard University’s campus for this inaugural convening that will deepen Howard students’ knowledge of opportunities in the hospitality industry,” said Howard University President Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick. “From the beginning, our partnership with The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation and Marriott International has been about engaging Howard students in ways that will drive opportunity and impact in the hospitality sector. This event will serve to inspire and educate Howard students while giving them space to offer ideas and insights that will make a tremendous difference in the industry.”
Howard Hospitality Week
Howard Hospitality Week will include virtual and in-person access to a variety of on-campus events planned for students, including:
- Case competition: Marriott will host a case competition for current undergraduate and graduate students campus-wide. Working in teams of four to address a business situation, the teams will develop their business cases and present them to a panel of industry leaders. One team at the undergraduate and graduate level (for a total of eight students), will be awarded a full scholarship for the 2022-2023 academic year.
- Educational sessions: Students will join key industry leaders, Marriott executives, and Howard faculty for in-depth discussions around topics including shaking up what service means in the hospitality industry, learning how leaders navigate the industry and create ownership, and how hospitality can make a social impact. During one session, students will hear from members of the project design team leading efforts to prioritize advancing leaders of color within the hospitality industry through the development of the Marriott-Sorenson Center for Hospitality Leadership.
- LoveTravels summit: As a culmination of the week’s events, Marriott will host a LoveTravels summit on the Yard with a focus on how the hospitality industry can build leadership talent opportunities for Black students across the country. The centerpiece of the summit will be a fireside chat with key industry leaders, including Capuano, Marriott’s CEO, and Dr. Frederick, Howard’s president; the case competition winners will also be announced. The LoveTravels summit is named for Marriott’s advocacy of inclusion, equality, peace, and human rights, key components of the company’s longstanding commitment to environmental, social, and governance issues.
“The inaugural Howard Hospitality Week will give students an opportunity to really understand what a career in hospitality leadership could mean for them and how they can achieve their goal of making a difference in the world through careers in this comprehensive industry,” said Howard University School of Business Dean Anthony Wilbon, Ph.D. “The Howard University School of Business is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to host this convening on our campus, and we know this will kickstart many of our students’ engagement with the Marriott-Sorenson Center for Hospitality Leadership.”
Marriott-Sorenson Center for Hospitality Leadership
Earlier this year, The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, together with Howard University, announced the establishment of the Marriott-Sorenson Center for Hospitality Leadership in honor of Arne Sorenson, president and CEO of Marriott International from 2012 until his passing at age 62 in February 2021. The center will build on Howard University’s powerful research history and create thought leadership that not only prepares students to be the workforce of the future but also empowers them to be co-creators in what the future of hospitality leadership looks like. Featuring a program that expands educational and professional opportunities for Howard students, the center is designed to create a pipeline of diverse leadership talent for the hospitality industry.
“Arne spent much of his tenure at Marriott focused on creating opportunities that brought real change to the composition of Marriott’s executive ranks,” said J. W. “Bill” Marriott, Jr., executive chairman and chairman of the board. “At Marriott and across our industry, we need to do more when it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The Marriott-Sorenson Center for Hospitality Leadership is focused on fostering leadership excellence and driving greater inclusion at the most senior levels in the hospitality industry—what an appropriate way to remember Arne’s legacy.”
Marriott Bonvoy Gets Involved
Members of Marriott Bonvoy, Marriott International’s travel program, also have the opportunity to donate their points in support of the Arne M. Sorenson Hospitality Fund, established earlier this year at Howard University to support the critical programmatic and career development elements of the Marriott-Sorenson Center for Hospitality Leadership. All Marriott Bonvoy point donations will be converted to cash and contributed to the fund. From October 1, 2021, to December 31, 2021, Marriott Bonvoy will be matching all member donations.