The setting was the historic Mayflower Hotel in downtown Washington DC. Over 200 ONE associate network members and their guests were joined by many Marriott partners and clients for a shimmering evening, all in the name of celebrating ONE as a part of the diversity and inclusion efforts at Marriott International for LGBT associates and guests.
With record numbers, over 200 attendees at the 2016 ONE Gala & Awards were treated to a big surprise. President and CEO of Marriott International, Arne Sorenson, stopped by the event to say a few words of encouragement and unity. As a member of ONE and leader of Marriott, the room was filled with energy as Mr. Sorenson took the stage and shared some very heart-felt words surrounding the current social/political climate in the US and how it relates to Marriott moving forward.
Following Mr. Sorenson was the event's keynote speaker, Kate Kendell, the Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
Ms. Kendell gave an impassioned speech that spoke to the very work that ONE sets out to do concerning equality, authenticity and inclusion. Heads were nodding across the rooms as she quoted Dr. King, "Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love."
The night of celebration included a 3-course plated dinner and the opportunity to purchase raffle tickets for prizes that ranged from a smartwatch from Fitbit to complimentary hotel packages in Europe, US and Puerto Rico. All members of ONE and gala guests were able to purchase raffle tickets. Attendees were then invited to join the ONE After Party in an adjoining event space with a live DJ.
ONE is Marriott International's official LGBT and Straight-Ally associate network. Since its inception in November 2010 by 15 founding members, the group was cultivated to serve as a voice for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender members and their allies, as well as to create a supportive network for a community that had no formal representation before within the company.
With over 1,900 volunteer members in 20+ chapter around the world, ONE continues to move forward in seeking new ways to:
Develop community among members
Increase the diversity mindset to include LGBT issues, and
Assist in unleashing revenue opportunities with concentrated marketing & sales efforts within the LGBT community
Associate Networks are ongoing, associate initiated teams that form around a broad range of common interests. These networks provide the opportunity to informally connect with other associates in order to grow both personally and professionally. These teams are self-directed and funded by their members.
For more information on ONE, please go to our website at www.onemarriott.com and engage with us online at @onemarriott