ONE, the LGBTQA Associate Network at Marriott International, reached a milestone by adding its 2,000th member hailing from the city of Burke, VA. Hitting 2,000 members has been on the near horizon for the group, which has rapidly expanded since its inception November 11, 2010, out of its Bethesda, MD headquarters. ONE is comprised of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, queer, and straight ally associates of the company, and is also open to franchise employee from around the world. From the beginning, ONE has served as a voice for LGBTQ associates and their allies, as well as creating a supportive network for a community that had no formal representation before within the company.
The group had small beginnings. Fifteen founding members started the group to help strengthen the diversity and inclusion efforts at Marriott in hopes of having a positive impact on both the image of the company and the satisfaction of its employees. One of these 15 members was former Chairman of six years, Bruce Rohr. “I remember celebrating our accomplishment of 100 members thinking it was a big deal,” Rohr expressed. “Once we knew there was interest to start chapters outside of [our headquarters], we knew we were onto something that could really take off.” Now, 1,985 additional members later, ONE’s global reach includes new areas of the world such as Australia, Japan, and South Africa, and has 10% of its membership outside the United States.
ONE has grown to over twenty chapters, mostly concentrated in the United States. Elected chapter leaders help pull through localized efforts in their market that ladder up to the annual goals set by the ONE Council based out of the Washington, D.C. chapter. Through the activation of chapters, ONE has had a much broader impact on Marriott’s associates and franchise employees. When asked how joining ONE impacted him, Andrew Galván, Front Desk at The Ritz-Carlton Washington D.C., said “If a day came that you could successfully be comfortable working for a company that is accepting of who you are, that would be a dream -- that day came and it was unexplainable.”
The group encourages members to volunteer and take leadership roles in something they are passionate about, either leveraging a current strength of theirs, or taking an opportunity to strengthen other areas of their leadership abilities. In fact, this year's theme is "Year of the Volunteer." With meetings, events, partnership, and volunteer activities to plan and execute, there are plenty of chances to get involved. According to Christian Mullins, a ONE Council member and Sr Catering Sales Executive - Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, “When I learned about ONE while working for Marriott in Minneapolis, I knew I wanted to be a member of this diverse community and become a contributor to the mission of increasing the LGBTQ diversity mindset of our guests and associates.” Today, ONE has clocked over 1,500 volunteer hours across all chapters within their communities, some include: food banks, Food & Friends, LGBTQ youth centers, AIDS walks, and Pride festivals. Their chapter in Orlando has partnered with Darden Restaurants every year to raise money for local equality efforts.
ONE takes special care to understand their demographics through its membership registration process. Over 55% of the membership are straight allies and 60% of the membership is female, something the group has worked hard in achieving. This is also reflected in the ONE Council that leads the group. Two of the six Council members are female and one is a straight ally. “We felt it was important to try and make our leadership just as diverse as our membership,” said Brad Benton, ONE Council Chairperson.
By the next ONE annual gala in November 2017, ONE has set a goal to achieve 2,500 members. With the acquisition of Starwood and the efforts put forth to reach out to their new brother and sisters of the LGBTQA community in those hotels, ONE is hopeful in reaching that goal in time.
ONE is the official lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, queer, and straight ally associate network of Marriott International, Inc. comprised of Marriott associates and franchise employees. Since its inception in November 2010 by 15 founding members, the group has cultivated a focus to serve as a voice for LGBTQ associates 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+ chapters around the world, ONE continues to move forward in seeking new ways to:
Develop community among members
Increase the diversity mindset to include LGBTQ issues, and
Assist in unleashing revenue opportunities with concentrated marketing and sales efforts within the LGBTQ community
ONE embodies Marriott’s long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion within its own membership. Over 55 percent of ONE’s membership is made up of straight allies. Sixty percent are women and close to ten percent of members live outside of the United States.
Associate Networks within Marriott International 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 Twitter and Instagram @onemarriott
ONE Marriott Chairperson
T: +1 301-380-9588