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Leticia Tavares

What does a typical day for you consist of?

As Director of Operational Excellence for Marriott International, I am responsible for increasing guest satisfaction and associate engagement. Let’s talk about a real example: our in-room dining scores were declining and we did not know why – were guests complaining about food temperature, taste, or wait time? Or something else? So, my job was to identify why guests were not happy with their in-room dining experience and I did that by talking to guests, associates that were cooking and delivering the food, and by reading surveys. I then assembled a small team of 5 associates and together we uncovered the main issues and we applied some Lean Six Sigma tools (process improvement tools) in order to make some changes to the current process. For a few months, we observed the changes, and we saw our scores increasing! That, in a nutshell, gives you an idea of the types of projects I work with,

What advice would you give someone considering this career?

Do you enjoy working with people and making people happy? I know it may sound cliche, but I chose this career because I wake up every day knowing I will make a difference in someone’s life – associate or guest. By improving processes, I am making associates’ lives easier; by smiling and greeting guests, I am giving them a sense of home… it is such a rewarding career! If you think hospitality is for you, my advice is to work in hotel operations and learn from the ground-up in order to understand how to manage a hotel,  before moving to a corporate career, if that is what you aspire to.

If you are interested in learning more about the career, I would also like to share with you my blog – www.hospitalityvitae.com – in which I write more about my life as a Hotelier.

What is a book or movie that has inspired you?

I always recommend reading “Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business” from Danny Meyer, founder and CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG). I read multiple times!

If you are curious about the story behind Luxury Hotels, such as the Ritz-Carlton and The Four Seasons, I recommend reading The New Gold Standard, from Joseph A. Michelli, and Four Seasons: The Story of a Business Philosophy.

Do you (or your company) offer internships or job shadow opportunities to high school students? If so, how would a student go about applying for one of those?

The most up to date information is available in Marriott’s Career Website – https://university.marriott.com/ – there are two types of “University Programs”: post-graduation programs (for recent College graduates) and internship programs. According to the website, Internships include a combination of on-the-job training and an introduction to the culture at Marriott International; and there are also corporate internships. Availability, application, and more information can be found on the website. You can also see the contact information of the recruiter that works with your university.

Leticia Tavares

Helping Hotels increase their Guest Satisfaction, Intent to Return and Key Success Metrics through Lean Six Sigma methodologies and Operations experience.

After graduating from Harvard Business School, I was one of the two people selected to join Marriott’s MAP program, which brings MBA talent into hotel management, in order to develop future General Managers. I am currently Director of Operational Excellence in a 1,663-room hotel in Atlanta, and I am working towards my Black Belt certification.

Specialties: Medallia/NPS, Productivity/Carpedia, Rooms operations, Customer Loyalty, New Hotel Opening, Brand Standard Audits, Salesforce CRM, Quality assurance, Lean six sigma, Emerging Markets.