At Marriott International, our vision is to integrate our global diversity and inclusion efforts within every facet of our organization. This transformation is led by the company’s Executive Global Diversity and Inclusion Council, chaired by President and Chief Operating Officer Arne Sorenson and Jimmie Paschall, global diversity officer.

The council is charged with ensuring that managers “own” the achievement of diversity and inclusion outcomes and understand the importance of cultural competence in doing business globally. Thirty-six percent of our rooms pipeline is outside the U.S. With two-thirds of our 42,000 rooms under construction outside the U.S., we see an opportunity to utilize the value-added goods and services provided by diverse suppliers.

In 2007, we set a diverse spend goal of 15 percent of discretionary spend by 2010, and we have exceeded that goal. We have a fully-integrated supplier diversity strategy for all hotel and corporate business units; we have supplier diversity champions around the globe to lead our efforts; and we closely monitor our progress with quarterly reports to our board of directors’ Committee for Excellence.

We also include supplier diversity as a component of all management performance reviews. Additionally, we’ve added specific supplier diversity language in requests for proposals (RFPs) and vendor contracts to include participation in our growing Tier 2 program. Other efforts include networking luncheons between top executives and diverseowned suppliers, facilitation of meetings between prime suppliers and potential second-tier diverse suppliers and one-on-one informal supplier mentoring and coaching.

Finally, we have forged strategic partnerships with organizations like The National Minority Supplier Development Council, The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, The U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, WEConnect International, the Australian Indigenous and Minority Supplier Council (AIMSC), and the Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council.

Our supplier diversity program has been a real success, and we are gratified to have been recognized with numerous industry awards since the program was launched.