At the Women Business Collaborative(WBC), we are joining millions of others and the Marriott family, mourning the loss of Arne Sorenson, President, and CEO of Marriott International and recipient of our 2020 WBC CEO Leadership Award for Gender and Diversity Excellence. The outpouring of support of the Marriott workforce and the private sector overall is compelling for this extraordinary leader. Sorenson became the first person outside of the Marriott family to hold the title of CEO. Under his leadership, he expanded the company and was recognized repeatedly as a true champion for all women in the workforce and an exceptional executive.
In a company statement, Marriott International remarked on his ability to steer Marriott’s extensive progress for diversity, equity, and inclusion (2/16/2021). Sorenson received great recognition for his leadership, being named CEO of the Year by Chief Executive magazine and was placed on Forbes’ list of America’s Most Innovative Leaders and Barron’s list of World’s Best CEOs. At WBC, we were thrilled to join the list of prestigious awards given to Sorenson, recognizing him as a leader committed to gender equity and creating an inclusive environment for all employees.
We had the pleasure of spending an hour with Sorenson, where he shared his admiration for Marriott’s tradition of empowering all people–men and women– through opportunity. He remarked, “Today, that commitment includes our Women’s Leadership Development Initiative, which aims to increase the presence of women in management or decision-making positions through mentoring, networking, and new opportunities. We’re working to achieve gender representation parity in global company leadership by 2025.” As a leader, he called on his peers to be authentic leaders. Sharing, “People notice. Over the years, I’ve found the presence of women executives on my team and across the company has attracted more women job candidates. Women can see a concrete path to opportunities here, and that’s critically important.” We hope that other executive leaders will follow in Mr. Sorenson’s footsteps and embrace their responsibility to provide critical opportunities to those often overlooked.
Thank you to two of our WBC board members, Becky Shambaugh, whose firm has partnered with Marriott for over 15 years in growing their women talent and for your championing of Arne for the WBC CEO award, and to Sharon Reynolds for your work with Marriott and its commitment to diversity and equity.
We are honored to have met Arne Sorenson and recognize his leadership contributions. We believe that executive leadership has the power to reshape our world. With leaders like Arne, we will see our mission of Equal Position, Pay, and Power for all business women come to fruition.
You can watch Arne Sorenson’s panel discussion at our 2020 Summit Here.