Debbie Marriott Harrison is currently the Global Culture Officer and a member of the Board of Directors for Marriott Hotels and is the daughter of J.W. Marriott Jr. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a major in History and a minor in French and is the mother of five children. She has served in numerous leadership callings, including more than 33 years in the Young Women program, as well as Stake Public Affairs director. She and her husband served as mission president of the Belgium Brussels Mission from 2000-2003. Upon her return, after more than 25 years as a stay-at-home mother, Sister Harrison re-entered the workforce working in the Government Affairs Department for Marriott Hotels.

In this interview Sister Harrison discusses lessons she has learned from her professional career that she has applied in her church callings as well as ways church service has prepared her for and continues to help her succeed in the business world.

How have callings or assignments in the church prepared her for success in the business world? (15:45)

  • Learning to stand and speak or present to groups of people from an early age
  • How to effectively run a meeting
  • How to get along with people
  • Learning at above all love and relationships of trust are key in both settings
  • As a missionary, and then as a lobbyist, learning to listen to someone else’s point of view learning from rejection

Lessons learned from her father, J.W. Marriott Jr (18:25)

  • No job is worth sacrificing your health
  • Be fully committed
  • Learn how to say no
  • Experience builds resilience
  • Human touch matters

Human Touch Matters (20:10)

  • We must have a human touch and express compassion to those whom we serve
  • Number one leadership quality is to be a good listener
  • “What do you think?” – the four most important words, as learned from experience with President Eisenhower

Learning How to Say No (22:20)

  • Realize we can’t be everywhere and everything to everybody all at once
  • We should take joy in what you’re doing and be present in the moment
  • Must step back and take stock of our lives to examine if we are in balance
  • Must occasionally so no and we shouldn’t feel guilty about it
  • When we overextend and are out of balance we risk burnout

Focus on the Individual (24:45)

  • Love the people you work with and serve
  • Pray over them by name and get to know them individually
  • When they know you care about them they will do anything for you
  • Second important key is to have fun with them rather than only serving out of duty

Help others to see the vision (30:30)

  • Train, train, train – the church as numerous great training programs
  • Know the limitations of people and do your best to help them
  • Is it a good fit? Is it something that’s going to help this person perform?
  • Sometimes they just don’t know how to do it. Once they do, they become motivated to do it

How Sister Harrison feels leadership callings have made her a better disciple of Jesus Christ (33:00)

  • “Do I really believe in this?”
  • Through our service and our love toward those whom we serve we come to better emmulate the Savior
  • We learn Christ-like characteristics as we serve and support one another despite our weaknesses and we try not to judge

Additional Links:

What This Working Daughter Learned from her Working Father by Debbie Marriott Harrison

Without Reservations by J.W. (Bill) Marriott Jr.

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