We often talk about customer loyalty at Starwood. Crazy loyalty. Like pay any price loyalty. Name kids after our brands loyalty. Loyalty beyond reason. We work hours upon hours to get our customers to be crazy loyal. Because, the more loyal they are, the more money they spend. The more they tell their friends and family about us. The happier they are. And then, the happier we are.
Well, it’s not that much different from a Starwood employee perspective. In fact, just two weeks ago in San Diego, we, as a company, celebrated a gentleman who was saying goodbye to Starwood after forty years. Forty years. Yeah, employees are loyal, too. We love our jobs. And when we love our jobs, we work harder. And when we work harder, we produce more money. And we tell our friends and family how great Starwood is. And we stay at tons of hotels. And Instagram our way through our business meetings. We are loyal beyond reason.
And this weekend, I celebrated ten years with Starwood. No, it’s not forty. But, it’s a decade. And, a decade that I have loved every single minute of. Okay, no, that’s a lie. Let’s be honest. I have had many moments of hating my job. Annoyed at my boss (sorry, Lori). Bored with the work. Blah blah blah. But, 95% of the time it’s quite the opposite. I go to work and think to myself, “man, how did I score this job?!” I am constantly challenged. Constantly inspired by the people around me. Constantly excited about the next project. Just this past weekend I sang the praises of my boss. She actually cares about me as a person, FAR beyond the Starwood walls. She supports me, challenges me, laughs and is someone I can be 110% myself around. Yeah, I’m lucky.
The past ten years at Starwood really have blown my mind. I have so many highlights and deep joy as I reflect on this decade. And those reflections are the faces and words and moments and tears and laughter of people. It’s the people, people! Yes, of course, I have learned a billion things. I have traveled thousands of miles. I have spoken in front of really smart people. I have won awards. But those things are trivial compared to the relationships I hang on so close to. You see, I am not a different person at work than I am after work. I blur the lines and befriend people I work with. I am open. And then they are open. And next thing you know, we are crying big, wet tears together over wine because of heartbreak or loss or a combination thereof. My theory is that blurring the lines is key to joy at work and to successful leadership. I am sure someone – or many people – would disagree. And that’s fine. But, knowing I get to work with my friends and be myself and share intimate, incredible moments every day while getting a paycheck. Yeah, that’s pretty awesome.
And that said, I took a trip down Starwood memory lane and want to share with you some of my favorite Starwood people and moments (there were hundreds but I figured you would unsubscribe if I got too carried away). From California to New York to Madrid, I feel beyond blessed to share my life with so many incredible people. So, thank you Starwood, thank you Starwood peeps for an amazing ten years!