Bill Marriott credits Scouting with teaching him how to become a successful business leader, imparting to him the value of persistence. As he tells it, more than 70 years ago he was one badge away from earning his Eagle Scout rank. He only had to complete his camping merit badge by rubbing sticks together to start a fire. He rubbed and rubbed. However, no spark emerged—only smoke. His eyes watered, and he could hardly breathe, but he kept rubbing. Finally, he produced a small spark and coaxed it into a flame. With that spark, he earned his camping merit badge and Eagle rank. Since then, another 14 members of the Marriott family have earned the rank of Eagle Scout.
Bill appreciates the skills, character, and values taught by the movement, with youth leadership development as a particular interest. This interest resulted in the establishment of the J.W. Marriott Jr. Leadership Center at the Summit Bechtel Reserve, designed to help youth build core leadership skills.
Another reason Bill supports Scouting is in memory of his son Stephen, who passed away from a chronic illness in 2013. “He was a very proud Eagle Scout, and one of the highlights of his life was the Scouting experience,” says Bill.
As executive chairman and chairman of the board of Marriott International Inc., Bill is known as an innovator in the hospitality industry. His hands-on leadership style over the course of his six-decade career has earned him praise from experts and employees alike.