Skip to main content

Marriott International, Inc. Employee Spotlight 

This week, Marriott International and Marriott Vacations Worldwide celebrate their associates and all that they do to enhance the lives of customers by creating and enabling unsurpassed vacation and leisure experiences.” For 41 years, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and Marriott have partnered up to change kids’ health to change the future. Meet a few of the Marriott International, Inc. associates dedicated to the cause below.  

Brett Stark will celebrate nine years with Marriott this summer, and he has a hard time identifying his favorite part of the role. “It was a goal of mine for a long time to one day work at Marriott and now that I am, I am living out a dream of mine.” 

Brett leads out the organization’s golf strategy for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals through the Play Yellow movement. He engages Marriott properties and local Play Yellow ambassadors in driving awareness and fundraising activities for partner hospitals, helping to make a difference for children’s hospitals.  

“It is difficult to not know of someone – a fellow associate, friend or family member – that have not been positively impacted by their local children’s hospital. Helping find ways to Change Kids’ Health, Change the Future is truly important to me.” 

Meet Sandra Lopez. As the Market Director of Human Resources, she’s spent the past 23 years helping others through employment, community work, and highlighting the importance of mental health in the workplace.  

The cause of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals is close to her heart, as she was born with meningitis and hospitalized in Miami Variety Children’s Hospital, which is now Nicklaus Children’s Hospital and member of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Years later, her oldest child underwent five surgeries in a very challenging time in Sandra’s life. Her child was only 2 years old, and the last surgery was when she was 5 years old.   

“I had the best service when staying at the hospital and I never got a bill.  I always vowed to work with the hospital to raise funds and awareness to ensure families felt and received what my family received.” 

As a Dual General Manager, Barnie Yerxa shares that his favorite part of the job is the work he gets to do with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.  “My first CMN Hospitals Week in 2019 was such an amazing experience [because I got] to meet the families and hear their stories and how our work has helped so many people. I’ve carried that on with me and make it a point to get to know the Champion Children from my local children’s hospital.” 

When asked why people should support Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, he shared “The question should be why you don’t support CMN Hospitals? [The org] makes the hospitals and the families accessible to us, we get to know them like family and get to see firsthand the impact that we are making on so many people, not just the patient but their entire family.” 

Donalei Smith has been with Marriott International, Inc. for nearly two decades and currently serves as a General Manager. She loves seeing new leaders grow within the company and has fond memories of spending time with Mr. and Mrs. Marriott, as well as her time in the Phoenix market supporting Phoenix Children’s Hospital.  

“We hosted birthday parties at the hospital and sent Valentine’s to patients and their families. However, I would say the most impactful event was the 2023 Phoenix Torch Relay. This year, [we] had amazing market support. We had live music and entertainment for families, exciting auction items and hosted our CMN Hospitals champion families.” This event broke their single event record when it raised a whopping $229K!  

Donalei has many reasons she feels people should support CMN Hospitals, including the fact that the money raised goes to resources that support kiddos and their families with the care that is most impactful to them. From Child Life Services to animal therapy, these resources “allow the patients to feel like a kid” even amidst whatever they may be going through.  

Mike Shabbing has been with Marriott for 23 years and today, serves as a General Manager for the Courtyard Seattle Downtown Lake Union. He loves the opportunity to interact with guests and feels like each day is something different to learn.

“Hosting our annual golf tournament every year is such an inspiring event and I’m truly passionate about its success,” says Mike. “Also, organizing our Bowling Tournament benefiting Seattle Children’s Hospital is also a major fundraising event that is fun, engaging, [and has] team-bonding experience with many hotels in the market.”

Mike feels that supporting Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals is a great way to give back to the community. “Every dollar raised and every action you take makes a big difference.”

Over the past 40+ years, Marriott associates have helped to raise over $150M for hospitals across the country through many grassroots fundraising efforts that engage each of their properties in unique ways. Marriott associates go above and beyond their 9-5 roles to leave an impact on their community. Thank you to these incredible Marriott International, Inc. associates and their support of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. On behalf of the entire network, you are appreciated!