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J. Willard Marriott Award of Excellence

Named for our founder and created in 1987, this award recognizes the company's finest associates who, through their extraordinary service, exemplify the timeless core values of our culture.

Irma Cruz

Loss Prevention Supervisor

W Mexico City

At age 18, Irma Cruz left her home in Guatemala in search of a new job to financially support her family. Along her journey to Mexico, Irma was kidnapped and subjected to human trafficking atrocities for four months. Once released from captivity, she connected with Youth Career Initiative (YCI) to enroll in their six-month training program. At the time, YCI partnered with Marriott to offer training and employment to young survivors of human trafficking.

After completing her training, Irma was hired as a housekeeping attendant at the W Mexico City. Leaders noted Irma’s exceptional dedication to her work and her willingness to learn and grow in responsibilities. In 2011, she was selected as a Loss Prevention agent and was promoted to Loss Prevention Supervisor in 2019. It’s her job to ensure the safety of the hotel, guests and associates.

As the only female on the Loss Prevention team, Irma helps lead 19 associates. In their daily briefings, Irma takes time to connect her team’s work with the company’s core values and the W brand’s passions. She leads by example and can be counted on to act with integrity. As a result of her leadership, engagement scores for the loss prevention team have increased by at least 15%.

Irma’s dedication to her hotel doesn’t stop with loss prevention duties. She has become a proud ambassador of Marriott Bonvoy, too. Recently, a well-known musical celebrity was staying at the W hotel. Fans were lined up outside of the hotel. Irma saw an opportunity to connect with potential loyal customers. She quickly created a flyer with a QR code and mobilized her team to join the long line of fans and start enrolling Bonvoy members. When the hotel’s general manager came out to see the line, his first thought was “uh oh,” but Irma quickly assured him that the loss prevention team wasn’t needed to control the crowd. Instead, they enrolled 100 new Bonvoy members that day!

Irma continues to grow in her career and inspires other victims of human trafficking to do the same. She frequently shares her experience and success at human rights conferences around Mexico, saying “Sharing my story is important to me. It’s part of my history and part of my success.”