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erica qualls- forging ahead

photo by steed media service

General Manager, Atlanta Marriott Marquis

Qualls faced a pleasant transition when she moved from northern
California to become the general Manager of the Atlanta Marriott
Marquis. “I was in suburban northern California, [and] Atlanta is urban
– fast-paced,” she says with a laugh. She became acclimated to her new
surroundings soon enough however, and has taken the reigns of the
Atlanta Marriott Marquis with gusto and vigor. “I’ve been with Marriott
for 14 years, I started answering phones as an hourly employee,” she
explains. “I moved up throughout different manager levels in northern
California [at] the Santa Clara Marriott.””I have 1,000 employees
[including] 75 managers,” says Qualls about her staff. “This is high
energy and it’s really managing [on a different level than] small
properties that I’ve been in.”

For Qualls, corporate success
meant (and still means) building strong relationships. “You have to
build great relationships, I don’t think any of us do this alone,” she
advises. “When I came to Atlanta I had mentors in the community to help
me navigate my way.”

Qualls has also made it a rule to never
turn her back on the chance to try something new. “One of the ways I’ve
been able to [succeed] is that I was never afraid to try new
opportunities,” she says. “You [must] be fearless and take risks, gain
as much knowledge and information about the business that you’re in [as
you can]. Never stop learning.” Take it from someone who knows a thing
or two about turning knowledge into achievement. – todd williams