Position: Senior vice president, Renaissance Hotels North America, a division of Bethesda-based Marriott International.
Career highlights: Biddle has spent his entire 30-year career at Marriott in a number of positions, including market vice president, Marriott Western Region; general manager, San Francisco Marriott; hotel manger, San Francisco Marriott; general manager, Dallas Mandalay Marriott; resident manager, Marriott's Camelback Inn Resort and Spa; director, group marketing, Marriott Corporate Headquarters; regional director, marketing, Marriott Corporate Headquarters; director, sales and marketing, Denver City Center Hotel; regional sales manager, Midwest Regional Sales Office; director, sales and marketing, Hunt Valley Inn in Baltimore; director, sales, Kansas City Marriott Hotel; sales manager, Atlanta Perimeter Hotel; and convention manager, Marriott Lincolnshire Resort.
Education: BA, business, with a minor in marketing, Drake University.
Personal: Lives in the District with wife, Gail. The couple has two adult children, Christie, 21, and Clint, 20.
How did you get to where you are?
During my career, I've had the opportunity to work in a number of hotels in a number of different markets for a number of different leaders. In the different markets, I learned how to deal with different business issues. And from different leaders, I was exposed to a lot of different styles of leading that allowed me to grow through the many examples that I experienced. Because I work in a people business, the hospitality industry, I learned the importance of hiring great people, giving them the right tools and training, and then getting out of the way so they could do a great job. I also learned the importance of keeping balance and making sure that people could pursue outside interests in addition to their work life.
I think in business, most job descriptions can be diluted to a single phrase and that is, "To get great results." The challenge that we have is deciding what results we want to achieve and then allocating resources appropriately to make sure you get there. In our business, success is never final. And the challenge is to continue to grow results year after year. That means that successful leaders continually reinvent themselves and find new ways to motivate people and new ways to approach the business to continue things moving forward.
You have to listen to your people and make sure they have what they need to get the job done in a variety of situations. You've got to know when to step in and take charge, and when to sit back and let people go. In the final analysis, it's always the leader that has the responsibility to drive the results. So when it's time to roll up the sleeves and be hands-on, you've got to be ready to do that. But there's also a time when strategic leadership is also important. And, good leaders know the difference.
The hotel business is a cyclical business, and we need to always be ahead of the next cycle to be successful. After September 11, for example, we saw tremendous drops in business volume, and we had to go through the painful exercise of cutting costs. But business came back and successful companies were in front of the curve as they ramped back up in sales, achieved higher rates and drove profitability. In both cases, being decisive was critical to driving great results.
-- Judith Mbuya