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Brandi Hicks

Alumni Leader Spotlight

Brandi Hicks

Vice President, Business Advisory & Communication Services, Marriott International

When I first selected hospitality and tourism management as my major, I envisioned going into restaurant management for a career. However, I ended up falling in love with hotels during my time at Virginia Tech and started with Marriott International right after graduation. My first role nearly 20 years ago was a sales manager at a Residence Inn by Marriott in Northern Virginia and my career progressed into a sales leader for multiple properties in the area. I then transitioned to Marriott Headquarters where I have had the opportunity to take on increasing levels of responsibility in sales support, project management, business transformation + planning, training development and delivery, internal consulting, and now business advisory and communication services. I am a mom of active teenagers and met my husband at Virginia Tech! I believe traveling is good for the soul and we've made some of our best family memories during our travel adventures.


How Virginia Tech equipped me for the 'real world'...
During my time at Virginia Tech I learned that building a strong support system and taking care of my own mental and physical health is just as important to my success and joy in life than just working hard academically.

Best part of being a Virginia Tech alum...
It was pretty special for my husband and I to be able to take our two children with us to a Virginia Tech football game a few years back and show them around campus. It feels great to be a part of a community with such Hokie pride and cool to see my kids experience it during their visit.

Best advice I've gotten....
I received advice in college to choose a company instead of choosing a job. I took that advice choosing a career at Marriott and I can proudly say nearly 20 years later, it was one of the best career decisions I ever made.

A key habit, practice, or skill, that's important for success in my industry...
Being proactive is an important skill that I learned in my first role in Marriott. I was a proactive sales manager and had to go out and find the business. A go-getter mentality and bias for action has served me well in the hospitality industry.

Last book I read...
Connect by David Bradford & Carole Robin. I was at the library with my daughter and it caught my eye about building exceptional relationships with family, friends, and colleagues.

Top of my bucket list...
Traveling to and experiencing Australia. My interest in Australia began when I had a childhood friend move to Australia and were pen pals for a little while. I also formed a strong bond with a fellow exchange student from Australia during my time studying abroad in England. I would like to visit Australia with my husband and kids in the near future!

Biggest misconception about my job or industry...
Working in the travel industry does not mean you get to travel all of the time. Majority of our roles are serving others in our hotels. Above property, regional, and headquarters' roles vary on the level of travel required as well. At Marriott, as associates, we have the opportunity to sign up to be a Marriott Bonvoy Member and we also receive the benefit when available, of a Marriott Explore Discounted Associate rate when traveling on personal time for leisure.

Fondest Virginia Tech memory or tradition...
My fondest memories are the moments of connection, bonding, and learning from new friends and fellow students while living on campus the first two years of my time at Virginia Tech.

Words of encouragement to a current Virginia Tech student...
Savor the time you have at a place as special as Virginia Tech. Take advantage of the opportunity to meet and learn from others with diverse backgrounds and find a common connection. Remember you are not alone and there is always a fellow Hokie who can lend a helping hand in your time of need or help motivate you to achieve your goals.

A cause I'm most passionate about...
Mental health. In high school I experienced major depression without knowing that I had a mental health illness. If I had the awareness of how I was feeling was a treatable illness and shared with someone that I was struggling, I could have prevented my depressed unhealthy mind from going into a deep spiral of mental anguish. I started my mental health recovery journey before coming to Virginia Tech and am thankful for the role my time there played in my recovery. Over the past nearly 20 years I have gone through additional ups and downs, where I have learned that mental health is just as important as your physical health.

This excites me the most about the future of my industry...
The future of travel is so bright. The pandemic helped people realize how much travel is a part of the human experience. And how cool is it to work in the industry where we create those memorable experiences across the globe!

The most formative experience I've had...
Studying abroad during my junior year through a program at Virginia Tech to London, England and being able to travel to many different countries during my time abroad, made a big imprint on my life. One of my brothers joined me at the end of my semester for a "backpacking" trip through Spain, France, Belgium, Netherlands, and Ireland. That time together is such a great memory for my brother and I. Overall, the semester of studying and traveling abroad made a profound impact on my personal growth. I gained exposure to different cultures, a better global perspective, and my love for travel really took shape at that time!

If I had a superpower, it would be...
Having the ability to grant others the opportunity to thrive in their dream job. I want to have Oprah-like powers to be able to say, "You get a job! You get a job!"


Media Contact:
Lindsey Haugh (540) 231-6959
lhaugh@vt.edu