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From the 2nd Annual Shorty Social Good Awards

EncouragHERS: Marriott International and the National Museum of African American History and Culture

Finalist in Hospitality & Travel


Marriott International was proud to be the Hospitality Sponsor of the grand opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of AfricanAmerican History & Culture (NMAAHC). Through their exclusive "EncouragHERS" Luncheon, on-property marketing and media amplification, Marriott International and NMAAHC celebrated the contributions of women to the African American community and their efforts in helping make the museum a reality. With this high end luncheon, that Marriott designed and implemented, Marriott sought to shift perception of and increase affinity for Marriott International in the African American community. Additionally, Marriott strove to communicate their commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Strategy and Execution

Aligning with the NMAAHC's themes of history, culture and community, the EncouragHERS Luncheon honored the memory and accomplishments of the women who've paved the way for present and future generations, celebrated women who contribute to African American culture through music, entertainment, arts, education and business, united women from around the world and sparked a call-to-action that inspired attendees to continue to engage with NMAAHC and maintain connections with one another. The 300 invited guests included tastemakers from across all industries of business, entertainment, sports, politics and more. Each has demonstrated support for the African American community and have made impactful contributions to the NMAAHC.

To kick off the weekend Marriott donated room blocks for NMAAHC VIPs and special guests. When guests arrived on property they found flags, key cards, and welcome signage branded with the NMAAHC logo and the Marriott logo to create a feeling of welcome and support.

The luncheon event, hosted by Common and with a special Q&A with Common and Ava DuVernay, was held at The Ritz-Carlton, Washington, D.C. Guests received the white glove treatment as soon as they entered the hotel. As guests enjoyed hors d'oeuvres and champagne a local African American female pianist set the ambiance. During the luncheon, the Howard Gospel Choir dazzled guests with a musical prayer to kick off the event, which concluded with a performance by Grammy Nominated Jazmine Sullivan. Additional notable guests included Marriott Board Member and CEO of BET, Debra Lee, The Honorable Eleanor Holmes Norton, Linda Johnson Rice, EnVogue, and Cathy Hughes.


The luncheon has garnered over 341 million media impressions, the highest for any Marriott International African American campaign. Highlights include broadcast placements on Good Day DC and WRC (CBS), as well as digital hits on BET, GQ, TheYBF and Travel + Leisure, and an Ava DuVernay feature story on Marriott Traveler. Additionally, Common's whitelisted posts generated over 4 million impressions, which outperformed our benchmarks.


Video for EncouragHERS: Marriott International and the National Museum of African American History and Culture

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Marriott International, IMG Live, Grey PR, MEC Global