This cleaner worked her way up the corporate ladder to become HR director

Emerald Pellot

You don’t hear many inspiring stories like this anymore.

Modesta Ventura immigrated to the United States in 1973, speaking very little English. A few years later, she got a job at the Marriott in D.C. as a cleaner. Over the course of 43 years, Ventura worked her way up the corporate ladder — and today, she is director of human resource operations for the Crystal Gateway Marriott.

“My mom told me to work hard, learn and don’t complain,” Ventura told In The Know.

When Ventura first started as a restaurant cleaner, she would bring home menus to learn English and learn more about the business. This helped her snag a different position at the restaurant as a hostess. But when a human resources director suggested she work in the hotel, she took a position there instead and stayed there for 17 years. During this time, Ventura was able to support her family and send her children to college.

“This is my dream,” Ventura said. “I started with Marriott back in 1975 and I am still here. I started as a part-time associate. Now it’s a lifetime.”

Ventura has been the human resource operations director for eight years now. She teaches, trains and supports staff in her role.

“Being part of a team that recognizes your work, that recognizes what you do — those are things that I really, really appreciate,” Ventura said. “I am very loyal to the company and one of the things that I said was: I am married to Marriott longer than my husband.”

Find out more about Ventura’s story in the video above.

If you enjoyed this story, you might also like reading about this saga of a man finding live caterpillars in his store-bought broccoli.

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