Director of Event Technology, Marriott International
New York City. Age: 36
Sean D. Ames reflects often on what might have been. “There were times in my life when many doubted I would live to see my 25th birthday. I myself doubted I would see it,” he confesses. Why shouldn’t he? Around him, classmates and friends were falling victim to poor choices and the deprivation of their East New York, Brooklyn, neighborhood. When Ames was a teenager, his mother moved the family to suburban East Norwich, Long Island. He eventually overcame the shock of attending a predominantly white school and began to dream bigger dreams than those he had in Brooklyn. “I saw a different way of life and realized there were more opportunities [for me to have] a white-collar future, not just a vocational, civil service lifestyle. I’m certainly grateful to my mother for changing our circumstances,” he says.
Today, Ames, who attended Old Westbury College of the State University of New York, is the director of event technology at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square. He oversees the department that sells and services technical solutions to corporate entities using the hotel for their events—from building complex local area networks to full-blown—concerts all within the 100,000-plus square feet of convention space at the Times Square Marriott Marquis, the hotel chain’s flagship property.
But Ames has even bigger dreams. “I have always wanted to expand my horizons in the field of entertainment,” he says, “not so much in terms of writing a hit song, but in bringing all the different areas (technology, music, film, etc.) together.” In fact, Ames says his dream job is to one day be a CEO of a major entertainment company, just like Dick Parsons, CEO of Time Warner. “He is the first African American to hold that position, and he’s also from Brooklyn, just like me. But [a CEO position] would feed both of my internal drivers, which are creative and business.”
He attributes his professional achievement to the ones who said he couldn’t do it, and his ability to turn doubt into inspiration.