Welcome back: Cox heads up sales and marketing at JW Marriott

Lance Shearer

Calling Amanda Cox the new director of sales and marketing at Marco Island’s JW Marriott is a bit of a misnomer.

Technically, it’s correct, but the new hire at the Marriott is no stranger to the property or the island. Cox has been coming to Marco since she was 4-years old, and this will be her fourth tour working at the hotel.

Marriott hotel manager Rick Medwedeff with Amanda Cox. She is the new director of sales and marketing for the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort.

“I ate at the Voyager. I played putt putt golf where the spa is now,” she said. “I remember sailing with Captain Tom (Williams),” the Marriott’s charter captain and local literary lion.

Cox’s first stint working at the hotel came as a college intern, when she was a front desk associate, eventually being promoted to front desk manager. After working as director of sales for the Fairfield Inn & Suites in Naples, she returned to the Marriott as sales manager, earning successive promotions to senior sales manager and director of destination sales.

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And she was valedictorian, both double majoring as an undergrad and when she received her MBA from Vanderbilt University while working full-time.

Now, after director of sales and marketing positions at other hotels in the Marriott chain, which led her to Nashville, Cox has returned to Marco, along with her husband Dave, who also works for Marriott in global sales, and their two children, Nicole, 5, and David William, 2.

“They’ve kind of grown up here, too,” said Amanda. “Nicole thought that we’d be living here at the hotel, with the chef making her breakfast every morning.”

Amanda Cox in the Marriott's Corals lounge. She is the new director of sales and marketing for the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort.

Amanda Cox definitely does not suffer from a lack of enthusiasm for her job and her hotel. Her boundless energy is the first thing you notice, along with her more or less permanent smile. Being hired as DSM for Marco’s Marriott, as it makes the transition to a luxury-tier JW Marriott property, is her “dream job,” she said, and she is cognizant there were many other contenders.

“There was a line of candidates out the door for this job; almost all of them more experienced,” she said. But Cox’s enthusiasm and drive helped push the decision in her favor, said hotel general manager Rick Medwedeff, Amanda’s boss.

Besides, Cox had the experience that counted the most.

“She’s been part of this experience for many years, dating back to her childhood,” said Medwedeff. “She requires no ramp-up time. Anyone else, it’s a minimum of six months to ramp up for a sales and marketing director.” Besides, he said, she came highly recommended.

“She’s built a reputation in the sales and marketing arena – a very high level of respect. I had calls from hotel managers, GMs and owners of hotels. But maybe her most powerful support came from her peers. They said, ‘we’ve always seen her as a leader.’

Amanda Cox is the new director of sales and marketing for the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort.

“I don’t know what I’m more excited about – having this building finished, or having Amanda for sales and marketing.”

Her familiarity with Marco Island makes it easier for Cox to continue the Marriott’s tradition of being involved with the island, supporting local causes and attentive to the needs and concerns of other local businesses. While her job focuses on bringing guests and groups to the hotel from other locations,

“I have such a passion for this island and this destination. It’s very rare you see a property that takes the local community into consideration” the way this hotel does, she said. “Now we have meeting and event space worthy of the beach behind it. I couldn’t imagine a better time to be part of this.”

Bob Pfeffer, former JW Marriott director of sales and marketing, with his wife Sherrie. Lance Shearer/Eagle Correspondent

Cox’s predecessor as DSM, Bob Pfeffer, has taken on an expanded leadership role as senior director with Marriott’s Convention Resort Network, focusing on 35 properties in the chain’s resort portfolio. So he is still working with Marco Island’s JW Marriott along with other resort hotels – and he hasn’t actually left the area.

“This was my dream job, and one of the best things was that we could stay here in paradise,” he said. “This hotel has always been a template for rolling out new pilot programs.”