VP Goes the Extra Mile Again and Again

Jeff Holdaway, a 1982 finance graduate, knew there was a way for him to combine his passion for business and law. After graduating from Columbia Law School in 1985 and working at a national law firm, an opportunity arose that he couldn’t turn down. Twenty-four years later Holdaway is still glad he jumped at the chance to work at Marriott International.

Now as senior vice president and associate general counsel, Holdaway leads a team of nearly forty execu­tives and attorneys in the Americas Lodging and Global Services Group, providing oversight and legal support for more than 3,200 hotels across the Americas.

“One of the beauties of working in-house is that it allows you to be in the stream of decision making and to see how your input plays out over time,” he says.

Holdaway’s impact on the company has indeed played out over his career. He had a major role in the acquisition of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company—one of Marriott’s largest purchases. He sits on committees monitoring and creating worldwide strategy on pro­grams, initiatives, purchases, and refinances of Marriott properties around the globe.

His hard work was rewarded when he received the 2012 Anthony G. Marshall Award, given to the top hospi­tality lawyer in the United States. For Holdaway it was the mark of decades of legal success in the hotel world.

Holdaway’s other joy in life came on a whim for a chance at father-son bonding. Fifteen years ago Hold­away’s dad heard about a 100-mile adventure run through the mountains of Utah and thought it could be a fun feat for them to attempt together. After months of training Holdaway and his father set off on the journey.

“More than thirty-five hours later I stumbled across the finish line swearing to never do it again,” Hold­away says. “But after a recovery period I thought it could be something I might be good at, much to my wife’s consternation.”

And it is. Holdaway has religiously run the original race for the past fifteen years. He has also run more than eighty ultramarathons and nearly twenty one-hundred-mile races around the country. In 2011 the Holdaway family set the Guinness World Record for most family members to finish an ultramarathon, with a total of seven. Three generations of Holdaways were present. Even Holdaway’s dad, who just turned eighty-two, recently completed a fifty-mile trail race.

“Hopefully that means I come from a good gene pool,” Holdaway quips.

Holdaway and his wife, Karen, have three boys and live in Vienna, Virginia. Karen works as an international sports event organizer, with experience at seven Olympic Games and four FIFA World Cups. Together they are cochairs of the BYU Alumni Association Washington D.C. Chapter.

Check out the fall magazine’s class notes for more alumni stories and updates.