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Gemma Wayne-Wills

Founder, Arden Marketing

What was your favourite subject at school?
One of my favourites subjects was Art & Design. My grandfather, who was a skilled artist, played a huge role in inspiring my passion for art. We often spent hours in his art studio in Dunoon, where he introduced me to the world of oil painting. Under his guidance, I learned to create landscapes of Scotland on canvas. English was another subject that I loved. Language and the power of words always captivated me. Being competitive I also loved PE taking part in basketball, football, netball, swimming.

What was your first job?
Hospitality was my introduction to the professional world at a young age. My sister has a guest house in the highlands, and I helped with various jobs around the guesthouse when I was really young. The early exposure to the industry taught me valuable lessons. As time passed, I took on more responsibilities, working in hotels and restaurants from the age of 16. These jobs became a staple throughout my college years and helped me to refine my customer service skills – they were all a benchmark for valuable life lessons.

Which is your favourite restaurant /hotel?
Hotels that really stand out to me in Scotland are The Torridon, Schloss Roxburghe, Gleneagles, there’s something very special about the experiences we’ve had there.
Internationally there is one place that has left a lasting impression – my husband and I travelled to New York and stayed at The Sanctuary Hotel. As a boutique hotel, it really excelled in providing a highly personalised service. From the moment we arrived until our departure, every aspect of our stay was tailored to our individual needs and preferences. These are the kind of experiences that I believe embody true luxury in the hospitality industry.

How do you inspire your team?
As a leader, my role is to communicate a clear vision, and to lead by example. I believe that my actions resonate more than my words, and fostering an environment where everyone is heard and feels safe to speak up is a principle that I hold dear.
Another would be to encourage personal growth. I firmly believe that in encouraging your team to learn new skills, take on new challenges, and stepping out of their comfort zones, will create an environment where everyone can reach their full potential. And above all to enjoy what you do – it’s important to love what you do.

Which person in hospitality have you most admired / inspired you?
Throughout my 15 year journey in the hospitality industry, I’ve had the privilege of working alongside many inspiring individuals, and I am currently working alongside some fantastic teams. In a previous role at Cameron House I had the pleasure of working with a great Exec team, our Managing Director Andy Roger whose leadership during the reopening of Cameron House, amidst a significant investment and rebuild, was commendable. He had a clear vision for the project and provided unwavering support to us all during a challenging time.
More recently working alongside Jodie Wilson Commercial Director of Crerar Hotels and Cheryl Trutwin Founder of Click to Convert, both ladies are hugely inspiring with their tenacity and approach to their careers. I love seeing women being successful in our industry.
My husband Chris Wayne-Wills, is massively inspiring every day, he cares a lot about our industry and he is a huge supporter and advocate for his team – It’s inspiring to see and to also support him achieve great things.

How do you manage your stress levels?
I try not to let stress get the better of me. However, to produce my best work, I do prioritise balance in my life. Eating well, regular exercise, and getting quality sleep. But above all, spending time with my family and friends is what truly matters to me. It’s all about finding that balance and putting our health and happiness first.

Instagram, Twitter or Facebook – and why?
I love how social media lets me stay connected with family, friends, and helps me build my professional network. Instagram, for instance, is just amazing for sharing visual stories. If you’re in a business- like hotels & restaurants, where visuals are everything, it’s a total game-changer. And let’s not forget about TikTok – who doesn’t love bite-sized videos for a quick entertainment fix? For anyone who’s into visual storytelling, there’s never been a more exciting time.

If you had not gone into hospitality, where do you think you would be now?
If my journey had taken a different turn, I could definitely see myself exploring my passion for art more. Perhaps I would have become a fashion designer, weaving my creativity into unique and inspiring designs. Or maybe I would have opened my own art gallery, perhaps something I will still do in the future…

What did you do on your last days off?
At the moment, my husband & I are in the process of converting our garage at home. It’s a project that’s taking up a lot of my spare time, but I’m thoroughly enjoying the process. I’ve taken on the role of project manager, overseeing the transformation and ensuring everything goes according to plan!

What do you do to relax, to support your wellbeing?
To unwind, there’s nothing I love more than traveling and exploring new places with my family. Spending quality time with them is incredibly important to me. Whether we’re discovering a new city or being in the sun, these experiences are my number one way to relax and recharge.