General Manager of Six Senses Laamu
“If you see something, say something” a catchphrase you will hear from Marteyne Van Well, the general manager of Six Senses Laamu, during staff meetings. It is an important part of her empowering and inclusive management style she has mastered over the years in the Hospitality industry. By this philosophy of credible honesty and direct interactions, she has gained immense respect from the guests who visit Laamu and she is adored as a role model by the employees who work under her.
With a fascinating career in Hospitality Management spanning over two decades, Marteyne brings extensive knowledge and experience to her role. She has a strong and established track record in shaping long-term relationships to deliver outstanding service and financial results. Marteyne’s management roles have seen her based in four continents and diverse locations including London, Washington D.C., New York, the Bahamas, Marrakech, the Swiss & French Alps, the island of Koh Kood, Thailand and the Maldives.
After graduating from the Hotel School The Hague, a member of the Leading Hotel Schools of the World, Marteyne spent over ten years in sales and marketing roles in the US before moving into operations and general management.
Marteyne is a champion of promoting sustainable tourism and living and breathing example of Six Senses brand core values*. An avid diver with a keen interest in underwater photography, she is driven by her passion to protect the Ocean and dedicates her personal time and efforts to conservation projects highlighting the need to protect the biologically diverse reefs that have thrived for millions of years without human interference around Laamu Atoll.
How did you get started with your career?
It was a strange set of set of circumstances which led me to the Hospitality Industry. I was personally all set to pursue a career in sports and enrolled in the Sports Academy. My parents did not think that was the best of career choices and encouraged me to look at alternatives. I was inspired by a General Manager who led a restaurant where I worked on weekends as a student and I enrolled with the Hotel School The Hague (more to please my parents than to seriously consider it as an option). I was fortunate to be accepted by both and in the week leading up to the day I needed to make a choice, I had a fairly serious bike accident and ended up spending two months in hospital with a concussion. Needless to say, Sports Academy was no longer an option so I joined the Hotel School in The Hague.
Over the years I have met some wonderful people who served as mentors and who were happy to take me under their wing. I am thankful for the great opportunities I have been given over the many years and I have been incredibly lucky to have had roles in various parts of the globe. When working for Six Senses Hotels, Resorts and Spas in Doha, I had the good fortune of being transferred to the Maldives in May of 2009.
What are some of your notable successes?
My notable successes are our team’s notable successes. I am surrounded by an incredible group of passionate individuals who assist me each and every day in ensuring I am the best leader I can be. In the hotel industry, like many other businesses, there are inevitable ups and downs we will face every day but it is the passion of the people you surround yourself with that ultimately help you make a difference. It is a fantastic group of individuals who help me in ensuring we provide the best services, with uttermost care to the guests, and a personal touch, in every interaction.
I think it is important you fully commit yourself and set the right example through being the right example. With time we have been able to build an amazing team and through our actions and care, especially as they related to the contribution in various forms of sustainable developments and environmental conservation, we have been able to integrate and ensure the community here at Laamu truly believes in, and appreciates six senses values. One example I am particularly proud of is the Laamu turtle festival. With our third annual festival taking place later this year, we continue to see higher engagement every year. Just this past year we successfully reached all 11 island councils and 13 schools in Laamu to discuss future partnerships and sustainable development in the islands. The enthusiasm and support we received for the marine conservation and sustainable initiatives reaffirmed that our efforts were in best interests of the local communities. These interactions increase their appreciation and willingness to protect the beautiful yet highly vulnerable ecosystem around us. Some islands have already kicked off their campaigns to reduce single-use plastics and we have met lots students with very enthusiastic to enter the field of conservation. We are extremely proud of the fact we have been recognized as the “Leading CSR program” conducted in a Maldivian resort by MATATO for our endeavours in 2017.
At the end of the day, success for me personally is a feeling of fulfilment, a feeling of being content and in awe of ordinary things that become extraordinary, a feeling that you contribute to something greater than yourself and that it makes a difference. I once read a wonderful definition of success by acclaimed author, the late Maya Angelou. Her take on success is one I can very much find myself in: “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”
What are some of the challenges that you have faced?
I think my greatest achievements or greatest accomplishments will undoubtedly have at origin been my greatest challenges. How do you put a vision and a feeling into concrete tangible actions? How do you break a big picture down into individually achievable smaller steps? How do you write a wrong and overcome mistakes you have made along the way? The greatest challenges we face are in our mind, in our belief system and in our confidence. And the greatest leaders I have worked for did not only inspire me to have confidence in them, in what they did and can do, but more than that, they inspired me to have confidence in me and in what I can do.
What is your advice for young adults interested in entering the Tourism Industry?
To follow your dreams and commit. In order to succeed, we all have to do the hard work and we have to be committed and be engaged. We have to stay positive and keep at it; do not let your mistakes and failures discourage you, instead see them as valuable lessons learned on what not to do again. And to also make certain that what we do matters, make certain you care and are passionate about what you are involved in. Someone wise once said “Work is expending effort on things we don’t want to do. Passion is expending energy on things we love to do. The goal is to do no work”!