A visionary from the hills of Buff Bay, Portland, Wayne Lewis had a dream to become a leader in watersports — a dream he was adamant he would accomplish.
Seven years ago, Lewis walked through the gates of Beaches Ocho Rios as an eager participant in the Sandals and Beaches Hospitality Training Programme (HTP). Fast-forward to 2023 and the 28-year-old is the assistant watersports manager at Sandals Ochi beach resort.
“The power of the mind is dependent on the work that is put into making dreams possible. When I entered the halls of Beaches Ocho Rios, I knew that whatever success is to come from this journey, I would need to fully commit to any tasks I am faced with,” Lewis said.
Growing up in Portland, swimming was a hobby, and when he was placed in the watersports department as a part of the HTP at Beaches Ocho Rios he immediately immersed himself into becoming a professional in the field. This passion grew daily, with the Buff Bay High graduate showing his love for the craft while soaking up the lessons being taught.
With completion of the HTP programme Lewis officially joined the team as a pool attendant and six months later received his first promotion to the position of lifeguard. He continued to do the required training provided by more experienced team leaders in order to make the most of the opportunities available in his department.
Soon enough, with recommendations from his superiors and the team from the learning and development department, the opportunity for further leadership training emerged and Lewis was selected for the company’s illustrious, two-year Management Trainee Programme (MTP).
Through the MTP he travelled extensively and spent time at Sandals and Beaches resorts in the Caribbean. During this time he embraced the challenge of learning the standard operating procedures,not only for his field but also all other departments. He has also completed courses with the Sandals Corporate University (SCU), including supervisory management, communication skills, guest service gold, creative problem-solving, leadership and influence, and developing new managers.
Always keeping his eyes on the avenues for growth within the Sandals and Beaches watersports division, Lewis has moved up the proverbial ladder from lifeguard, open water diver, advanced open water diver, rescue diver, dive master and dive instructor, before being promoted to the position of assistant watersports manager.
“Sandals made it possible for a country boy from Portland to dive off the deep end with only the passion to succeed and stay afloat in a career driven by love. With the experience that I have gained over the many training opportunities at the different resorts, my career is now at a stage where I can look back with pride. Being a part of the MTP allowed me to receive hands-on training and mentorship from several notable senior leaders across the group and all departments. That was truly a remarkable experience,” said Lewis.
“Michael Clarke, corporate director, Watersports Division at Sandals’ head office is to this day one of my mentors whose leadership I always try to emulate. He has taught me the art of leadership while being firm and fair in sharing what is expected and ensuring that I am able to grow while helping to develop those who I lead. I believe that in watersports we are lifelong learners, and as a mentor who has grown within the company himself, Michael has been able to instil a love for continuous learning as a leader,” he added.
Densia Walker, watersports supervisor at Sandals Ochi and herself a 17-year veteran within the industry, shared her experience working with Lewis.
“Working within this area of the hospitality industry calls for calm, no matter the situation. As a team leader Wayne makes our day-to-day tasks more manageable as he is always available to guide us as needed. He has gained a lot of experience within the company and he is always willing to share what he knows with his team. He continuously sports a calm demeanour in all situations and empowers those he leads to apply the training we have received. In doing so we provide the best service to our guests,” she said.