Getting to Know You: Gabriela Amarillas Lopez, CEO of Corporativo Gamma

Gabriela Amarillas Lopez is a successful entrepreneur and Mexican business leader.

She graduated from the prestigious University Autonoma of Guadalajara with a degree in International Finance, after which she earned postgraduate degree in Business Management.

Gabriela’s studies, together with years of hard work and professional experience, prepared her for her current role as the head of the family enterprise, Corporativo Gamma. In her role as general director and CEO, she oversees a conglomerate of businesses that includes petroleum concerns, hotel chains, and a portfolio of commercial real estate properties, as well as more than 60 employees. In addition to her role as chief executive of the company, Gabriela is an active member of the Mexican National Chamber of Commerce where she develops and supports multiple tourism projects throughout the country.

When Gabriela Amarillas Lopez is not working, she values spending time with her family and friends. While she enjoys traveling and experiencing new cultures and traditions, she prefers peace, quiet, and the company of a good book. Gabriela is also an animal lover. Now, as the head of a large and influential corporation, her philanthropic efforts and charity work primarily revolves around funding animal shelters, sanctuary farms, and the protection of endangered species worldwide.

What do you currently do at your company?

As the general director, I have oversight over the entire conglomerate of businesses within the organization. I mainly focus on the tourism space, specifically hospitality. Our hospitality arm is currently managing three boutique hotels in Mexico, specifically in the city of Mocorito. Mocorito has been named as a ‘Pueblo Magico,’ which translates to Magic Village. This category is given by the Secretary of Tourism for cities that carry historical and cultural requirements within Mexico (ágicos). My current focus is the management of these three boutique hotels. Clearly, I have an executive team that helps me with this task.

What was the inspiration behind your business?

Regarding the development of the three hotels, it was born out of a tourist need. As mentioned, Mocorito is known as a magical village because of its unique architecture and cultural and historical attributes, but there was no real hotel or place to stay in the area. I wanted to make sure that people who visit the town have a place to stay instead of being forced to resort to day trips, so I decided to provide the infrastructure and investment needed to make that goal a reality. However, it is not just about creating a place for visitors to stay, but adhering to the same standard of the city’s denomination, and more importantly, an overall cultural experience as part of their stay at any of our three hotels.

Tell us one long-term goal in your career.

Part of the boutique hotel experience is making sure that we take into consideration the cultural aspects of magical villages throughout Mexico –just like Mocorito. Ultimately, I would like to provide a business model within the hospitality space to franchise this concept, including a heavy emphasis on the cultural experience.

How do you measure success?

For me, it always comes down to the numbers. The level of success of a project is measured through an increase in sales; how many people are staying in our hotels and ultimately the overall revenues from the start of the venture until present. These are things that can be easily tracked, charted, and graphed. From there, I’m able to analyze the data and develop a plan to move forward.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned through the course of your career?

The biggest lesson has been learning that my passion for delivering quality service has to be, front and center,  and at the tip of the spear of any project.

What advice would you give to others aspiring to succeed in your field?

For anyone looking to succeed in a venture like this, the first step is to make sure to study the market and analyze it to see if there’s a need or a void that can be filled. Second, it’s critical to ascertain the tools and resources available for developing the project. If both of these elements look good, the third step is to assemble a talented team and to make sure the vision is aligned. Does the team share the same focus? Level of passion? If so, you have a higher chance of success. If the necessary market conditions are present, as well as the resources, then the fourth step is to really dig in with that team and flush out the parameters of the venture. If steps one through four check out, then you may have the green light to launch your business.What are some of your favorite things to do outside of work?

I have a big passion for philanthropy, especially when it comes to animals; everything from cats and dogs to pigs and horses. I put a lot of energy and effort into my nonprofit work with shelters, sanctuary farms, and wildlife protection initiatives. I also like to read and stay up to date on global topics within the hospitality and commercial real estate industries. The most important thing for me, though, is family. I always make sure that I’m putting my family first and that I’m spending time and sharing moments with them as much as possible.

How do you maintain a solid work life balance?

The key for maintaining a solid work life balance comes down to two main areas; technology and having the right team. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic really changed my ability to work from home and be mobile. I have done quite a bit of investing in technology  to  ensure that the company was positioned for executive mobility. Beyond that, I have empowered my team to make decisions. If they can’t get in touch with me for whatever reason, they are able to make a decision on any given subject without me. Having a great team and the right level of technology gives me the chance to spend more time with my family. It never has to be an ‘all or none’ situation.

Who has been a role model to you and why?

My father has always been a role model for me. I was an only child, so I spent a lot of time with him. He taught me about discipline, diligence, and integrity. But, more importantly he also taught me to be independent, so that my results would be my own. For my whole life, he’s been a mentor and a leader, and he continues to be a role model and someone that I learn from to this day.

What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?

This is advice that I got from my father. Being a woman CEO is not easy. He always reiterates that I need to fight for what I want and never give up.