Director of People and Culture
As the son of a human resources professional who progressed from cotton mills to healthcare in rural Alabama, Scott Simms was drawn to the people business when he attended Auburn University. It was an opportunity to bring value to a company for someone who doesn’t enjoy sales and isn’t great with numbers, he says.
After earning his degree, Simms took a brief trip through the benefits industry before connecting with Capella Hotels and Resorts. He spent nearly seven years with the company, assisting with the acquisition, renovation, and management of properties from Augusta to the Jersey Shore, Chicago to Hilton Head, and eventually to opening the ultra-luxury Capellain Telluride.
When the pang to be closer to family got strong enough, Simms headed to Nashville and the historic Union Station Hotel, where he was Hotel Assistant Manager. There, he oversaw the front office and reservations, along with back-of-house functions such as maintenance and housekeeping, along with the concierge and retail functions.
From there, he was selected to become People Services Director for the boutique Thompson Nashville, and then joined MakeReady to open the 224-room Noelle in Nashville as Director of People and Culture. Based on that success, he became MakeReady’s Corporate Culture Guru during a time of unprecedented growth for the company. Simms created and installed value-based programs for teams that opened four new luxury hotels from Denver to coastal Maine as well as independent restaurant concepts in New Orleans and Charleston.
Through it all, he’d kept in touch with his friend Ray Minias, Southall’s SVP of Hospitality, and the project spoke to him from a cultural standpoint. Simms joined the team to give Southall’s staff a voice and purpose, understanding that collaboration around a common vision is the only way to deliver on the promise—from the first impression through every moment of a guest’s stay.