Advice for up and coming Spa Directors: Ann Emich-Patton's Top Ten

1. Work for someone who understands and respects the business of spas. Purely profit-driven companies versus that w/balanced emphasis on guest service, employee exp and financial profitability

2. Know your business! You product, your providers, your clients. GET FEEDBACK EVERY DAY... Go Undercover...Get your clothes off, get in a robe and sit in the waiting area flipping through a magazine... you'll be amazed at the conversations between guests.  "Shop" your staff... they love it!!

3. Define your spa mission, vision, and values. It provides the framework for all of your decisions, and let's the staff know the direction your business is taking.

4. Address staff concerns head-on, and weed out the "nay-sayers." Negativity isn't good for any environment, let alone a wellness-related arena. It is not fair to the rest of the staff who maintain positive attitudes and good work ethics.

5. Cultivate loyalty. Reward your staff, reward your guests. Provide meaningful ways to say "thank you" often and consistently.

6. Cast a big net! Networking is one of the keys to continued growth and success as a professional. Find the "movers and shakers" and join the dance!

7. Find a mentor and learn all that you can. Do what it takes to learn from someone who has gone before. Volunteer to assist in their operation for a week, ask to "shadow" a key industry professional that you consider to be a role model.

8. Visit spas in Europe at least once....see the origins of the business you are involved in. You will gain a greater perspective of the true nature of spa.

9. Stay Current. Read, read, and read some more. Attend seminars, trade shows, and conferences...this business is changing fast and furiously!

10. Have Fun and laugh a lot!! Life is short, after all, . The business of spa is not rocket science, nor brain surgery. We may not be saving lives, but we have a wonderful opportunity to enhance our own lives as well as the lives of those around us. A good sense of humor goes a long way. Enjoy your work, and be happy at every step along the way.

Ann Emich-Patton is a 25-year veteran spa director, and currently Senior Consultant for Blu Spas