Best Advice for Women in the Spa Industry

The last few months our team has been planning for the debut of our Women in Wellness Awards. It’s been an exciting and inspiring process already. We’ve spoken with leading women in the industry and thought long and hard about what a significant role they play. Everyone is very eager to share their experiences and advice for succeeding in the industry. Here’s what our experts said was the best piece of advice they’ve received.

  • “One of the women I admire the most in our industry is Marcia Kilgore, the founder of Bliss. One of the most impactful things she said is: You must prepare yourself to sacrifice a lot of social and leisure time in favor of learning and growing your career, and you have to realize that it’s your choice to do that, and be happy with that choice. The concept of choice, which to me involves control and empowerment, is something that is incredibly important to me, and a vector of how I lead my life. Hearing this from her was truly impactful in my thinking.”— Ada Polla, CEO, Alchimie Forever
  • “Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable.”—Annet King, vice president global education, Elemis
  • “Deborah Szekely was (and still is) a mentor of mine. I remember advice she gave to a group of us at a luncheon – it might have been sometime in the 80’s – where she encouraged each person to do volunteer work. She said that she learned more from serving on boards and volunteering her services, than she did in her formal profession. That got my attention!  Fast forward several decades, and I learned a similar lesson from Philippe Bourguignon (Vice Chairman, Revolution Places) who also became an important mentor of mine. He sits on many boards and purposely joins new ones (and exits others) on a regular basis so he can immerse himself in industries that he isn’t as familiar with. How smart is that!”—Susie Ellis, chairman and CEO, Global Wellness Summit and Global Wellness Institute
  • “Always stay focused. Be professional. Be tenacious. Have a plan. Stay educated. These are a few tips I can give to other women in the spa and beauty industry. It is a very competitive world that we live in, so as an individual you must always be at the top of your game. I gain inspiration from estheticians I meet around the globe who are truly dedicated to giving the very best in skin care to their clients and are passionate about what they do. Be passionate about what you do and this will drive you to the top!”—Christi Cano, president and founder, Innovative Spa Productions
  • “The spa business is a growing business and opportunities abound. Dedicated, hard workers tend to be promoted quickly.  The benefits of working in a spa are great - but be prepared for an emotionally charged atmosphere with clients that have high expectations. Learn how to improvise on the spot and find the humor in the difficult situations.”—Gaye Steinke, general manager, Spa Anjali at The Westin Riverfront and Allegria Spa at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek
  • “Become an expert in your field and be the best at what you do! With the myriad of resources now easily available, there is no excuse for anything less. Join industry networks and social channels and participate in key trade events. Stay on top of market trends and new developments. Connect with leading experts and establish a mentor panel that you can tap for insight and best practices. Many industry legends and influencers are willing to share their insight for the greater good. If opening or taking over a Spa, align your business with ideal community partners that can help position you as a true wellness center in exchange for cross-promotion. Establish alliance with reputable vendors that offer results-oriented products and treatments and budget-enhancing education, sales, and marketing support. Then, personally embrace each day with vigor, perseverance and passion. This is a truly winning combination for an industry leader to be reckoned with!”—Sylvie Hennessy, cofounder and co-owner, Pevonia International