2019 Women In Wellness Awards: Brand Founder of the Year

Back for its third edition, American Spa’s Women in Wellness Awards honor those who are making an impact in the industry and beyond. These exceptional women are transforming the wellness world with their noteworthy contributions such as serving on related industry boards and organizations, discovering untapped opportunities, giving back, and bringing their unique perspective to all that they do. Nominated by their peers and chosen by acclaimed wellness journalists, these women are showing they’re a force with which to be reckoned. 

From August 26 through September 4, American Spa will be announcing one new winner and two finalists of the 2019 Women in Wellness Awards each day. Today, discover the Brand Founder of the Year.

Brand Founder: This award honors the female founder of a wellness-centric product or equipment company who makes an impact by managing with business acumen, creativity, integrity, and grace. 


WINNER: Lejla Cas, founder, Knesko Skin

Lejla Cas

An internationally renowned celebrity skincare specialist, esthetician, and makeup artist, Lejla Cas began her career in Australia, where her family settled after fleeing war-torn Bosnia. There, she was introduced to Reiki, which she used to stay balanced and grounded. Fascinated with crystals and metaphysical healing powers, she dreamed of creating a skincare company based on the principles of energy work. Cas came to the U.S. on a work visa in 2007 and never looked back. She began working for leading international cosmetic brands while seeing private clients for skincare and makeup services. During that time, she realized that like the stressed-out women she was treating, she, too, had no time for herself. So, she began masking and meditating after long flights and delved deeper into her energy work, using crystals and Reiki to align her chakras. Discovering the difference it made to her overall wellbeing, she was inspired to share the concept with her clients and launched Knesko in 2012. Using the money she and her husband had saved for their dream wedding, they instead used it to build their dream business. "Lejla’s intention when she founded Knesko was to educate women to love themselves and to take time they truly deserve to nurture their souls,” says Nancy Griffin, principal of Contento Marketing. “She loves inspiring younger female generations to follow their dreams. She leads from the head and the heart, with intention, passion, and purpose.”

FINALIST: Janna Ronert, founder and CEO, Image Skincare

Janna Ronert

Janna Ronert is the CEO and founder of Image Skincare, a professional skincare company she created 15 years ago. She was born and raised on a farm in Hebron, NE, and received her degree in Business Arts and Sciences from the University of Nebraska in 1983. Janna is a licensed esthetician with vast clinical expertise, formulating innovative and advanced products at IMAGE Skincare - now in 60 countries around the world. She was awarded Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2012 and Florida Business Journal’s CEO of the year in 2016.  She is a member of the C200 organization, which recognizes the top 200 female CEOs in the world and was recently selected to share her best business advice on Forbes.com. She supports a lot of associations like IMPACT Women, the Everglades Foundation and created the Care for Skin foundation with her husband, Marc Ronert M.D., to provide reconstructive skin surgery to children who suffer from skin loss 

FINALIST: Celeste Hilling, CEO, Skin Authority

Celeste Hilling

Celeste Hilling, founder of Skin Authority, has created a company with a tech-savvy, personalized approach to skin health – along with a “do good” business model from the bottom up that her partners and consumers can feel proud to support. Throughout her life, Hilling watched firsthand how friends and family members lives were impacted by skin disease. Celeste saw an opportunity to create a company that not only took advantage of new technology for prevention and protection of skin health, but also provided expert guidance and coaching to address each person’s unique skin needs. Most importantly, she wanted people to experience the self confidence that comes from feeling great about how they look.

Congrats to our winner and finalists of the Brand Founder category. Check back tomorrow for the Owner and Operator of the Year. Stay tuned on American Spa online, as well on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter for more info about the winners and finalists of the 2019 Women in Wellness Awards as well as upcoming Women in Wellness Leadership Conferences.


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