2019 Women in Wellness Awards: PR and Marketing Guru of the Year

American Spa has announced the winner and finalists of its PR and Marketing Guru of the year. // Graphic courtesy of Kara Magliaro

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 PR & Marketing Guru of the year.

PR & Marketing Guru: This award honors a woman in public relations and marketing who manages, creates, and shares the message of wellness-related locations, products, equipment, and more.  

WINNER: Jennifer Hawkins, founder and president, Hawkins International

Taking Hawkins International Public Relations from a one-woman startup to a major player in public relations, media relations, and digital communications for the luxury travel and lifestyle industries, Jennifer Hawkins is committed to the boutique and approachable culture she created back in 2002. With more than 30 employees, she has expanded the company to include a Los Angeles office and launched a new division focused on beauty and wellness. A thought leader in the travel and wellness PR space, she has created a platform for women to have a voice and excel in their trade. She leads an all-female executive team, creating positions for women to lead and inspire. Hawkins spearheaded the company’s embrace of social media, which created a new division offering influencer relations, social media activation and training, content strategy, and video integration services. Well versed in the strong and growing integration of wellness in the hospitality space and how it is transforming the business, Hawkins works with a variety of wellness leaders, including Sunrise Springs Spa Resort (Santa Fe, NM), Carillon Miami Wellness Resort (FL), and YO1 Wellness Center (Monticello, NY). “I call myself the accidental entrepreneur,” says Hawkins. “I can honestly say the majority of clients we’ve signed have come because of our reputation, and they stay because they know we will innovate and deliver.”

FINALIST: Kim Marshall, founder, The Marshall Plan; cofounder, S'Well Public Relations

Kim Marshall's career has followed the trajectory of the spa industry in the U.S. Starting out as a journalist who loved to travel, she soon got involved in public relations for the hospitality industry, first working for the airlines and then for a PR firm that specialized in travel.  Her first in-house hotel job was at the famous La Costa Resort & Spa in Southern California. Next she worked at the feet of the masters doing PR for Rancho La Puerta and the Golden Door. She then was asked to join the executive launch team as director of public relations for two of the most acclaimed resorts in the history of Hawaii, the 1,200-room Hyatt Waikoloa and the 700-room Grand Wailea Resort & Spa. After serving on one of the early ISPA Boards for four years, she founded The Marshall Plan in 1995 when she moved back to the mainland and she became the first hospitality and lifestyle PR firm to specialize in the nascent spa market. One of her agency’s first clients was the International Spa Association (ISPA) and one of her first initiatives was establishing the annual New York ISPA Media Event, which is still going strong over two decades later. Positioned as a lifestyle trend expert, Marshall has spoken around the country on marketing and has been quoted in national magazines and newspapers. She has consulted for Fortune 500 companies including Coca-Cola, Proctor & Gamble and Walgreens. Having served for four years on the board of the Green Spa Network, she currently serves as a media Advisor to the Global Wellness Summit; she is a member of the Global Wellness Institute’s Beauty to Wellness Initiative (BWI), having recently chaired the BWI L.A. Roundtable that live-linked to roundtables in London, New York City, and Hong Kong. Marshall also helped Belgin Aksoy launch Global Wellness Day internationally in 2014 and continues as one of the event’s 83 global ambassadors. In 2018, she joined Darlene Fiske to launch a subsidiary agency,  S’Well Public Relations, to specialize in the many facets of the booming wellness industry. 

FINALIST: Leah-Vail Soloff, founder, Quartz Public Relations

Leah-Vail Soloff is a public relations consultant and CEO of Quartz PR based in Los Angeles. With over 12 years of experience in the cosmetic, wellness, and fashion industries, she has developed a proven track record working with multiple luxury lifestyle brands to secure key coverage in niche and targeted U.S. and North American markets. Adept at building brands from the ground up, Soloff has helped many of the top agencies in Los Angeles cultivate communication strategy and implementation, media relations strategies, event management, celebrity and digital influencer brand development, and partnerships. In addition, she has developed strong relationships that helped secure key media coverage in national and regional markets. Soloff also specializes in guiding entrepreneurs on the best strategies to build their personal brands as thought leaders—past clients include W Hotels, Sam Edelman, Express, Sparitual, Dr. Perricone, Natura Bisse, Radical Skincare, Gilt City, Caliwater, Pure Organic, 100% Pure, LXMI, Physique 57, So Good So You, Yogaglo, PreHeels, and many more. Earlier in her career, Soloff was the vice president of health and beauty at Wetherly, communications director at Radical Skincare, and PR supervisor at Stanton & Company. As a leader, Soloff is innovative and strategic with a skillset and one-on-one approach that has helped make her a sought after independent brand consultant.


Congrats to our winner and finalists of the PR Marketing and Guru category. Check back tomorrow for the Environmental Leader 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.


Nominations Open for American Spa's Third Women in Wellness Awards

Meet the Winners of American Spa's 2018 Women in Wellness Awards

Women in Wellness Leadership Conference Heads to California this October