Meet Natalie Gilbert, wellness director at Mountain Sky Wellness Center (Emigrant, MT), who started in the industry at age 17.
American Spa: How many years have you been involved in the spa and hospitality industries?
Natalie Gilbert: My first job was working in a guest service position for The Red Door Spa when I was 17. Since then I have always found myself interested and involved in the wellness world and continuously working in the hospitality industry.
AS: What was the path that led you into the spa industry?
NG: Since I can remember, I was interested in health and wellbeing. I grew up spending a lot of time outdoors as well as participating in an array of team sports up through the university level, where I also made a deeper connection to yoga. I’d say my journey to India and becoming certified to teach yoga was a big catalyst to the true beginning of my path into the wellness industry.
AS: What are the most challenging and rewarding parts of working in the spa industry
NG: We recently renovated our space and made many changes to our program. The most challenging part this past year was helping staff and guests adapt to that change. The most rewarding part has been working with such a talented team of therapists and being a part of building relationships with our guests at Mountain Sky. I feel truly blessed to be a part of a team sharing the common goal in creating a healthy and happy environment.
AS: What has surprised you most about the wellness world?
NG: I think it sometimes surprises me how the industry can be very trendy and, in a way, stepping away from the authentic and therapeutic nature of what massage therapy can provide.
AS: Where do you think the industry is heading?
NG: It’s moving in the direction of alternative and holistic therapies. I think the future of healing is moving toward color, light, frequency, and sound therapies. I think we will also see an influx of CBD products in the future for product lines and treatments alike.
AS: What is the strangest client request you’ve fielded?
NG: I once had to play a bit of tug of war with a guest’s cowboy boot. After a few minutes of struggling, we were successful in prying off her boots and getting her feet up for some relaxation in our Serenity Lounge.
AS: What is the most bizarre treatment you’ve experienced?
NG: I haven’t received any that I would call bizarre, but I have experienced some noteworthy treatments. I felt like I was glowing after my Panchakarma treatment in Rishikesh, India, and I really enjoyed a dry brushing treatment followed by a Costa Rican chocolate exfoliating massage. Lastly, I had a volcanic mud body wrap in an herbal sweat lodge, which was phenomenal.
AS: What new spa treatment would you like to try?
NG: I get jazzed to try any new treatment!
AS: What’s your go-to spa treatment?
NG: If I have the time to dedicate to a decadent spa day, I definitely choose to do a ritual or multifaceted treatment. This always leaves me feeling pampered and ready to take on the world.
AS: What two things about you don’t we know?
NG: I have the utmost love and passion for immersing myself in other cultures and connecting with people all over the world. I have currently visited 31 countries and hope to continue to explore more in the future. I also appreciate the wilderness of Montana where I currently live. One of my fondest memories and backpacking trips was with one of my best friends summiting Granite Peak, the tallest peak in Montana.
AS: If you could work in any other profession in the world, what would it be?
NG: I truly love where I currently work. However, if I had to seek employment outside of the industry, I would study and move into the field of anthropology.
AS: How would you sum up your personal philosophy?
NG: I would say through my life experiences I have learned to be grateful for each given moment. I think it is important in the world we live today to slow down and connect with each other. Sometimes it is in the littlest of things, such as a smile, that make someone’s day. Selflessly serving others brings a lot of happiness and value to my life.
AS: What’s the best advice you’ve received?
NG: Live your legacy.