Spa Talk With Jacqueline Berry of Miraval Group

Meet Jacqueline Berry, group director of spa and wellbeing of Miraval Group (Miraval Arizona in Tucson, AZ; Miraval Austin in Texas; and Miraval Berkshires in Lenox, MA), who has 26 years of experience in the spa and hospitality industry. 

Photo credit: Jacqueline Berry

What was the path that led you into the spa industry?

From an early age, I always wanted to help people feel their best. When I was 16, I was involved in a car accident, and my injuries left me unable to continue my passion for dance. I was finally able to dance again when my injuries were treated by massage therapy. I was so moved by the healing power of touch that I became a licensed massage therapist soon after.

What are the most challenging and rewarding parts of being in the spa industry?

One of the most challenging parts of being in the spa industry is taking time to practice your own self-care. I think those who are naturally drawn to helping others can sometimes prioritize the needs of others over their own, so it’s important to maintain balance and take good care of ourselves, as well. That’s why I love working for the Miraval brand because, in addition to helping guests create a life in balance, we also support colleagues in doing so. One of the most rewarding parts of being in the spa industry is the sheer impact you have on so many individuals. I have heard countless stories throughout my career from guests about how the work that we’re doing is helping them live their best lives. These revelations are so rewarding to hear, and one of the reasons I love what I do.

What is your proudest accomplishment? 

If I had to identify my proudest accomplishment, it would be watching the various spa team members that I have guided grow in their careers. I’m so lucky that I’ve been able to work with so many talented individuals and watch them grow and thrive in the industry.

What has surprised you most about working in the spa industry? 

What surprises me most about the spa industry are the endless possibilities. I love seeing the ongoing innovation in the industry; it’s constantly growing and expanding in so many different areas. The limitless opportunities we can create for people are exciting!

Where do you think the industry is heading? 

I think now more than ever, society understands the need for unplugging. So many of us have lost touch with the present moment, and the spa industry allows individuals to step away from their busy lives and devote time to themselves. The industry is constantly adapting to what people need the most, and right now people need to unplug more than ever. That's why I love my job. At Miraval Resorts & Spas, we support guests in experiencing the present moment through digital mindfulness.

What’s your favorite skincare ingredient?

My favorite skincare ingredient is vitamin C. It helps protect and repair the skin, and I have seen a difference in my skin since incorporating it into my routine. It is an all-around powerhouse and a good staple for everyone to have in their skincare routine. Currently, I'm loving Naturopathica's Vitamin C15 Serum.

What positions have you worked in that you feel have been most influential to your career? 

Each position I've had has been influential in my career and has led me to the next one. One position that had a great impact was working and leading a team on a cruise ship. I sometimes worked with people of up to 20 different nationalities, which improved my communication skills and helped me learn how to work with many different personality types. Living and working in such small quarters forces you to learn how to make things work. I also learned how to adapt to any situation, as I had to jump into any task that was needed. Another influential position was serving as general manager at Miraval Life in Balance Spa at Monarch Beach Resort; it was like all the pieces of what I was looking for in my career just fell into place. I was inspired and amazed by the revelations our guests have during their stay and how candidly they share and truly connect with each other and our team. The authenticity and genuine connection to themselves and others is what really stood out and made me realize that this is what I wanted to be a part of.

Was there a time you had to make a decision in your career that ended up changing your destiny? How did you handle that challenge and what was your thought process? 

Absolutely! In 2001, I was a massage therapist on a cruise ship, and I was asked to step up and fill in as spa director due to an emergency. At that point in my career, I wasn't thinking about a leadership role, and at first, I was really unhappy. However, I thought back to my experiences with different leadership styles and my firsthand experience with a toxic leader and it shifted my perspective. I realize I didn't want to expose my team to the experiences that I had had, and I wanted to protect them, allowing them to do what they're best at. I have learned that supporting those who support others is a very important role. I didn't see that decision coming and it ended up being a pivotal point in my career.

If you could work in any other profession in the world, what would you be?

I love what I do and feel that I am exactly where I'm supposed to be! However, I’ve always loved traveling, and I think being a travel agent helping people plan their great adventures would be very fulfilling. 

How would you sum up your personal philosophy?

If I had to sum up my philosophy in one word, it would be fluidity. Through my past experiences I have learned that it is important to flow with the present moment, accepting what is, and changing the things I have the power to change. I think that being fluid can allow for better decisions and can foster growth in many different areas.

How do you like to spend your time away from work?

I love to travel and experience different cultures. I enjoy nature with my dog daily and take dance and art classes. I also love spending time with my family and frequent amusement parks with my son. I believe life is more meaningful and joyful when it is balanced!

What are your three greatest priorities in life? 

The three greatest priorities in my life are my son and my family, helping others, and making time to do the things that bring me joy and fulfillment. 

What’s the best advice you’ve received?

A mentor of mine has always said, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” I think this sentiment can play into so many pieces of life!