Back for its second year, American Spa’s Women in Wellness Awards honor the women in our industry for their contributions in making the world a better place. Nominated by their peers and chosen by acclaimed wellness journalists, these women are showing they’re a force with which to be reckoned. Making a profound impact in the industry and beyond, they are leaning in by serving on related industry boards and organizations, discovering untapped opportunities, giving back, and bringing their unique perspective to all that they do. From September 24 through September 28, each day American Spa will be announcing two new winners of the 2018 Women in Wellness Awards. Today, discover the winner of the PR & Marketing Guru Award.
PR & Marketing Guru: This award honors a woman in wellness-related public relations and marketing who manages, creates, and shares the message of wellness-related locations, products, equipment, and more.
WINNER: Darlene Fiske, cofounder, S’Well Public Relations; owner, The Fiske Group Public Relations
Passionate about the wellness industry, Darlene Fiske spent 10 years as the director of sales and marketing for Lake Austin Spa Resort (TX). In 2006, she established The Fiske Group, and award-winning national public relations firm specializing in campaigns for properties such as Ame Spa & Wellness Collective at Turnberry Isle Miami, La Cantera Resort & Spa (San Antonio, TX), and Mohonk Mountain House (New Paltz, NY). Recently, she cofounded a new wellness-oriented communications firm, S’Well Public Relations, with public relations professional and fellow Women in Wellness nominee Kim Marshall. A true spa and wellness enthusiast, Fiske has served on the marketing task force for the International Spa Association (ISPA) and is currently on the Women in Leadership committee for the Global Wellness Institute. When The Beach Club at Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina (SC) wanted to introduce some wellness offerings, she was able to get eight Schwinn Bikes donated to launch a Bike to Beach Program. After a chance meeting with Louie Schwartzberg, a celebrated cinematographer, director, and producer who captures breathtaking images that celebrate life, she received the licensing rights to share his movies with children as part of the hotel’s Mini Mariners Camp, bringing wellness to children.
FINALIST: Mary Gendron, senior vice president and managing director, Eric Mower + Associates
A pioneer in spa marketing, Mary Gendron heads the New York City office of Mower, an advertising, marketing, and public relations firm, where she serves as senior vice president, managing director. For three decades prior, she was president of Middleton & Gendron, which she and her partner, Yvonne Middleton, built into an award-winning PR and marketing company specializing in the travel, spa, and wellness industries. In 2014, Middleton & Gendron and Mower merged. A founding board member of the International Spa Association (ISPA) and Washington Spa Alliance (WSPA}, Gendron has also served on the board of the New York Spa Alliance, is a designee of ISPA’s Leaders Circle, and a member of WSPA’s Founders Circle. She is a trusted industry resource and has spoken at various spa conferences as well as Cornell University and the annual Cornell Spa Symposium. An early promoter of male spa programming, she was also the first to provide a media program for ISPA. A girls’ weekend in a private estate home at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa (Paradise Valley, AZ) inspired her to suggest the resort create an immersive, in-residence spa experience, which later debuted as Spa House.
FINALIST: Kim Kessler, founder, KIPR Global
Practicing what she preaches, Kim Kessler has lived a healthy lifestyle for more than 20 years. In 1991, she adopted a plant-based diet to benefit the planet, animals, and her health. As founder of KIPR Global, Kessler works tirelessly to promote spas, resorts, and wellness brands around the globe. She currently handles publicity for Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, Nobu Ryokan Malibu, The Detox Market, private tour company Access Italy, and the destination of Careyes in Mexico. Prior to launching her own public relations firm, she worked as director of public relations at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills for seven years, leading international media campaigns and building relationships with journalists, community leaders, and social media influencers. Kessler is also the public relations representative on the Spa Task Force Team for Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts and an official ambassador for Global Wellness Day. She also recently collaborated with Delos, a leader in wellness-oriented building and design, who she met through the Global Green environmental charity, to create Wellness Rooms at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills.
Stay tuned on American Spa online, as well on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as we continue to announce the 2018 Women in Wellness Awards winners all week long. Up next: Educator & Trainer and Environmental Leader on Wednesday, 9/25.