Kerstin Florian Named Industry Icon Winner of American Spa's 2018 Women in Wellness Awards

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 Industry Icon Award.

Industry Icon: This award honors a longtime female spa leader at the spa or manufacturer level who sees the potential of our industry and has influenced its growth and success.

WINNER: Kerstin Florian, founder and CEO, Kerstin Florian International

Last year, Kerstin Florian was chosen as a finalist in our Industry Icon category, and this year, she cements her iconic role in the industry. The Swedish-born wellness pioneer knew early on that spa was a lifestyle. As a result, she based her life around the four cornerstones of wellness that would become the foundation for her namesake brand—regular exercise, proper nutrition, peace of mind, and care of face and body. After moving to California in the 1960s, Florian realized that U.S. skincare products lacked natural ingredients and real results beyond moisturizing. Understanding the transformative effects of wellness living, she knew she could create a new concept in skincare by sharing her passion for results-focused, botanically based products and healthy self-care products. After a decade of contributing to the spa industry with innovative design, menu, and management concepts, she opened her own facial studio where she inspired clients with her holistic approach. She launched her brand in 1978, and it can now be found in the world’s leading spas and resorts. Florian has spent her life spreading the message of spa wellness in everything she does and continues to inspire others to do the same.

FINALIST: Sylvie Hennessy, cofounder, Pevonia Botanica Skincare 

A respected and highly awarded educator in the industry, Sylvie Hennessy cofounded Pevonia Botanica Skincare in October 1991 with her husband, Philippe Hennessy, along with Medicalia Skincare, Timeless by Pevonia, Spalasium Spa Ambiance, and Pevonia Equipment brands. She also established the Sylvie Hennessy Academy of Post-Graduate Esthetics & Spa Therapies, now known as The Pevonia Academy, and hosted hands-on trainings for most of her career to ensure a growing respect for esthetics and estheticians. Her contributions to the industry are numerous, as she continues to promote the reputation and educational growth of countless professionals worldwide with her passion for education and for the industry. A longtime advocate for women and their ability to shape and lead the industry, she is dedicated to developing and enriching educational curriculums for the global betterment and advancement of the industry.

FINALIST: Sylvia Sepielli, Sylvia Planning and Design (SPAd)

Known for her vision and the extraordinary spas she has designed, Sylvia Sepielli has lent her talented touch to Mii amo, A Destination Spa (Sedona, AZ), Spa Halekulani (Honolulu, HI), and Dolder Spa (Zurich, Switzerland) to name just a few. Sepielli got her start studying Oriental healing arts in Japan. Although she wasn’t immediately sure where her studies would lead, it all came in to focus when she moved back to the States and discovered the connection among fitness, nutrition, and therapies. In 1994, she started Sylvia Planning And design (SPAd), a consulting company. While her portfolio of work speaks for itself, Sepielli herself has been a transformative force in the industry. “If you mention the title ‘spa mentor’ to people in a casual conversation, the name you most often hear is Sylvia’s,” says Lynn Curry, president and co-owner of Resources for Leisure Assets. “She has mentored so many industry professionals, including me. She totally directed the ways spas should and would be developed in the early years of spa development in the U.S. market.” 

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: PR & Marketing Guru and Brand Founder on Tuesday, 9/25.


Meet the Judges of the 2018 Women in Wellness Awards

Nominations Open for American Spa's Second Annual Women in Wellness Awards

American Spa’s Women in Wellness Leadership Conferences Will Return Twice in 2019