Q & A with ISPA President Lynne McNees

Behind the scenes this conference week with ISPA powerhouse Lynne McNees

How many years have you been involved in the spa/hospitality industry?

I have served as the President of ISPA for nearly 15 years, and it has been a remarkable experience!  The spa industry has evolved so much during my tenure; let's just say we are never bored!

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

I've always been interested in the world of health and wellness.  I majored in kinesiological science in college, but my first career path was quite different from the spa world.  I worked for several years in Washington D.C. as the education director for the President's Commission on White House Fellowships and as the assistant to the Deputy Director of Presidential Personnel in the White House under President George H.W. Bush.  After President Bill Clinton was elected, we resigned to make room for his team and I went to World Cup USA 1994 as the venue marketing manager.  However, I found my true passion for association management when I went to work for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.  I was recruited to make the move to Lexington, KY where ISPA is now headquartered, in 1995, to begin work with the National Tour Association.  After getting my feet wet in the travel industry, the transition into the spa world was very organic.  I've been with ISPA ever since, and I can confidently say that association management is my calling - I just love it!

What is your favorite place in the whole world?

Anywhere my cute husband is!  If I had to choose, it would be Jackson Hole, WY., where we were married.  I wore white cowboy boots under my wedding dress, and he wore jeans and a tux jacket.  It was perfect for the beautiful rustic setting.

If you could have any profession in the world, other than what you do now, what would you be?

I love being outdoors and I inherited a green thumb from my mom.  Organic gardening would be an ideal fit for me.  I like to share the flowers and vegetables I grow with my friends.

What is your motto or concept that you live by?

You can't beat the Golden Rule - "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

What is your most treasured possession?

My constant companions, Jackson Hole and Teton Spirit, our two long-haired miniature dachshunds.  They're so funny and they keep us grounded.

What’s your go-to spa treatment?

An 80-minute deep tissue massage is my favorite spa experience.  It's the best stress reliever and allows you to take some time out for yourself.

What is your proudest accomplishment?

Professionally, I would have to say seeing young staff members build confidence and come into their own.  For example, ISPA's Vice President Becky Brooks started out as an intern and now, more than 10 years later, she is instrumental to the day-to-day operations of the association.  I think that is cool - watching the evolution of leadership.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I'd like to have a bit more patience, and I'd like to stop worrying so much.  If I don't have anything to worry about I'll make something up and then worry about that.

Care to share any details on family life, i.e. spouse, partner, children, pets?

I have been blessed with a wonderful husband and family.  My father recently flunked retirement and took over the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in California.  It's been a fun California adventure for the entire family.  I'm also particularly close with my sisters Lisa and Marja who live in Arizona.  Even though we are far apart, I get to work with Marja on ISPA's Pulse Magazine, so I always feel like she's close by.

Tell us two things about yourself we don’t know.

I love to sing, but I can't carry a tune.

I'm studying to take the Certified Association Executive (CAE) exam through the American Society of Association Executives.