How many years have you been involved in the spa and hospitality industry?
I have worked in hospitality for more than 20 years and nine years in the spa industry.
What was the path that led you into the spa industry?
When I moved from New Jersey to Florida for my education, I noticed that people in the community were constantly active and seeking to preserve their youth. Curious for knowledge, I attended massage therapy school in addition to pursuing a business degree. I was instantly hooked on day one. I used to take my friends to the nearby white-sand beach and practice my leg-and-foot scrubs. You couldn’t ask for a more serene ambience.
What are the most challenging and rewarding parts of working in the spa industry?
The most challenging aspect of working in the spa industry I would say is the organization and execution; so many hats are worn at the same time and all components are equally important. The most rewarding is the overall outcome. Once training is completed and you see your staff blossom, you get an overwhelming feeling of pride. On the guest side, I love seeing all of the hard work behind the scenes come into play and the process of creating a guest for life.
What has surprised you most about the spa world?
How big, yet how small, this industry is. We are like a large family that is constantly helping each other grow.
Where do you think the industry is heading?
Social spa-ing. Living in the New York City area—the stress capital of the world—you see that stress is only rising and people are seeking to rectify that. Wellness clubs, like SoJo Spa Club, are havens for people to come and unwind. It is only natural that we turn this into a daily and weekly practice and bring our loved ones with us.
What is the most bizarre treatment you’ve experienced?
I wouldn’t say bizarre as much as I would say an experience. One of my spa family members and I went to a Russian bathhouse together and got the platza in the sauna. We were surrounded by people doing hot yoga while waiting. I didn’t expect to have an audience.
What new spa treatment would you like to try?
ESPA has a 90-minute treatment that uses advanced massage techniques that focus on body contouring and firming. The treatment uses algae, iced mitts, and lymphatic drainage. A new must for me before any special event or putting on a bathing suit.
What’s your go-to spa treatment?
When I go to another spa I am seeking to just relax. I like to stick to the traditional aromatherapy massage and if they have ESPA products, the pink hair and scalp treatment is a must.
What two things about you don’t we know?
One, I am a dog collector. I currently have two senior dogs I rescued from Puerto Rico. If I didn’t live in an apartment I would probably have 100. Also, being on or in the water is a spa treatment in itself for me. I love to go scuba diving. My best experience would be the time my sister and I went cave diving in Mexico. I have a dream of going to the Galapagos next.
If you could work in any other profession in the world, what would it be?
I would say anything that had to do with traveling and learning about new cultures.
How would you sum up your personal philosophy?
Breathe. It’s just a bad day, not a bad life. Everything in this world is beautiful. I always look for the positive outcome.
What’s the best advice you’ve received?
Work smarter not harder. If you’re on time, you’re late. And enjoy life. You only get one, and it’s meant to be fun.