The Women in Wellness Awards: Mentor Winner

Graphic by Kara Magliaro

The third category we're announcing of our Women in Wellness Awards is the Mentor of the Year. Whether an educator, a leader of a group or organization, or a company head, this woman is making a difference by serving as a trusted advisor and shining example to others.

WINNER: Helga Hefner, manager of professional spa education, Aveda

A global trainer since 1989, Helga Hefner has spent years leading the development and education of Aveda Skin Care and Spa. Her career spans a lifetime of innovation, passion, and technical expertise. In fact, she owned one of the first Aveda Concept Salon/Spas. She also served as an Aveda distributor and developed The Art & Science of Esthiology curriculum. An inspiration to others, she received the Aveda Masters of the Arts Award and served as spa director for Ananda in the Himalayas, the first destination spa in India. She is a graduate of the Academy of Healing Nutrition and has worked as a holistic health counselor and a longevity nutrition coach. Hefner has also devoted herself to the study and practice of both Ayurveda and yoga, which she incorporates into her transformational programs and wellness retreats.  “Helga has always been and continues to be instrumental in guiding the future of the spa industry through her commitment to the wellbeing of every aspect of the human—skin, body, and mind,” says Kevin Molin, Aveda vice president, global education. “She is a passionate educator who inspires and motivates professionals around the world at all levels of their career, from student to service provider to trainer. Whether in India directing one of the top 10 spas in the world or in Minneapolis teaching a group of esthetic students, Helga is unwavering in her commitment to making a difference in the business of esthetics and the spa industry.”

FINALIST: Lori Crete, founder and president, The Esthetician Mentor

A highly sought after industry expert and licensed celebrity esthetician, Lori Crete is the owner of Spa 10 (Encino, CA) and the founder and president of The Esthetician Mentor, a business dedicated to helping beauty business owners fill their appointment books, increase profits, and break through the six-figure barrier. “Lori impacts the lives of so many estheticians and has been a huge inspiration to me,” says licensed esthetician Samantha Dench. “She wants to see estheticians become leaders in the beauty industry and will help us create our mark in the world. I have never met anyone as passionate, energetic, and positive as Lori.”

FINALIST: Rebecca James Gadberry, cosmetic bioevangelist

A dynamic and award-winning educator, Rebecca Gadberry is known as one of the skincare industry’s preeminent ingredient authorities, perhaps best known for her years at the helm of YG Labs. She is the former co-owner and CEO of the company. At age 25, she discovered her life’s purpose in helping others to realize their potential. “My greatest reward has always been the ‘a-ha’ moment when a student suddenly ‘gets it,’” says Gadberry. “I have lived for those moments my entire adult life.” Recently retired as UCLA Extension’s senior instructor and program director for the world-renowned Cosmetic Science program, Gadberry has inspired thousands of professionals to learn about cosmetic ingredients.

FINALIST: Candace Holyfield, founder, Six Figure Spa Chick, I Love Candy Spa Parties

As a spa coach, holistic practitioner, massage therapist, medical assistant, and owner of I Love Candy Spa Parties (Smyrna, GA), Candace Holyfield helps spa professionals open their own day spas and boost their revenues. She also practices what she preaches. Working as a massage therapist, she opened her spa in 2011. There, she rents space to therapists, so they have a safe and clean space to treat clients. Seeing the potential to make money online by sharing her expertise, she started Six Figure Spa Chick on Instagram. It’s a coaching program for spa professionals to learn and grow their businesses. Her best-selling class is Make $1K in 1 Day. The mother of three also teaches a class about using Groupon effectively. The program also led her to author several ebooks, such as How to Become a Big Deal and Spa Profit.

FINALIST: Tiffany Lewis, founder and CEO, Confident Girl Mentoring Program; owner, Skin Deep Beauty Spa

After earning a dual degree in legal and religious studies, Tiffany R. Lewis spent more than 12 years working within her community on various development programs. She also earned her esthetics license, and after seeing the hardships of cancer faced by various individuals, she enrolled in the Skin Therapy Institute to earn her certification in Clinical Oncology Esthetics. She was also selected in 2014 to train in Washington, DC with former first lady Michelle Obama’s personal esthetician, receiving another certificate in dealing with multicultural skin. As a committed youth advocate, in 2016, she launched Confident Girl Mentoring Program, an empowerment program that focuses on building the confidence of teens and young adults.

Congratulations to all of our finalists and our Mentor of 2017, Helga Hefner. Check back here on American Spa online tomorrow, September 21, for our finalists and winner of the Innovator Award.

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