11th Annual ISPA Foundation Scholarship Opens


Attention all students! The International SPA Association (ISPA) Foundation is now accepting applications for the 2017 Mary Tabacchi Scholarship. The scholarship will be awarded to a junior, senior or graduate student enrolled full-time in a bachelor's or master's program pursuing a career in spa management, leadership or entrepreneurship. The deadline to apply is April 28, 2017.

The recipient will receive $5,000 to offset their education expenses, a complimentary registration, travel stipend and hotel accommodations to attend the 2017 ISPA Conference & Expo, a one-year ISPA student membership and will be assigned a one-year mentor to help navigate their career aspirations.

“This award was created, eleven years ago, to encourage and inspire those joining the spa industry,” said ISPA President Lynne McNees. “We are pleased it continues to give back to our community and nurture future leaders.”

The scholarship was created in 2006 and later named in honor of Mary Tabacchi, Ph.D., RD, Associate Professor, Hospitality Facilities and Operations at Cornell University. Dr. Tabacchi is a beloved spa industry veteran and pioneer in spa education.

Dr. Tabacchi began teaching at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration in 1972 where she continues to teach today. With a doctorate in biochemical nutrition and biostatistics, she has published numerous books on nutrition, spa and related subjects.

“The scholarship continues to uncover many bright and emerging leaders in the world of spa,” said Frank Pitsikalis, chairman of the ISPA Foundation.

The ISPA Foundation will present the award at the 27th annual ISPA Conference & Expo at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nev. from October 16 – 18, 2017.

To learn more about eligibility requirements and to access the scholarship application, visit http://experienceispa.com/about/ispa-foundation.

5 Reasons Why You MUST Attend this Year’s ISPA Conference

Okay folks, the International Spa Association’s annual conference is less than a week away! For nearly a quarter-decade, the ISPA Conference has been a highlight of my year. It’s not too late to register for the largest and most comprehensive gathering of spa professionals in the U.S.

Here are the top 5 Reasons why you should drop everything and hoof it to Vegas next week:

One: The ISPA Community

In the past years, ISPA seems to have come together as a community like never before. The ISPA staff and board of directors go out of their way to nurture relationships. ISPA’s commitment to giving back—both to the spa community and globally—is inspiring. This commitment is apparent in choice of keynotes, message and donations to charitable causes. It is also apparent in the small things...a kind word, a smile, a hug. 

The greater ISPA Community is making a difference in thousands of lives. After being introduced to charity:water at the ISPA General Session, resource partners Hydropeptide and WTS International launched formal donation programs. Éminence Kids Foundation donates organic fruits, vegetables and foods to sick children around the world. ResortSuite  partnered with the FEED Project to create the 2014 ISPA Conference bag--providing more than 17,000 meals to hungry children. Mind in Motion’s UNBREAKABLE project donates STRENGTH blankets to hospitals and lodging facilities housing cancer patients and their families. Our spa community is amazing!

Two: The Keynotes

Every year, the keynotes at ISPA’s General Sessions delight and inspire. This year, the conference theme is INNOVATE, and the three keynotes represent the theme in unique ways—a rock star sandwiched between two speakers whose Ted talks practically "broke" the Internet.

Professor Brené Brown will open the conference. Brené’s 2010 TEDx Houston talk, The Power of Vulnerability, is one of the top ten most viewed TED talks in the world, with over 28 million viewers. Brené’s message of boundaries being essential for compassion is especially important for our industry (which tends to be dominated by “over-givers.”)

On Wednesday, we will be treated to a talk and assuredly a mini-concert by John Ondrasik, AKA Five for Fighting. In addition to his hits “Superman” and “100 Years,” Ondrasik created the first video charity website in 2007, and has compiled five albums to give away to U.S. troops. (There’s that charity theme again!)

Best-selling author and Internet sensation Simon Sinek will close the General session, sharing his views on leadership and how people operate at their natural best. His TED talk, Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, is the third most viewed TED talk ever.

Three: The Show Floor

The Expo floor is the heart of the conference. At any given moment, you will see a flurry of activity, from facials to massages, to manicures and brow shaping. Innovation will be out in force this year. In addition to staples like skin care and massage tables, look for multi-use spa furniture, halotherapy, jewelry and apparel to encourage mindfulness--the future of wellness. Enjoy!

Four: The Personal Branding Center Sponsored by Hutchinson Consulting

For the past couple of years, ISPA has been offering a free head shot station available throughout the conference. This year, the spa industry's leading executive recruiter, Hutchinson Consulting, is sponsoring a Personal Branding Center at the back of the show floor. Now you will be able to get your head shot while taking advantage of a number of resources to help you find your dream job or build your personal brand. 

Meet privately with a Hutchinson executive recruiter, sign up for TSA Pre Check, design a memorable resume and optimize your social media channels. (I'll be offering social media consultations Tuesday and Wednesday from 2-4.)

Five: The Fun!

ISPA’s social events are a rockin’ good time. From the opening cocktail party on the trade show floor, to the myriad of vendor-sponsored parties on Wednesday night, there is no shortage of fun. The final night’s blowout is a chance to really let your hair down. Spa people love to dance!

Already signed up for #ISPA2016? Make sure you download the App to manage your schedule, book vendor appointments and much more!

See you next week in Vegas!




Two Bunch Palms – North America’s First Sustainable Wellness Resort

Two Bunch Palms – North America’s First Sustainable Wellness Resort

I recently had the pleasure of visiting Two Bunch Palms in Desert Hot Springs, California. The resort has undergone a renaissance in recent years, in large part due to former CEO Kevin Kelly and Rianna Riego, Executive Director of Wellness, Brand & Communication. Kelly, who coined the term “sustainable wellness,” led the charge for Two Bunch Palms to become a leader in sustainability within the wellness-resort industry.

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