November 24, 2010

ISPA Celebrates 20 Years of Wellness

The International SPA Association wrapped up its 20th Annual Conference and Expo in Washington, DC after four exciting days of education, insightful keynote speakers and the latest products and services in the spa industry.

“Spa professionals came out to celebrate our 20th anniversary, reminiscing about ISPA’s past and setting the vision for the future of the industry,” said ISPA President Lynne McNees. “We far exceeded last year’s attendance and we’re looking forward to the next 20 years of providing valuable networking events, and cutting-edge education and resources.”

The Expo floor featured more than 200 booths, representing 163 companies, and more than 50 new products. The ISPA Foundation Live and Silent Auction raised more than $70,000 to benefit the educational initiatives of the Foundation.

Attendees from 41 countries chose from 25 Professional Development Sessions on topics including marketing, menu engineering, human resources, profitability, integrative medicine and more.

The daily General Sessions featured insightful guest speakers including Award-winning filmmaker Eric Saperston alongside multi-platinum recording artist Edwin McCain. Saperston captivated the audience with the help of McCain’s music by sharing how he set out to find meaning in his life through the advice of others. By interviewing top executives, ex-presidents and movie stars Saperston funded the documentary film The Journey by selling “sexy kind grilled cheese sandwiches made with love for $1.”

One of CNN’s Top 10 Heroes of 2009, Doc Hendley moved the audience with the encouragement that even average individuals can make a difference. Hendley, a former bartender, began the organization Wine to Water after being inspired by the 1.1 billion people who don’t have access to clean drinking water. He explained, “Water is no longer a passion for me, it is the burden of my life.”

Management guru Marcus Buckingham helped attendees realize their strengths. Buckingham explained that most people spend time trying to improve their weaknesses rather than focusing on what they do best, “Only 14 percent of your day is spent doing something you’re really good at.”

The closing session included a lively discussion from a Visionary Panel moderated by Peter Yesawich and made up of Precor’s Paul Byrne, HelmsBriscoe’s Roger Helms and Women for Hire expert Tory Johnson. The panel discussed the future of the industry by offering insights from their respective areas of expertise. Topics ranging from time poverty, managing different generations and comfort vs. convenience were all covered.

The Association honored the founder of Rancho La Puerta and The Golden Door, Deborah Szekely, with the ISPA Visionary Award; Doc Hendley, founder of Wine to Water, received the ISPA Alex Szekely Humanitarian Award; and John and Karen Korpi, two spa professionals who helped found the association, received the ISPA Dedicated Contributor Award.

Incoming ISPA Chairman Deborah Waldvogel, Director of Spa Development & Operations at Sedona Resorts, set the pace for next year by pledging to focus on continually evaluating ISPA’s resources and services, forming alliances to strengthen global outreach and influence the future of preventative health care. Waldvogel said, “One of the most important parts of our evolution over the next two decades will be continuing to strengthen the educational aspect of the spa experience.”

For more on the 2010 ISPA Conference and Expo, visit the Conference Web site.

The 2011 ISPA Conference and Expo will be held at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, November 7-10, 2011.

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