Spa Industry Mentorship, Internship and Education Initiatives to Be Unveiled at 2014 Global Spa & Wellness Summit

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New Programs and Resources Designed to Promote – and Empower People In – Spa Careers to be Presented at Spa Education Forum

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Spa management is a very challenging career that requires a broad mix of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ skills, combined with a deep passion for people.

When the third annual Spa Education Forum meets at the Global Spa & Wellness Summit in Marrakesh, Morocco on September 10, a much-needed spa management mentorship program, and new internship and spa career resources, will be unveiled.

Explosive global spa industry growth has led to a serious gap in the number of spa managers and therapists needed, compared with the number of trained people that can fill them. So the 2014 Spa Education Forum, with its theme “Entice, Encourage and Elevate!” will focus on better promoting spa careers, driving more internships and providing one-on-one mentoring support for spa managers along their career path. And these mentorship, internship and spa career website initiatives to be announced are headed up by independent teams of industry professionals who have volunteered their time to help ensure a bigger, more competent workforce for the worldwide industry.

The 2014 Spa Education Forum will be facilitated by Anna Bjurstram, GSWS Board Member and Vice President of Spas & Wellness, Six Senses Hotels, Resorts & Spas, and Founder, Raison d’Être (Sweden); Lori Hutchinson, Founder, Hutchinson Consulting (U.S.); and Jean-Guy de Gabriac, CEO & Founder, TIP TOUCH International (Belgium).

Spa Manager Mentorship Program:
The new mentorship program is a Global Spa Management Education Initiative, a group of industry leaders that formed following the 2012 GSWS in Aspen. The 6-month mentorship program, piloting January-June 2015 and spanning ten countries, will initially pair 15 seasoned international spa director mentors with 15 mentees. And based on the pilot results, the program will be rolled out more widely to the day and hotel/resort spa segments in 2015/2016.    

“Spa management is a very challenging career that requires a broad mix of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ skills, combined with a deep passion for people,” said Jean-Guy de Gabriac, director of the Mentorship Global Initiative Committee. “So many junior spa managers with great potential feel frustrated and isolated, with no one to turn to for guidance, best practices and inspiration to help them master the challenges of daily operations faster and more smoothly. This new program is designed to give them one-on-one, expert nurturing.”

The mentorship initiative comes in response to the 2013 Spa Career Path Survey, where 94% of global spa managers reported that a good mentor is important to a successful spa career – with 89% claiming that mentors helped guide their own career path. The survey also found that mentoring was the #1 contributor to becoming a strong leader and understanding human resource issues.

Get Involved: Spa directors and managers with a minimum of two years of experience are invited to submit an application to become a mentor to Gabriac at jean-guy [at] tiptouch [dot] com or call +33 61 007 7777. Junior spa managers interested in becoming a mentee should send their information to the same email.

New Spa Career & Internship Resources:
The spa and wellness industries are in dire need of more people generally: the GSWS research report by SRI International, “Spa Management Workforce & Education: Addressing Market Gaps” (2012), found that 95% of industry leaders face challenges finding job candidates – and that while there are 130,000-180,000 spa managers/directors currently working globally, there are only 4,000 students worldwide currently enrolled in spa management-related degree programs. And research shows that employment for massage therapists, skincare specialists and manicurists/pedicurists will grow significantly faster than the average profession in the near future.*

To help promote spa careers globally, and match more people to internships, a group of industry leaders headed by Lori Hutchinson (Hutchinson Consulting) will present a work-in-progress global website, “Promoting Spa and Wellness Careers,” that will provide information on the benefits of a spa career; worldwide job and educational opportunities, including mentorships and internships; career success stories; and tools such as webinars, presentations and research reports.

In addition, a spa internship manual and Intern Spa Position Profile that can be tailored to fit individual spa/wellness companies’ needs will be released (created by Veljko Savic, Director of Spa & Retail Operations, Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota, Florida, in collaboration with an expert from And at the Spa Education Forum, information on the how and why of internships will help industry leaders offer more opportunities to students interested in exploring a spa/wellness career.

To learn more about the spa career promotion website and internship resources, contact Hutchinson at: lori [at] hutchinsonconsulting [dot] com or (+1) 707.935.9760.

“Attracting more people to spa careers – and supporting those newly on the spa manager/director path – is mission-critical for our industry. And while there is so much work to be done, the new mentorship program, spa career website and internship tools are very much steps in the right direction,” said Anna Bjurstram. “And we can thank industry leaders for spearheading these independent initiatives - they’re donating their time and passion to build a stronger industry workforce for our bright, collective future.”

About the Summit: The Global Spa & Wellness Summit (GSWS) is an international organization representing senior executives and leaders from over 40 countries, joined by a common interest in driving economic development and understanding of the spa and wellness industries. Delegates from diverse sectors, including hospitality, tourism, health and wellness, beauty, finance, medical, real estate, manufacturing and technology, attend the organization’s annual Summit, which is held in a different host country each year. After just seven years, the GSWS is now considered the leading global research and educational resource for the $2 trillion spa and wellness industry. It is known for introducing major industry initiatives such as, the world’s first online portal to the medical evidence behind common spa and wellness therapies. For more information, visit

*For instance, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that massage therapist employment will grow 23% - skincare specialist employment 40% - and manicurist/pedicurist 16% - from 2012-2022.

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