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ISPA 2022 conference highlights

Leon Legothetis received the Alex Szekely Humanitarian award and commenced his speech with a quote from John Steinbeck, “I wonder how many people I have looked at in all my life and never seen.” Leon proposed that many people are constantly wearing the psychological mask of “I’m fine…” when really they are not fine at all.

How far would we get relying solely on the kindness of others? At our core, we are all the same. Yes, bad things happen. But good things happen too, yet the news always focuses on the bad. Let’s magnify the good instead.

Leon traveled all around the world, without money, relying solely on the kindness of strangers. A homeless man in Pittsburgh, with almost nothing, offered to share his food and the camp where he slept. How much love and kindness can we show each other? Kindness is simply helping someone feel less alone. If you can give someone in your life love and kindness for five days, you will see their relationship with you and their relationship with themselves change. How many times do we treat ourselves in a way that we would never accept from others?

We all get to choose; let’s live with empathy. Be a hero for someone today!


Day two

Frank Pitsikalis opened the general session of day two with a special birthday message to Deborah Szekely, who turns 100 years old today. Deborah, one of the founders of ISPA sent us a message, exclaiming that she feels more like 60 than 100, but sees her age in the trees she planted in the 1940s, she joked that at least she isn’t as big as those trees and promised to join the ISPA celebration next year when she turns 101.

Kerstin Florian received the ISPA visionary award. Colin McIlheney, having dedicated decades to the industry, delivered the annual statistics for the spa industry in the United States. The figures this year show an impressive rebound in revenue and spa visits.

Staffing continues to be one of the biggest challenges for the industry, however, the pandemic has highlighted the importance of wellness for all, with consumers seeking wellness solutions in a variety of ways.

Jade Simmons, a world-renowned concert pianist and transformational speaker, took the stage and opened with a comment that breakthroughs and breakdowns look very much the same, before the breakthroughs come the ‘breaks’.

Uniqueness matters more than many other aspects of what you may have to offer. When you give what you were always meant to give, you do not feel exhausted, but spent, this is when you have found your purpose. When she thought her purpose was to play the piano she chastised herself over mistakes, when she realized her true purpose was to engage with and uplift audiences, she focused on that instead of mistakes, while still striving for excellence.

Her career trajectory changed when she started telling stories during her performances and remixing the classics with her own beats and rhythms. In the wellness industry, are we spending so much energy catering to the clients we already have that we are neglecting the clients that have not yet found us?

Change is inevitable and it must be embraced.

Jade finishes by inviting all of us to bring each and every part of ourselves to the table, every time!


Day one

An energetic welcome from ISPA chair Patrick Huey kicked off the momentous event, the first ‘in-person’ event since 2019. Having seen the industry transformed by the pandemic, we remembered those no longer with us and celebrated the incredible creativity and unity we have experienced. “We have never been more together as an industry” says Huey, “give yourselves a round of applause for all you have accomplished over the last two years.”

Dan Heath took us on a visual tour of a hotel he recently stayed in, ‘The Magic Castle’. This aggressively mediocre hotel is rated number 2 in the whole city of Los Angeles… this unremarkable motel has a popsicle hotline, magicians in the lobby, and an array of free snacks, a complimentary laundry service creating memorable experiences. Customers are willing to forgive a lot if you deliver moments of magic. How do we build more peaks?

The 4 elements of ‘peak moments’:

Dan outlined the John Deere ‘first day at work’ story to show how the company engages with each new employee to create peak experiences throughout the first day, week and month of their new position.

Responsiveness is what impacts our relationships; understanding, validation, and caring create responsiveness via awareness and tailoring. People feel noticed and valued.


By Sara Jones

Author: Fabiola

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