The Magazine for spa and wellness in Mexico, the Caribbean and Latin America​

American Spa Women in Wellness – Live Report by Sara Jones

Julie Keller opened the morning with a passionate speech about the inception of the Women in Wellness event and creating a forum for discussion about disparity in salaries and leadership positions across our industry. #AmericanSpaWIW

The theme of the day ‘Empowered Women, empower the world’ is displayed across the fitted t-shirt uniform of all the staff at the event, one of which will be given to each attendee in the gift bag. The bag supports women in India escaping the sex trade and features a handle of braided saris.

Julie talked about a fair future for her children to grow up in where #MeToo is a distant memory and equality is expected.

Sothys Skincare presented the first speaker, noting that as a family owned brand Sothys feels strongly about supporting and encouraging their own and other female leaders. Presenting success stories of female leaders within their network, Sothys celebrates their partners and shows how they support these relationships. Sothys also announced a new partnership with Caroline Garcia, the French tennis player currently ranked #7 in the world.

Lesley Jane Seymour – Why You Need a Reinvention Idea in Your Back Pocket
As the mother of two grown-up children and former editor of several magazines; including Marie Claire and More. Lesley’s newest ‘baby’ is The Covey Club, a reinvention that came about after More magazine was closed. Directed towards women of 40+ More had a readership of 1.5 million but not enough advertisers to support it. Lesley adopted the mantra – “Aging is not a disease, it is not something you can outrun or outsmart, it happens to everyone, and it will happen to you.”

While taking evening classes to complete her master’s in Environmental Studies, Lesley reignited her passion for science and learning. This became an outlet for growing frustration with work and the constricting rules she was forced to abide by.

When More closed Lesley’s network mourned the loss of the magazine and she was encouraged to strike out on her own and even offered seed money for a new venture.
Covey Club is designed to cater to the market of women aged 40+ who refuse to be ignored despite being sidelined by advertisers. Every day presents challenges and without a team to support her, Lesley relishes being her own boss and working from home, making the decisions for herself and with the freedom to make mistakes and take on new projects. Still terrified of failure, Lesley doesn’t care as she is in it for the reinvention journey!

1. Forget the naysayers
2. You must always have a reinvention idea in your back pocket
3. Have at least a year’s worth of savings somewhere
4. Gather a personal board of directors
5. Take a course
6. Dream big
7. If they can do it, and she can do it, each one of you in this room can do it
8. Join Covey Club

Crane & Lion presents the breakout session, an athleisure yoga and active lifestyle brand named after the two yoga poses, the crane and the lion, representing strength, stamina and femininity, from street to studio.

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley – 10 steps to Financial Wellness

As a CFO Ashley realized she knew nothing about her own money. She thought, as a finance major and investment banker, “If I don’t know, who does?”

Money is a tool for having what we truly want in life, we can live now and save for the future. Personal finance is personal.

1. Get Conscious – keep a money journal for a month
• Most of us have no idea where our money is going
• Make it easy on yourself, have a journal or app
• It doesn’t have to be perfect
• The more you don’t want to do this, the more you have to gain

2. Look at the big picture
• List our daily, weekly, monthly, annual and one-time expenses
• What do they look like annually

3. Maximize your Joy Per Dollar
• List 3 things that make you happy – how much do they cost

Find your Opportunity cost
• Test some regular expenses
• What are the costs vs. the opportunities they could bring
• There is no right or wrong answer

4. Pay yourself first
• Reframe how you look at saving – Parkinson’s Law (things take as much space as we give them)
• The average American has $400 saved at any age
• Separate and automate – have a separate online savings account
• The same goes for investing!

5. Get what you want
• The whole point of having money is to have and experience what we want
• Pretty much every goal is financial in one way or another
• The farther we advance we plan, the less pain we’ll feel per paycheck
• The money will be there when we need it

6. Use the golden rule
• Budgets don’t work
• We can only spend each dollar once
• This equation might not look pretty at first, that’s okay.

Total inflows – Savings goals = Total available for your lifestyle

7. Make your money grow
• Have your money start working for you
• We learn by doing
• It’s easy to get stuck in analysisparalysis
• With so much info, it’s better to start doing and learn along the way

8. Get smart with credit
• For US credit reports – find yours and check it for errors

9. Have a money party
• Schedule a bi-weekly/monthly time to deal with finances
• Take care of non-urgent financial to-dos
• Make it fun and reward yourself
• Keep a running agenda and add to it as things come up

10. Commit to one action
• Take one step in your money journey
• When will you complete it by?
• Who will hold you accountable?

Alicia Grande of GrandeCosmetics presented last morning breakout session, sharing the story of founding her business ten years ago and the passion and energy it took to achieve the success they now enjoy. Speaking about the support she received from the industry and how her customers became ambassadors of the brand, Alicia enjoys giving back to the industry with advertising and sponsorship.

Jen Groover – Building a Brand with Impact and Influence

With an analogy of Mr. Myagi from karate kid, Jen explains that skills need to be so deeply ingrained they feel natural and automatic. Opening with a story of her upbringing and how coming from an abusive home, she vowed never to let anyone control her finances or her happiness. Fresh out of college, she stated a step aerobics class charging $3 per person and despite the fear that no-one would come, the room was packed and it was a success.

With a degree in education and psychology she soon realized teaching was not for her, she became a national level fitness competitor with Reebok. Reebok started influencer marketing before anyone else, as they shared their stories with fans and audiences. People weren’t buying the step, they were buying the energy and emotion of the person representing the brand.

Out of frustration with her ‘bucket-like’ handbag, she created a functional handbag. With a goal of reaching $1 million in sales, Jen’s company reached this just two weeks before the end of the first year of business, they reached $10 million in sales in year two.

Raise your Emotional intelligence for Emotional Connections
• Self-Awareness
• Vulnerability
• Transparency
• Empathy
• Passion

What is your brand?
You can’t know your brand until you know yourself!
What is your legacy? What impact do you want to make in this world?

Your Energy Introduces You!

How about training your staff in emotional intelligence? Customer service is no longer an issue and sales can skyrocket.

Know your beliefs, have non-negotiable goals and learn the art of ‘walking away’. Listen to intuition and learn not to compromise and what’s in alignment with the values of your brand.

Interactive Lunch Tables

During the break for lunch, I hosted a table for the GWI Women in Leadership while Joanne Berry of Wellness Education Hub hosted a table on starting a Lean in Circle. Learn more here:https://www.globalwellnessinstitute.org/women-in-leadership-initiative#GWILeanIn #WomenInLeadership


Jane Iredale Makeup presented the afternoon keynote speaker. It all began with a single product – the loose powder and the tagline ‘The Skincare Makeup’. Jane started as a casting director in the New York film and theatre industry. Makeup was adversely affecting skin and Jane created the amazing base and started the company from her home in upstate New York. Feeling good about how we look boosts the immune system, makeup is a powerful tool that can enhance confidence.

Sallie Krawcheck – What Smart Companies Will Do For Women… and What We Should Do For Ourselves

When asked what are gives you confidence about reaching life goals, the most frequent responses were all about money and savings. Living longer is not a great thing if you don’t have enough money. There are money gaps – women make less than men, women have higher student loan debt and women invest less.

Women are in fact better at math, better when they do invest and are NOT risk averse. However, women are more risk aware, we ask more questions and calculate pitfalls.

To prevent investment from being risky, buy into a diversified stock portfolio. Don’t worry about knowing everything before you start, men don’t. Don’t wait until you have more money to invest, a dollar invested today will benefit from compound interest.

If we wait to fix the gender wage gap, we’re missing an opportunity to also fix the gender investment gap.

From Myths to Facts:

90% of women manage their money on their own
Women retire with approx. two-thirds of the money that men do
Women live 6-8 years longer than men, 80% die single
Women’s salaries peak a decade and a half earlier than men’s
A career break costs women approx. $1.7 million
Financial advisors are 86% male, 60 years old and white
2% of men leave their financial advisor after spousal death 80% of women do
The gender investment gap costs women more than $1 million

The lesson is to talk about money more openly amongst friends, family, colleagues etc. Include all females in the conversation; younger females need more freedom to discuss the topic.

Money is power, independence and freedom; the ability to speak from a position of strength is a powerful thing.

Biologique Recherche presented the afternoon breakout session. Founded by a husband and wife team in France it’s now in the hands of the second generation of the family. With over 200 products for the face, body and scalp, BR is less focused on fragrance and more focused on active ingredients and maintaining quality. BR recently partnered with Wellness for Cancer.

Lauren Clifford Knudsen –How to Sell Your Brand – and Yourself – Through Social Media Authentically.

Social Media is a requirement of marketing in this day and age. Focus on what your audience responds well to.

With an estimated 2.34 billion social media users around the world, it’s no wonder social media is influencing travel decisions.

82% of consumers trust a company more if they are involved with social media – Forbes

50% of travel companies have said that direct bookings have been generated from social media – Tnooz

52% of travelers were so influenced by social media that they changed their original travel plans – Sprout Social

What results can social media drive?

Clicks on your website
Direct bookings
Increases in followers/engagement
Increased reservations
Increased phone calls/emails

Reusable professional photography
Brand awareness
Marketing materials
Competitive brand positioning
Meetings and conference leads
Weddings and event bookings

Reaching a luxury market

Dior gained 1.7 million followers on Instagram in under 3 months

Tesla dominates Ferrari on Facebook with fewer posts and a smaller audience but over 68% of share of voice. Tesla uses videos to share news and information on social media

When you are feeling like your best self, share that on social media.

Who are you now?
Who is your current customer?
What’s your personality?
What 5 words describe you?

What brands inspire you?
Who are the competition and how are you different?
What influencers do you enjoy following and why?

Who do you want to be?
Brand colors
Brand voice

Go time!
Be intentional, tell your story!
Implement tools to help.
Set realistic goals and be intuitive and attentive.

Babor presented the final keynote speaker and asked the audience, who has looked in the mirror recently and criticized themselves? Most of us raised our hands, we were then asked, who here has looked in the mirror and complimented themselves? Luckily, many of us raised our hands again. Babor recently partnered with the All Woman Project, bringing together all shapes, sizes, ages and ethnicities of women. #askformore

Emme, Model, TV personality, Designer, Author and Woman’s Advocate
The Powerful Self: Turning the Tables on Self-doubt and Low Self Esteem

Emme invites us to think about the energy around us, the stress of everyday life. If we go within and become vulnerable we can change our surroundings.

Our Mothers are our first goddesses and influencers. Aware of her mother’s body shaming and criticism it shaped her early experience. Emme found rowing and athleticism and accidentally found herself modeling. When experiencing insults as photographers refused to work with plus size models, she almost left the industry. Lucky she persevered and learned some great lessons along the way, here are some she shared with us:

1. Appreciate all that your body can do!
Celebrate it, running, hugging, loving, dancing…

2. Keep a top 10 list of things you like about yourself:
Kindness, compassion, good listener, good sense of humor…

3. Remind yourself that beauty is not simply skin deep

4. Look at yourself as a whole person

5. Surround yourself with positive people

6. Shut down those voices in your head

7. Become a critical viewer of social media

8. Do something nice for yourself

9. Help others

Without our bodies, we have nothing!

It’s a great time to be alive for women!

The day ended with a networking cocktail event sponsored by Satin Smooth and a photo booth sponsored by Circadia. Although the weather was not on our side and many friends had to leave early to avoid the storm, those that stayed all agreed what a powerful and uplifting day it had been. Our strong community of women is even stronger when we come together!

Sara Jones
Author: Sara Jones