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

ISPA 2019 Summary

Susan Cain, ISPA’s keynote speaker on day one, posed the question; “Is the ideal spa owner bold, alpha and gregarious? What about the ideal manager? The ideal healer? Most of the messages that are received by children are that extroversion is the ‘right’ way to be and act. Introversion and extroversion govern who we are, how we act and how we are wired.

Are you an introvert, extrovert or ambivert? We all have different ways of learning and socializing. Do you feel energized after two hours at a party or are you starting to feel drained? A work environment that is noisy is better for extroverts, while introverts do better in the quiet – can we create spaces in spas to cater to both types of workers and guests?


Jeremy McCarthy received the ISPA Visionary Award and reflected back on his time in the industry over 30 years, at the start of which he was told by a mentor “there’s no career in the spa industry!”


Markus Buckingham spoke about how can we get the best out of our work? The idiosyncratic rater effect explains that performance reviews consistently reflect the reviewer, not the employee receiving the review rating. Feedback is not what people need or want at work, it doesn’t help and nobody likes it!

Excellence is what we should be striving for, and excellent people are not well-rounded! A great example is the footballer, Lionel Messi, who is dominantly left-footed. He was consistently told to work on his right foot until he almost quit – they changed his training routine and he was told “wherever you are on the field, be dangerous; and “work on your left foot” – to play to his strength.

Don’t ‘do what you love’, instead ‘find love in what you do’. Take your regular job and steer it towards what you enjoy doing more. Just 20% percent of your time skewed to doing what you love, reduces burnout risk and improves resilience, generosity, and fulfillment.


The ISPA Innovate winners were welcomed to the stage to receive their awards presented by Garret Mersberger


Deborah Szekeley, at 97 years old, talked about the 80-year-old trees she planted on her arrival at Rancho La Puerta in 1940. Living proof of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, Deborah presented the 2019 Alex Szekely Humanitarian Award to Mick Ebeling for his organization, Not Impossible – change the world through technology and story. With the aim of ‘help one, help many’. Solving a problem for one person and using their story inspires more action and creates an impact.


2019 ISPA Conference & Expo partnered with The Shop Forward. The attendees received a Resort Suite bag from The Shop Forward, which has raised over $3 million dollars for ESPWA to empower the people of Haiti, alleviate poverty, build relationships and encourage hope. The Shop Forward’s goal is that through these bags, we can spread ‘ESPWA’ (meaning HOPE in Creole).


By Sara Jones, Editor

Author: Fabiola