The General session opened with an enchanting performance from spoken word artist Pacia Elaine, before ISPA chairman, Garrett Mersberger took the stage to welcome the 2000+ attendees and present the ISPA 2018 Visionary Award posthumously to Lori Hutchinson of Hutchinson Consulting who connected people and touched lives across the spa industry for decades before passing in 2016.
Shawn Achor spoke passionately about happiness as a choice. We all have a genetic predisposition to a certain level of happiness and there are ways we can maximize this. Different to pleasure, happiness is the joy we feel when moving towards our potential. You can experience happiness even when life is not pleasurable. Starting a company or running a marathon, for example, can be painful and un-pleasurable experiences, but can result in immense happiness. A brief, fun experiment proved how easy it is to influence others by smiling. Not only do smiles spread, but stress, nervousness and negativity also spread just as easily. What is interesting in terms of human connection is that with a friend next to us, the brain actually perceives challenges as easier to overcome.
Eric Stephenson kicked off the general session with some songs to get everyone up and dancing before Colin Mcllheney took the stage to present the latest US spa industry statistics. All of the big 5 metrics show a healthy increase and next year will mark 20 years of spa industry research data presented annually at ISPA.