I knew at a young age that I wanted to be in a career to help others with their skin care. When I was 13, I got my first facial. I looked at my mom and said, “this is what I want to do.” After high school, I got my license to practice skin care. And after college, I went into sales for Aveda, which offered great exposure to the spa and skin care industry.
I was living in Hawaii, which is not a bad place to work! It was the early 90s, and larger resorts were just starting to open big spas as part of their resort services. At the time, I remember thinking “this is brilliant!” Being involved from the ground up, I got a chance to witness the opportunities – and the challenges – this natural partnership generates. I was learning so many important skills: how to sell, how to train people, how to manage products.
Six years later, my husband and I decided to open our own day spa. I call that my “non-profit experience.” But in spite of the financial challenges, it was an amazing experience. I became intimately familiar with all of the details it takes to effectively run a spa.
Although Hawaii was a beautiful and exciting place, it was expensive and not the ideal environment to raise kids in. We realized it was time for a move. We packed up our belongings, and with our two small children, relocated to Central Oregon. At the time, Sage Springs Spa was just opening at Sunriver Resort. They hired me as their manager and I spent the next nine years overseeing all of their spa operations. I learned so much and made terrific connections.
Then 2008 came along, and the spa suffered cutbacks along with the rest of the country. In 2010, I lost my job. I can still remember the pain and shock. But I knew something else would come through. I re-connected with old friends and colleagues and I stayed focused. Three months later, Brasada Ranch Resort reached out and hired me to oversee the opening and build-out of their new spa. Who’d have thought this opportunity would show up? Brasada Ranch turned out to be a wonderful step forward in the growth of my career and I had the chance to work with some smart and interesting people.
Given all of these professional and life experiences, I’m excited to coach and counsel others who are considering a career in the day spa industry. I launched The Spa Talk to reach out to others and to share the information I’ve gathered over the years. Creating my website with Brand Genie helped me express what I want to do and gave me a visual for where I’m headed. My website is like a modern-day resume. People appreciate the perspective I offer and the honesty I’m able to share. That’s what keeps me going!
My advice to anyone who’s searching for a new career is to do the thing that really interests you. Then, find someone who’s doing what you aspire to do. Follow them. Learn from them. And then see where that inspiration leads you in your professional journey. What I love about women is that we’re so open to mentoring and to being mentored. We always want to lend a helping hand. I truly believe that women like to feel they’re making a difference in the world.
For myself, I’m just trusting that the larger expression of what I’m supposed to do will present itself. I know I need to continue doing the things I love. I’m open to new twists in the path, as long as it’s within the spa industry. Making change is never easy and it doesn’t always feel good. The awkwardness is hard, but often that’s the door to exciting opportunities. I’m looking forward to the adventures of tomorrow.