Category Archives: 2012 Summit

Massage and spa careers was a hot topic at pre-Summit Salons

Posted on Saturday, October 5th, 2013, by lisastarr | Leave a Comment
Lisa Starr and other delegates participating in CG Funk's "Your Assets Wear Shoes! Raising Awareness of Massage and Spa Careers" Acquaintance Salon gathering.

Lisa Starr and other delegates participating in CG Funk’s “Your Assets Wear Shoes! Raising Awareness of Massage and Spa Careers” Acquaintance Salon gathering.

Lisa Starr, Senior Consultant, reports from the 2013 GSWS that raising awareness of massage and spa careers was a hot topic at pre-Summit Salans, noting that “… as the global spa and wellness industry grows, shortages of qualified therapists threaten the industry’s development, an issue revealed in last years’ GSWS-commissioned report. Complicating things, the reasons for the shortages differ by region and country. Causes range from misguided perceptions about the viability of spa therapy as a career to salary challenges to licensing issues.


GSWS Weekender 32: What Did Steve Jobs Learn in India?

Posted on Saturday, October 20th, 2012, by Alexandra Plessier | 2 Comments

What Did Steve Jobs Learn in India?

A Google search for him yields 608,000,000 results… His more than 600-page biography was a 2011 New York Times best seller… He is known around the world as a “master of innovation“…

Of course, we’re referring to Steve Jobs.

He’s made a regular appearance in our Weekender newsletters over the past few months. But one story in particular has struck a chord with us as we move into the planning of the 2013 Summit in India. One might say it’s a perfect bridge from innovation to India.

The excerpt below is from Part 1 of a 60 Minutes interview with Walter Isaacson, the author of the best-selling Steve Jobs biography and the CEO of the Aspen Institute (where we held our 2012 Summit this past June).

Voiceover: Jobs took a leave from Atari and spent seven months wandering across India looking for spiritual enlightenment. And it turned out not to be a waste of time.

Isaacson: And when he comes back he says, “The main thing I’ve learned is intuition, that the people in India are not just pure rational thinkers, that the great spiritual ones also have an intuition. Likewise, the simplicities of Zen Buddhism really informed his design sense—that notion that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

Intuition. Simplicity. What do they mean exactly? Jobs learned to follow “intuition” instead of “intellect,” learning that success in business isn’t always the result of logic and rationale, that one has got to trust their gut. And simplicity? We’ve all heard the saying “less is more.” The smooth, sleek design of the suite of Apple products that we know (and love) certainly speaks that simple truth.

So, with these two concepts in tow, Jobs came back from India, borrowed a couple thousand dollars from his parents and started Apple in his garage.
Intuition and simplicity could very well be the secret ingredients for innovation. It seems that the GSWS has much to learn from the extraordinary culture of India as it begins its 2013 Summit journey. And with that, we embark on new discoveries. But this isn’t goodbye to innovation. Don’t worry; we’re bringing that along with us.

Happy weekend,
The GSWS Team

GSWS Weekender 31: Innovation’s Finer Moments

Posted on Saturday, October 13th, 2012, by Alexandra Plessier | 1 Comment

Well, Peter Rummell’s “get-rid-of-the-word-spa” idea certainly created some sparks!

Absurd or logical, right or wrong, genius or insanity…whichever way you look at it, this IDEA got us talking. And it’s IDEAS that lead to discussion, which then leads to…(you know where I’m going with this)…innovation.

The tagline of the GSWS is “Joining Together. Shaping the Future,” and it was our hope that this Weekender series would do just that: gather together an industry community and give it a place to share its voice and, ultimately, shape the future of the global spa and wellness industry.

For almost 12 months, we’ve dug into the topic of “Innovation through Imagination,” and, before gearing up for the switch to the 2013 GSWS theme (we are keeping it a surprise), we thought we might revisit a few of those Weekender topics that got our blood pumping.

The coolest part is that the conversations are still going—all you need to do is put your two cents into the comment field and press submit. Here’s a few to ponder:


In what ways do you agree or disagree with Dr. Andrew Weil’s points of view? This leading authority on preventative medicine made some insightful points about the U.S. healthcare system, prevention, happiness and contentment. Check it out.

Innovation alert: spas and the science of happiness. There’s still more to say on the powers of positive psychology in spas.
Are you practicing?


Do you agree that the spa and wellness industry has seen very little innovation? Let’s just say the consensus was a resounding YES. Dare to disagree?


Which spa or wellness companies do you feel are the most innovative? Discover which companies made the short list. Have another to add?


Do you have a favorite TED talk? It’s one of the most acclaimed events out there today. We’ve heard them, watched them and been inspired by them. Who is number-one in your book?


Happy Weekend,
The GSWS Team

GSWS Weekender 30: Do you think our industry should get rid of the word “spa”?

Posted on Saturday, October 6th, 2012, by Dulcy Gregory | 56 Comments

Would you get rid of the word “spa”?

Yes, you heard us right. Think about it. Getting rid of the word spa. Good idea? Bad idea?

This simple yet disruptive idea came straight from the mouth of 2012 Global Spa & Wellness Summit (GSWS) keynote speaker, Peter Rummell, former head of Disney Imagineering.

Peter was part of a Tuesday afternoon panel, along with GSWS board member, Philippe Bourguignon, and fellow keynote speaker, John Kao, titled “Imagining the Healthy Town of the  Future.” And the conversation went a bit like this (taken directly from the session transcription)

MR. RUMMELL: If I were the king of your world, the first thing I would do would be get rid of the word “spa.”

I had this conversation with some people who were more worldly and smarter than I am yesterday, and they reminded me that my reaction was an American reaction and that may well be true, but the word “spa,” at least here in the United States, has a connotation to it which is just deadly, compared to the openness and the broader thinking that I have heard in these rooms for the last two days. So I think there is some fundamental redefinition that needs to happen, and it is as simple as branding.

FEMALE VOICE: What is the deadly definition, in your opinion?

MR. RUMMELL: The deadly definition of, “spa”? Is that it is for rich, white women. Well, you asked me.

Well, there you have it. And while Rummell may be right in saying that the reaction is that of an American, it is a reaction nonetheless.

One of the things that didn’t go on the record, which we learned later, was that some of the 2013 GSWS keynote speakers—Peter Rummell, Jose Maria (former president of Costa Rica) and innovation expert John Kao—all agreed that, before attending the Summit, they had no idea the spa and wellness industry was truly this important and significant.

Serving up a good ol’ dose of controversy might be exactly what we need to get innovative and move our industry forward. And that first step might be to take a good hard look at S-P-A.

So, do you think our industry should get rid of the word “spa”? Let us know. And feel free to elaborate, expand or go off on a tangent. Get controversial if you will. You’ve gotta admit, it’s kinda fun.

Happy Weekend,
The GSWS Team

GSWS Weekender 29: Trick or Treat: It’s a Virtual Cadaver!

Posted on Monday, October 1st, 2012, by Alexandra Plessier | Leave a Comment

Spa education can be more than skin deep.

Or so we learned at the 2012 Global Spa & Wellness Summit in Aspen, Colorado. In between sessions, delegates could take a peek at one of the event’s innovative exhibits, the BioDigital 3D Human (what we affectionately refer to as the Virtual Cadaver). This tool was originally designed for medical school students; while real cadavers are expensive and have limitations, this application allows you to layer on various systems, do actual dissections and start at square one with the click of a button.

Picture this: Start with a skeleton…

Add the muscular system…

You do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around
(to take a closer look at the right trapezius)…

And that’s what it’s all about!

But, seriously, this 3D Human might be one of the most resourceful industry tools out there. Imagine exploring over 3,000 anatomically accurate models of the human body, performing cross sections and dissections, while learning how various conditions, injuries and diseases affect the human body (many of which can be treated with spa and wellness therapies). And while you can find the evidence on… with the BioDigital 3D Human, you can visualize the benefits.

And what’s the best part about it? It’s free! You can sign in with Facebook or Google for instant access. For $6 a month you can upgrade to a premium version and BioDigital also provides custom solutions for the platform.

So what are you waiting for? Put this guy to work! It’s totally innovative, whichever way you slice and dice it.

How do you see the BioDigital 3D Human benefiting you and your business?
Let us know.

Happy Weekend,
The GSWS Team

GSWS Weekender 28: What innovative ideas have you seen that promote your country’s spa and wellness industry?

Posted on Monday, September 24th, 2012, by Alexandra Plessier | Leave a Comment

Media loves bad news, and Mexico happens to have been a media favorite in the past few years due to the nation’s recent challenges with violence, drugs and conflict. Thankfully, this is now beginning to change, and the future looks very promising for the people (and spas) of the beautiful country of Mexico.

In stark contrast to the negative images the media has been painting was a very positive experience—thanks to three outstanding presenters from Mexico—at this year’s Global Spa & Wellness Summit. We had a chance to feel the genuineness, creativity and innovative spirit of Mexico, And we were all wowed by the generosity of this delegation, as they gifted every single delegate with a very expensive coffee table book called “Harmony + Serenity + Balance: Spectacular Spas of Mexico.”

Presenters included Gina Diez Barroso de Franklin of Grupo Diarq (a company with nine subsidiaries and 500 employees); Pedro Aspe Armella, former Secretary of Finance for Mexico; and Diana Mestre of Mestre & Mestre Consulting (she has been the inspiration behind many of Mexico’s most famous spas). Their views on this nation were very uplifting, and they highlighted the country’s spirit of innovation and the many positive changes, like the recovering unemployment rate, the international reserves at high levels and a positive demographic transition.

Bottom line, Mexico is not just about the challenges it has been facing lately: There is so much innovation and creativity coming out of this country, and a 40-minute presentation on a Tuesday afternoon in Aspen wasn’t nearly enough time to give the country justice. Gina, Pedro and Diana provided videos, images and economic pie charts that you will certainly enjoy perusing.

To quote Gina’s video: “At the end of the day, Mexico is a country that has all the RESOURCES to be an innovative country.” And it truly does! Gina (who assembled that beautiful spa and wellness book showcasing the country’s heritage, history and culture, in an attempt to bring awareness to the need for “rescuing indigenous traditions” of Mexico) not only spoke eloquently about innovation—she also perfectly embodied it, with her creative idea to come to the GSWS with such a memorable gift for everyone.

What innovative ideas have you seen that promote your country’s spa and wellness industry?

Wishing you an inspiring weekend,
The GSWS Team