I was reading an article about the economy recently and it stated that, nationwide, community volunteerism is reaching a new level.
When you think about it, this does make sense. Unemployment has soared to an all-time high—7.6%, or 11.6 million people—according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many of these professionals want to keep busy, and feel that they are doing some good with their unexpected downtime.
Community volunteerism increased as much as 16% in January. Laid-off workers are finding that by volunteering within their community, they can network with other business professionals, and it also allows them to network within many different facets of business, potentially opening doors to future job opportunities. In a recent article in The New York Times, reporter Kelley Holland notes that, “More than two million people lost jobs in 2008, and many talented and experienced managers have time on their hands.”
Keep in mind that losing your job is not a requirement to network, volunteer or be active within your community. Some of the personal benefits of networking can include gaining valuable experience, broadening your social network and demonstrating leadership skills that can be showcased to future employers. It has even been suggested that certain health benefits, such as higher self-esteem and an improved sense of well-being, can result from volunteering.
What spas are doing
Actively participating in your community also plays an important role for your spa. It can provide a cost-efficient method of advertising, help get the spa name out in your area, and show that spa team members are a caring and active part of the community. Plus, it allows you to network.
Rikki Kusy is founder and president of the Arizona Aesthetics Association in Paradise Valley, Arizona, a nonprofit association that is open to everyone in the esthetic industry. “We meet monthly to network, enjoy a mini trade show with three vendors and get the latest updates from industry professionals,” she says. “Our speakers include cosmetic surgeons, dermatologists and marketing professionals for the product-neutral portion of the meeting. Representatives for products lines, laser equipment and other treatment room supplies make up the product knowledge portion. This is a great way for members to stay on top of the ever-changing marketplace, come together as a professional community, problem-solve and have a great time.”
Abby Hewes, owner of Skincare by Abby in San Diego, regularly visits Web sites and Internet news groups. “I subscribe to spabizboard.com to keep up with trends and network. I visit spas to see what is being offered. and attend webinars and seminars to learn. The key is to never stop learning and never stop asking questions.”
What Face & Body is doing
You will find a variety of networking opportunities that are new this year at the Face & Body Spa & Healthy Aging Conference and Expo in San Jose, California, July 11–13, 2009, including a tour of several local spas, a networking lunch, and to tantalize your taste buds, a tour and tastings at two local wineries. This is all in addition to the networking opportunities made available by attending the Advanced Education Conference Program. More information on the conference and expo will be detailed in future issues of Skin Inc. magazine, and up-to-the-minute programming is available online at www.FaceandBody.com.
Whether you choose to network as an individual or as a team throughout your community, keep your spa networking strong as well by attending trade events. It has been said that face-to-face interaction is crucial during a slow economy, so be sure to take advantage of everything this industry has to offer.