The Global Mentorship Pilot Program, the global spa and wellness industry’s first mentorship initiative, was launched in January 2015. It is spearheaded by a team of spa and wellness experts from around the world and pairs seasoned spa directors with spa managers in the spring of their careers looking for guidance and inspiration.
The project is led by Jean-Guy de Gabriac, CEO of Tip Touch international spa training and consultancy, and Deborah Smith, Principal of Smith Club & Spa Specialists, a United States-based wellness consultancy. Each mentorship pair meets twice a month in video conference or by phone over three months to hash out career challenges identified by the mentee.
To help provide a framework for mentor/mentee discussions, the project committee turned to the International Spa Association (ISPA), drawing from the association’s list of core competencies for development of spa management professionals.
“The feedback from the first group of mentees was exactly what we had hoped for,” said Smith. “Participants spoke of being inspired to do more than they ever thought possible and achieving higher levels of professionalism.”
There was another common thread among the comments from nearly all the mentees and it had to do with confidence. “Mentees also spoke of gaining confidence in presenting marketing ideas, motivating staff, and taking action steps to improve the financial health of the spa,” said de Gabriac. “One even said that, while the mentorship session has concluded, it felt like the beginning of a new chapter in their life.”
Here are excerpts from mentee responses to the questionnaire distributed by the Global Mentorship Pilot Program team:
- “My mentor showed me ways to increase my revenue and offer better service to our guests.”
- “My mentor shared very important information regarding staff commitment and training instrumental to their development.”
- “This was an amazing opportunity to gain perspective from a trusted leader that I’ll apply to my performance, my fulfilling career and the success of our spa.”
According to de Gabriac, these early positive results have the committee setting even bigger goals for next year.
The inaugural session just wrapped up, with the list of second-session participants announced this week. Mentors and mentees for the second session, which runs April through June, represent 12 countries and a variety of spas including hotel/resort spas, day spas and club spas. Additionally, organizers of the mentorship program will be accepting applications for 2016 beginning in May.
Spa managers interested in one of the 100 mentee slots must have at least two years experience, and spa directors interested in serving as a mentor must have at least five years of experience. To apply, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline for 2016 applications is July 31. The program is free for all participants. For more on this mentorship project visit their Facebook page at or on LinkedIn.