Creating Community in Our Time of Crisis

| October 18, 2020

Creating Community in Our Time of Crisis

by Mary Bemis –


Without a doubt, the biggest plus to come out of the pandemic for the spa industry is a renewed sense of community.


In my 30-plus years in the industry, I’ve never witnessed such camaraderie—such a coming together of spa and wellness professionals across all career levels and all kinds of properties.


Nearly 100 volunteer spa leaders from a number of hotel brands, including Accor, Four Seasons, Marriott, and Montage, put their heads together and their competitive spirits aside to work on ISPA’s well-received COVID-19 Reopening Toolkit that debuted in April.


New regional groups were formed: the Colorado Spa & Wellness Association (CSWA)/Rocky Mountain Spa & Wellness Association (ROMOSA), founded by Holleigh Alexander-Ramsey; the Northeast Spa Association, founded by Christine Mathes; the Northern California Spa Professionals Network (NorCal SPA), a collaboration of 30-plus spa professionals; and The Southeast Spa Wellness Association (SESPAA), founded by Alena Stavnjak and Liliana Grajales.


Now, more than ever, the benefits of this kind of networking and collaboration is what will bring us back and move us forward.


“This new type of competitor collaboration is the wave of the future,” says Alison Abbott, Director of Spa and Wellness, The Meritage Resort & Spa, Napa, and co-founder of NorCal SPA. “As we began to collaborate and share our goals, our dreams, and our intentions, we realized how incredibly powerful our unified voice could be in working together towards our long-term goals.”


These groups are dear to my heart. Why? Because one of the highlights of my career was bringing together—for the very first time—the leaders of regional spa groups from across the country at the National Press Club in DC. Now, more than ever, the benefits of this kind of networking and collaboration is what will bring us back and move us forward.


“This year has awakened a whole new awareness of the meaning of community,” shares my dear friend, Bonnie Baker, past president of the Green Spa Network and Managing Partner, The Satteva Group.“With heightened political differences and dependence on technologies for more of our interactions, the potential threats to our personal wellbeing come from more than one source. Community inherently is inclusive; now more than ever the feeling of fellowship is a vital part of our collective immunity, our strength, and potential.”

About Mary Bemis:  Editorial director of She is an award-winning spa journalist, honored with Folio’s Top Women in Media Award, and the distinguished ISPA Dedicated Contributor Award. In 1997, she launched American Spa magazine, and in 2007, Mary co-founded Organic Spa magazine. A pioneer in the sustainable spa and beauty worlds, Mary is co-curator of Cosmoprof North America’s Discover Green Pavilion. She sits on the board of Wellness Warrior, is a Global Wellness Day Advisor, and a co-founder of the Washington Spa Alliance.


Category: Spa Reviews

Comments are closed.