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Oh, the places you’ll go!

12 Jul 2016
“Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!”
– Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You'll Go!

As a small girl, I would read and read some more, thoroughly fascinated by other people’s lives: where they lived, how they lived, and why.

I grew up on a golf course, literally, the 4th fairway was in my backyard. My parents worked at this golf course, and I spent most of my childhood there with my nose in a book. The golf course members were a second “family” who celebrated successes, mourned one another’s losses, and always made time for “the 19th hole.”

My first position, outside of golf course chores, was at a 4-diamond resort where I was the spa coordinator. The sense of “family” was deep within the walls of the historic Tides Inn in Irvington, VA. Guests would repeatedly visit, and staff were celebrated for more than 50 years of tenure. In a resort or spa, I always found a sense of “family.”

Through reading, I discovered the places I would like to go, but until I worked in a spa I didn’t know how or why I would go. Following my first position at The Tides, I was directed to other ‘families’ in the industry including; Charleston, SC, Sedona, AZ, Covington, LA, Duck, N.C, and most recently the Turks and Caicos Islands. These opportunities came to me with help from “spa family members” who collaborate in the industry.

Living in the Caribbean for the last four years changed the course of my life. I realized a specific need for the region to develop its greatest resources: their native talent. This realization led me to becoming a Co-Founder of the Caribbean Spa Association (CSPA). Over the years I’ve discovered the ‘why’ was always advancing wellness, but the ‘why’ became more specific to the Caribbean in recent years.

My passion for the Caribbean has lead me to a whole new professional arena, wherein I’m able to meet and network with other professional associations who are supporting one another for a stronger Caribbean region. In January, I was invited to attend the largest Caribbean tourism event, Caribbean Marketplace in the Bahamas, run by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA). There I volunteered and was able to participate in education forums, press-conferences, and network with like-minded professionals who have devoted their lives to Caribbean tourism. My new “family” of CHTA professionals allowed for an association collaboration last month, on a wellness panel that included CSPA, the International Spa Association, and the Global Wellness Institute for International Tourism Expo attendees in Puerto Rico. At the Caribbean Spa Association Summit in Cancun this month, like-minded associations will converge once again to create a stronger wellness industry.

I believe reading Robinson Crusoe at a young age gave me an insight into adventure, travel and the Caribbean. By choosing a career in spa and wellness, the places I have gone and will continue to go are limitless.

By Stephanie Rest (pictured above with Richard Trinidad and Michael Tompkins)

IMAGE GALLERY


Stephanie Rest speaking



CHTA Marketplace Leadership Team



CSPA Summit group




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