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Success Story: Stephanie Rest

Stephanie Rest is currently based in Washington D.C working as a consultant, and collaborating wellness and educational projects in the U.S.A. and Caribbean countries. Stephanie's experience in the hospitality industry has been vast in these regions, as she has led opening teams for resorts and spas.

Stephanie promotes the entrepreneurial-spirit, leadership and service to the community. She was creator and Chair of the first TCI Hospitality Adventures: Spa Camp. Currently, she is preparing the first annual Global Wellness Day scheduled in June 2017, where she serves as Global Wellness Day Ambassador for the Caribbean. She is Co-founder of the Caribbean Spa Association, serves on the International Spa Association Speaker Task Force, and was recently elected to the Global Careership Committee of the Global Wellness Institute.

How did you get your start in the spa industry? 
Hospitality is in my blood! I grew up on a Golf Course with the 4th Fairway in my backyard. My parents were in management at the Golf Course and at an early age I was assisting with various hospitality duties. The spa bug bit me in college when I was a Spa Receptionist and later promoted to management, at a 4 diamond resort, The Tides Inn. This was not a linear path, as for a time I was a Financial Planner for a money wealth management firm. The skills I learned in finance prepared me for Spa management at resorts later down the road. My true passion has always been to make others feel well.

What are two of the most important resources you use to stay engaged in the industry?
In the beginning the International Spa Association was my guiding light when accepting a management role at the age of 21. I found myself to be a little fish in a very big experienced pond. Luckily, I found a mentor at a sister property that I still count on, Deborah Waldvogel. Because of technology and social media, we are able to be engaged every moment with our industry network. Social media a wonderful resource for keeping up to date with trends and what is happening now in the wellness industry.

However, having a mentor and someone you can trust as you navigate your career path is the most valuable resource you will ever have. At times you will face a tough choice, circumstance, co-worker, boss, move, staff member, and yes it can even happen all at once. Your mentor will say I have been there, let us talk this through and figure out the best possible outcome.

What professional achievement are you most proud of and why?
My best achievement is yet to come. I have a tremendous amount of joy when I can support someone else through a recommendation, connection or self-improvement. By following my path, I have been able to provide inspiration for others to choose a career path in our industry. Over the course of my career I’ve a had a hand in developing others; receptionists to advance to study massage therapy, Massage Therapists to Leads, Leads to Supervisors, Supervisors to Managers and unknowing strangers with the right personality are consistently being convinced to join our spa tribe.

Is there someone in the industry who has had a profound impact on your career? Why?
Yes, there are so many. Deborah Waldvogel is an inspirational spa leader that assists with the advancement of others. Deborah has committed her life to the improvement of the spa industry, with the intention of raising awareness of the benefits of spa and developing educational opportunities. She has been someone I call for support and has promoted me throughout my career. Choosing a career in Spa and Wellness you will find is an inclusive opportunity to be a part of an industry that supports and promotes one another.

What is the best part of working in the spa and wellness industry?
Massages, no really, it is! Second to that, you will find the more time you spend in the spa and wellness industry that we are all in this together. Everyday our world gets a little bigger and with a common goal of advancing spa and wellness while supporting one another, the possibilities are endless.

What one piece of advice would you give someone starting out in the spa and wellness industry?
If the industry were indexed on the S&P then I would say hold your position and reinvest the dividends. You have found the right industry, at the right time and you are with the right people. Apply yourself and say yes to opportunities as they arise.

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