by Samantha Smith

On April 1, 2019, the application to serve on the ISPA Board of Directors will be open to eligible members. If you have a strong passion for the spa industry and would like to help move the association forward, you are encouraged to apply.

The application will open on april 1, 2019, when primary and secondary members of ISPA can visit to submit their application to serve. Applications will be accepted for thirty days, closing on April 30, 2019. Every qualified applicant will participate in a first round interview, conducted via telephone (taking place in June), led by the ISPA nominations committee. Those applicants moving forward will receive a second interview (in July) with the entire committee present in one location, also via telephone. upon final selection, the nominations committee will announce the recommended slate of candidates to the ISPA membership.

Each year, the nominations committee (made up of active ISPA leaders) guides candidates through an extensive application and interview process. This enables the committee to find the industry’s best strategic thinkers and most passionate, driven leaders. The 2019 ISPA nominations committee is comprised of co-chairs Frank Pitsikalis (ResortSuite) and Todd Shaw (Technogym), serving alongside Sharilyn Abbajay (Mattison Avenue Spa and Salon Suites), Jean Kolb (Hutchinson Consulting), Jane Segerberg (Segerberg Spa Consulting), Ella Kent (Sea Island Resort), Michael Tompkins (Hutchinson Consulting) and Deborah Waldvogel (ResortSuite). ISPA chairman Garrett Mersberger also joins the committee this year, serving in an advisory role.

As you consider board service, it’s important to ensure that this responsibility will fit into your other professional responsibilities. Keep in mind the following requirements expected of all ISPA Board members.

  • Meetings: A minimum of two days’ participation during three board meetings annually. This is in addition to one week to attend the annual ISPA Conference & Expo. Currently, this includes an out-ofpocket financial commitment to cover expenses.
  • Monthly Check-in: Several hours each week to review ISPA business, communications, and board information in addition to multiple conference calls each month.
  • Overall: Being available as/when needed while working a full-time position.

If that seems overwhelming, don’t worry: we’re all here to help you succeed. This is the spa industry, after all, and helping people is what each and every board member does. During your first year, you’ll be part of the ISPA Board mentor program, the goal of which is to provide direction, answer questions and ease you into the responsibilities that come with being an ISPA Board member.

If you’re selected to join the board, you’ll be assigned a mentor from both the board itself, as well as the Nominations Committee. Your mentors will be (metaphorically) on-hand to help you get the hang of things; prior to your first board meeting, you will meet with them to fill you in on what to expect and discuss important topics from previous meetings. And in the event that you’d like historical background on past board decisions and the evolution of the International SPA Association since its formation, your mentor from the Nominations Committee will be able to help. With several of them having been deeply involved in ISPA nearly since its formation, they have first-hand experience and knowledge that you can lean on.

In essence: being a board member is a substantial commitment, but it’s also an incredibly rewarding experience. It offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity to
develop meaningful relationships with other spa industry leaders while helping inform the direction of the International SPA Association and the spa industry as a whole. You’ll make friends, cultivate strong bonds, increase your knowledge, share your expertise and, ultimately, develop fresh ideas for your own career and business in the spa industry.

In addition to the ISPA Nominations Committee members, you can also contact Samie Smith on the ISPA Staff anytime at or 859.219.3619. In addition to board service, we can also discuss other ways you can immediately become involved as a volunteer within ISPA.


As a member of the 2019 ISPA nominations committee—not to mention as a former ISPA Board Member and ISPA Chairman—Jean Kolb knows a thing or two about the ISPA Board nominations process. Pulse reached out to Jean for her insider’s tips, advice and thoughts on what it’s like to apply and interview for the ISPA Board.

Pulse: What should applicants expect during the interview phase?

Jean Kolb: Expect questions that are big picture and strategic in nature. We want to know how in tune you are with the current and future challenges of the industry. Not just in your particular spa world, like resort, day spa, resource partner, but the entire spa industry. How well-rounded are you? Once we
gather around the board table, the discussions are strategic, high-level and actionable. We’re not deciding what to serve for lunch at next year’s Conference!

P: What’s a piece of advice you wish you had received when you were applying to join the board?

K: I wish someone would have told me to embrace the whole process and not be afraid of it. The best way to do this is to do your homework. Talk to others who have gone through it, ask questions and enjoy every step along the way. It can seem intimidating, but it is not. We need courageous leaders!

P: What’s your favorite part of the process?

K: When the entire committee is in the room and we call a candidate for the formal interview. We learn so much more than what is on the application. We get to see inside of them and what motivates them. I walk away inspired every time by the amount of talent in our industry! The afternoon sweet treats to keep us going are great too.

P: What was the nomination process like when you went through it? How did you feel at the time?

K: It was a serious process back then, however, with every year, we tweak and it just gets better and better. It is very involved and detailed, but it needs to be. We are considering our leaders of tomorrow! at the time, I felt nervous. I am sure that is natural, but it was heightened because I was newer to the industry. But as our chairman, Garrett Mersberger, has demonstrated, it is not about how long you’ve been involved in spa, but rather a passion to be a leader in the industry.