Meet Mary Tabacchi Scholarship Winners New and Old
by Jamison Stoike

The ISPA Foundaiton Mary Tabacchi Scholarship, created in 2006, is awarded annually to up-and-comers studying spa at the collegiate level. Since its inception, the Scholarship has helped fund the education of more than 15 students pursuing a career in spa. Past recipients have become spa directors and spa managers, and have worked throughout the broader wellness industry.

The scholarship is named in honor of Mary Tabacchi, Ph.D., RD, whose storied career in spa led her to become a pioneer in spa education at Cornell’s renowned School of Hotel Administration. Dr. Tabacchi has served as a personal mentor to several of the Scholarship winners over the past several years, including last year’s winner, Christine Mbaye Muchemu.

With the 2019 Scholarship winner having recently been announced, it’s a great time to get to know both the newest winner, as well as previous Scholarship recipients who have entered into the ISPA family.

Winner of the 2019 ISPA Foundation Mary Tabacchi Scholarship: Quincy Reynolds

Quincy Reynolds, originally from Ithaca, New York, is currently a senior at the University of Houston’s Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management. When she’s not at school, Reynolds enjoys carpentry and martial arts, both of which help her maintain mental focus.

The calling card of the spa industry—its compassion and warmth towards others—is what draws Reynolds to a career in spa. “I want to make people happy for the simple reason that a universal wellness should and can be appreciated by all— myself included,” says Reynolds, adding that “this is the industry wherein happiness will always be the most valuable byproduct.”

As spa grows larger and larger in the public consciousness, Reynolds’ goals align with spa’s increasingly global ambitions. “I want to lead this industry so that it—as a unified whole—can achieve a new level of wellness and innovation that can be shared with the word. This scholarship is the cornerstone in that aim.”

Reynolds marries this empathic approach to hospitality with her natural inclination towards data analytics. She hopes to apply the same analytic rigor that has transformed other industries to spa. Her ideal career path would see her as the CFO of a large hospitality corporation, which would afford her the greatest ability to affect the “emotional and intellectual output of the industry in order to benefit the guest.” As a natural extension of this goal, Reynolds hopes to pursue a Ph.D. and educate the next generation of hospitality leaders.

As part of her Scholarship package, Reynolds will receive one-on-one mentorship from Dr. Tabacchi and Andrea Foster, senior vice president of development for Marcus Hotels & Resorts. Says Reynolds, “It is so inspiring to be able to meet these women who lead our industry from all sides. If I can emulate their desire to drive forward and give back, then I will be ready to lead myself.”

Reynolds will attend the 2019 ISPA Conference & Expo next month, where she will be honored onstage during a General Session. Don’t be afraid to say ‘hello’ to her after the event: “I am excited to meet so many leaders of the industry,” says Reynolds, adding that “networking is the hidden backbone of the spa and wellness industry.

“I am currently looking for a position in revenue management and foresee that I will be leading that department within a decade of graduation. Another decade later, I will be using my career experience to teach the next leaders of the industry. My hope is that I can create a legacy that denotes a scholarship of my own one day.”


Catch up with a handful of previous Scholarship winners and discover what they’ve been up to, as well as how the ISPA Foundation Mary Tabacchi Scholarship has helped them pursue their dreams.

Kate Sornson, 2010
Associate Manager, Marketing and Communications
Global Wellness Summit

Her career path:
“I’ve explored many of those opportunities and have worked as a guest services coordinator, a spa training manager, a wellness road-warrior who traveled the country promoting wellness for The Buzz Bus, a community manager for the Green Spa Network and a project manager for multiple Global Wellness Institute Initiatives. Currently, I support the marketing and communications for both the Global Wellness Summit and the Global Wellness Institute, helping to advance the $4.2 trillion global wellness economy.”

On how the scholarship helped her achieve her goals:
“I don’t think I could have understood the vast opportunities ahead of me without this opportunity. I’m still in touch with the leaders and visionaries I met at the 2010 ISPA Conference & Expo. Before that, it was difficult to see how I could really make a career in spa and wellness.”

Kendra Kobler, 2013
Delos Living, LLC

Her career path:
“Since receiving the Mary Tabacchi Scholarship in 2013, I held a position on the brand team at Spafinder, acting as project manager of their 2015 Annual Wellness Trends and presenting those research findings at the New York Times Travel Show. Following that role, I’ve spent four years at Delos, a wellness real estate company, where I am now the director of our signature programs for spas and corporate wellness.”

On staying in touch with her mentors:
“I am still in touch with my mentor, Andrea Foster. Not only is she a fellow Cornell Hotelie, she’s a tremendously positive role model in the hospitality and wellness fields. She always thoughtfully checks in with me whenever she is visiting NYC.”

Nicole Meneveau, 2014
Spa Manager
Four Seasons Jackson Hole

Her career path:
“After graduating from Cornell, I moved all the way out to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to work at Four Seasons Jackson Hole as a spa manager in training. I thought I would live out west for only a year, but here I am, heading into my fifth summer in Jackson Hole! I’ve moved forward with my career path with Four Seasons and am now the Spa Director here at our beautiful resort.”

On the importance of the scholarship:
“The Scholarship was an important part of connecting with the industry as a whole. I never imagined the support and close-knit community that the spa industry has. Being a part of ISPA right from the start of my career and meeting leaders through the Scholarship allowed me to develop relationships that have been pivotal in my success.”

Taylor Toreno, 2015
Spa Director
Spa Botanica Rogers, Embassy Suites Convention Center & Spa

Her career path:
“I was promoted from spa coordinator to spa manager at the Shangri-La Springs in Bonita Springs, Florida. My mentor was a great asset, and with her guidance I am proud to say that I was able to triple spa revenue. After graduation, I relocated to Arkansas and accepted a position with Atrium Hospitality as spa director at Spa Botanica. I have been involved in exciting projects and soon will be working with our management company in the creation of Wellness Rooms for their hotel portfolio.”

How the scholarship deepened her involvement in spa:
“ISPA’s continued education and mentorship have provided me with a wealth of valuable resources. To give back, I have joined the ISPA volunteer community. I hope that I can share my knowledge with others.”

Kelsey Brink, 2016
Rooms Operations Manager
Lexington Griffin Gate Marriott Resort & Spa

Her career path:
Since receiving the Mary Tabacchi Scholarship, I was named the spa
director of the Florida Gulf Coast University Spa Lab until my graduation. I then was accepted into Marriott International’s Voyager Program, an award-winning global leadership development program and placed at the Renaissance Charleston Historic District Hotel as a Rooms Operations Voyager. I am currently the rooms operations manager at the Lexington Griffin Gate Marriott Resort & Spa, overseeing five departments and 409 rooms.

On how the scholarship shaped her:
“The exposure to the industry afforded to me by attending the ISPA Conference & Expo as part of the Scholarship was a big motivation for me to pursue my master’s in business administration with Florida Gulf Coast University, and I will be graduating in the fall of 2020. A long-term goal is to open a medical spa with my twin sister who is pursuing her Doctorate in Nursing Practice.”