The Global Spa & Wellness Summit is making available the presentations, notes, transcriptions, video footage and blogs relating to the 2012 Summit. They will be of most interest to people in the spa industry, and you have to dig. But anyone can be inspired by spa pioneer Deborah Szekely, who told the group of heavy-hitters that being introverted is one of her greatest strengths. (Isn't that nice to hear in a culture that values "outgoing" people?)
"I am a persistent, stubborn introvert," Szekely said in a speech on her life as an innovator.. "In other words, you need to have time to think. I don't watch TV, and I don't go out much. I read a lot to learn a lot. I'm not an engineer, so I don't have a garage and workbench, but I retreat (escape might be a better word) like a tinkerer into my garage of ideas." That is just one of the qualities that propelled her to be "a perpetual, serial innovator".
Szekely, who started Rancho La Puerta and Golden Door, said she had never been motivated by making money. (That's another refreshing change.) "Many times in my life I have watched people who venture out with the idea of making money fail, and I have watched the dreamers, the idealists, the people who follow their north star succeed.
The Spa Business As a Calling
"Let me reassure you that the global spa movement is not simply a business. It is a cause, and for many a calling." Without health, she said, people don't have the energy to pursue innovation and change the world.
"I take great satisfaction in knowing that our guests leave renewed and fully empowered in mind, body and spirit. They are prepared to redirect their lives to fit their new knowledge."
There are only a handful of complete transcripts at the moment, and the notes tend to be skeletal. (They might be more filled out in future). To get the flavor, I recommend you check out the blogs and transcriptions first. I hope we get a transcript of the presentation by Jose Maria Figueres-Olsen, president of Costa Rica from 1994-1998 and President of the Carbon War Room, which encourages entrepreneurs to address climate change.
He proposed that the carbon-based Industrial Revolution might, in fact, be coming to an end. "With innovation, imagination, leadership, and courage, we have the tremendous opportunity, as a matter of fact, a great privilege, to share something greater than the Industrial Revolution - wellness and happiness." Deborah said it was her favorite speech.
The Global Spa & Wellness Summit -- the Davos of the spa industry -- attracted a record 325 delegates from 40 nations this year. Delegates at the sixth-annual conference gathered to explore and debate the most innovative, imaginative ways forward for the worldwide spa and wellness industry through an eclectic agenda of 50 presentations and panels .
Delegates heard from a former President (Jose Maria Figueres-Olsen), an Academy award-nominated actress (Mariel Hemingway), as well as a former U.S. Surgeon General, a top Google exec, the Governor of Colorado and Disney Imagineering's former chair. They learned about "big picture" economic and geopolitical trends, emerging industry opportunities, and the latest brain, willpower, "happiness" and telomere science. "Innovation expert" John Kao used jazz piano to help delegates "unlock the creative process".
Interested in going next year? It's in India. But you're probably not high-level enough to attend. A list of "top-level executives who are decision-makers in spa, wellness, and related industries around the world" are formally invited. If you're not invited, you can apply, but the bar is high.
The Global Spa & Wellness Summit is making the information available on-line so everyone can benefit, but as I read through notes like "animated discussion," I couldn't help but feel I was missing something.