Miami, Fla. (October 20, 2020). Liliana Dominguez-Grajales and Alena Stavnjak, founders of the Southeast Spa Wellness Association (SESPAA), are pleased to announce a successful launch of three pillars for education, spas, and vendors. The pillars will connect and unite spa and wellness professionals in the Southeastern U.S. region, including Florida, which has one on the largest concentration of spas, along with smaller spa markets in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Maryland, Arkansas, DC, Virginia, West Virginia, Texas, Puerto Rico and USVI. The SESPAA Executive Board includes Penny Kriel, Director of Spa at Salamander Hotels & Resorts as President of Spa Operations; and Christi Cano, Principal of Innovative Spa Production as Director of Vendor Relations, and Tammy Pahel, VP of Spa & Wellness at Carillon Miami Wellness Resort as President of Education.

Dominguez-Grajales and Stavnjak leveraged their decades of combined experience as former luxury spa directors and suppliers, to launch Spa Wellness Events, producing hosted buyer and networking events in the US and Caribbean. After the pandemic crisis left spa directors searching for solutions in the “new normal,” they quickly launched SESPAA to provide resources and support at a critical time.

“It was important for us to bring together all our experiences and knowledge and offer these as a resource for our industry. We wanted to build a foundation for growth in a wellness centric environment. The SESPAA Pillars are designed to be inclusive and support all levels of experience in our ever-evolving industry,” said Grajales.

“Our mission was to challenge ourselves to bring new and innovative ways of thinking by providing resources that can be customized to the situation of each individual business. We offer education, mentorship, marketing, wellbeing, wellness, and operational support in a platform that is inviting to our spa, vendor, educators, wellness experts, and independent members,” said Stavnjak.

The Spa Operations Pillar establishes and develops strategic departmental goals that are critical elements to day-to- day job functions. Resources include Best Practices, SOP’s, Luxury Standards, Opening Manual, SARS (Covid-19) Re-Opening Manual, Daily Checklists, Job Descriptions and more.

The Vendor Relations Pillar nurtures vendor relationships to support their growth, development, healthy margins, and service levels. Partnerships are built on achieving mutual benefits with goals, operational efficiencies, ongoing relationships, and strategic alliances. 

The Education Pillar collaborates with top industry educators to provide our members with new skills, Classes, CEU Facilitated Sessions, virtual tutorials and vendor platforms to support growth and knowledge. Due to demand across the US, SESPAA educational offerings will be open to all spa professionals, not only members.

“I’m so excited to be spearheading SESPAA’s Education Pillar. Education is the one of the most important investments a company can make in its people and future. Supporting Liliana and Alena’s vision was easy choice because of their proven exceptional leadership skills and dedication to our industry,” said Tammy Pahel. Educational Resources include the SESPAA Virtual Spa Operations and Management Courses, Continuing Education Courses for Massage Therapists & Estheticians, and specialty courses such as How to Elevate Your Spa Experience Through Medical Wellness.”

To register for SESPAA membership and download the Covid-19 Reopening Guide, visit

# # #


Southeast Spa Wellness Association (SESPAA) is the largest U.S. regional spa wellness association encompassing the following territory: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington DC, West Virginia, Puerto Rico and U.S.V.I. Adapting to the current evolution of how business is conducted, the was created out of consistent demand for more from the current member programs for spa and wellness communities.

Knowledge passed down, born from years of exceeding customer expectations, is a common bond we share. This is just one exceptional reason for our existence.

General Contact:

Liliana Dominguez-Grajales, Co-Founder

Southeast Spa Wellness Association

COL +57 (313) 603-2358

Media Contact:

Nancy Griffin, Principal

Contento Marketing