I am often asked how did I get to this point in my career. It hasn’t been a linear route; my first passion has been science and I have used the degree for most of my career even in the spa world. When I transitioned to the spa industry, I wanted to learn all that I could about the topic, just as I did in my research career. I used the information gathered to formulate a plan to open a Spa.  In 2006, my business partner and I opened ReNew Organic Day Spa. The experience taught me many things, one of the most important lessons I learned, though I was a great therapist (Voted Best Massage Therapist, Baltimore Magazine, 2008) I wasn’t a great business owner. When the spa closed in 2009, I decided to go back to school and get my MBA and support those like me with a passion for the industry and assist those individuals in creating successful businesses. It is my desire to share and empower that has kept me motivated and inspired through the years.  Though we all have our own journey to success, here are few tips that I used to reach this point in my sixteen-year tenure in the Spa and Wellness Industry.

Tip #1 – Attend Spa Shows

I made an effort to attend as many Spa Shows I could schedule and afford. It wasn’t until after a few years of attending did I get the courage to apply to be a speaker. I have been to two shows this year and planning for my third. It’s a small industry, Spa Shows provides a great opportunity to learn and network. I love taking in the knowledge shared by the various speakers regarding new trends as well as expanding my network. I have developed lifelong friendships and connections from the simple effort of attending a spa show.

I love the quote “if it feeds you, then you should support it,” this is especially true in the Spa industry. There are countless shows, IECSC, Face and Body Expo, and ISPA to name a few. I suggest doing your due diligence to determine which show is best for you and your location.

Tip # 2 – Write about your industry

We all have a voice, an opinion, and insight to share with the world. A novice therapist to a seasoned Spa Manager both have plenty to say in regard to what’s happening in the industry. Using the information and insight gained at the Spa shows as well as the reading of industry happenings and events. With platforms such as the Spa Industry Association, ISPA’s Pulse, American Spa, Massage magazine and many more, there are plenty of outlets to share. Those organizations listed are the top industry sources and the thought writing for them may send you running in fear. Instead, start write small a blog, an article on your LinkedIn page, daily/weekly social media post. The point is let your voice be heard. Then use that momentum to write a book! It can be a big leap from articles to books, and yet so worth the effort. I hear so many times, “I want to write a book, but I don’t know how.”

As the author of two and a third in the works, there isn’t a magic potion. It simply requires putting in  the effort, to take the thoughts and ideas out of your mind and dreams and put them to paper. The title author and writer takes your subject matter expertise to a whole new level. The residual income book sales are a reminder of the power of words.

Tip #3 Speaking

The role of the expert is to acquire knowledge, the purpose is to share the information gained to compliment others. The thought of standing at the front of the room with everyone looking at you sends most people into a panic attack! Rightfully so, I have been teaching/training/speaking for 16 years. Let me tell you, I still get butterflies in my stomach. It’s the rush of the unknown. I have had attendees’ walk out of my class, others have fallen asleep and everything in between. What keeps me focused on that moment is my passion for sharing information and knowledge. I love looking out and seeing my audience focused on the information presented. I enjoy the conversations after class to discuss the topic and the many emails and calls that follow. The connection is lasting an I get the same when I attend an industry training session. I continue to learn and grow in the industry that I have love. I hope this tips will assist you in becoming an industry expert.

Sherrie Tennessee, CHE, Doctoral Candidate

Director of Education, SpaSOS


Author, How to Open a Day Spa:31-Day Guide