Jean-Guy de Gabriac, Co-chair Global Mentorship Program, 
Kate Sornson, Administration or +1.713.775.8706





BRUSSELS, Belgium (April 15, 2015) – It’s a busy time for the Global Mentorship Pilot Program, the global spa and wellness industry’s first mentorship initiative that launched in January. The inaugural session just wrapped up, with the list of second-session participants announced this week. Mentors and mentees for the second session, which runs April through June, bring the total number of countries represented so far to 22: Aruba, Australia, Canada, Columbia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Fiji, France, Germany, India, Italy, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Portugal, Qatar, Saint-Barthélemy (French West Indies), Spain, Thailand, UAE, UK, and USA. A variety of spas are represented as well, including hotel/resort spas, day spas and club spas.

Additionally, organizers of the mentorship program will be accepting applications for 2016 beginning in May. Spa managers interested in one of the 100 mentee slots must have at least two years experience, and spa directors interested in serving as a mentor must have at least five years of experience. To apply, e-mail Deadline for 2016 applications is July 31. The program is free for all participants. For more on this mentorship project visit their Facebook page at or on LinkedIn at  

The Global Mentorship Pilot Program, spearheaded by a team of spa and wellness experts from around the world, pairs seasoned spa directors with spa managers in the spring of their careers looking for guidance and inspiration. The project is led by Jean-Guy de Gabriac, CEO of Tip Touch international spa training and consultancy, and Deborah Smith, Principal of Smith Club & Spa Specialists, a US-based wellness consultancy. Each mentorship pair meets twice a month in video conference or by phone over three months to hash out career challenges identified by the mentee.

To help provide a framework for mentor/mentee discussions, the project committee turned to the International Spa Association (ISPA), drawing from the association’s list of core competencies for development of spa management professionals.

“The feedback from the first group of mentees was exactly what we had hoped for,” said Smith. “Participants spoke of being inspired to do more than they ever thought possible and achieving higher levels of professionalism.”

There was another common thread among the comments from nearly all the mentees and it had to do with confidence. “Mentees also spoke of gaining confidence in presenting marketing ideas, motivating staff, and taking action steps to improve the financial health of the spa,” said de Gabriac. “One even said that, while the mentorship session has concluded, it felt like the beginning of a new chapter in their life.”

Here are excerpts from mentee responses to the questionnaire distributed by the Global Mentorship Pilot Program team:

My mentor showed me ways to increase my revenue and offer better service to our guests.”

“My mentor shared very important information regarding staff commitment and training instrumental to their development.”

“This was an amazing opportunity to gain perspective from a trusted leader that I’ll apply to my performance, my fulfilling career and the success of our spa.

According to de Gabriac, these early positive results have the committee setting even bigger goals for next year.

Detailed findings from the 2015 sessions will be reported at the 2015 Global Wellness Summit to be held in Mexico City, November 13-15. The summit is presented by the Global Wellness Institute.

About the Global Mentorship Pilot Program
The Global Mentorship Pilot Program is the only formal mentorship program of its kinds serving the global spa and wellness industry. Founding project committee members span the globe, representing the Americas, the Middle East, Australia, Europe and India. Leading French skin care brand Biologique Recherche is the pioneer sponsor of the 2015 program. Organizers hope to grow the program each year, pairing new spa manager mentees with experienced mentors around the world.  

Today the global spa industry is estimated at $94 billion with nearly 105,600 spas around the world employing 1.9 million, according to the 2013 Global Spa & Wellness Economy Monitor prepared for the Global Wellness Summit by SRI International. Details on the summit may be found at

Global Mentorship Pilot Program: 

(EDITOR’S NOTE: A full list of mentees and mentors for the second session of the project appears below. For photos and to arrange for interviews, contact Kate Sornson at the Global Wellness Mentoring Project, or +1.713.775.8706.)

April – June 2015 – Mentee and Mentor Pairings

Mentee: Arantza Azparren, Spa Operations Manager, Mandarin Oriental Barcelona, Spain, Hotel/Resort Spa
Mentor: Adilia Oliveira, Spa Director, Caudalie at The Yeatman, Portugal, Hotel/Resort Spa

Mentee: Angela Brunetto, Spa Manager, Sabai Dee Spa at Falconara Charming House & Resort, Italy
Mentor: Fabrizio Palmitessa, Spa Manager, Arthotel & Park by Clarion Collection, Italy

Mentee: Jennifer Chan Lee, Director, Jari Jari Spa, Malaysia, Day Spa
Mentor: Kent Richards, Area Director, Six Senses, Asia Pacific & China, Hotel/Resort Spas

Mentee: Ram Chatterjee, Cluster Director of Spa, Pullman & Novotel Hotels Aero City, India, Hotel/Resort Spa
Mentor: Geeta Morar, CEO, SVA Spas, India, Hotel/Resort Spas

Mentee: Praveena Dewan, Spa Manager, Bebe Spa Sanctuary at Outrigger Beach Resorts, Fiji, Hotel/Resort Spa
Mentor: Mark Sands, Area Director, Six Senses, Thailand & Vietnam, Hotel/Resort Spas

Mentee: Tiffany Gennety, Spa Manager, Tranquility Spa at Detroit Athletic Club, Michigan, USA, Club Spa
Mentor: David Erlich, Spa Director, Glenwood Hot Springs, Colorado, USA, Hotel/Resort Spa

Mentee: Maria Haggo, Spa Director, The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai, UAE, Hotel/Resort Spa
Mentor: Francisca Atunes, Area Director, Six Senses, Middle East & Africa, Hotel/Resort Spas

Mentee: Vandana Hirwani, Process & Quality Assurance Manager, The Nail Spa, Dubai, UAE, Day Spa
Mentor: Christian Kiefer, General Manager, Dreamworks Spa & Zen Yoga, UAE, Day Spa

Mentee: Dana Hudhud, Managing Partner, Vinca Rosea Ladies Spa, Dubai, UAE, Day Spa
Mentor: Neil Hewerdine, Vice President Spa Services, Kerzner International, Atlantis The Palm, Dubai, UAE, Hotel/Resort Spa

Mentee: Victoria Lees, Spa Manager, Rockliffe Hall, United Kingdom, Hotel/Resort Spa
Mentor: Hans-Peter Veit, Spa Development Director, Oetker Collection, Germany, Hotel/Resort Spas

Mentee: Fanny Martin, Spa Manager, Sisley Spa at Christopher Hotel, Villas & Spa, Saint Barthelemy, Hotel/Resort Spa
Mentor: Morgan LeFrancois, Corporate Spa Development Manager, Clarins, France, Hotel/Resort Spas

Mentee: Paula Myohanen, Lifestyle Manager, Talise Spa at Madinat Jumeirah Resort, Dubai, UAE, Hotel/Resort Spa
Mentor: Paris Kounoudis, Director of Spa, Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Hotel/Resort Spa

Mentee: Daryll Naidu, Director Spa Operations, Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie Paris at Shangri-La Hotel, Toronto, Canada, Hotel/Resort Spa
Mentor: Angela Cortright, General Manager & Owner, Spa Gregories, California, USA, Day Spas

Mentee: Manola Perez, Owner, The Tai Spa, Mexico, Day Spa
Mentor: Karin Cofino, Director Spa & Retail, Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Aruba, Hotel/Resort Spa

Mentee: Ankush Phutane, Spa Manager, Zazen The Boutique Spa, India, Day Spa
Mentor: Geeta Morar, CEO, SVA Spas, India, Hotel/Resort Spas

Mentee: Laurence Roptus, Spa Manager, The Spa Fallsview Casino Resort, Canada, Hotel/Resort Spa
Mentor: Jim Croghan, Director of Spa & Recreation, The Grand Del Mar, California, USA, Hotel/Resort Spa

Mentee: Sasha Sampson, Spa Manager, Yuan Spa, Washington, USA, Day Spa
Mentor: Jennifer Wayland-Smith, Spa Director, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, Hotel/Resort Spa