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  • Stephanie Shiu

Healer and Transformational Coach Emilie Chanon

Our Group Wellness Director shaping the Next Generation of Spa & Wellness Leaders

What motivates you to continue enhancing personal development?

I really believe that continuous learning is the key to success in life, so, I commit to an annual training programme for self-development in many arenas, including leadership, energy healing, coaching, therapy or Family Constellations.

I find motivation in creating a cohesive, adaptable team, where everyone feels safe and excited about enhancing their unique skill sets.

In addition to the personal growth of each team member, the key to success is the collective progression and evolution of the team, so that we continue to be stimulated, challenged and nourished both individually and as a whole.

How do you go above and beyond the role of a spa manager?

I use the extra skills in my toolbox, which can include energy reading, coaching techniques, family constellation process and reiki to set an optimal atmosphere.

Tuning and aligning the energy and vibrations of a space creates a unique experience, which guests and the team notice energetically, even if they cannot explain it. Revenue flows naturally when your spa or wellness centre focuses on people, and this includes both staff and guests. Creating a safe space encourages each individual to tap into their unique gifts and express themselves authentically, as they progress in the workplace.

I connect with my intention, and do my best to understand the big picture, while at the same time focusing on details. Everything is part of an ecosystem, and it's our duty to understand and incorporate it fully, and with respect.

Baseline systems and procedures should ease the flow of operations to support natural communication, movement and flow. This serves as a foundation, whereas operational flow is flexible and adaptable to situations. Together they form an ecosystem, in which every element plays an integral role in contributing to the overall experience, ensuring that the spa is aligned with all other departments in the resort.

In what ways do you support the next generation of wellness leaders?

It is important for the next generation to have a strong vision encapsulating collective growth, detailed organisation and smart communication. I ensure that trust exists within the team, and that each member has access to the appropriate tools. Leaders benefit from embracing the strengths of their team, celebrating differences and how each individual creates a unique spark, rather than trying to change anyone.

I am a person before I am a spa manager. It is only when we are truly ourselves that we can take a heartfelt approach. My role is contributing to others first and foremost. To understand guests’ personal journeys, we must be on our own journeys of growth to understand, refine our intuition and exemplify compassion when offering bespoke guidance. Rather than simply ‘doing’, a spa manager orchestrates the entire experience, in which each individual is part of the bigger picture.

Education is essential to equipping the team with the knowledge and experience of therapies, wellness, cuisine — and the impact this has when combined to explain and share with others. Wellness is not a therapy, it’s a philosophy that needs to be embodied, if you are truly an advocate. At Luminary wellness, we live and breathe wellness which informs everything we do—every action, detail and conscious decision reflects this.

As an award-winning spa leader, how did you achieve this high level of operational success?

Achieving success in any operation requires having a consistent overview, thorough checking and being proactive in constant iteration and innovation as a way of life. To elevate our day-to-day experience, I create a transparent safe space to discuss and share experiences, lessons and areas of improvement so that we can create solutions together, ensuring that each member learns from the experience, and feels protected while doing so.

Effective and respectful communication makes every process easier and more efficient.

Having a strong audit system in place to provide valuable feedback is needed to maintain a five-star wellness centre. Lessening any room for error is particularly important when you are offering more than 300 treatments each day as I was in my previous role. I guide the team with an ongoing /neverending training program to refresh their skills and further progress their growth.

Staying abreast of the latest techniques, technologies and wellness marketing strategies ensures that you are aware of evolving trends — joining an annual webinar or conference is a great way to remain on the pulse of industry changes.

Why is it important for a spa leader to advocate for workplace wellness, and ensure authentic alignment with other hospitality departments?

The role of a spa and wellness leader extends beyond the walls of a wellness centre. It’s a

a philosophy — a way of living, acting and being part of the resort. Wellness needs to be implemented throughout the entire experience of a guest’s stay, from check-in to check-out and everything in between, from the accommodation all the way through to F&B, and heart-to-heart connection with the team. Wellness is to act mindfully, supporting clients with a sense of purpose, and taking the same approach when interacting with employees and suppliers.

A spa leader can identify what the business needs on a holistic and energetic level. This can include focusing on mental well-being or introducing workplace wellness activities to boost motivation and personal growth. The support of the spa team can also provide important back-up for the HR team.

Trust your team, their unique gifts and potential. Support them to shine brightly.

What are your top three tips for spa and wellness leaders to build a culture of well-being, while empowering their team to embody the philosophies?

  1. Understand the power of words and intentions. When we speak positively and meaningfully, this becomes who we are and how we show up for others. Our words have energy and a vibration that impacts us on a cellular and soul level. This is why affirmations, mantras and other healing sentences in modalities such as Family Constellations and Access Consciousness exist.

  2. We are all connected. Everything we do comes from the right place, and a belief in what is good, even if it does not have the desired outcome. The way forward must benefit the wider community as change does not take place on an individual level, rather as group consciousness serving the greater good. Who I am impacts others. This means looking beyond myself, facing my fear, releasing any ego, and being open to change while being part of a team.

  3. Small acts of kindness are a meaningful way to show that someone is cared for. Whether through service, gifts or other thoughtful ways that impact others, everything we do is with a pure of heart intention. From how we greet a team member to how we set up a treatment room, or how we approach appraisals, compassion should span every area of the workplace.

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