Pulse November / December 2022 | Page 41

Clockwise from top : Jennifer and Deborah Smith . The late Susan Wheeler , Jamie Huffman and Jennifer . Susan Wheeler , one of Jennifer ’ s besties , Orlando Hildago and Jennifer .
WAYLAND-SMITH ’ S SPA CAREER began in the early 1980s when the word “ wellness ” was more synonymous with fitness . Her first pivotal spa relationship was formed throughout her work with Deborah Smith . Wayland-Smith affectionately calls Deborah her “ spa mama .” It was with Smith that Wayland-Smith attended her first ISPA Conference at Buena Vista Palace in Orlando , Florida . Subsequently , attending that conference connected her to The Spa at Saddlebrook Resort , where she served for the first time as opening spa director .
“ It is extremely gratifying for me to learn of Jennifer receiving ISPA ’ s 2023 Dedicated Contributor Award ,” said Deborah Smith .“ I have always been impressed with her native intelligence , level-headedness and deep desire to help and serve others in their spa and wellness journey .”
In 2001 , Wayland-Smith opened The Spa at The Hotel Hershey . As the opening spa director , Wayland-Smith hired many staff who are still there today .“ When I see them , how successful they are , how they ’ ve grown and how they nurture not only their business but future employees as well , it is so satisfying to me ,” Wayland-Smith says .
This sentiment goes both ways and is echoed by former employee Heather J . Kreider , who remembers Wayland- Smith as “ such a positive influence in so many ways throughout my life and career within the spa industry .”
Kreider adds ,“ Her passion , expertise and compassionate heart have been a force for so much good and I am honored to know her and call her my friend .”
For over 25 years , Wayland-Smith has leveraged the wisdom gleaned from her spa story and applied it to steadfast leadership within the ISPA family . Beginning with her service as the Membership Committee chair , followed by seven years as a dedicated member of the ISPA Board of Directors ( 2004- 2011 ), she would eventually serve in the Vice Chair role as well as on the ISPA Foundation Board . Additionally , Jennifer has served with the Speaker Task Force since 2014 and recently returned to the ISPA Nominations Committee for the 2022 Board of Directors selection process .
Upon learning about her being honored by the ISPA family , Wayland- Smith beamed ,“ That is what I love to do , to provide information , to help , to be a resource in developing relationships . It has confirmed for me that I am doing the right thing .” She added ,“ I ’ ve said many times over the years , when people ask me what I would be doing if I wasn ’ t working in spa , I can ’ t think of anything else I ’ d rather be doing , it ’ s only spa .”
Today , Wayland-Smith applies her decades of spa experience and expertise to leading spa teams at the pinnacle of their careers in opening and operating some of the most prestigious venues in the U . S . Recently , she guided a four-month project at the Spa at Sea Island Resort in Georgia , working alongside Executive Director of Spa & Wellness Cecilia Hercik .“ We relied on Jennifer to keep us grounded ,” says Hercik .“ Jenn ’ s not just a spa professional , she became my business partner . She said the hard things I needed to hear and became the ying to my yang . This mature partnership position of having the director of spa and the spa director consultant co-steering the organization ’ s operations and financial performance worked wonderfully for us .”
Wayland-Smith will be presented the 2023 Dedicated Contributor Award at the 31st annual ISPA Conference taking place May 9-13 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas , Nevada . n