Insider's Guide to Spas
Monica Helmstetter


Giving Back: Spas Pushing Limits

Mary Bemis

I love it when spa professionals give back, so I was particularly pleased to learn of Monica Helmstetter’s new initiative, Spas Pushing Limits. Monica is the Event Director for Spatec North America, and given that we’re celebrating Fitness here at Insider’s Guide to Spas, I couldn’t think of a more appropriate time to share her news. There are a lot of good (and fit!) folks in our spa world. Meet Monica.

What exactly is Spas Pushing Limits?

It’s an initiative that I started that I’m super-excited about. A Half Ironman 70.3 that will take place in Victoria BC, on June 4th, its goal is to help raise money for the Eminence Kids Foundation. I’m very proud to say that I currently have 14 people from our industry signed up. Some of us are doing all three disciplines (swimming, biking, and running), and some have formed relay teams.

Can you share with us some of those who have signed on?

Registered individually spa peeps are: Helen Brown from Solage Spa, David Erlich with Spa of the Rockies, Katy Muenter with Eminence, Phil Sconzert with Fitness on Demand, myself—and I also recruited my husband. Registered as a relay team are: Jessica Rae Santora with Epicuren, Bill Toth with Mandara Spas, Nicole Kerchmar with Yon-ka Paris. Scott Michaelis, Michael Matthews, and Danny Chang with Live Love Spa events. Jarrod Muenter, Breanne DesLauriers and Gordon Turnbull with Eminence. There are still quite a few who are considering it,  so I am hoping we will add a few more to our group.

What inspired you to start this initiative?

I have been doing triathlons since I moved to Charleston, five years ago, and I love the sport. Knowing that many others in our industry are as passionate about this sport as I am, I always had a wish to unite likeminded people in our industry and find a good cause/charity that we could raise money for during training.

I spoke with David Erlich about this at ISPA last year,  and he was immediately on board. With his support, it made it easier for me to start planning. Once we decided to do the race in Victoria BC, I reached out to Boldijarre Koronczay [president of Eminence Organic Skin Care] who is headquartered in BC, and offered to help raise money for his charity, Eminence Kids Foundation. This is a non-profit that provides organic meals to sick children in their recovery, healing, and longlasting health. He was also immediately on board (love our industry people).


Long story short, I created a Facebook group, called it #SpasPushingLimits, and started posting pictures and info on this wall. The word quickly spread and a few months later, I had all these people signed up, and a lot of people talking about it :-) It’s so fun to witness the power of social media. I also had Boldijarre make a video that I have posted several times (check it out if you haven’t seen it, it’s hilarious). Julie [Keller, editor in chief and publisher of American Spa magazine) will be joining us as our “race reporter.” She will cover us live on American Spa Facebook during the race.

A few details, for those who’d like to go.

I got some good group rates at the Fairmont Empress in Victoria,  so we will be staying there over the race weekend. The day after the race, we will take the ferry into Vancouver, and with Boldijarre as our guide, our group will be doing a tour of Vancouver, and also making a stop at the Eminence headquarters. We will conclude our journey with a nice dinner hosted by the Eminence team at an iconic restaurant in Vancouver.

I have had such great feedback from so many of you, and really appreciate the support.  Here’s a link to our fundraiser:

Mary Bemis

Mary Bemis

Mary Bemis is editorial director of She is an award-winning spa journalist, honored with Folio's Top Women in Media Award, and the distinguished ISPA Dedicated Contributor Award. In 1997, she launched American Spa magazine, and in 2007, Mary co-founded Organic Spa magazine. A pioneer in the sustainable spa and beauty worlds, Mary is co-curator of Cosmoprof North America's Discover Green Pavilion. She sits on the board of Wellness Warrior, is a Global Wellness Day Advisor and a co-founder of the Washington Spa Alliance.