I’ve been wrestling with this question since mid-June . . .
That’s when the judging period opened for the 2020 Women in Wellness Awards. I’ve been a judge since its inception back in 2017—and I take my duties seriously. The Women in Wellness Awards were founded by Julie Keller Callaghan, past Editor and Publisher of the trade magazine, American Spa. Julie’s vision was to celebrate “the many brilliant women who are a part of the [spa and wellness] industry who can offer insight and advice.” That first year, we waded through more than 500 nominees!
Each year, a number of industry women are nominated in a variety of categories, ranging from Educators to Spa Directors to Marketers to Philanthropists to Environmental Leaders. And each year, in pretty much each category, there are a healthy number of well-deserving women vying to be named the Winner or the Runner-up. It’s a big deal to win. It says something.
This year, however, something different happened that may say something more important—even if we don’t want to hear it.
In the Environmental Leader category, there were only two nominees—and one of those women is a judge. I advised that the Environmental Leader category be deleted from this year’s awards because there was no competition—but for whatever reason, it was not. So the two women won by default—and our industry got to quietly dodge what seems to me the really important question: Where are our Environmental Leaders? What happened?
I realize of course that many in our industry are out of work and many more are struggling to reopen or stay open. When confronted by a pandemic, fires, and hurricanes, it may be hard to heed the recent call of 94-year-old David Attenborough, “We must re-wild the world!” Yet if we follow our own good advice and take a deep breath, I believe we all know at the very core of our being and at the very heart of our professional calling that the multiple crises threatening our livelihoods are all rooted in environmental destruction.
We are healers. Our calling is to “Be the change you wish to see.” Our industry—and our world—needs environmental leaders now more than ever. So I’m asking you to please send me stories of the women you know who are doing good environmental things in the spa and wellness world, and we’ll share their stories (email me at firstname.lastname@example.org).