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Washngton spa summit June 24 attracting innovators

Twenty five years ago at the Georgetown residence of Deborah Szekely, the concept for an international spa association took shape. Deborah’s message inspires us today. With the 75th anniversary of her Rancho La Puerta approaching, she is busy with new projects, notably Wellness Warriors, and serves as honorary chair of the Washington Spa Alliance Syposium at the National Press Club June 24.

Defining innovation, Philippe Bourguignon at Revolution LLC in DC says it is sparked by allowing people to make mistakes and letting outsiders bring in new ideas. Halfway between spa and wellness, the next big thing is well-being, At the epicenter of the revolution in technology and communications, he sees the physical experience of spa bridging the gap between health care and healthy lifestyles.

Dr. Pam Peeke is a great exemplar of changing times in medicine. From her work on alternative and complementary medicine at the National Institute of Health, to her book “Hunger Fix,” and the new Peeke Performance Center for Healthy Living™ in Rockville, Pam has moved wellness into the mainstream.

Red Door Spa is a brand that demonstrates how far we’ve come since Elizabeth Arden opened her Fifth Avenue salon in New York and desert retreat in Arizona. Fittingly, WSPA Chair Sharilyn Abajay will introduce CEO Todd Walter, discussing why it’s not just about innovative products and services.

Bringing together movers and shakers across America, the annual WSPA Symposium has been chaired since the beginning by Mary Bemis, a spa media pioneer. Coordinator Kendra Kobler, recipient of ISPA ‘s Mary Tabacchi scholarship at Cornell University, represents the next generation. And ISPA Foundation Chairman Jeff Kohl tells how we can help.

Discussing innovation: Jeremy McCarthy who is moving from Starwood to Hong Kong as Director of Spa for the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, former Green Spa Network director Ted Ning, now CEO of Innovators International based in Denver, Spa Heroes founder Jeannie Jarnot; and veteran chef at Rancho La Puerta and Glen Ivy Hot Springs Bill Wavrin.

Offering a new take on health insurance, Matt Wiggins says spa visits should reward you for staying well.

A rising young star from North Carolina, chef Tim Morton, will collaborate with the National Press Club kitchen crew and Executive Chef Susan Delbert on a menu like none other in Washington. Registration is online at

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