As we prepare for the 10th Anniversary Congress, we took a moment to chat with 2018 Congress Committee Chair and VP Retail Sales for A La Mode, Tracie Wertz about what inspired her to get involved and what attendees can anticipate at this milestone event for GSN.
What inspired you to volunteer as Congress Committee Chair?
Congress is my “Do-Not-Miss” event of the spa and wellness industry. I attended my first Congress in 2012 and it profoundly affected me on both an emotional and spiritual level. It was such a unique experience and I was immediately hooked! Since then, I have never missed Congress and thought I would step up and Chair this pinnacle 10th Anniversary event – plus I have the support and experience of the past chairs to help me put together our best Congress yet! It is an important time in our lives. When we look at what is happening to our planet and environment in conjunction with the divisive social and political climate, we can agree it is time to take action and restore/repair our vital community and planet.
Tell us about the focus for the 10th Anniversary Congress
Having completed our strategic planing process as a GSN Board Member, it became clear that we needed to create more action in our industry for a vital planet and vital people. So the theme came about very organically: Inspire Action and Create Community through Storytelling. Whether the stories we tell are personal or professional, this year’s Congress will bring together our powerful and passionate community leaders to inspire action. Our panel of speakers will range from sustainability experts and business authorities to personal vitality specialists and spiritual leaders. We are incorporating music, art and other methods of storytelling to engage our participants and prepare them to cause positive change in their own communities. Congress always combines education, business-building skills, networking and personal rejuvenation. This year’s Congress, at the beautiful Carmel Valley Ranch, will provide us with the natural environment to really connect, recharge, play, learn, share and create. I am excited to see what comes out of Congress!
What are some key takeaways for attendees?
From a professional standpoint, Congress is the ultimate connector. I have made lifelong friends and met new clients at Congress. Sustainably speaking, our attendees leave more inspired every year with the knowledge that we CAN make a difference and reverse the negative effects our planet is experiencing. This milestone event, in particular, will provide participants with clear action plans and opportunities to get involved. It will speak to everyone in an individual way, but inspire us to work together to bring about important changes in myriad areas. And personally, it becomes one of those rare opportunities to remind ourselves why we are in this industry. With the ability to combine personal time within the Congress agenda, everyone feels refreshed and happy!
How has attending Congress impacted your business?
As a vendor, I am always looking to attract new spa clients at Congress. And while Congress is not a buyer-supplier event, I have found that Congress is an opportunity to deepen relationships and obtain new business in a more consultive way. It is all-inclusive and educational networking event for everyone. The activities, excursions, breakout sessions and open time allow participants to create deeper connections and just be your authentic self without the pressure of buying or selling. The energy is magic and the relationships you make are authentic.
How is Congress evolving to support the industry’s growth?
As part of the larger wellness industry, Congress addresses all areas that impact the spa industry – from beauty and ingredients to workplace wellness to new ideas for sustainable solutions in all areas of your business – to attract the lucrative global wellness consumer. Within the 10th Anniversary Congress theme, we aspire to help our participants “create community.” Spas will succeed in the future if they become the epicenter of wellness within their local communities, something that I consult on and speak about often when working with my spa clients. At Congress, we provide the tools to not only grow your personal community, but leave Congress with ideas and support to strengthen your spa’s community and offer competitive advantages to achieve even greater financial success.
What is your sustainability success story?
My favorite example is when I was personally inspired at the 2013 Congress in Santa Fe by the “Raise the River” documentary from the Redford Foundation. I am now super aware of water usage and have dramatically reduced wasted water use. Growing up in the Midwest, water has always been abundant. After learning more about the water supply in the southwest region of country, I was shocked at how drastic the differences were and how fragile our water supply is! Education is the key to awareness and has the power to affect change.
How do you inspire action?
Sustainably – I hope I have inspired many friends and family to be more eco-conscious in areas of water consumption, recycling efforts, eating whole/organic foods and removing meat from their diets. And walking or bicycling versus driving whenever possible.
Vitality – As a cancer survivor (it will be seven years at Congress) who lost a limb to the disease, I have personally inspired others by never giving up, by knowing that any negative situation can become a positive one and by persevering to achieve my own dreams and goals.