coNvErsatioNs WITH JEFF KOHL A dedicated contributor is not just someone who gives their time and skills to support an organization, but someone whose life’s work has been devoted to furthering the industry you all love. JEFF KOHL is the former COO of Spa & Club Ideations, former business development consultant to the mayo Clinic, COO at Elizabeth Arden Red door Spas, and current Area manager at Barrett Business Services, Inc. (BBSI). And those are just his job titles! Kohl also served as chairman of the ISPA Foundation, chairman and treasurer of the ISPA Board of directors and led ISPA’s implementation of an association reserve fund along with international restructuring and membership enrichment programs. For over 25 years, Kohl has been using his expertise in hospitality management, marketing, sales, retailing, operations, and programming and services to further the mission of ISPA and lift the entire spa industry to unprecedented levels. He is the deﬁnition of a dedicated contributor, which is why ISPA is proud to present him with the dedicated Contributor Award this September at the 2018 ISPA Conference & Expo. For this month’s Conversations, we chatted with Kohl about what being a member of ISPA has meant to him and what he sees in the future of the spa industry. Pulse: When did you first hear about IsPA and what prompted you to join? Kohl: Twenty-five years ago, in 1993, when I was opening the Disney Institute. We had not started construction and needed to figure out what to do, so I attended my first ISPA Conference & Expo and I knew I wanted to contribute to and become part of the spa industry. P: Why is giving back to IsPA so important to you? K: The spa industry is a giving community and ISPA’s members and staff have given a lot to me. So, I felt it was important to give back to the association and the community. When someone has the means and the corporate support, it’s their duty and privilege to help others grow. 32 PULSE ■ July 2018 P: What was the most rewarding part of serving as IsPA Chairman? IsPA Foundation Chairman? K: The most rewarding and enjoyable part of serving as ISPA Chairman and ISPA Foundation Chairman was the ability to help forge the direction of the industry for those working in the industry and for future leaders. It is truly humbling when you can make an impact that defines an industry. I always enjoyed working with the ISPA team and forged long-term relationships with many of them, especially Lynne McNees. P: Why is IsPA memb ership so important for spa industry leaders? K: ISPA membership is critical for spa industry leaders for two main reasons: education and camaraderie. ISPA’s research is invaluable and continues to improve our industry knowledge with every study. The camaraderie is felt throughout the ISPA community—from new members to those who have been around for years—it’s a very nurturing and welcoming family. P: What do you think is one of the biggest hurdles the spa industry currently faces? K: In my opinion, there are two big hurdles facing the spa industry. First, the lack of business knowledge at all levels, which contributes to the need for qualified management and staff. Second, I feel the industry is pricing itself out for most consumers. There have been conversations about both topics for years and it’s something that needs to be thoughtfully addressed.