In our fast-paced global society, everyone wants instantaneous results. Just maybe though, slow and steady can still win the race if you embrace the challenges along the way.
For Vanessa Main, director of spa development and operations across Asia Pacific for Hilton Worldwide, it has been her hard work, foresight and a good dose of humour that has accompanied her journey from the bottom up. Even across the phone, Main comes across as affable but grounded, as someone who gives old-school work ethics a modern twist; the former to drive her performance and the latter to make her stand out.
“When I was 17 I began studying for a Bachelor of Exercise Science degree and became very interested in massage therapy and how it can support recovery and prevention of sports injuries,” Main recalls in her friendly Australian accent. She then obtained a Diploma in Remedial Massage, which naturally required practice. “I became best friend to many,” Main says laughingly.
When she first entered the spa industry, it was nascent and very different to how we recognise it today. “The sophistication of the industry has grown enormously,” Main reflects. “Twenty years ago it was a nice place to go. Today, it’s about your lifestyle, results and the whole mental and emotional aspect. It’s come a long way in what it means and what people use it for.”
Basically, spas weren’t taken seriously 20 years ago, which in itself was a massive challenge for Main. Even after gaining respectable experience, it was still daunting for her stepping into her current role. “I thought, ‘oh my God, what have I gotten myself into?’ We’ve come such a long way since then. I’m really proud of what we have achieved over the last five years.