Spa People in the News
ISPA to Recognize the Humanitarian
Efforts of Deborah Szekely
LEXINGTON, Ky. - A spa industry pioneer who has dedicated
more than 65 years to defining and enhancing the spa experience will
be honored during the 2005 International SPA Association Conference
& Expo, Sept. 30 - Oct. 3 in Dallas, Texas, United States. Deborah
Szekely, founder of Rancho La Puerta and Golden Door, will be presented
with ISPA's 2005 Alex Szekely Humanitarian Award on Friday, Sept. 30.
"As ISPA celebrates its 15th anniversary, it is
an honor for us to recognize a woman who has dedicated more than six
decades to improving humanity through the spa experience," said
ISPA Chairman Kate Mearns. "Deborah Szekely's sincere passion for
the spa industry, as well
as her many contributions to its growth, are an inspiration to us all."
Szekely has been involved with ISPA from its inception.
She kicked off the first ISPA Conference in September 1991 with an inspirational
keynote speech that led to her being named "Honorary ISPA Chairman
for Life." Szekely is also an honorary member of the ISPA Foundation
Board and long-time member of the association.
"I have had the good fortune to be able to make a
difference," said Deborah Szekely. "The spa world is always
on the cutting edge and always presents each member opportunities galore."
In 2002, ISPA changed the name of the Humanitarian Award
to the Alex Szekely Humanitarian Award, to ensure that the late Alex
Szekely's vision for ISPA and humanity continue to resonate for years
to come. Deborah Szekely accepted the award on her son's behalf in 2002
and has since presented the award to Dr. Kenneth Cooper, founder of
the Cooper Institute and Aerobics Center and Ruth Stricker, founder
of The Marsh, a Center for Balance and Fitness.
Some of the criteria considered for potential recipients
of this award include their contributions toward integrative medicine,
active promotion of preventive health and appropriate lifestyle behavioral
changes that contribute to longevity and quality of life. Szekely's
life work typifies these criteria. She is known worldwide as the founding
"godmother" of the mind/body/fitness movement. In 1940, Szekely
and her now-deceased husband Edmond Szekely founded Rancho La Puerta
in Tecate, Baja Calif. and in 1958 she established Golden Door in Escondido,
Szekely has devoted her life to public service. A daughter
of immigrant parents, Szekely is the founder of a work-in-progress,
the New Americans Immigration Museum and Learning Center. The museum
is the first to recognize the shifts in population, the recent tidal
wave of immigrants, the importance of connecting new immigrants with
the values of their newly adopted country and with their peers, to honor
their journey and the culture of their country of origin.
In 1991, she founded Eureka Communities, a national leadership
training program for CEOs of nonprofit organizations. She served as
Eureka's president through Dec. 1995 and is currently chair emeritus.
From 1984 to 1990, Szekely was president of the Inter-American Foundation,
an independent agency of the United States government created by Congress
to support self-help efforts of the poor throughout Latin America and
the Caribbean. As a U.S. diplomat with the IAF, Szekely worked in all
but three countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, and authored
program innovations that reached a larger percent of the needy populace,
while increasing cost effectiveness and accountability of U.S. development
Szekely has received many awards for community service.
In 2002, the former Presidents of San Diego Rotary gave the title "Mrs.
San Diego" to Szekely, the fourth woman in their history so honored.
The San Diego Union-Tribune, in reprinting her speech acknowledging
the honor, titled her "San Diego Icon." Other awards include
the Morgan Award for Community Service from LEAD and Humanitarian of
the Year from The National Conference for Community and Justice.
In its 15th year, the ISPA Conference & Expo is the spa industry's
proven resource for education and networking. For additional details
on the Conference, visit www.experienceispa.com.
ISPA is recognized worldwide as the leading professional organization
and voice of the spa industry. Founded in 1991, ISPA's membership is
comprised of more than 2,500 health and wellness facilities and providers
from 73 countries. ISPA strives to advance the professionalism of the
spa industry by providing invaluable educational and networking opportunities,
to promote the value of the spa experience to society and to be the
authoritative voice of the spa industry.