Gina Preziosa


The cosmetic industry was already mature and it felt like the next step should be in spa as it was an emerging industry at the time. Spa was new and different. It was about changing what cannot be seen as much as it is about changing what can be seen. I knew I had found what I wanted to do.
The cosmetic industry was already mature and it felt like the next step should be in spa as it was an emerging industry at the time. Spa was new and different.

VP, Sales and Marketing, Shankara Skincare

Many things unite the people that work in the spa industry. The desire to improve lives other than just our own, the determination to play a part in solving some of society’s health problems, and the willingness to give customers an experience that helps them to convalesce and make their day just that little bit better. The list goes on. Add another thing: travel.

It may be clichéd to say that travel broadens the mind, but Gina Preziosa, VP of Sales and Marketing at Shankara Skincare, is living proof. After all, surely not many people would drop everything in their mid-thirties’s to go and live with a family in Morocco for a while.

“My friends thought I was crazy”. No surprise there.

It might seem crazy to most people – although this was in 1992, and the world was a very different place, particularly in terms of relations between the Muslim world and the non-Muslim world. So Gina leaped at the chance. “I had been travelling in Spain and Morocco and our guide was Moroccan. He invited me to come back and stay with his family. I couldn’t get the offer out of my mind, so three months later I contacted him and told him I was coming.”

This wasn’t the huge metropolis that is Casablanca or the tourist city of Marrakesh, both of which have long histories of welcoming westerners. This was Rabat, a major city but still a far less common destination. The family spoke no English, and Gina did not speak their language. But it turned into a life-shaping event.

“By the end of my stay I was wearing local clothes and looked Moroccan. I had learned so much, things that I could not have learned any other way. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone, and while all of my other travel had been great experiences I felt that this would give me something deeper, which it did. That includes a deeper understanding of the Muslim faith.”

Not long after she returned from Morocco, Gina took a better-trodden path, the one that brought her into the spa industry. Like so many of our journeys, it was also one that was also about finding deeper meaning. A decade in cosmetic sales had left her wanting to concentrate on inner health rather than what is, by its nature, no more than skin deep.

“The cosmetic industry was already mature and it felt like the next step should be in spa as it was an emerging industry at the time. Spa was new and different. It was about changing what cannot be seen as much as it is about changing what can be seen. I knew I had found what I wanted to do.”

Spa was a way for Gina to stay in beauty and retail, and transfer skills that were in short supply. “Spa was much more interesting to me but my experience in cosmetics was very useful. The cosmetics business was very aggressive, in a good way, it had its act together then and spa was in early development. In those days it perhaps didn’t take itself seriously enough, it needed people a bit more like me!”

Lots of ISPA members will know Gina (she has been to almost every ISPA Conference – our hero!), but what they may not know is that she considers herself a very private person. You may not find her on the dance floor, but you will find her in deep conversations conecting with old and new friends. This is what she enjoys the most about ISPA.

One of the defining characteristics that connects us in the spa world is our willingness to seize opportunities and look deeper within when they present themselves to us. In many ways Gina’s travel and discovery story is very different. But in others it’s very similar. That’s what makes the spa world such a special place.


The cosmetic industry was already mature and it felt like the next step should be in spa as it was an emerging industry at the time. Spa was new and different. It was about changing what cannot be seen as much as it is about changing what can be seen. I knew I had found what I wanted to do.