Carly Donahue


I always knew that I wanted to work here. I was spending time at the spa as a guest and it was there that my journey of self-awareness really began and where I discovered what I really wanted to do.
I always knew that I wanted to work here. I was spending time at the spa as a guest and it was there that my journey of self-awareness really began.

Marketing Specialist, The Spa At The Hotel Hershey

The spa is many things to many people. A place of healing and of relaxing, a place to make life changes, a place to create real impact on lives. And of course, the spa is also a place to indulge, to add a little bit of pampering into the routine of life. For Carly Donahue, just a year and a half into her spa career, our industry has been more than those things: it has been her source of joy.

For many people, seeking joy in our lives isn’t something we readily admit to. In the modern, fast-paced world where so much value is measured only on dollar and cent terms, it seems like an almost trite goal. But anyone who thinks that knows nothing about our industry and its ability to transform lives.

Carly is candid about where she found herself as a young adult. “Three things defined my life before I started working in the spa industry: growing up with an alcoholic father, then witnessing my father-in-law’s passing and in turn having to raise my husband’s younger brothers. I don’t remember an exact moment but I do remember asking myself if I wanted these things to define me. The answer was very clear to me: I didn’t.”

At that point in her life, Carly knew she wanted to be involved in helping people get healthy. She had moved to, of all places, Hershey, Pennsylvania, home of the eponymous chocolate. It may seem like an odd juxtaposition – after all, you’re not going to find too much Hershey’s chocolate in spas! But for Carly, that wasn’t the point. The point was that being in Hershey fills people with joy.

Like so many of her spa peers, she started off in the healthcare industry. If she was ever going to leave that job, she knew it was going to be for Hershey Entertainment & Resorts.

“I always knew that I wanted to work here. I was spending time at the spa as a guest and it was there that my journey of self-awareness really began and where I discovered what I really wanted to do. I kept on telling myself, don’t wait for opportunity to come to you, go make opportunities happen. So I made it a point to put myself out there, meet the right people, and eventually things started to happen.”

With so many changes in the healthcare industry, the transition to spa was relatively straightforward for Carly. Healthcare is increasingly about preventative healthcare, about wellness, and about keeping active and eating right. Like others before her, Carly was instantly taken with the drive and determination of guests in the spa to improve their health preventatively rather than reactively.

“I’m a fitness enthusiast, but even I get caught up in the day to day grind of working long hours. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in that, but working here has given me a unique opportunity to see how people are changing their lives in a positive way. The spa is about people who have chosen a different way, people who are choosing wellness.”

Optimism is another thing that dominates Carly’s outlook on life, family and work. “I’m very goal-oriented, so I like to have a clear direction but that takes time and dedication. It’s the sort of thing I see daily in the spa, and it inspires me to maintain my own goals and outlook.”

The spa industry and ISPA aren’t just about people who have been in the industry for years. It’s also about welcoming those that are new to it, inspiring them to make this business as inspiring, powerful, and transformational as it can be and ultimately uncovering the joy that lives inside us all.


I always knew that I wanted to work here. I was spending time at the spa as a guest and it was there that my journey of self-awareness really began and where I discovered what I really wanted to do.