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Meet Jeannette Handson of Ocean Crest Spa

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jeannette Handson.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Jeannette. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I grew up in Ecuador in a small country in South America, a home to some of the richest bio and cultural diversity in the world. My parents were in love with our country and what it had to offer; therefore, we traveled as a family from beaches to snowcapped mountains and tropical forests, discovering within these contrasting climates, a variety of environments and cultures. My love of natural wellness was influenced by my ancestors and our local “curanderos”. In my early twenties, my travels took me to England and then Brazil where I was exposed to different types of healing. Interestingly enough, when I came to this country, I studied hotel management and did an internship at a local resort that landed me into the spa world.

While I was doing my internship, I was approached by the general manager of the hotel and asked to assist in overseeing the spa while the director traveled to her native country. The thought of running a department I was not familiar with made me really nervous, but I come from a place where we have to rise to the opportunities presented to us and do our best to make it work. Upon the return of the director, I decided to enroll myself in various classes related to the wellness and beauty industry. Taking all those classes re-acquainted me with my roots and upbringing. Everything came full circle for me. Eventually, I was offered the position of Spa Director for L’Auberge Del Mar where I served for almost 17 years. In 2012, I was approached by Wave Crest Resorts and offered the position of Spa Director for Ocean Crest Spa where I have served for seven years.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has been a wonderful journey, full of learning opportunities. In life, there will be challenges and obstacles to some degree or another. It’s when we are faced with adversity that we can grow and learn from these experiences. The outcome, when put in the right perspective, can make us a better business, place or person. One of my challenges was facing customers, others in the industry or at the workplace that had pre-conceived ideas of me because of my Latin background and accent.

My gentle demeanor was mistaken for weakness. But I made up my mind early in my career to always be transparent and use those obstacles as opportunities to enlighten people. My multi-cultural heritage and my travels abroad gave me such a unique lens on what it means to carry different perspectives as a result of different life experiences. It helped me to see people for what they are and what they could become. It has also allowed me to respect the uniqueness of my employees and the talent they bring to the table.

Please tell us about Ocean Crest Spa.
Although we have a wonderful array of unique treatments, we are known for creating and offering our guests experience. We provide a sanctuary where they can relax and feel cared for. We build a connection of trust and respect. We have highly motivated and gifted therapists that embrace the philosophy of giving ourselves to assist our guests into deep alignment and helping melt away any physical, emotional and environmental stress, pain and anxiety.

Our purpose is to assist in a journey of self-discovery and enlightenment. I believe that is exactly what sets Ocean Crest Spa apart, that level of interpersonal involvement and connection — giving our guest the attention and pampering they deserve.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I grew up in a multicultural and diverse environment that allowed me to be adventurous, curious, friendly and open-minded. I was a young girl outside of the box. At the age of nine, I was in an all-boys’ soccer team and boxing team. Back then only boys played those sports. I was fascinated by the natural resources of my country, a powerhouse of healing botanicals, minerals, and ancient healing practices.

I was very curious and always wanted to know more by reading about the subject of interest and submersing myself in the culture and its environment. That naturally shaped my thinking and approach to holistic healing and wellness. I explored our jungles, climbed our beautiful mountains, visited different towns and regions, and enjoyed our gastronomy that was like none other. My father embraced my free spirit and allowed me to travel the world by myself at the age of 14. I wanted to explore new countries and savor new foods and experience new cultures. What an eye-opener that was!

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Image Credit:
Photos courtesy of Cape Rey Carlsbad Beach Resort

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