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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

News

Wellness industry urgently requires diversification of workforce, says Rianna Riego

Industry consultant and self-claimed 'wellness passionista', Rianna Riego, believes the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement has reawakened society to the reality of a system that still discriminates on the basis of colour, gender, age and religion – and the spa industry is no exception.

“Being a darker-skinned female and immigrant from a third world country, my career path in the US has been ‘coloured’ with many stories of bias and discrimination,” Riego told Spa Business.

“These experiences, unfortunately, at times included my beloved spa industry, which prides itself on being a diverse tribe of professionals. My personal experience of bias has tended to be subtle and part of the power dynamics within a company, but other incidents were more apparent.”

For example, after 20 years of experience opening, operating, designing and rebranding spas and wellness facilities, Riego had the opportunity to be the face and voice of a brand that she helped envision and develop.

“I was surprised to hear that some of the ownership weren’t comfortable with the idea of me representing the brand,” she explained, “I knew this wasn’t related to my levels of qualification but instead was due to the fact I was older and not white.”

At another facility, Riego shared that she was astonished when a co-owner scolded her for hiring a black male director for fear of ‘scaring’ the predominantly Jewish guests who may find his presence intimidating.

She also went on to say that she has extensive firsthand experience of guests indicating a preference to not have black, Hispanic, gay or older therapists, either verbally or by changing or cancelling their appointments.

“The spa experience is very personal and there are levels of comfort we should respect, but is the discomfort from a white woman being touched by a male African American therapist a cultural issue or privacy right? What should the ideals of our industry be and where do we draw the line?”

Riego feels these complex problems are exacerbated by sexism in the industry.

“Even in a female-dominated workforce, women aren’t fully represented in the corporate decision-making process or hierarchy in the industry in general,” she said.

Looking ahead towards solutions, Riego feels the demand for wellness services is growing but the experienced workforce is shrinking.

“Our industry has not been able to attract a proper representation of the millennial workforce which is now closer to 50 per cent non-white.

She believes it’s now crucial that the next-generation workforce sees more diversity at the helm currently, in order to attract them in future.

“As an industry that started out wanting to heal the world, we need to rediscover and articulate its commitment to humanity and that service is noble – this is our strength and we should champion it.

“Our industry was borne out of a passion to care for others and now has an opportunity to help heal the world while redefining how the world views wellness – as a lifestyle choice that embraces diversity as its norm.

“Make no mistake, my business success is due not only to my hard work but from people of all backgrounds believing in and supporting me. We can choose to reflect the good and tolerant in society and in doing so, set an example and attract a larger diverse workforce and customer.”

Industry consultant and self-claimed 'wellness passionista', Rianna Riego, believes the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement has reawakened society to the reality of a system that still discriminates on the basis of colour, gender, age and religion – and the spa industry is no exception.
SAB,CPW,CAS,WCM,PHR
2020/THUMB345918_646194_305869.jpg
Latest News
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HCM People
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Interview
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News

Wellness industry urgently requires diversification of workforce, says Rianna Riego

Industry consultant and self-claimed 'wellness passionista', Rianna Riego, believes the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement has reawakened society to the reality of a system that still discriminates on the basis of colour, gender, age and religion – and the spa industry is no exception.

“Being a darker-skinned female and immigrant from a third world country, my career path in the US has been ‘coloured’ with many stories of bias and discrimination,” Riego told Spa Business.

“These experiences, unfortunately, at times included my beloved spa industry, which prides itself on being a diverse tribe of professionals. My personal experience of bias has tended to be subtle and part of the power dynamics within a company, but other incidents were more apparent.”

For example, after 20 years of experience opening, operating, designing and rebranding spas and wellness facilities, Riego had the opportunity to be the face and voice of a brand that she helped envision and develop.

“I was surprised to hear that some of the ownership weren’t comfortable with the idea of me representing the brand,” she explained, “I knew this wasn’t related to my levels of qualification but instead was due to the fact I was older and not white.”

At another facility, Riego shared that she was astonished when a co-owner scolded her for hiring a black male director for fear of ‘scaring’ the predominantly Jewish guests who may find his presence intimidating.

She also went on to say that she has extensive firsthand experience of guests indicating a preference to not have black, Hispanic, gay or older therapists, either verbally or by changing or cancelling their appointments.

“The spa experience is very personal and there are levels of comfort we should respect, but is the discomfort from a white woman being touched by a male African American therapist a cultural issue or privacy right? What should the ideals of our industry be and where do we draw the line?”

Riego feels these complex problems are exacerbated by sexism in the industry.

“Even in a female-dominated workforce, women aren’t fully represented in the corporate decision-making process or hierarchy in the industry in general,” she said.

Looking ahead towards solutions, Riego feels the demand for wellness services is growing but the experienced workforce is shrinking.

“Our industry has not been able to attract a proper representation of the millennial workforce which is now closer to 50 per cent non-white.

She believes it’s now crucial that the next-generation workforce sees more diversity at the helm currently, in order to attract them in future.

“As an industry that started out wanting to heal the world, we need to rediscover and articulate its commitment to humanity and that service is noble – this is our strength and we should champion it.

“Our industry was borne out of a passion to care for others and now has an opportunity to help heal the world while redefining how the world views wellness – as a lifestyle choice that embraces diversity as its norm.

“Make no mistake, my business success is due not only to my hard work but from people of all backgrounds believing in and supporting me. We can choose to reflect the good and tolerant in society and in doing so, set an example and attract a larger diverse workforce and customer.”

Industry consultant and self-claimed 'wellness passionista', Rianna Riego, believes the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement has reawakened society to the reality of a system that still discriminates on the basis of colour, gender, age and religion – and the spa industry is no exception.
SAB,CPW,CAS,WCM,PHR
2020/THUMB345918_646194_305869.jpg

News

The Leisure Database Company (TLDB) has revealed its State of the Fitness Industry Report UK
The Gym Group’s (TGG) plans and profit forecasts were presented to analysts and investors during
A new physical activity programme called Big Sister has been launched in the UK to
Go Fit has been selected by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) as
Ness, a US startup that is developing a range of wellness-driven credit cards, has launched
Following a history of supporting US military and service members, F45 has announced a new
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Hyatt is piloting private gyms in five of its US hotels as part of its
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New fitness franchise, Circuit Society, has signed its first London location in Bayswater. The 3,000sq
Active Nottingham, part of Nottingham City Council, has released a children’s book called Can We
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Innovatise UK Ltd
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Planet Fitness saw its Q1 2022 revenue increase by 66.9 per cent (to US$186.7m) on
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ukactive
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Elevate
Elevate
1 - 20 of 12,213
HCM Magazine
HCM People
Gyms that offer comprehensive programming to a wide demographic are the future. Inclusion not exclusion wins the day
HCM Magazine
Interview
The fitness sector has an unprecedented opportunity to become a credible partner in ensuring the health and wellbeing of the nation, says Mosaic Group MD and new chair of the UK Active Membership Council. He talks to Kate Cracknell
HCM Magazine
Editor's letter
Having a portfolio of more than 1,000 health club locations is the aim of ambitious operators, with this elite category growing fast, creating new dynamics in the market
HCM Magazine
Everyone's talking about
In the wake of the pandemic, is the time ripe to change the language around the role of exercise professionals, and gain greater trust from the healthcare sector?
HCM Magazine
Postbag
As HCM passed its 300th edition milestone, readers shared their thoughts and feelings on HCM’s contribution to the industry in a very special postbag
HCM Magazine
Tech
Each health club has its own unique challenges, but the right tech solution can make all the difference. In the first of a two-part series, specialists share how they’ve solved specific issues
HCM Magazine
Sponsored
Yate Leisure is one of the largest sites in Circadian Trust’s portfolio, with around 4,000 members. Ben Beasley, director of commercial development, explains why they were an early adopter of Technogym Biocircuit, and how the offer has evolved
HCM Magazine
HCM magazine
The pandemic brought about our sector’s biggest ever collaboration on COVID safety data. Lizzie Broughton tells the story
HCM magazine
Being physically active can heal damage caused by diabetes, enabling the activation of a natural system that grows new blood vessels, according to research in the US
HCM magazine
HCM People

Louis Rennocks

Co-founder, Grndhouse
We want Grndhouse to be everywhere: in gyms, hotels, on holidays, at home – it’s boutique fitness in your hand
HCM magazine
Social media influencers cause harm by raising unrealistic expectations of physical perfection, as Andrea Dearden explains
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Fuel the debate about issues and opportunities across the industry. We’d love to hear from you – [email protected]
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Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Core Health & Fitness launches Schwinn X and Z Bikes
Capitalising on Schwinn’s decades of experience and iconic leadership in commercial indoor cycling, Core Health & Fitness announces the arrival of its next generation of indoor cycling bikes – Schwinn X and Z.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Magicline celebrates UK market entry at Elevate
With a focus on globalisation, Magicline has officially launched its software in the UK. As Europe’s leading gym management software company, the company strives to provide the best tools for gym owners to be successful, win new members and elevate their businesses.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Serco Leisure wins 10-year Mansfield contract
Following a competitive tendering process, Serco Leisure and its partner More Leisure Community Trust Limited (MLCT) have been awarded a 10-year contract by Mansfield District Council to operate three centres in the town, starting 1 May 2022.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active to launch new exercise classes to reduce gender gap
As part of their work to break down the barriers that deter women and girls from participating in sport and physical activity, Everyone Active has teamed up with EMD UK to launch new exercise classes linked to the This Girl Can campaign.
Video Gallery
Sport Alliance GmbH
Mindbody, Inc
Total Vibration Solutions / Floors 4 Gyms / TVS Sports Surfaces
Company profiles
Company profile: IONTO Health & Beauty GmbH
IONTO-COMED offers a wide range of treatment beds offering maximum flexibility and the symbiosis of ...
Company profiles
Company profile: TRIB3 International Ltd
First established in Sheffield in January 2016 TRIB3 is a bootcamp boutique studio designed to ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: trade associations
Fitness equipment
A Panatta Sport Srl: Fitness equipment
On demand
Fitness On Demand: On demand
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Whole body cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Whole body cryotherapy
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Salt therapy products
Himalayan Source: Salt therapy products
Property & Tenders
Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire
Carmarthenshire County Council
Property & Tenders
Runcorn
Halton Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
15-16 Jun 2022
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
30-30 Jun 2022
The ICC, Birmingham, Birmingham , United Kingdom
Diary dates
12-13 Sep 2022
Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs® Resort, Lake Buena Vista, United States
Diary dates
25-28 Oct 2022
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
25-28 Oct 2022
Ibiza, Ibiza, Spain
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
17-18 Mar 2023
Tobacco Dock, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
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