Bethany Jessee's Hand & Stone Story - February Employee Spotlight

My journey starts within the four walls of a Hand & Stone spa. After moving to a new town and needing a job, I applied at the local Hand & Stone. I was hesitant about a job focused on sales as it was not what I was used to, but I was thrilled nonetheless to be offered a position as a Spa Associate. After several short months at the front desk during the busiest season of the year, I was granted the trust of the franchisee I worked for and offered the opportunity to become the spa manager. This was my first leadership position and I was terrified, but I had grown close with the team and knew we needed something more. I knew that I would do whatever I could to help them be successful even if I wasn’t sure how to do that just yet. After several years and countless adventures alongside my team, I had to relocate. This move pulled me too far away from the spa to continue as a manager, but this wasn’t to be the end of my Hand & Stone journey. The franchisee I worked for saw something in me, and I will be forever grateful she put my name forward just when the Corporate Operations Team was searching for their next Franchise Operations Consultant. After several interviews, I was presented with the opportunity of a lifetime-the chance to join the Hand & Stone corporate team.

In my nine years with Hand & Stone, five of those with the corporate team, I’ve worn many hats and each role taught me something different. My role as a Spa Manager taught me the reality of what happens within a spa. It taught me what approaches are realistic for a Franchisee and their team to accomplish, and what may be unachievable in the moment. It also reinforced that the true role of a leader is to serve. Each spa is made up of people with real lives and unique strengths and challenges. There is no one-size-fits-all management style because a great manager can flex their approach with their team.

I carried this knowledge into my role as a Franchise Operations Consultant and, while I had much to learn about the corporate side of Hand & Stone, I was able to confidently shape my recommendations based on the reality of the business. This helped me in my goal to be a true partner to franchisees. My role as a Senior Franchise Operations Consultant taught me how to be a mentor. I was able to share my experiences with my peers and help them chart their own paths with the franchisees they supported. This was when I truly found my passion-guiding others on our team. This was also the first time in my career I advocated for myself. I will never forget the moment I told my boss, Meghan Lally, that I would be the next Director of Operations. Before long, I was. This was the most challenging transition. My role as a Director of Operations started at the beginning of 2020, and just as I was beginning to get my footing, the world changed. In the blink of an eye, we went from challenging ourselves as a company to reach new heights to trying to hold everything together. Being a new leader during this time taught me the importance of flexibility. We needed to adapt and learn how to navigate new unknowns and flexibility would be key during this time. It also showed me the truth of my own resiliency. This time was one you could either let make or break you, and I was determined it would be the former.

As we moved into 2021, the adaptability of our company meant there were many niches created with no one to fill them. Two such niches were operational support on price increases in our new operating system, and operational support for Resales. Filling these taught me the importance of strong communication and partnership with other departments within our corporate team. It challenged me to understand the overall picture, rather than just my perspective. Solutions needed to be ones that worked on multiple levels, not just operations. This was not truly what fulfilled me however-it was my passion for coaching and guiding others, and so I became involved in the onboarding of new Franchise Operations Consultants. Being a part of the growth of each member of my team and helping them discover their passions is what I love the most. This is how I feel I truly serve our franchisees the most. Each member of the Operations Team is dedicated to delivering excellent support consistently to our franchisees. Sometimes this is straightforward, but it can also be a challenge. Knowing each member of my team has the confidence and knowledge to partner with franchisees to navigate each new challenge and achieve their goals is the most fulfilling part of my role as an Assistant VP of Operations. It will be what continues to challenge me in my own growth with Hand & Stone, and what motivates me to help my team reach new heights of success in their own individual journeys.