Meet the 2021 Canadian Spa & Wellness Awards Judging Panel

Amy McDonald

Amy McDonald

Amy is a 30+ year health, wellness and sustainability expert who merges the best in resort hospitality and urban healthcare into integrated business models. A widely recognized and sought-after innovator in transformational health and wellness programming, she is an expert in merging the best of resort hospitality with functional, integrative medicine into holistic models. Over the last 15 years, working with a diverse blend of seasoned industry experts, Amy leads teams through business and concept development and execution on an array of projects with national and global brands to ensure that relevant health and wellness services and facilities are designed to support innovative programming and services.

Her accomplishments have received acclaim in such publications as Travel + Leisure and Condé Nast Traveller, while her expertise has been cited in O, The Oprah Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, and Real Simple, among others.

Amy has been named the Spa Consultant award winner of American Spa’s 2018 Women in Wellness Awards, a finalist in 2017 & 2019, and is Co-Chair of the Dying Well Initiative for Global Wellness Institute (GWI); 2014-2018 Chair of the Global Hot Spring Initiative for Global Wellness  Institute (GWI).

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Chris Ryall

Chris has been a passionate advocate for spa and wellness for more than 30 years while visiting hundreds of spas in more than 85 countries on six continents. A Spa &Wellness Operations Management program graduate, Chris ran a successful tourism and marketing company for more than 20 years with tourism board, airline, tour operator and resort/hotel clients from Australia to Africa. Chris has written about spa and wellness for numerous national print and online publications including Spa Inc., Globe & Mail, Travel Life,, Spa Life, Dreamscapes, WestJet Magazine, Dreamscapes, and many others. Chris has previously sat on the judge’s panel for the Asia Spa Awards and SpaFinder 360 Wellness Travel Awards and has sat on the judging panel for the Canadian Spa & Wellness Awards since its inception in 2015. Chris is a proponent for making spas more inclusive for all genders, generations, and ethnic backgrounds while focusing on mental and physical health benefits.

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Kathryn Gallagher

As a professor at Seneca, Kathryn brings experience both from the business operations and service/sales side of the spa industry, along with the technical, practical side of spa services delivery. She previously served as a resort spa manager, and as a spa consultant, and has organized and opened several spas, both domestic and international. Kathryn is currently serving as Chair of Leading Spas of Canada, the only national member association that leads, supports, and promotes members of Canada’s spa and wellness industry. Members must adhere to the highest standards and practices related to service, hygiene, and safety. She holds an MBA from the University of Guelph’s College of Business and Economics, CIDESCO certification, and an Esthetician diploma from Sheridan College.

Assistance from Seneca College Student

Kareena Thornhill is a recent graduate of Seneca College holding a Diploma as an Esthetician and is continuing her studies for an Advanced Diploma in Esthetics and Spa Therapies. She has brought with her over 10 years of experience in Project Management and business ownership, which allows her to be a multifaceted asset to employers and colleagues alike. Volunteerism is a significant part of her life, as for the past year she gave back by being a Student Mentor with the Seneca Student Mentor in Life and Education (SMILE) Program. Kareena currently works at The TEN SPOT while managing a family-owned business alongside her husband. She aspires to become an Educator/Spa Owner within the industry after having completed her studies at Seneca. With a passion for learning and contributing to the spa industry, Kareena joined Leading Spas of Canada as a Student Member and volunteers on their committees.

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Vivienne O’Keeffe

Vivienne O’Keeffe has been designing and building successful spas and spa management systems for over 25 years. As the owner of Spa Profits Consulting, she brings a number of powerful tools, including extensive formal training, a fierce commitment to turning visions into reality, a passion for excellence, a commitment to environmental sustainability, and the ability to rebuild and rejuvenate systems that help businesses and their employees thrive and prosper.

She personally oversees every detail of a project, using a technical skillset developed through personal, hands-on spa industry involvement.

“Her understanding of the industry and her leadership skills are second to none,” says one client. “She brings a wealth of experience and is able to teach it in an inspiring and empowering way. We renovated, rebranded, changed our spa culture, added new systems, got certified in Spa Quality (ISO 9000 standard) and grew the business substantially year over year, making it profitable. Whether you are a new owner, rebranding, rebuilding or just need to turn over a new leaf, she is one of the best in the industry and will add great value to your business.”

Vivienne’s specialty is achieving growth by focusing on unique guest experiences and journeys – in an environment that mitigates risk to spa owners and guests. She has been a member of the Standards and Practices Committee for the Spa Industry Association of Canada since its inception in 1997, and a co-contributor to ISPA’s Risk Management for Spas online course.

As a writer, Vivienne produces articles for professional publications, is a contributing author to Retail Management for Spas, and most recently collaborated with other industry experts on the Mental Wellness Initiative white paper for the Global Wellness Institute.

Vivienne is the proud recipient of three Outstanding Achievement Awards from Leading Spas of Canada and was invited in 2017, 2018 and 2019 to judge the Canadian Spa & Wellness Awards. She speaks at industry events nationally and internationally.

Her clients include spas, wellness facilities, boutique hotels, resorts, and professional clean conscious skincare and retail product development projects. Her website is


Wanda Love

Wanda Love has been involved in the spa industry for 20+ years, having worked as Director for Santé Spas in Calgary and Victoria, co-chaired the Marketing Task Force for the International Spa Association, and served as CEO for Leading Spas of Canada and the Spa Industry Association of Canada.

Now a spa marketing consultant and freelance spa/travel writer, she works with a range of spa and wellness clients, exploring the diversity of spa experiences available from down the block to around the world, including Kenya, Russia, Japan, Turkey, Bratislava, France, Italy, Bali, Australia, Finland, Iceland, French Polynesia and more.