Taking 10 with...Simon Marxer

Taking 10 with...Simon Marxer

Sunday 23rd September 2018

By Michelle Hammond

Q1 - How did your childhood influence your work ethic and attitude towards business?

I think the greatest impact on my work ethic was seeing my mother’s approach to her career. Each day she would transition from an Architecture Preservation professional to single parent. She was and is tireless and her self-discipline is something I still strive to emulate.

Q2 - What do you believe the principles of a successful business are today?

I feel that the principle I would place a priority on is clear vision of what differentiates your business from others in the marketplace – knowing what makes your offerings special. Once you have identified your differentiator, you need to focus on the customer experience. It is important to have a pulse on what your customer wants and needs. Your customer’s priorities should drive your product and its
delivery.

Another critical driver of success is continuing to seek improvement. The marketplace is always shifting and changing. You should never fall in love with what you do and how you do it to a point where you aren’t open to change. If you refuse to evolve you will be left behind.

Q3 - Looking back, what was your best business decision?

I have to say my best business decision was when I started trusting my own experience when it came to innovation. I spent a good part of my career thinking that convention was a result of the brightest minds in the industry. When I stopped assuming that others knew something I didn’t and decided to try new things and new approaches to my business practices, everything changed. I began asking ‘why not’ and it has been responsible for the innovation that has driven a great deal of the professional results I have achieved.
 
Q4 - Who has influenced you the most through your career?

Throughout my career I have been fortunate to work with many talented and incredible professionals, such as Miraval’s Global Head Marc W. Ellin, each of whom have forced me to grow and learn. These people have shaped my understanding of the responsibility and privilege of leading a team. The wide range of perspectives and generosity of the people that I have had a chance to work with has influenced me a great deal and set a high bar for me to work toward each day.

Q5 - What was your most difficult / worst business decision?

Oh, there have been so many that it is hard to pick a worst but each of those decisions have taught me a lot about myself and in turn have shaped not only my career, but the person I am today.

Q6 - What would you say was the single most advantageous character trait for success?

A drive to learn. Without a doubt this is the most critical trait for success. When we seek to learn from others we increase our potential exponentially. If we choose not to learn from others we are limiting ourselves to only what we know and our own ideas. Being open to learning and asking for the help of others helps us exchange ideas and grow in our careers. Nothing I have ever achieved has been without the help of those around me and that is something I am incredibly proud of.

Q7 - What happens when you’re stressed or overwhelmed?

Like any professional I can find myself stressed out, but I have learned to channel that energy in a productive way. When stressed or overwhelmed I focus on resolving or improving the issues or concerns at hand rather than avoiding them. I’ve generated many new insights or innovations by pushing myself to find resolutions. This focus makes me a terrible dinner companion when under pressure or on deadline, but I try to make up for it by picking up the bill as often as possible.

Q8 - How do you invest in your own wellbeing. How do you look after yourself?

I would say like many people a wellness practice is always a work in progress for me. As I get older I realize how dramatically my performance diminishes should I not care for myself and my wellbeing. I try to devote some of my day to a variety of practices.

First, I take time every day for gratitude. At least once a day, I like to tell someone why I am grateful for them. Second, I pay attention to my stress levels and make time at least twice a day for ten minutes to focus on my breath and bring attention to the present moment. Remembering that our breath is never in the past and never in the future but is always in the present moment, grounds me. Third, I try to eat foods that will leave me feeling good after eating them and not just good while I am eating them. This cuts out a great deal from your diet that can leave you feeling diminished. Fourth, I try to prioritize sleep. I get to bed at a consistent time and shut off my phone or iPad at least an hour before bed.

Also, of note is that I prioritize time with friends regularly. No matter how tired I am from travel or the demands of work, I make sure to schedule time to be with people that provide a social reinforcement and get me out of my own way. I have never thought to myself, ‘I really wish I hadn’t spent that time with people I care about.’ 

Q9 - If you could change one thing about the spa and wellness industry what would it be and why?

If I could change anything about the spa and wellness industry I would make it more accessible. The industry’s overall message of taking care of oneself is so incredibly powerful and important. Unfortunately, not all people have the resources to develop a sustainable wellness practice. One of our priorities at Miraval is to make wellness practices more accessible and reach a broader demographic through a variety of charitable and educational initiatives.

Q10 - Finally, what’s your favorite quote or the best advice you’ve ever been given?

“No kind action ever stops with itself. One kind action leads to another. Good example is followed. A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves.”
― Amelia Earhart


FLASH FACTS - FOR FUN SECTION

1. What’s your favorite book?

Business book is Danny Meyer’s Setting the Table

2. What’s your favorite film of all time?

Gallipoli, it inspired me to go to Australia when I was 19 years old.

3. If you could have dinner with anyone, past or present, who would it be and why?

If I just had to pick one person from all time! That is too hard to answer! Someone I admire a great deal is Mark Hoplamazian the CEO of Hyatt. I had a chance to meet him once and felt smarter after just talking to him.

4. Your perfect dinner is?

My Thursday night supper club with good friends. The menu always changes based on the theme of the night, so much fun!

5. Your go to drink is?

A really strong IPA

6. Your favourite sweet treat is?

I love chocolate chip cookies. We make some chocolate avocado cookies at Miraval that are out of this world and only four ingredients.

7. What’s your favourite essential oil / scent?

Sandalwood

8. You go for a treatment - what do you have and why?

I am spoiled! I would walk up the hill and have a Miraval Massage with anyone there.

9.What makes you laugh to your belly?

My friends, every time we get together

10.What’s your favourite season?

Summer

11. What’s your favourite colour?

Blue

12. Your favourite time of day is?

Evening, it is usually when I get to decompress from pushing hard all day.

13. What’s your current TV guilty secret?

I am obsessed with cars and everything automotive. I can watch a collector car auction for hours.

14. Magic dust - you can learn one new skill instantly, what is it?

Play piano! I was actually told to drop music as a hobby at age 9 by my music teacher, clearly I have not recovered.

After more than 20 years of experience, Simon Marxer joined Miraval Group as director of spas. At Miraval Group, Marxer uses his expertise to oversee all spas and create new and innovative treatments and services that uphold the brand’s longstanding position as a pioneer and thought-leader in the spa space.

Prior to his homecoming to Miraval, Marxer worked at Red Flower, a luxury beauty brand, where he was the vice president of business development. Before joining Red Flower, Marxer served as the spa director at Miraval Arizona. While working at the property, Marxer oversaw the spa’s renovation and rebranding and conceptualized the design and launch of over 40 signature Miraval branded services. Marxer has also served as the spa director of The Boulders Waldorf Astoria Collection, managing director of Cornelia Day Resort and the spa director of Canyon Ranch. Marxer has a Bachelor of Arts from University of Vermont.

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