Team Management & Leaders
TallGrass owner, Gail Ridings, made a career and lifestyle change in 1995 that proved to be a success, both professionally and personally. Following a downsizing trend that continues to be popular among fast-track executives, Gail made the move from high-profile Chicago advertising executive to spa owner in peaceful Evergreen, Colorado.
That's how she created balance in her life and, because she believes it is a critical element in everyone's life, she offers balance to TallGrass guests and staff. Through the relaxation and rejuvenation of specialty spa services that pamper body and soul, the use of Aveda products that promote health and wellness, and a philosophy of life that appreciates the beauty of nature and the time to enjoy it, Gail encourages guests and staff to integrate balance into their lives, too.
For Gail, a balanced lifestyle is built around running a thriving spa business, becoming involved in community projects, and enjoying friends and family. Some of her very best times are spent with husband, Chuck, their dogs (Pepper, Nutmeg and Lilly), cats (Jake and Leo), and foxtrotter horses (Duke, Jet and Jack Flash) enjoying the beautiful Rocky Mountain landscape on horseback, hiking trails and golf course.
You can contact Gail directly at 303-679-4466 or email@example.com
We are pleased to welcome Tarah Howard, our new Spa Director, to the TallGrass family. Tarah comes to us with a resume that includes Canyon Ranch and Life Time Fitness and she has also worked as a Success Coach. All of these are great ingredients for success at TallGrass as Tarah takes on the challenges of managing a staff of caring professionals and running a spa that exceeds everyone's expectations.
One of Tarah's greatest strengths is the way she connects with people, finds their hidden talents and brings them out in a way that maximizes their skills. "I'm always looking for the tools I can provide to help people be their best," she says. "And, I'm so happy to be here, doing what I enjoy most."
Moving to Colorado from Ohio, Tarah found a home in Evergreen, not far from the spa and marvels at the views from her south-facing windows. "There's tons of sunshine," she says, as she discovers one of the best reasons for living in Colorado. She's an active individual who likes to climb, hike and run trails. Clearly, she's found the right spot.
A former teacher and a retired flight attendant, Jane Faulkner found her niche in retail, having worked part time at Nordstrom's. She figured she had a knack for it.
Hearing about TallGrass from friends who encouraged her to zero in on her dream job, she applied to head up the Retail Department. "I have always used Aveda products," she says "and I appreciate the company's philosophy of working with communities throughout the world." Her goal is to make sure everyone has knowledge of Aveda and its mission to recycle, reuse and regenerate.
When she is not working at TallGrass, Jane likes to be outdoors - running, hiking, biking. From the time she went to camp in Colorado at age 16, she knew this is where she was meant to be.
Heather graduated from the Aveda Marquis Institute in 1998. Since then, her penchant for continued education in natural skin care, new waxing techniques and advanced aromatherapy has helped her provide her clients with world-class services using the latest techniques and products.
"Nurturing and educating my clients are my passions at TallGrass," says Heather who, as supervisor of the Esthetics Department, is enthusiastic about sharing her vast knowledge of natural skin care and the regimens that make skin look and feel great.
In her free time, Heather works as a makeup artist for photo shoots and modeling events. Her work has been featured in national publications.
As the "Queen of Clean," Ruthie O'Brien works at the very foundation of TallGrass, literally and figuratively. She spends most of her time downstairs overseeing the Laundry Department, making sure robes, slippers, towels and blankets are clean, soft, fluffy and up to TallGrass standards for luxury. She oversees a staff of ten, mostly high school students, who operate an industrial washer and dryer that run from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. every day of the week.
Prior to becoming Team Leader of the Laundry Department, Ruthie worked in the Guest Relations and the Finance Departments and before that she had a 33-year career as a flight attendant. "A lot of us retired as the travel industry began to change," she says. "Until then it was the best full time/part time job you could have. When it's all said and done, though, right here is the best place on the planet."
Jen Schapiro always wanted to be a hair stylist and started design school while she was in high school. Twenty years later, she still loves it. "I feel so fortunate to have passion for my career, even after all this time," she says.
Her passion leads her to be a motivator and set an example for the salon staff, like coordinating the annual Transitions Hair and Fashion Show or organizing everyone in the salon to attend Aveda Master Classes to learn about the latest looks for upcoming seasons. "Continuing education is the driving force," she says, "that keeps us fresh and excited."
Jen loves the feeling she gets being at TallGrass. "People can just be where they're at," she says, "in a caring, nurturing place in a beautiful valley with wildlife all around." Besides the usual deer and elk, a few uncommon creatures are sometimes sighted and Jen loves to tell about the day she shooed away a flock of turkeys who tried to get in the salon door.
With her penchant for mental challenges and a nurturing soul, Kim has found her stride as leader of the Massage Team at TallGrass. "I like to look after the ladies," she says, "to be sure everyone has what they need and all their problems are solved." In fact, she takes them to lunch each month to keep that team spirit going strong.
A massage therapist herself, Kim practices the Berry Method of corrective massage, taking continuing education classes several times each year, having advanced from apprentice to certified practitioner of the therapy that stimulates the body's natural inclination towards balance and ease. "People come to a massage with specific complaints," she says, "and I use my knowledge of corrective work all the time."
Kim travels a lot, both for education and pleasure. She has completed the el Camino de Santiago walk across Spain, covering 500 miles in 29 days. Back at home, daughter Ashley Jade has graduated from Oxford with Distinction in Italian Linguistics. Kim's son, Jon Martin, has a degree in film and acting, and her husband Mark is a video director who works with celebrities in the music industry. "Life is good," she says. And, we're betting that conversation at her dinner table is awfully fascinating, too.
The first massage Christy Clark ever received was at TallGrass, back in 1997, when her wedding was at the Evergreen Lake House and she had her bridal party here. A few years later, when she became a massage therapist herself, she applied and came to work right out of school to what she describes as "the magical-ness of TallGrass."
Massage is all about healing and, for Christy, it's a privilege to make a difference in the lives of her guests by providing a healing space for them. "There are so many types of healing that people seek," she says, while ticking off "therapeutic, cancer, dealing with loss, nurturing and creating the self-care that is so hard to make time for these days." It's pretty common for guests to open up to Christy. "You never know what someone's story is or why they are here," she says. "Every guest is different."
In being named Spa Babe, Christy was described by TallGrass owner Gail Ridings as someone who does an all-around great job, whose steadiness and consistency are balanced by her caring and sweet disposition.
Nowadays, Christy is a fulltime single mom to Madisyn and Reece. The family hikes, plays soccer and works out together at the rec center. "I get my kids into health and fitness," she says. "It's a big passion of mine."
Christy is pictured here with TallGrass owner Gail Ridings.