Monday, November 3, 2008

Meet the New Generation of Canyon Ranch

Almost ten years ago, I found myself making one of the most important decisions of my life. Do I accept a job at Canyon Ranch or at Baskin Robbins?

It was the spring of 1998, my high school soccer season was winding down, and I thought it was time I found a summer job. So, after several weeks of interviews, applications, and thought, I had two very different offers sitting before me. On one hand, I would be working at a world-class health and wellness resort and on the other, I’d have access to all the ice cream I could eat. Although becoming the ice cream czar of my school was strangely appealing, I decided an offer from Canyon Ranch was simply too good to pass up. For the next two years, I was a Men’s Locker Room attendant and began a journey that would instill in me a passion to learn about how to lead a healthy life.

As I look back at that pivotal year, I realize that I could have gone in two vastly different directions. Besides my job duties and responsibilities at the Ranch, I was immersed in a world that gave me my first strength training program, my first nutritional plan, and exposure to a world of healthy living and the possibilities a healthy lifestyle can provide. This exposure, which was available to me as an employee of Canyon Ranch, laid a foundation that is the bedrock of my current life a decade later.

Of course, this blog isn’t about my life ten years ago, it’s about today … when I am once again a part of Canyon Ranch. How did that happen? Last time I looked, I went to the University of Arizona, graduated with a degree in Business Administration, dual-majored in Finance and Accounting, worked at Deloitte and Touche as an accountant/auditor, worked on Wall Street in commercial mortgage-backed securities, then became a financial advisor at Merrill Lynch (no, this isn’t my resumé, bear with me, my point is coming). As you can see, there’s no Canyon Ranch in that equation, except for the fact that three years ago I met my lovely wife Nicole, who just happens to be the granddaughter of the founders of Canyon Ranch, Mel and Enid Zuckerman.

Ever since I’ve known Nicole, she has dreamed that one day she would become involved in the family business she grew up with. Unfortunately, as we were living in Los Angeles at the time, this seemed to be a geographic impossibility and was relegated to the back burner indefinitely. However, one day an innocent lunch with Enid and Mel made me realize how important it was to him and Enid to keep the business in the family and not have to sell to someone who would turn it into a lifeless corporate organization. After a tremendous amount of soul-searching and numerous discussions, Nicole and I agreed. We just couldn’t let the Zuckerman family dream die.

With that in mind we decided to take a leap of faith, leave our careers, move back to Tucson, Arizona, and learn the business. For Nicole, this decision was fairly easy as this plan had always been a tickle in the back of her mind. For me, the decision was easy but for a different reason. Working at the Ranch ten years ago really opened my eyes to the power of healthy living. I saw the evidence as plain as day with each and every guest. I would see people come into the Spa weary from life, work and long travels. In a few days they were bursting with energy and ready to take on the world. When I met Nicole and her family, I was re-exposed to this message, lifestyle and purpose, and it just made sense. Joining the family business is an unbelievable opportunity and I will be working for a company that has a positive message I can truly believe in.

Live healthy!

Ken Morris

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