First-Ever Global Wellness Award Winners Announced at Global Spa & Wellness Summit in Morocco

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Winners include wellness founders and pioneers Don Ardell, PhD and John Travis, MD

Presenting our first-ever Wellness Awards at this year’s Summit marked a significant milestone for GSWS.

The inaugural Global Wellness Awards took place during the 8th annual Global Spa & Wellness Summit (GSWS), in Marrakech, Morocco earlier this month. Winners included Don Ardell and Dr. John Travis who shared the honor of being named first-ever “Wellness Innovators;” Sarah Livia Brightwood, President, Rancho La Puerta was named “Leader in Sustainability”; and Magatte Wade, a prominent Senegalese entrepreneur and founder of Tiossan, a high-end skin care line, was named the 2014 “Leading Woman in Wellness”.

“Presenting our first-ever Wellness Awards at this year’s Summit marked a significant milestone for GSWS,” said Susie Ellis, chairman and CEO. “And it gave me great personal pleasure to be a part of an organization that is recognizing the significant contributions made by these individuals to the spa and wellness industry.”

Ardell and Travis, widely credited with shaping the way people think and talk about wellness today, were honored as the founding fathers of the wellness movement. Brightwood, who describes herself as a “gardener,” has instituted visionary green initiatives at Rancho La Puerta, following in the footsteps of her forward-thinking parents, founders of the ranch, Deborah and Edmond Szekely. The “Leading Woman in Wellness” award was bestowed upon Wade due to her on-going advocacy of African entrepreneurialism and the positive development of Africa in the global business community. Wade’s current company is a skin care line based on indigenous Senegalese recipes

Winners were determined by the GSWS Board of Directors. The awards were sponsored by The Ghareini Group, a leading German manufacturer of high end spa and beauty beds; Booker, a cloud booking system that transforms the way local services are managed by businesses and discovered by consumers; and Wellness Interactive, a consulting firm that provides strategic planning and educational programs to help organizations develop corporate wellness programs.

In addition to the inaugural Global Wellness Awards, recognition was given for the best original infographic/videographic created to reflect the 2014 Summit theme of >>Fast Forward to the Future of Spa and Wellness, and the winning university of the 6th Annual Student Challenge was also named.

Infographic/Videographic Challenge

The video for Global Wellness Day, an initiative that has gained significant traction since its introduction by Belgin Aksoy from Richmond Nua Wellness Spa in Turkey, won top honors. The video depicted how the spa and wellness industry can “Change Lives With Global Wellness Day” which is set for June 13, 2015 and already has ambassadors across the globe. The second place winner was Leanne Nicholls’ infographic entitled “The Future House of Wellness”.

Student Challenge

Four universities took part in the 6th Annual Student Challenge to create a spa of the future, encompassing North African culture. Mohammand V University Rabat, Agdal, Morocco was the winner. The business students worked alongside architect Luciano Mazza, Vice President of HKS Architects, who brought their vision to life.

Sponsors of this year’s student challenge were: Chiva-Som; Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts; Klafs Group; Red Door Spa; FRHI Hotels & Resorts; and Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces.

About the Summit: The Global Spa & Wellness Summit (GSWS) is an international organization representing senior executives and leaders joined by a common interest in driving economic development and understanding of the spa and wellness industries. Delegates from diverse sectors, including hospitality, tourism, health and wellness, beauty, finance, medical, real estate, manufacturing and technology attend the organization’s annual Summit, which is held in a different host country each year and attracts attendees from over 45 countries. The GSWS is considered the leading global research and educational resource for the $3.4 trillion spa and wellness industry. It's known for introducing major industry initiatives such as the Global Wellness Tourism Congress, whose global forums bring public and private stakeholders together to chart the course of the fast-growing wellness travel sector, and, the world’s first online portal to the medical evidence for common wellness approaches. For more information, visit

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