Global Wellness Summit Celebrates Industry Creators, Visionaries and Thought Leaders at an Impactful 16th Annual Conference in Tel Aviv

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Awards for achievements in leadership and innovation given in seven categories

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This year’s theme – Open Minds. Open Hearts. Open for Business. – reflected our desire to openly and honestly look at the wellness industry on a global scale and offer the kind of out-of-the-box thinking that helps leaders better envision the future for their businesses

The Global Wellness Summit (GWS), the most prestigious conference on the $4.4 trillion business of wellness, wrapped up yet another successful Summit in Tel Aviv last week. This year’s in-person conference attracted over four hundred delegates from the wellness, medical, scientific, tech, academic, hospitality and investment worlds to explore the dramatically different and bright future for wellness and preventative health that lies ahead. A photo gallery with highlights of the Summit can be viewed here, while the “Summit on Demand” Playlist is available for pre-order now.

“This year’s theme – Open Minds. Open Hearts. Open for Business. – reflected our desire to openly and honestly look at the wellness industry on a global scale and offer the kind of out-of-the-box thinking that helps leaders better envision the future for their businesses,” said Nancy Davis, GWS chief creative officer and executive director. “This year’s Global Wellness Award honorees, Shark Tank of Wellness finalists and Call for Innovation award winner represent this kind of thinking.”

Global Wellness Awards
This year, the Summit announced a new award, the Bennett Family Award for Collaboration in the Science of Wellness. Endowed and presented by Bija Bennett, YubiHealth chief wellness officer, the new award recognizes individuals working to merge science and wellness for the advancement of human health. Presented by Bennett, the award went to Professor Alon Chen, President of the Weizmann Institute of Science, and Juan de Pablo, Executive VP for Science, Innovation, National Laboratories and Global Initiatives at the University of Chicago. “This pair collaborated on research that will no doubt have significant implications for how wearables can powerfully influence the future of women’s health and help improve our understanding of the consequences of stress,” said Bennett when presenting the award.

The Leader in Innovation Award was presented to Rick Stollmeyer, founder of MindBody, by Josanna Gaither, Executive Director, Spa Channel & Education, Natura Bisse, the award sponsor. Stollmeyer created MindBody, the leading experience technology platform for the fitness, wellness, and beauty industries, in his garage, ultimately selling it for $1.9 billion. Stollmeyer emotionally accepted the honor saying, “This conference has helped remind me who I am and is truly changing the world. I’m honored to be part of it.”

“Turning abandoned railway tracks into an international destination was no small feat,” said GWS Advisory Board Member, Hannah Messerli, PhD, Economic Development Specialist, when honoring this year’s Leader in Sustainability. “What this visionary made possible, gives us all hope about how we might, in our own cities and towns, reimagine what public space is really all about, and what it was meant to be.” The award went to NYC High Line co-founder, Robert Hammond. Hammond is now turning his innovative thinking to urban wellness in his role as President & Chief Strategy Officer of Therme Group US.

Freddie Moross, Managing Director, myndstream, was the youngest award winner, receiving the Debra Simon Award for Leader in Furthering Mental Wellness. Presented by GWS Advisory Board Member, C. Victor Brick, CEO, Planet Fitness Growth Partners, LLC; Co- Founder, John W. Brick Mental Health Foundation, on behalf of Lauren Wright, Brick said of this next-generation wellness leader: “Not content to simply build his family’s extraordinary business—scoring major motion pictures and creating libraries of mindful music—Freddie has, instead, approached music as a tool for healing, a bridge to help people feel included and respected. His impact on neurodiverse communities, especially children, has already rippled through the wellness landscape and is destined to powerfully impact how we see and treat certain mental illness.”

The Leading Woman in Wellness Award went to industry luminary Sue Harmsworth, MBE, founder of one of the most iconic global spa brands, ESPA. Harmsworth spent five decades shaping the global spa, global wellness and beauty industries, responsible for designing 500+ spas in 65 countries and is an international legend who has received numerous awards and accolades. “Sue’s extraordinary vision and purpose has shaped the modern-day spa industry, something she continues to do to this day,” said Ömer Isvan, President of Servotel, presenting the award.

Shark Tank of Wellness Global Student Competition
Anvisha Vora, from Atlanta, Georgia’s Savannah College of Art and Design, took first place honors ($5,000) for Heare, a portable wand that uses micro-vibrations on targeted areas of the ear to manage mental well-being and stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. Kay McCalla, also from the Savannah College of Art and Design, took second place honors ($3,000) with Aurb, an energetic art piece designed to elevate meditation with color therapy and healing crystals; while third place ($2,000) went to Cornell University’s David Austin Jones for Sol Sauna, a floating sauna business concept that will bring a true sauna experience to urban hotspots and natural settings across the United States.

The Shark Tank of Wellness awards were presented by Frank Pitsikalis, Vice President, Strategy at Agilysys; and founder of ResortSuite and fellow judges Amir Alroy, co-founder of Welltech Ventures; Karen Campbell, Business Development Consultant, Chiva-Som International Health Resort; and Aldina Duarte Ramos, Global Director of Well-Being at ACCOR.

Call for Innovation: Wellness & the Metaverse
This year’s Call for Innovation focused on wellness and its place in the metaverse. Seven finalists from seven countries (chosen from seventy applicants) were invited to present their innovations to a powerful lineup of judges virtually and in-person at Meta’s offices in Tel Aviv, Israel. The winner, Virtuleap, a health and education startup with a mission to elevate cognitive assessment and training using virtual reality and artificial intelligence, took home the award, which was presented by Amir Alroy, Co-Founder, Welltech Ventures. Virtuleap CEO and Co-founder Amir Bozorgzadeh accepted the award, explaining the evolution of their technology involving game developers and neuroscientists working side by side. The award was co-sponsored by Welltech Ventures and Meta in Israel.

To pre-order the Summit on Demand Playlist, click here.

About the Global Wellness Summit —The Global Wellness Summit is the premier organization that brings together leaders and visionaries to positively shape the future of the $4.4 trillion global wellness economy. Its future-focused conference is held at a different global location each year and has traveled to the United States, Switzerland, Turkey, Bali, India, Morocco, Mexico, Austria, Italy, Singapore, and Israel. GWS also hosts other virtual and in-person gatherings, including Wellness Master Classes, Wellness Sector Spotlights, Investor “Reverse Pitch” events and Global Wellness Symposiums. The organization’s annual Global Wellness Trends Report offers expert-based predictions on the future of wellness. The 2023 Summit will be held in Doha, Qatar.

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