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Collaboration Among Impassioned Leaders Helping Shape
the Future of Wellness

There are now 16 diverse Global Wellness Institute (GWI) Initiatives in place focused on creating a healthier world

New York, NY – May 3, 2016 – The Global Wellness Institute (GWI), a non-profit organization with a mission to empower wellness worldwide through education of public and private sectors, today announced it has established a critical mass of 16 wide-ranging Initiatives. Each Initiative is chaired by an impassioned thought leader in that unique wellness sector and is designed to solve key industry issues and further the global conversation about wellness in its many forms.

“Wellness is a vast and complex $3.4 trillion industry. We forged these collaborative, global Initiatives to allow expert taskforces to come together to address the problems and opportunities they identify as most important – whether it’s the need for a larger, better trained workforce for the wellness industry; identifying the most effective/compassionate wellness approaches for people with cancer; or maximizing the opportunities of wellness tourism worldwide,” said Susie Ellis Chairman and CEO. “And it’s inspiring to see what colleagues and, often, business competitors, can do when they join together for the greater good of their industry and the people and planet we all serve.”

“The GWI Initiatives are really a brilliant structure for encouraging impartial, top-level collaboration among world-renowned experts in wellness to effect positive, global change in their areas of expertise,” said Philippe Bourguignon, a leader in travel and tourism, a partner at Revolution, and former co-CEO of the World Economic Forum.

Initiatives are one of the pillars of the Global Wellness Institute, and are tasked with forging their own projects – such as new research, best practices manuals, training platforms and campaigns to raise awareness about an issue or event. To learn more about each Initiative’s mission, member taskforce, projects and industry resources, visit the GWI website.

Baltic to the Black Sea: Although Eastern Europe has a rich heritage of well-being practices, they have remained too little known. This Initiative promotes those wellness traditions that are authentic, effective and relevant to today’s travelers.

Chair: Alla Sokolova, Co-Founder, Balans International Wellness Centre, Latvia

Career Development was inspired by the Global Wellness Institute research report, “Spa Management Workforce & Education: Addressing Market Gaps,” which concluded that there were far too few qualified spa managers and spa/wellness career educational options available worldwide. It revolves around three global programs: a mentorship program, internship program and a website providing a wealth of information for anyone considering a career in wellness or spa.

Chair: Jean Guy de Gabriac, Founder & CEO, TIP TOUCH International, Belgium

Clinical Wellness Best Practices was founded to help the wellness community and its practices gain credibility among the medical community, including medical researchers, pharmaceutical companies, clinicians, and health insurers.

Chair: Josef Woodman, CEO, Patients Beyond Borders, United States

Consulting Best Practices was founded to help businesses evaluate when a spa management consultant would benefit them and to provide guidelines on the selection process.

Chair: Lisa Starr, Consultant for Wynne Business, United States

Digital Innovations for Healing The expectation is that we stay technologically interconnected at all times, but our digital dependency is making us less connected to each other, to nature and ultimately to ourselves. This global group of experts is dedicated to understanding the role of mindfulness, meditation and nature in leadership.

Chair: Louie Schwartzberg, Founder, Moving Art, United States

Future of Wellness at Work brings together top thinkers and “doers” to offer much-needed new visions for how wellness at work can be implemented in the global community.

Chair: Renee Moorefield, PhD, CEO, Wisdom Works, United States

Global Hot Springs is an international taskforce dedicated to exploring the diverse values of geothermal waters for health, tourism and community. Its mission is to educate consumers, unite the deeply fragmented global hot springs community, and drive sustainable investment worldwide.

Chair: Amy McDonald, Owner Principal, Under a Tree Health and Wellness Consulting, United States

Hydrothermal Initiative aims to increase transparency and awareness in the design and implementation of all elements of facilities involving thermal and wet treatments.

Chair: Don Genders, Managing Director, Design for Leisure, United Kingdom

Minister of Wellness was formed to map out a new governmental function to benefit people worldwide: a Minister of Wellness. The aim is to develop a thoughtful and strategic framework that can be used to build a positive contagion for making well-being a priority in countries globally.

Co-Chairs: Renee Moorefield, PhD, CEO, Wisdom Works, United States and Guillaume Lefevre, President and Co-Founder, THÉMAÉ, France

Sustainability was founded to stimulate a provocative discussion about how wellness intersects both on a personal level and on a wider social, economic and environmental scale.

Chair: Bonnie Baker, Managing Partner & Co-founder, Satteva Spa and Wellness Concepts, Mexico

Wellness Communities Humans spend the vast majority of their time indoors, but “wellness” has been late in coming to the built environment. This Initiative brings together senior stakeholders from around the world with active commercial interests in communities and buildings proactively developed with the holistic health of its residents, guests, environment and surrounding community in mind.

Chair: Mia Kyricos, President, Kyricos & Associates, United States

Wellness for Cancer Most spas have lacked the proper perspective about, and the proper training to support, clients with cancer: to help them reduce stress and increase their emotional resiliency. This Initiative offers a cancer-focused educational platform that trains staff, departments, and locations worldwide.

Chair: Julie Bach, Executive Director, Wellness for Cancer

Wellness Tourism was formed to create a global platform of stakeholders in what has become one of the fastest growing tourism segments. It supports the practical integration of wellness into tourism strategy and highlights the vast opportunities for private sector business. 

Chair: Anni Hood, Founder and CEO, Anni Hood, Wellness Business Consultancy, United Kingdom

World Retreat Study aims to assess the health impact of retreat experiences through a standardized online assessment tool, measuring depression, anxiety, stress, mood, sleep, health symptoms, quality of life, cognitive function (and more) to provide data on the benefits of retreat experiences.

Chair: Professor Marc Cohen, MBBS (Hons), PhD, B MEd Sc (Hons), Professor of Health Sciences, RMIT University and Chair, Australasian Wellness Association, Australia

Two new GWI Initiatives, Beauty, chaired by Mark Wuttke, President & COO, Babor, United States, and Wellness Architecture, chaired by Veronica Shrebeis-Smith, CEO & Founding Principal, Vera Iconica Design, United States, will launch later this year.

About the Global Wellness Institute: The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) is an international think-tank that brings together leaders and visionaries from private and public sectors to positively impact and shape the future of the wellness industry. The GWI is considered the leading global research and educational resource for the $3.4 trillion wellness industry and is dedicated to empowering wellness worldwide. For more information visit