Beauty Meets wellness Initiative Members


claudia aguirre, phd

Neuroscientist & Mind-Body Expert, United States

Dr. Claudia Aguirre is a neuroscientist and mind-body expert, specializing in the connection
between the brain and the skin. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from UCLA and
earned her Doctorate degree from the University of Southern California, where she
investigated hormonal interactions in the aging brain. In between her studies, she researched
molecular mechanisms of schizophrenia at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). She
has also completed a certificate course on Yoga, Mindfulness and Social Change at Loyola
Marymount University (LMU). Dr. Aguirre is a TEDx speaker and consults internationally in the health and wellness industries. Her clients include Unilever, Samsung, Red Bull, Dyson, and Davines, and she has current projects with TED Ed, NASA and the Global Wellness Institute.

amanda al-masri

Global Director, Spa Development & Operations, Starwood Hotels & Resorts,  United States

Amanda Al-Masri oversees Starwood Hotel’s diverse portfolio of more than 450 spas worldwide. Prior to joining Starwood, Amanda earned a master’s degree from Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration and has held various leadership roles at Resense Spa, Raison d’Etre Spas and at the property level.

catherine atzen

Founder, Atzen Skincare, United States

 A talented product developer, Catherine Atzen formulated ATZEN Superior to Organic® Skin Care line that combines Natural + Scientific ingredients. The line has been chosen for the Academy Award’s celebrity gift box twice. She also developed the LymphMed® device for lymphatic drainage massage. Recognized for coining the term “Day Spa” and setting its standards; this opened the doors to an industry segment that has transformed beauty and wellness worldwide. 

karen ballou


CEO Karen Ballou’s relationship with IMMUNOCOLOGIE began following a 2-year bout with lymphoma. After more than 30 years of experience in the skincare industry, the many questionable ingredients found in the products she was using as a part of her skincare regimen compelled Ms. Ballou to question the effects these products were having on her overall health as she went through treatment. Her connection to the IMMUNOCOLOGIE philosophy and product line was formed out of a necessity for a healthy lifestyle, beginning with her skin health.

mary bemis

Editorial Director,, United States

Mary Bemis is the editorial director of Recently honored with a Folio Top Women in Media Award, Mary is a founder of the Washington Spa Alliance and a recipient of ISPA's Dedicated Contributor Award.  Earlier this year, she co-curated Discover Green, a new natural beauty pavilion at Cosmoprof North America. A pioneer of green spa and beauty, Mary has judged numerous national beauty awards and is a juror for the Green Spa Network's Sustainability Awards. 

Rona berg

Editor in Chief, Organic Spa Magazine, United States

Longtime journalist Rona Berg is the former Editorial Director of ELLE, Deputy Style Editor for the New York Times and LA Times best-selling author of two books on beauty. On the Advisory Board of SHAPE for her expertise in wellness, she was called an industry expert by New York Magazine and Fox News, and recently dubbed "The Russell Simmons of the Wellness Industry," by the Huffington Post. Berg co-chairs the Green Spa Network Personal Care Committee (GSN), is an Advisory Board Member for the Nutritional Aesthetics Alliance, featured speaker at ISPA and HBA Global Expo and Judge for SpaFinder 2016 Global Wellness Travel Awards.

pierre-louis delapalme

CEO & Co-Owner, Biologique Recherche, France

With over 25 years’ experience in the beauty industry (including time with Unilever and Yves Rocher) , Pierre-Louis Delapalme is the C.E.O. and co-owner of Biologique-Recherche. Biologique-Recherche is an exclusive, result oriented and professional Skin Care brand with 35 years of existence, a very selective network of partners in more than 70 countries, and recurrent double digit growth.

Oriele frank

Co-Founder & Chief Marketing Officer, Elemis, United Kingdom

Oriele Frank  has been the creative force behind ELEMIS since 1993. Always challenging and developing the vision and concepts, Oriele ensures a business and marketing reality are successfully delivered. She has been responsible for the creative, product and brand development, as well as the omni-channel marketing campaigns driving ELEMIS' strategic direction. Oriele has fast become an industry expert in product concept, design and delivery of interiors, packaging and visual merchandising including the stunning House of ELEMIS flagship in Mayfair.

mary-elizabeth gifford

Board Member, Demeter-USA, United States

Deeply rooted in agriculture, Mary-Elizabeth Gifford serves on the Board of Directors of Demeter-USA, the Biodynamic agriculture movement considered 'beyond organic,' and is the oldest ecological certification in the world, founded by Austrian thinker and author, Rudolph Steiner, and on the Board of Directors of Stellar, a U.S.D.A.-authorized certifier of Organic farmland and products. Known for her work in plant-based beauty, Mary-Elizabeth is a spa industry expert and strategist whose work as a Chief Marketing Officer for many prominent brands has been recognized globally. She is immediate past president of the Washington Spa Alliance and sits on the Board of the Center for Responsible Travel, an advocacy and research group affiliated with Stanford University and based in Washington, D.C.

neal Kitchen, Phd

VP of Strategy and Development, HydroPeptide, United States

Neal Kitchen, Ph.D. serves as VP of Strategy and Development for HydroPeptide and has an extensive research background in epigenetic regulation, cellular signaling responses, and aging mechanisms at the molecular level.  He now leads the company’s efforts to accelerate the development of clinically proven anti-aging skin care products using peptide and epigenetic technologies that focus on the improvement of the skin’s cellular health.  

milana knowles

Senior Director of Spa Development, Clarins USA, United States

With more than 20 years of experience in the spa and beauty industry, Milana Knowles is highly recognized for her innovative reach across multiple disciplines including spa marketing, retail development and operations. As Senior Director of Spa Development at Clarins, her operational strategies are based on Clarins’ founding principle that health and wellbeing are inextricably linked to beauty—a concept of total wellbeing that the company was the first to apply when the original Clarins Spa opened its doors in Paris in 1954. 


Tristan Lagarde

International Sales Director, Phytomer, France

As international sales director, Tristan Lagarde is deeply involved in the strategic development of PHYTOMER across the globe. Tristan's other roles include guiding the group's digital strategy to deliver innovative and immersive online solutions that drive business towards the brand’s network of over 500 partnering spas. Prior to joining the family company six years ago, Tristan worked in finance in Paris, London and Sydney.

claudia p. murillo

Founder & CEO, Lovacado, Canada

Claudia Murillo is a seasoned business professional with 20+ years of experience across industries and practice areas. Her longstanding passion for natural, non-toxic, cruelty-free beauty products led her to create Lovacado in 2013. Lovacado is a holistic beauty and wellness company. It focuses on developing products that leverage the restorative properties of natural plant oils and botanicals to heal and nurture the body. 

laurie nicoll

Founder & CEO, Stemulation® Skin Care, United States

Founder and CEO of Stemulation® Skin Care, Laurie Nicoll is an accomplished entrepreneur, having established several successful business entities in finance, entertainment, fashion and beauty. In 2008, she collaborated with renowned specialists on applying stem cell science to the healing and regeneration of skin, and formulated a luxury skin care line featuring growth factors, antioxidants, and botanicals that is highly efficacious, ecologically-friendly and ethically-produced.

jose villegas

COO, Natura Bissé International, United States

Since joining Natura Bissé, José Villegas has focused on building specialized teams that have allowed the company to grow its spa and retail business in the U.S., where the company was recently recognized as the "best luxury spa brand" by the NewBeauty Choice Awards. In addition, José is in charge of all Natura Bissé business in Canada and provides consulting for Natura Bissé in Mexico.