Advisory Board Members
This illustrious group of business leaders has worked to make the Global Wellness Summit a reality.
Founder, Chairman & CEO, Global Wellness Summit
Chairman & CEO, Global Wellness Institute, United States
Susie Ellis is the co-founder, chairman and CEO of the Global Wellness Summit and chairman and CEO of the Global Wellness Institute, the non-profit research and educational resource for the global wellness industry. Recognized as an authority on wellness trends, Susie is frequently quoted in major news outlets around the world. She holds an MBA from the University of California, Los Angeles, and is a popular speaker at industry events.
Wellness Pioneer, Six Senses; Partner, Raison d’Etre; Strategic Advisor, Pegasus Capital Group, Sweden
Anna Bjurstam has been dedicated to wellness and has worked in the business for over 25 years. With hands-on expertise in wellness and a Masters Degree in Business, she has successfully led Raison d’Etre Spas to become one of the leaders in the spa industry. In addition, she has taken over the reigns of Six Senses Spas, which has 30 locations worldwide.
Dr. Marc Cohen
Professor, RMIT University, Australia
Professor Marc Cohen is an Australian pioneer in integrative and holistic medicine and has made significant contributions to education, research, clinical practice and policy. He is currently the Foundation Professor of Complementary Medicine at RMIT University and president of the Australasian Integrative Medicine Association. Professor Cohen is a medical doctor with degrees in Western medicine, physiology, and psychological medicine and PhDs in both Chinese medicine and biomedical engineering.
Founder & Managing Director, CatchOn & Company Ltd., Hong Kong
Catherine Feliciano-Chon is a marketing expert with 30 years of experience in brand development and communications. She is the founder and managing director of CatchOn, one of Asia’s leading brand and PR consultancies in hospitality, wellness and F & B with offices in Hong Kong and Shanghai.
Wellness Director, Rocco Forte Hotels, United Kingdom
Irene Forte is wellness director of Rocco Forte Hotels and daughter of Sir Rocco Forte. Irene oversees the wellness proposition across the group and has just launched her own skin-care line: Irene Forte Skincare. Irene was awarded government funding to create a careers app in 2015 (Map My Future), which has been available at Rocco Forte Hotels since 2016. Irene was also awarded the 2016 Rising Star Shine Award and an Acorn 30 under 30 award in 2017.
Gina Diez Barroso de Franklin
President & CEO of Grupo Diarq, Mexico
Gina Diez Barroso de Franklin is president & CEO of Grupo Diarq, a Mexico City-based firm promoting and developing Mexican creativity. Over the last 20 years, it has grown to nine subsidiaries with more than 500 employees, running the gamut from real estate development to the creation of the University of Design, Film & Media. Grupo Diarq’s publishing house GYA published the book “Harmony, Serenity, Balance: Spectacular Spas of Mexico.”
Andrew Gibson brings over 30 years of hospitality and spa experience to the GWS. His experience includes Vice President of Well-Being, Luxury Brands for Accor Hotels, Raffles, Fairmont and Sofitel, where he was responsible for concept design and brand identity within the wellness field. He has also worked in senior positions for Mandarin Oriental and Six Senses and served as a consultant with numerous other luxury brands.
Sue Harmsworth has spent five decades shaping the spa and wellness industry globally. Founder of global brand ESPA, Sue has recently orchestrated its acquisition by one of the world’s largest online health and beauty retailers. Sue was awarded an MBE from the Queen, is a recipient of ISPA’s Visionary Award, CEW’s Achiever award and currently sits on the Advisory Board for GWS, GWI and Forbes.
Omer K. Isvan
President, Servotel Corporation, Turkey
Omer K. Isvan is president of Servotel Corporation, which is widely recognized as a leading adviser in the investment and development of hotels, resorts and integrated mixed-use developments worldwide. Omer’s experience spans 43-plus countries and numerous projects, and he has advised investors in every step of development, from greenfield stage to asset management. He is a frequent keynote speaker on hospitality development at conferences and leading universities.
Tony de Leede
Founder, Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat, Australia
Tony de Leede is the owner and founder of Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat; he also founded Fitness First Australia. He is still actively involved in the fitness industry and currently heads a budget brand of health clubs in Australia that recently launched a new yoga and barre brand called YogaBar. Tony co-owns the surf/active resort Komune in Australia and Bali.
Dr. Franz Linser
CEO, Linser Hospitality GmbH, Austria
With more than twenty years of experience in the luxury wellness industry, Franz today is a sought-after expert, strategist and mastermind developing innovative state-of-the-art health and wellness projects. He is Founder & CEO of Linser Hospitality, an internationally renowned consulting firm based in Austria. Franz speaks frequently at spa and wellness congresses worldwide, and his passion and innovative visions are widely appreciated in the industry.
President & CEO, Conceptasia Inc, Japan
Yoriko Soma began her career at the Boston Consulting Group, Hong Kong, focusing on the luxury consumer market. This experience led to consulting in the spa and hospitality sector and participating in multiple resort, destination and day spa projects in Asia. Believing in the coming expansion of the health and wellness market in Japan, Yoriko has also launched a fund for investments in the spa and wellness sector.
Emeritus Advisory Board Members
Founder & Chairman Emeritus, Global Wellness Summit, United States
Pete Ellis has devoted his career to creating better experiences for consumers. In 1994-95, he launched the first automotive buying and research website, Autobytel.com, revolutionizing an entire industry. After taking Autobytel public, Ellis formed Jubilee Investments, which became the majority shareholder of Spafinder, among other companies. He also was a founder of Booker Software, one of the largest point-of-sale management systems in the spa and wellness industry. In 2018, MINDBODY acquired Booker.
Professor Mary Tabacchi, PhD, RD
Professor Emerita, Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, United States
Professor Mary Tabacchi, PhD, RD, has been active in the spa industry since the early 1980s, when she worked with the Golden Door and Rancho La Puerta. She created strong prototypes for spa research for the International Spa Association in the early 1990s, the Destination Spa Group and the Leading Spas of Canada in 2000-2004. Dr. Tabacchi has taught spa management and development at Cornell University’s Hospitality Management program since 1985.