Global Wellness Award Recipients

Each year, the Global Wellness Summit honors outstanding leaders of the industry with the prestigious Global Wellness Awards. Please see the bios of these esteemed award recipients below, listed in alphabetical order. To view the awards by year, click here.

Nerio Alessandri
Founder and President, Technogym, Italy 

2018 Leader in Innovation 
In 1983, Nerio Alessandri founded Technogym, a global leading supplier of products, technologies and solutions for the wellness and fitness fields. Today, the company is present in 100 markets, over 40 million users train on Technogym equipment daily and the brand was appointed official supplier of the last seven Olympic Games. Additionally, Nerio created the nonprofit Wellness Foundation to promote research and education of healthy lifestyles.

Belgin Aksoy
Founder, Global Wellness Day, Turkey

2016 Leading Woman in Wellness
With 14 years in the wellness industry, Belgin Aksoy is the founder of Global Wellness Day. In 2016, the Global Wellness Summit honored her with the “Leading Woman in Wellness” award, and in the same year, she also received the “Most Influential Spa Leader” award by American Spa. She is the owner of the award-winning, pioneer wellness/spa brand of Turkey, Richmond Nua Wellness-Spa.

Donald B. Ardell, PhD
United States

2014 Leader in Innovation
Donald B. Ardell’s High Level Wellness: An Alternative to Doctors, Drugs, and Disease (Rodale,1977) is credited with sparking the wellness movement. Since then, Don has authored a dozen other books, including Die Healthy, 14 Days to Wellness, Aging Beyond Belief and REAL Wellness. Wellness Orgasms: The Fun Way to Live Well and Die Health (with co-author Grant Donovan) was released last month. His website is the largest repository of wellness essays in the world.

Julie Bach
Founder, Wellness for Cancer, United States

2017 Leading Woman in Wellness Julie Bach, 
Julie Bach is the Executive Director of Wellness for Cancer, which has a presence in 54 countries. She is a Health and Wellness Coach and a Personal Resiliency Trainer and owns a yoga and meditation training center. She leverages mindfulness, meditation, breathwork and yoga to help individuals cultivate and embody resiliency. Julie has spent 20 years as a cancer advocate to facilitate greater access to living well principles. 

Bill Bensley
Owner, Bensley Architecture, Interior Design & Landscape, Thailand

2019 Leader in Sustainability 
Bangkok-based, Harvard-educated architect and landscape designer, Bill Bensley is known as the king of exotic luxury resorts, using Mother Nature as his inspiration. His firm Bensley Architecture, Interior Design and Landscape has worked on over 200 projects in 40 countries, including the Oberoi Vilas projects in India, Four Seasons’ award-winning resorts in Thailand, St. Regis in Bali, the JW Marriott Phu Quoc, and now Bill’s own Shinta Mani resorts. 

Denise Bober
VP Human Resources, The Breakers Palm Beach, United States 

2018 Leader in Workplace Wellness
As one of the industry’s premier executives, Denise Bober ignited her professional career by combining two of her passions: human resources and hospitality. Serving as Senior Vice President–Human Resources at The Breakers Palm Beach, Denise is responsible for creating an inspiring, continually evolving workplace that prioritizes employee fulfillment, diversity and inclusion, safety, health and wellbeing. For over 32 years, she has been cultivating talent and achieving best-in-class retention rates.

Professor Gerry Bodeker, PhD
UK & Malaysia

2019 Debra Simon Award Leader in Furthering Mental Wellness
A Harvard-trained public health academic, Gerry Bodeker researches and advises on integrative medicine and wellness. He has taught in medical sciences at Oxford University for two decades; is adjunct professor of epidemiology at Columbia University; and works with the private sector, governments and the UN, advising on culturally-themed wellness strategies. Gerry has published widely, including on health and wellness traditions of Asia. 

C. Victor and Lynne Brick
John W. Brick Mental Health Foundation, United States

2020 Debra Simon Award Leader in Furthering Mental Wellness
C. Victor Brick is co-founder/CEO of PF Growth Partners, which owns/operates over 80 health clubs in the US and Australia. He is founder of the JWB Mental Health Foundation whose mission is to change the way the world treats mental health. Victor sits on the Advisory Board of GWS and was recipient of the 2020 Debra Simon Award for Leader in Furthering Mental Wellness.
Lynne Brick is an international health and fitness presenter, consultant and author and has been featured in numerous exercise videos. She was IDEA’s 1990 International Instructor of the Year. She co-owns Brick Bodies and PF Growth Partners, totaling over 80 clubs in the US and Australia, and she co-founded the JWB Mental Health Foundation. Lynne received the GWS 2020 Debra Simon Leadership in Mental Wellness Award. 

Sarah Livia Brightwood
President, Rancho La Puerta, Mexico

2014 Leader in Sustainability
Sarah Livia Brightwood oversees operations at Rancho La Puerta, the pioneering 3,000-acre resort and spa founded in 1940 and located in Tecate, Baja California. For 30 years, Sarah designed the gardens and buildings at the resort and created its organic farm and culinary center. She is president of Fundacion La Puerta, a nonprofit serving the city of Tecate.  

Dr. Richard H. Carmona
17th Surgeon General of the US, United States

2017 Leader in Social Impact
Dr. Richard H. Carmona was the 17th surgeon general of the U.S. He is also a decorated U.S. Army Special Forces Veteran and a distinguished professor with a wide range of training and experience in health care management, clinical care and research. Currently, he is chief of health innovations of Canyon Ranch, and serves as director on several publicly-traded corporate boards and private companies. 

Ronna Chao
Chair, Novetex Textiles, Hong Kong

2019 Leader in Innovation
Ronna Chao is the chairman of Novetex Textiles Limited, a textile industry market leader with operations across Hong Kong, China and Asia. Since joining the family-run business in 2010, Ronna has spearheaded initiatives that challenge and improve industry standards and practices, including The Billie System, an innovative upcycling process that endeavors to lessen environmental impact. 

Christine Clinton
GWI Chair of the Wellness for Children Initiative, Co-founder of Junior Genius Global, United States

2019 Debra Simon Award for Leader in Furthering Mental Wellness
Christine Clinton is the Chair of the Wellness For Children Initiative and co-founder of Junior Genius Global. She is passionate about early childhood education and has created award winning wellness programs for schools. Her latest project is in the United Arab Emirates where she has partnered with the Dubai 2020 project and Al Ghadeer Abu Dhabi to design and implement wellness education centers for children 6 months to 5 years of age.

Craig Cogut 
Founder, Chairman & CEO, Pegasus Capital Advisors, L.P., United States

2021 Leader in Sustainability 
Founder, chairman and CEO of Pegasus Capital Advisors, L.P., Green Climate Fund accredited private equity fund manager focused on sectors influenced by global resource scarcity, combatting climate change, and rising demands for human health and wellness.

CEO & Principal, Clodagh Design, United States

2018 Leader in Sustainability
Irish-born, New York-based designer, Clodagh, has been ahead of the curve with eco-friendly designs since she began her career. She is acclaimed for her life-enhancing minimalism and “wellness by design” tenets. She embraces healing modalities, using both ancient and cutting-edge methods to energize and balance space. Clodagh was one of the earliest adopters of feng shui, incorporating chromatherapy, aromatherapy, biophilia and the science of light. Her focus is sustainability, well-being and comfort. 

Pierre-Louis Delapalme
Co-president, Biologique Recherche, France

2018 Leader in Social Impact
With over 30 years of experience in the beauty industry in Europe, North America and Asia, Pierre-Louis Delapalme has been, since 2007, Co-Chairman and Co-Owner of Biologique Recherche, a result driven and professional skin-care brand with 40 years of existence, with a very selective network of partners in more than 80 countries and recurrent double-digit growth. 

Susan Friedland
Co-founder of SuperSmartHealth, United States

2021 Leading Woman in Wellness
Susan Friedland heads up operations for SuperSmartHealth, managing online and offline business strategy, development, marketing and implementation to create a seamless experience, online and off. Susan also handles legal transactions and relationships. In her “life before internet” she was an intellectual property and civil litigator in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Toronto, Canada.  

Balthasar Hauser
Owner, Biohotel Stanglwirt, Austria

2016 Leader in Sustainability
Balthasar Hauser inherited Stanglwirt, a family-owned, 400-year-old farmhouse and traditional inn, when he was 17 years old. Balthasar linked his “green vision” to the grown structures of his ancestors and developed the farm-guesthouse into an internationally-recognized, five-star-luxury green spa resort. Stanglwirt became the first environmentally-compatible biohotel in Austria and Europe. 

Dr. Fikry Isaac
Founder & CEO, WellWorld Consulting LLC, United States

2016 Leader in Workplace Wellness
Dr. Fikry Isaac is founder and CEO of WellWorld Consulting, offering strategic advisory, market research and board-level support to public- and private-sector clients focused on global health and wellness strategies, policies and solutions. Former job titles include vice president of Global Health Services and chief medical officer, Johnson & Johnson, with responsibility for the development of health and wellness strategies, policies, guidelines and services worldwide.  

Neil Jacobs
CEO of Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas, Thailand

2017 Leader in Sustainability
Neil Jacobs is the CEO at Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas. Previously, he was president of global hotel operations at Starwood Capital Group, responsible for the development of two exciting new brands, Baccarat Hotels and 1 Hotels. His passions include wellness, sustainability, innovative design, food and experiential travel. He also spent 14 years with Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, serving as senior vice president operations for Asia Pa.

Mia Kyricos
SVP & Global Head of Wellbeing, Hyatt, United States

2019 Leading Woman in Wellness
Mia leads Kyricos & Associates, LLC, strategic advisors in wellness, hospitality, tourism & healthy lifestyles with a specialty in brand strategy. She has worked across 100+ countries and held leadership positions at Hyatt, Spafinder Wellness, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, EXOS and more. She is a founding board member of the Global Wellness Institute, and simply aspires to help people live well and to love more. 

Sheila McCann
General Manager, Lanserhof UK, United Kingdom

2018 Leading Woman in Wellness
An accomplished leader of iconic brands within spa, wellness and now medical facilities with 40+ years experience, high integrity and a passion for health through a preventative lifestyle approach. Sheila founded Enflingo Global Limited, a boutique consultancy, to develop results-oriented meaningful wellness concepts and business cultures with improved health span, longevity and sustainability at the core.   

Jeremy McCarthy
Group Director of Spa & Wellness, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Hong Kong

2016 Debra Simon Award for Leader in Furthering Mental Wellness
Jeremy McCarthy is the group director of Spa & Wellness for Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, leading their internationally acclaimed luxury spa division. He has over 25 years of experience operating luxury spas in resort and hotel properties worldwide, is the author of The Psychology of Spas & Wellbeing, and hosts a blog about holistic wellbeing at Jeremy chairs the Global Wellness Institute’s Digital Wellness Initiative.

Renee Moorfield, PhD
CEO & Founder, Wisdom Works, United States

2017 Leader in Workplace Wellness
Renee Moorefield, PhD, is CEO of Wisdom Works, a social enterprise building healthier leaders, work cultures and brands. She leads Be Well Lead Well®, a visionary brand fueling a global movement of leaders who make thriving a priority at work, home, and every corner of society. Renee is on the GWI Advisory Board and helps guide The Wellness Moonshot: A World Free of Preventable Disease. 

Karen Moseley
President & CEO of HERO, United States

2021 Leader in Innovation
Karen Moseley is President & CEO of HERO, a national think tank dedicated to advancing best practices in workplace health and wellbeing. With almost 30 years of nonprofit management experience, she leads the HERO team and members to connect science and practice to demonstrate the value of a health and wellbeing employer ecosystem. Karen has a business degree from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  

Dr. Kenneth R. Pelletier
Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California, School of Medicine, United States

2015 Leader in Workplace Wellness
Kenneth R. Pelletier,  MD, PhD, is clinical professor of medicine at the University of California School of Medicine, San Francisco. There, he is director of the Corporate Health Improvement Program, a collaborative research program with 15 of the Fortune 500. He is a VP with American Specialty Heath, chairman of the American Health Association and advisor to the US Department of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization. 

Rupert Schmid
Co-president, Biologique Recherche, France

2018 Leader in Social Impact
Following top-level positions at several media and communication companies, Rupert Schmid worked as head of communication and marketing at Veolia. Since 2007, Rupert has been Co-Chairman and Co-Owner of Biologique Recherche, a result driven and professional skin-care brand with 40 years of existence, with a very selective network of partners in more than 80 countries and recurrent double-digit growth.

Richard Schmitz
CEO, H/S/M Hotel and Spa Management, Germany

2016 Leader in Innovation 
At the age of 31, Richard Schmitz became the director of Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa in Baden-Baden; Richard took on the role of managing director in 1973 and remained in this position until 2000. He served as a board member of The Leading Hotels of the World (2000 to 2014), as a member of the General Assembly (1973 to 2012) and as first vice president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Karlsruhe. 

Veronica Schreibeis Smith
Founding Principal, Vera Iconica Architecture, United States

2020 Leading Woman in Wellness
Veronica Schreibeis Smith, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, is CEO and Founding Principal of Vera Iconica Architecture and Developments, a B-corporation. The brand is a global pioneer in wellness architecture, the art and science behind designing built environments that enhance human and planetary wellbeing. Veronica is a WELL Advisor and Chairs the Wellness Architecture Initiative for the Global Wellness Institute, and continues to work, speak, and lead think tanks internationally. 

Louie Schwartzberg
Filmmaker, United States

2017 Debra Simon Award for Leader in Furthering Mental Wellness
Award winning filmmaker/visionary with a career spanning over four decades of breathtaking imagery. His top grossing documentary “Fantastic Fungi” was a box office hit getting 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes, popular on Netflix, catalyzing a global movement. Louie’s Visual Healing programs are bringing the healing power of nature into healthcare and hospitality. “Beauty is nature’s tool for survival because we protect what we Love.” 

John Stewart
Founder & Chairman, Kamalaya Koh Samui, Thailand

2018 Debra Simon Award for Leader in Furthering Mental Wellness
John Stewart, co-founder of Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary & Holistic Spa lived in India for 16 years and was introduced to Asian philosophies by a Himalayan yogi master. Kamalaya Koh Samui was inspired by his life of service building schools and clinics in India and by his wife Karina’s knowledge of health and wellness. Through Kamalaya’s award-winning approach, they continue to help others feel life’s potential. 

Deborah Szekely
Co-Founder, Rancho La Puerta, United States

2017 Living a Well Life Award
Deborah Szekely co-founded Rancho La Puerta in 1940 with her husband Edmond Szekely, and founded the Golden Door in 1959. Deborah also has served as president of the Inter-American Foundation, a federal agency, from 1984-1990. Other public service includes founding Eureka Communities, New Americans Museum and In 2012, she was awarded “Order of the Aztec Eagle”—Mexico’s highest honor bestowed upon non-Mexicans. 

Dr. John W. Travis
United States

2014 Leader in Innovation
John W. Travis, MD, MPH, completed his medical degree in Boston and a residency in preventive medicine at Johns Hopkins. Influenced by Halbert Dunn, MD’s, 1961 classic High-Level Wellness, he founded the first wellness center in the U.S. in Mill Valley, CA, in 1975, which was favorably documented by 60 Minutes in 1979. He has written The Wellness Inventory Online  (, and the classic Wellness Workbook. His Illness-Wellness Continuum was the framing concept for SRI’s Spas and Global Wellness Market report for the 2010 Global Spa Summit, which recommended it as the organizing principle for spa programs.

Magatte Wade
Founder, TIOSSAN, United States

2014 Leading Woman in Wellness
Magatte Wade is passionate about creating high-end retail brands based on diverse African traditions. She was born in Senegal, educated in France and launched her entrepreneurial career in San Francisco. She is the founder and CEO of Tiossan, a high-end skin care products line based on indigenous Senegalese recipes and ingredients. At least ten percent of Tiossan profits are dedicated to the creation of innovative schools in Senegal to develop the next generation of Senegalese genius. Magatte writes for The Guardian, Huffington Post and Barron’s. She has spoken at Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Brown, MIT, Wharton and Babson. She was named a Young Global Leader by the Davos Global Economic Forum as well as one of the 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa by Forbes in 2011. She serves on the board of ASNAPP and the SEED Academy, a private school in Senegal. .

John Wood
Founder, Room to Read, Hong Kong

2019 Leader in Social Impact
John Wood left his career at Microsoft to found Room to Read, which brings education to over 20 million children across the developing world. He is also an advisor on “connecting purpose and profitability” to companies, including Credit Suisse, Facebook, Netflix and Nike. He served four terms on the Advisory Board of Clinton Global Initiative and was awarded the first Microsoft Alumni of the Year award by Bill and Melinda Gates.