2018 Summit Speakers & Presenters

Over 50 speakers and presenters shared information and insights at the 2018 Global Wellness Summit. To view all speakers on a single PDF, please click here.

Nerio Alessandri
President and Founder, Technogym

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.

Rafat Ali
CEO, Skift

Rafat Ali is the CEO/founder of Skift, the largest industry intelligence and marketing platform in travel, providing news, research, conferences and services to all sectors of travel. Previously, he was the founder/CEO of paidContent and ContentNext, which he sold to UK’s Guardian News and Media in 2008 and left in 2010. Prior to that, he was the managing editor of Silicon Alley Reporter.

Gerry Bodeker, PhD
Clinical Psychologist and Public Health Academic, Green Templeton College, University of Oxford; Dept. of Epidemiology, Columbia University, New York

Gerry Bodeker, PhD, researches and advises on traditional and complementary medicine and wellness. He has researched and taught in medical sciences at Oxford for two decades, and is adjunct professor of epidemiology at Columbia University. He works with the private sector, governments, and the UN advising on culturally-themed wellness. He is also an advisor on a CNN series with Dr. Sanjay Gupta about traditional medicine.

Mark Britnell
Global Healthcare Chairman, KPMG International

Mark Britnell is one of the foremost global experts on healthcare systems. He joined KPMG as Global Chairman and Senior Partner for Health in 2009 and has established a successful worldwide health practice. He is a member of the Global Agenda Council on the Future of the Health Sector for the World Economic Forum and sits on the Advisory Board of the China Center for Health Development at Peking University.

Dan Buettner
Founder & CEO, Blue Zones

Dan Buettner, is an explorer, National Geographic Fellow, award-winning journalist and producer, and New York Times best-selling author. He discovered Blue Zones—where people live the longest, healthiest lives—and works to implement Blue Zones Projects in communities, workplaces and universities. He has appeared on The Today Show, Oprah, NBC Nightly News and Good Morning America and has keynoted speeches at TEDMED, Bill Clinton’s Health Matters Initiative and Google Zeitgeist.

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

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.

Dr. Anjan Chatterjee
Elliott Professor of Neurology, University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Anjan Chatterjee, chair of Neurology at Pennsylvania Hospital, wrote, The Aesthetic Brain: How We Evolved to Desire Beauty and Enjoy Art, and co-edited, Neuroethics in Practice: Mind, Medicine, and Society, and, The Roots of Cognitive Neuroscience: Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychology. He received the Norman Geschwind Prize in Behavioral and Cognitive Neurology as well as the Rudolph Arnheim Prize for contributions to Psychology and the Arts.

Antonio Citterio
Architect and Designer

Antonio Citterio, architect and designer, started his design office in 1972. Antonio currently works in the industrial design sector with Italian and foreign companies, such as Ansorg, Arclinea, Axor-Hansgrohe, B&B Italia, Flexform, Flos, Hermès, Iittala, Kartell, Maxalto, Sanitec (Geberit Group), Technogym and Vitra. In 1987 and 1994, Antonio was awarded the Compasso d’Oro-ADI. In 2000, alongside Patricia Viel, he founded a practice for architecture and interior design.

CEO & Principal, Clodagh Design

Known for a visionary blending of ancient techniques, such as feng shui, and leading-edge modalities, such as biophilia, chromatherapy and Radiesthesia, Clodagh creates life-enhancing environments with a commitment to sustainability, wellness and authenticity in materials that comfort not only the body, but also the mind. Her eponymous design firm has an award-winning portfolio that spans over 24 countries and a broad range of eco-conscious projects and products.

Charles Davidson
CEO, Peninsula Hot Springs

Charles Davidson is founder and CEO of Peninsula Hot Springs, chairman of the Victorian Tourism Industry Council, founding member and past vice president of the Australasian Wellness Association and a founding member of the GWI Global Hot Springs Initiative. While evolving the relaxation hot spring, rehabilitation hot spring and thermal water park in his state, Charles also consults for hot springs developers across the globe.

Tony de Leede
Founder, Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat

Tony de Leede is the owner and founder of Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat and also founded Fitness First Australia. Tony is still involved in the fitness industry and heads up a budget brand of health clubs in Australia that has recently launched a world-first women’s community center, underpinned by virtual health and wellness called Club W. Tony also co-owns a surf/active resort named Komune in Australia and Bali.

Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, PhD
Associate Professor of Economics and Strategy, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford

Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, PhD is associate editor of the World Happiness Report and a research adviser to the Gallup Organization. His research centers on the study of human wellbeing, which has led to new insights in the relationship between happiness and income, economic growth and inequality. His research was selected amongst “The Management Ideas that Mattered Most in 2016” by the Harvard Business Review.

Gina Diez Barroso de Franklin
President & CEO, Grupo Diarq

Gina Diez Barroso de Franklin is president and CEO of Grupo Diarq, a Mexico City-based firm whose vision is to promote and develop Mexican creativity. With 1,000-plus employees and eight subsidiaries, the company runs the gamut from real estate development to the creation of Centro, a university of design, media and technology. Gina most recently created Dalia Empower, an empowerment center created to maximize women’s leadership skills.

Katherine Droga
Founder, Droga & Co.

Katherine Droga is passionate about the transformative effects wellness travel has on the individual and the planet. She is the founder of Droga & Co., a global consultancy that creates innovative strategies, new business development and partnerships for destinations and tourism experiences worldwide. Katherine previously worked for Tourism Australia and led the organization’s international operations, distribution platforms and partnerships for over a decade.

Cathy Feliciano-Chon
Founder & Managing Director, CatchOn & Company Ltd.

Cathy 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.

Madelyn Fernstrom, PhD
Senior Health & Wellness Advisor, NBC Universal

Madelyn Fernstrom, PhD, is an award-winning clinician, scientist, author and broadcast journalist. She is the on-air NBC News and TODAY Show health editor and a contributing writer to Today.com. She is the author of over 100 scientific papers as well as three books, including Don’t Eat This If You’re Taking That. She’s also a clinical professor of Psychology in Medicine at the Weill Cornell Medical College.

Alberta Ferretti
Fashion Designer

Alberta Ferretti is an Italian fashion designer known for her ultra-feminine and red-carpet-worthy collections. In 1980, Ferretti and her brother created Aeffe SpA and, the year after, she debuted her own brand at the Milan Fashion Week. Rapid global expansion led to the opening of boutiques in the most important fashion capitals of the world. Her success has garnered many awards along with recognition for her promotion of Italian culture.

Irene Forte
Group Project Director, Rocco Forte Hotels

Irene Forte is the group project director at 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. She also looks after learning and development projects. She was awarded government funding to create a careers app in 2015 (Map My Future), which has been available in the hotels since 2016.

Sir Rocco Forte
Chairman & Founder, Rocco Forte Hotels

Sir Rocco Forte is a British hotelier, philanthropist, keen sportsman and chairman of Rocco Forte hotels. Founded in 1996, the company operates 11 luxury hotels in key European destinations, including one in Saudi Arabia. Sir Rocco was knighted in December 1994 for services to the UK tourism industry and received the highest Italian accolade, the Gran Croce dell’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana in 2005.

Nicola Angelo Fortunati
Terme & Spa General Director, Italian Hospitality Collection

Dr. Nicola Angelo Fortunati is the spa general director of the Italian Hospitality Collection, which runs three important thermal spas in Tuscany: Fonteverde Natural Spa Resort, Grotta Giusti Natural Spa Resort and Bagni di Pisa Medical Spa Resort. He is president of the Tuscan Thermes Technical & Scientific Committee and a member of the Italian Thermal Properties Federation.

Melisse Gelula
Co-Founder, Well+Good

Melisse Gelula is the co-founder of Well+Good, a leading health and wellness digital media company with a community of 10+ million monthly. She is also the senior vice president of Brand of Leaf Group’s Fitness & Wellness division. As a wellness media expert, Melisse has led the editorial, branded content, design and video teams at Well+Good. She was named one of the 9 Most Creative Entrepreneurs of 2018 by Inc. magazine.

Neil Grimmer
CEO & Founder, Habit

Neil Grimmer, is founder and CEO of Habit, pioneering personalized nutrition through deep science. Neil co-founded Plum Organics, the nation’s leading organic baby food brand, and today, he is on a mission to change the world through food once again—this time for grown-ups. Neil’s diverse background ranges from being a punk rock musician to product design at IDEO and now, building his own start-ups.

Mindy Grossman
President and CEO, Weight Watchers International, Inc.

Mindy Grossman has served as a director and president and CEO of Weight Watchers since July 2017. Grossman has more than 38 years of experience in building and transforming consumer brands. Immediately prior to joining Weight Watchers, she served as Chief Executive Officer of HSN, Inc. and was a member of its Board of Directors since August 2008. She is credited with transforming HSN into a lifestyle network.

Ranieri Guerra, MD
Assistant Director General, Special Initiatives, WHO

Ranieri Guerra, MD, is the current WHO Assistant Director General for strategic initiatives in Geneva. He previously served as Director General of Preventive Health and Chief Medical Officer at the Ministry of Health of Italy. Dr. Guerra has worked as a consultant and team leader for UNICEF, UNDP, WHO and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on projects in several areas of the world, specifically war-torn regions and those with complex public health emergencies.

Mark Harms
Partner, Bespoke Capital Partners

Mark Harms co-founded Bespoke Capital Partners, a private equity firm focused on investing in companies in the consumer, leisure and healthy lifestyle-related sectors globally. The portfolio includes 24Hour Fitness, World Gyms Taiwan and Vinventions. Mark holds a BA from the University of Michigan (Honors) and an MBA from the University of Chicago. He is a former vice chairman of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

Sue Harmsworth

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.

Andrea Illy
Chairman, illycaffè

Andrea Illy, chemist by training, is chairman of illycaffè, a family-established business, founded in Trieste, Italy, with the mission of producing the world’s highest quality coffee. Under Andrea’s stewardship, illycaffè has become a brand recognized around the globe for its coffee, its ethical values and the close relationships it has forged with growers, merchants and the contemporary art world.

Jessica Jesse
CEO and Creative Director, BuDhaGirl

Jessica Jesse’s career has spanned over 30 years in high-end fashion retail. Her passion has been to live well everyday and to do so with great presence. In the modern era of wellness and mindfulness, she has become a change agent by combining contemplative practice with evidence-based science and fashion. Through BuDhaGirl she introduces the importance of ritual in all we do each and every day.

Katherine Johnston
Senior Research Fellow, Global Wellness Institute

Katherine Johnston has extensive experience conducting economic and industry competitiveness studies worldwide, including 17 years as a senior economist with SRI International. Since 2008, Katherine has partnered with the Global Wellness Institute to pioneer groundbreaking research on the global wellness industry and focusing on understanding and measuring opportunities in wellness economy, wellness tourism, workplace wellness and wellness communities/real estate. She holds degrees from Sweet Briar College and Georgetown University.

Mia Kyricos
SVP & Global Head of Wellbeing, Hyatt Hotels Corporation

Mia Kyricos is Senior Vice President & Global Head of Wellbeing for Hyatt Hotels Corporation where she oversees commercial and employee wellbeing. She has held senior leadership positions for Starwood Hotels & Resorts, EXOS, Spafinder and Kyricos & Associates, LLC, a strategic advisory firm for wellness-driven businesses. Mia is a Global Wellness Summit advisory board member, the brand architect of the Global Wellness Institute & co-chair of the 2018 Summit.

Alcide Leali
Managing Director, Lefay Resorts

After graduating in International Management at Bocconi University in Milan, Alcide Leali joined Lefay Resorts in 2008 as marketing director. In 2011, he was appointed managing director, supervising Lefay Resort & SPA Lago di Garda, the first property in the Lefay portfolio. Today, he oversees the company’s expansion strategy, focused on opening Lefay Resort & SPA Dolomiti and launching the first Serviced Branded Residences of the Group.

Chee Kwong Low
Managing Director, Herbaline Wellness Group

Chee Kwong Low is managing director of Herbaline Wellness Group, which operates a chain of 30 facial spas, 11 healthy restaurants and 2 small boutique hotels in Malaysia. With more than 20 years of hands-on experience and about 500 staff, he has built a respectable wellness brand that encompass all three businesses in various towns throughout Malaysia, achieving higher sales, lower rentals, higher staff retention, and better branding and market positioning.

Aldo Melpignano
Managing Director, Borgo Egnazia, San Domenico Hotels

Aldo Melpignano is the managing director of Borgo Egnazia, an international excellence deeply rooted in Puglia, co-founded together with his family. Innovative hotelier and curious traveler, Aldo has balanced finesse for finance and international experience with a strong passion for his homeland, promoting a concept of hospitality and wellbeing based on local authentic experiences.

Dave McCaughan
Chief Strategy Officer, Ai.agency

For three decades, Dave McCaughan has led the communication strategies of a variety of brands with global advertising agency, McCann. For the last two years, he has worked as an independent consultant, who’s researching how demographics and marketing tools apply to brand story development. He is now a partner at Ai.agency using artificial intelligence tools to discover and track the key narratives driving brands and category opportunities.

Rhiannon McGregor
Foresight Writer, LS:N Global

Rhiannon McGregor specializes in trends and consumer insight for LS:N Global’s lifestyle sectors, with particular expertise in health and wellness, youth culture, travel and the rapidly growing fintech sector. Since starting at The Future Laboratory in 2016, she has worked on projects with brands including Vans, NatWest, Unum and QIC as well as being interviewed as an expert for The Guardian and Grazia Online.


Sergio Pecorelli, MD, PhD
Professor, University of Brescia

OBGYN, surgeon, researcher, chancellor emeritus (University of Brescia) and former president (Italian FDA), Dr. Sergio Pecorelli holds professorships at Yale and UC Irvine and board membership on the Italian Olympic Committee’s Medical Committee. President of Lorenzini Medical Foundation (NY), he leads an international consortium of scientists on the First 1000 Days of Life and founded the PECOS Program for Practitioners, training as an innovative approach to prevention.

Kenneth R. Pelletier, PhD, MD
Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine

Kenneth R. Pelletier, PhD, MD, is clinical professor of medicine at the University of Arizona and UCSF. There, he is director of the Corporate Health Improvement Program (CHIP), a collaborative research program with 15 of the Fortune 500. He is chairman of the American Health Association; consultant to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization; and the author of 13 books and over 300 professional articles.

Giovanni Mario Pes, MD, PhD
Senior Researcher, University of Sassari, Italy

Giovanni Mario Pes, MD, PhD, is the senior researcher at the Department of Medical, Surgical and Experimental Sciences, University of Sassari, Italy. He was the first to report on the exceptional longevity of the population living in the Sardinian mountain area later dubbed as a Blue Zone. He has published more than 100 scientific articles and is a co-author of the book Longevity and Identity in Sardinia.

Bob Roth
CEO, David Lynch Foundation

Bob Roth is an experienced and sought-after meditation teacher in America. Over the past 45 years, Bob has taught Transcendental Meditation to thousands of people and authored The New York Times bestseller, Strength in Stillness: The Power of Transcendental Meditation. Bob currently serves as the CEO of the David Lynch Foundation, which has brought meditation to inner-city youth, veterans and survivors of domestic violence.

Bruno H. Schöpfer
Managing Director, Bürgenstock Selection

A seasoned global hotelier, Bruno H. Schöpfer has four decades of international hotel and brand management experience. In his current role as managing director of the Bürgenstock Selection, he conceptualized, developed and operates Switzerland’s largest luxury hotel operator with six hotels, four spas and a medical wellness clinic. In his long career, he developed exceptional spas; his latest work is the award-winning Bürgenstock Alpine Spa Lake Lucerne.

Louie Schwartzberg
Founder, Moving Art

Louie Schwartzberg is an award-winning cinematographer, director and producer, whose career spans more than four decades using time-lapse, high-speed and macro cinematography techniques. Louie’s recent theatrical releases include the 3D IMAX film Mysteries of the Unseen World with National Geographic and the documentary Wings of Life for Disneynature. Louie’s three TED talks have gone viral with almost 50 million combined views.

Jessica Smith
Creative Researcher, LS:N Global

Jessica Smith joined The Future Laboratory in 2014 after completing a master’s degree in trend forecasting and has become the editorial expert across the health, wellbeing and beauty sectors. At The Future Laboratory, she has worked with notable clients, including Nike, lululemon and Nikon; has written for Frame Magazine; and has been featured as an expert in publications, including The Sunday Times, The Independent, Elle and Condé Nast Traveller.

John Stewart
Founder & Chairman, Kamalaya Koh Samui

John Stewart, co-founder of Kamalaya Koh Samui, lived in India for 16 years and was introduced to Asian philosophies under the tutelage of a Himalayan yogi master. The creation of Kamalaya was inspired by his dedication to a life of service building schools and clinics and by his wife Karina’s passion for health and wellness.

Mary Tabacchi, PhD, RD
Professor Emerita, Cornell University

A Global Wellness Summit board member since its inception and founder of both the New York Spa Alliance and Cornell Institute for Healthful Living, Professor Mary Tabacchi, PhD, RD, has been granted Professor Emerita status by Cornell University. Mary taught the first spa development, corporate wellness and academic healthful cuisines courses at universities, originating 30 years ago. The Mary Tabacchi ISPA Scholarship is awarded in perpetuity to university students.

Liz Terry
CEO, CLADglobal

Liz Terry is editor of Spa Business and Spa Opportunities magazines, as well as managing director of The Leisure Media Company, the business-to-business publisher. The spa team at Leisure Media works to bring decision makers the latest challenging thinking about trends and best practices on a global basis, aiming to contribute to forging a stronger and more robust spa industry.

Matteo Thun
Principal, Matteo Thun & Partners

Matteo Thun, the Milan-based architect and designer, was born and raised in the bilingual German and Italian speaking region of South Tyrol, Italy. After studies with Oskar Kokoschka in Salzburg and at the Architecture University of Florence, he co-founded the Memphis with Ettore Sottsass. In 1984, he opened his own studio in Milan and then founded Matteo Thun & Partners in 2001 with offices in Milan and Shanghai.

Ophelia Yeung
Senior Research Fellow, Global Wellness Institute

Ophelia Yeung has extensive experience leading research and strategy development for business, nonprofit, multilateral and government organizations, including 20-plus years at SRI International. Since 2008, she has co-authored several research studies for the Global Wellness Institute, including The Wellness Tourism Economy 2015, The Future of Wellness at Work 2016, and The Global Wellness Economy Monitor 2017. Ophelia holds degrees from Smith College and Princeton University.

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