Israel Site Visit Update from Nancy Davis
Arriving in Tel Aviv earlier this week, Susie Ellis and I are more excited than ever to have our 2022 Global Wellness Summit (GWS) delegates experience the historic sites and the remarkable culture of collaboration resulting in some game-changing innovations in Israel. We wanted to share a recap of our first few days, as no doubt you will start to feel the same excitement and energy we are feeling here.
Amir Alroy, co-founder of Welltech Ventures and co-chair of the 2022 GWS, along with his Welltech co-founder Galit Horovitz, have been wonderful guides and have set up some very important meetings.
The weather has been beautiful, and the Hilton where our delegates will be staying really is a great setting. There are stunning views of the water from the hotel rooms, so the delegates will have a resort feel while at the same time being in the center of Tel Aviv. With so many of the famous sites so close (one hour to Jerusalem), we hope delegates will all plan to travel before and after the Summit and immerse themselves in the unique country of Israel. We know it will be a once in a lifetime experience.
Upon arrival at the hotel, Susie and I met with Tova Wald (we hadn’t even unpacked, but thanks to Timeshifter, we could still have a meeting!), and she is as wonderful as I knew from years of zoom calls. What a difference to finally be together in person. Tova is the travel advisor for the 2022 GWS and was just named the Travel + Leisure Top Travel Advisor specializing in Israel, Jordan and Morocco. She is very connected here and will be helping on many fronts. With over 30 years of premium hospitality experience, Tova has curated nine bespoke trips to Israel’s must-visit destinations before and after the 2022 GWS—from day trips in Tel Aviv, the Dead Sea & Masada or Jerusalem to overnight trips to Petra & Jordan or the Ancient Negev desert. Tova’s contact information and all the trip details are already on our website so delegates can start planning what will truly be the trip of a lifetime.
Sunday is actually the first day of the week here, so we hit the ground running by enjoying a remarkable, traditional and abundant Israeli breakfast at the gorgeous home of Eli Alroy, Amir’s father. Eli hosted us, along with Amir, his wife Michal (far right in the photo), and Galit. It was wonderful to be in his home and to hear more about the current political and economic climate in Israel. We also learned there is great excitement among Israelis for the Summit—as delegates, and of course, as sponsors in the Tech Innovation Pavilion.
We then went to the research laboratory of Amai Proteins and met with the founder & CEO, Ilan Samish and his team of scientists. Amai won the first “Call for Innovations” competition we ran in 2020 with Welltech, and it will be great to update the delegates at this Summit about their progress, which is impressive. They have created a protein to replace sugar and will launch in early 2023, with corporate partners like Pepsi, Dannon, Mars/Wrigley and more. Ilan will be part of a panel on Food Tech, which is a robust segment here. He ended his presentation with a surprising rap song about innovation and turns out he’s an amateur Flamenco dancer! After our meeting, he was getting on a plane to give a presentation in California to Bill Gates and others.
Next stop on the innovation express was the Weizmann Institute which did not disappoint. It’s a beautiful campus of 100 buildings, with gorgeous trees and perfectly manicured grounds. We went first to the visitor’s center where we toured an interactive exhibit and then watched an impressive film about Chaim Weizmann and the work of the Institute, featuring various scientists.
We then met with Irit Sagi, VP, Innovation & Tech Transfer. She is a game-changer. We learned many things, chief among them the way in which Weizmann empowers research by not only underwriting the projects, labs, and post-graduate education of their scientists, but scientists who do their research at Weizmann sign a contract with the Institute, giving them ownership of the IP. The “Tech Transfer” department works to create partnerships with private companies, who will use that IP to bring products and projects to life. The companies receive the IP without cost. Sixty percent of the money from any eventual sale, reverts to Weizmann and goes directly into their endowment, funding future research, and 40% to the research and innovation team. Weizmann handles all the patent work, matching an innovation to a company, etc. Irit made the point repeatedly that the researchers are not driven by dollars, but by a passion to positively impact the world. The entire circular nature of these relationships is altruistic and quite admirable. It was fascinating.
Susie and I then spent some time with Amir and Galit, discussing the media day at Nike planned for this Wednesday. We will be announcing the “Call for Innovations” competition, which this year is entirely focused on Wellness and the Metaverse.
By this point I had officially finished Timeshifting, and we’ve been telling everyone about the app, since people here cannot believe we have no jetlag! That night, we enjoyed a seemingly endless, fabulous, gorgeous meal with our Comtec and Welltech partners, and woke up to another incredibly productive and inspiring day here in Tel Aviv.
We began by touring the Hilton meeting spaces, which are really quite wonderful. Modern, elegant, great amount of space, and some with views. It was very good to see the space (and Comtec) in action, as there is a 1000-person medical device conference taking place now.
Next stop was the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation. We got a guided tour (the only way you can tour is with a guide), and we walked through the history of the center, the impact and influence of Shimon Peres, spent some time with interactive exhibitions about Israeli innovation and then had a productive meeting with one of their top executives. We will have the Peres Center as part of the Summit, certainly with a speaker; perhaps Shimon Peres’ son, Chemi Peres, who is a leading tech investor and evidently a great speaker.
We stopped for lunch next door to the Peres Center, at Cassis, a restaurant on the beach. Mediterranean food and an amazing view. The weather has been really beautiful, and there is always a breeze by the water.
We did a quick drive through Jaffa, the old part, to get a sense of its viability for dine-arounds. Steep cobblestone walkways, and a center square, but not sure it’s ideal. More to explore!
Amir and Galit took us driving through a few neighborhoods, and we eventually stopped for a caffé before returning to the Hilton, to prepare for our meeting with the Comtec team. We will have a very productive partnership with them which should help ensure a memorable Summit for all.
Then…one of the most amazing, unique, delicious and beautiful meals, to which we were treated by Dani, who owns Comtec. Good thing timeshifting had temporarily ended, because dinner went until 11PM! The restaurant is Topolopompo, and it should be at the top of a list of restaurants we recommend to delegates!
A final thought. We are here in a country that has known war its entire existence. A small country once surrounded by enemies, now shifting and opening borders, forming business alliances that could change the course of history. Everywhere we go, there is talk of collaboration, innovation, inspiration, warmth, camaraderie and compassion. The Israelis are in constant forward motion. It’s a model to admire.
About the Author
Nancy Davis is the Chief Creative Officer & Executive Director of the Global Wellness Summit and the non-profit Global Wellness Institute. She has decades of experience in strategic communications for Fortune 100 companies. Since joining the Global Wellness Summit (GWS) in 2013, Nancy has helped expand the organization’s global footprint through events and activities that promote the mission of both the GWS and the nonprofit Global Wellness Institute™ (GWI). She infuses her work with passion and creativity.