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Global Wellness Summit Honors Global Wellness Awards Recipients for Outstanding Contributions to Health and Wellness Worldwide

2019 winners include lifelong environmentalist and world-renowned architect Bill Bensley and Ronna Chao, innovative textiles leader and fashion industry pioneer

Miami, FL – October 24, 2019 – The Global Wellness Summit (GWS), the foremost gathering of international leaders in the $4.5 trillion global wellness economy, today announced recipients of GWS’s prestigious Global Wellness Awards. Leaders and innovators in five categories were honored during the Summit’s conference in Singapore for their exceptional contributions to the wellness industry and the world at large.

Members of the GWS Advisory Board selected the five recipients and, along with award sponsors, presented each honoree to the international delegates assembled at Grand Hyatt Singapore.

“The Global Wellness Awards recognize the far-reaching impact of the wellness industry and, in particular, the vision of each award winner,” said GWS CEO and Chair Susie Ellis. “We are proud to honor these individuals and thank them for their incredible contributions to the wellness movement.”

2019 Global Wellness Award Winners

Leader in InnovationRonna Chao, chair, Novetex Textiles, Hong Kong
Ronna Chao is an outspoken advocate for the environment and a person on a mission to reduce the fashion industry’s harmful effects on the environment. Her company, Novetex Textiles, invented a water-free, upcycling process for textiles, which combines new and existing technologies to create an innovative solution for recycling that does not consume water or produce chemical waste—putting a spotlight on the importance of eco-friendly solutions in the $3 trillion global fashion industry.

Presenting Sponsor: Sammy Gharieni, founder and CEO of the Gharieni Group
GWS Advisory Board Presenter: Catherine Feliciano-Chon, founder & managing director, CatchOn – A Finn Partners Company, Hong Kong

Leader in Sustainability: Bill Bensley, owner, Bensley Architecture, Interior Design and Landscape, Thailand
Bill Bensley is a lifelong environmentalist and famed architect/landscape designer. As a sustainability pioneer, he is an advocate for changing how the hospitality industry approaches its relationship to the planet. His projects focus on replenishing and preserving nature, animals and plants, challenging the industry to rethink how hotels and resorts are designed. Bensley believes the hospitality industry—and conscientious travelers—can lead sustainability by respecting and enhancing the beauty of our natural world.

Presenting Sponsor: John Stewart, founder & chairman, Kamalaya Koh Samui
GWS Advisory Board Presenter: Dr. Marc Cohen, founder, Extreme Wellness Institute, Australia

Leader in Social ImpactJohn Wood, founder, Room to Read, Hong Kong
John Wood left an executive position at Microsoft to change the world—a journey he documented in an award-winning memoir. Through his literacy program, Room to Read, he has impacted the lives of 16.8 million children worldwide. His mission to transform the lives of young girls of primary school age helps them break the cycle of illiteracy that keeps them from reaching their potential. Room to Read also offers the materials to support his educational initiatives and involves families, schools and local governments.

Presenting Sponsor: Yakult (represented by Yoriko Soma, CEO, Conceptasia, Inc., Japan)
GWS Advisory Board Presenter: Omer K. Isvan, president, Servotel Corporation, Turkey

Leading Woman in WellnessMia Kyricos, SVP & global head of wellbeing, Hyatt, US
Mia Kyricos has played a pivotal role in helping to define the wellness industry, developing and reimagining brands while creating pathways for others to achieve their potential. At Hyatt, she is responsible for the corporation’s global wellbeing strategy, and her visionary leadership makes wellness more accessible to travelers around the globe. Hyatt’s “Purpose of Care” builds strong communities and fosters sustainable practices to create an environment in which people thrive.

Presenting Sponsor: Frank Pitsikalis, founder & CEO, ResortSuite, US
GWS Advisory Board Presenter: Nancy Davis, chief creative officer & executive director, Global Wellness Summit, US

Debra Simon Award for Leader in Furthering Mental Wellness:  Professor Gerry Bodeker, PhD and chair of the GWI Mental Wellness Initiative; public health academic & clinical psychologist, Green Templeton College, University of Oxford, UK & Malaysia
Professor Gerry Bodeker (featured image above) is passionate about bringing the importance of mental wellness to the public and the industry. By communicating the importance of mental health for people around the world, Professor Bodeker promotes and supports lifelong growth, happiness, creativity, inner peace and compassion. Thanks to his tireless work, people are able to better understand that mental wellness is as important to personal wellbeing as physical wellness.

This award honors an individual who has achieved excellence in the field of mental health and wellness—and has been a leader, advocate or innovator in wellness programs and pathways that help people thrive mentally. Honoring the legacy of Debra Simon, a woman who struggled with depression and lost her life to suicide, the award was created by her daughter, Lauren Wright.

GWS Advisory Board Presenter: Dr. Franz Linser, CEO, Linser Hospitality

Ellis noted that award recipients were emotional when their name was announced because each person was surprised by a video of congratulations from a loved one. Nancy Davis, GWS chief creative officer and executive director, created the new format to make the announcement of the awards more personal.

About the Global Wellness Summit: The Global Wellness Summit is an invitation-only international gathering that brings together leaders and visionaries to positively shape the future of the $4.5 trillion global wellness economy. Held in a different location each year, Summits have taken place in the US, Switzerland, Turkey, Bali, India, Morocco, Mexico, Austria, Italy and Singapore. The 14th annual Summit will take place in Tel Aviv from November 10–13, 2020.