GWI outlines 16 wellness initiatives to solve key industry issues

by Jane Kitchen | 04 May 2016

The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) has announced it has established 16 wide-ranging wellness initiatives, each of which is chaired by a leader in that unique wellness sector. The initiatives are designed to solve key industry issues and further the global conversation about wellness in its many forms.

“Wellness is a vast and complex US$3.4tn (€3tn, £2.3tn) industry,” said Susie Ellis, chair and CEO of the GWI. “We forged these collaborative, global Initiatives to allow expert task forces to come together to address the problems and opportunities they identify as most important – whether it’s the need for a larger, better trained workforce for the wellness industry; identifying the most effective/compassionate wellness approaches for people with cancer; or maximising the opportunities of wellness tourism worldwide. And it’s inspiring to see what colleagues and, often, business competitors, can do when they join together for the greater good of their industry and the people and planet we all serve.”

The initiatives are one of the pillars of the GWI, and are tasked with forging their own projects – such as new research, best practices manuals, training platforms and campaigns to raise awareness about an issue or event.

The 16 GWI Initiatives include:

Baltic to the Black Sea: Although Eastern Europe has a rich heritage of well-being practices, they have remained little known. This Initiative promotes those wellness traditions that are authentic, effective and relevant to today’s travellers.

Chair: Alla Sokolova, co-founder, Balans International Wellness Centre, Latvia

Career Development was inspired by the Global Wellness Institute research report, “Spa Management Workforce & Education: Addressing Market Gaps,” which concluded that there were far too few qualified spa managers and spa/wellness career educational options available worldwide. It revolves around three global programs: a mentorship program, internship program and a website providing a wealth of information for anyone considering a career in wellness or spa.

Chair: Jean Guy de Gabriac, founder & CEO, Tip Touch International, Belgium

Clinical Wellness Best Practices was founded to help the wellness community and its practices gain credibility among the medical community, including medical researchers, pharmaceutical companies, clinicians, and health insurers.

Chair: Josef Woodman, CEO, Patients Beyond Borders, United States

Consulting Best Practices was founded to help businesses evaluate when a spa management consultant would benefit them and to provide guidelines on the selection process.

Chair: Lisa Starr, consultant for Wynne Business, United States

Digital Innovations for Healing: The expectation is that we stay technologically interconnected at all times, but our digital dependency is making us less connected to each other, to nature and ultimately to ourselves. This global group of experts is dedicated to understanding the role of mindfulness, meditation and nature in leadership.

Chair: Louie Schwartzberg, founder, Moving Art, United States

Future of Wellness at Work brings together top thinkers and “doers” to offer new visions for how wellness at work can be implemented in the global community.

Chair: Renee Moorefield, PhD, CEO, Wisdom Works, United States

Global Hot Springs is an international task force dedicated to exploring the diverse values of geothermal waters for health, tourism and community. Its mission is to educate consumers, unite the deeply fragmented global hot springs community, and drive sustainable investment worldwide.

Chair: Amy McDonald, owner and principal, Under a Tree Health and Wellness Consulting, United States

Hydrothermal Initiative aims to increase transparency and awareness in the design and implementation of all elements of facilities involving thermal and wet treatments.

Chair: Don Genders, managing director, Design for Leisure, United Kingdom

Minister of Wellness was formed to map out a new governmental function to benefit people worldwide: a Minister of Wellness. The aim is to develop a thoughtful and strategic framework that can be used to build a positive contagion for making well-being a priority in countries globally.

Co-Chairs: Renee Moorefield, PhD, CEO, Wisdom Works, United States and Guillaume Lefevre, president and co-founder, THÉMAÉ, France

Sustainability was founded to stimulate a provocative discussion about how wellness intersects both on a personal level and on a wider social, economic and environmental scale.

Chair: Bonnie Baker, managing partner & co-founder, Satteva Spa and Wellness Concepts, Mexico

Wellness Communities: Humans spend the vast majority of their time indoors, but “wellness” has been late in coming to the built environment. This Initiative brings together senior stakeholders from around the world with active commercial interests in communities and buildings proactively developed with the holistic health of its residents, guests, environment and surrounding community in mind.

Chair: Mia Kyricos, president, Kyricos & Associates, United States

Wellness for Cancer: Most spas have lacked the proper perspective about, and the proper training to support, clients with cancer: to help them reduce stress and increase their emotional resiliency. This Initiative offers a cancer-focused educational platform that trains staff, departments, and locations worldwide.

Chair: Julie Bach, executive director, Wellness for Cancer

Wellness Tourism was formed to create a global platform of stakeholders in what has become one of the fastest-growing tourism segments. It supports the practical integration of wellness into tourism strategy and highlights the vast opportunities for private sector business.

Chair: Anni Hood, founder and CEO, Anni Hood, Wellness Business Consultancy, United Kingdom

World Retreat Study aims to assess the health impact of retreat experiences through a standardised online assessment tool, measuring depression, anxiety, stress, mood, sleep, health symptoms, quality of life, cognitive function (and more) to provide data on the benefits of retreat experiences.

Chair: Professor Marc Cohen, MBBS (Hons), PhD, B MEd Sc (Hons), Professor of Health Sciences, RMIT University and chair, Australasian Wellness Association, Australia

Two new GWI Initiatives, Beauty, chaired by Mark Wuttke, president & COO, Babor, United States, and Wellness Architecture, chaired by Veronica Shreibeis Smith, CEO & founding principal, Vera Iconica Design, United States, will launch later this year.

Global Wellness Institute  wellness initiatives 
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The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) has announced it has established 16 wide-ranging wellness initiatives, each of which is chaired by a leader in that unique wellness sector. The initiatives are designed to solve key industry issues and further the global conversation about wellness in its many forms. “Wellness is a vast and complex US$3.4tn (€3tn, £2.3tn) industry,” said Susie Ellis, chair and CEO of the GWI. “We forged these collaborative,
“We forged these collaborative, global Initiatives to allow expert task forces to come together to address the problems and opportunities they identify as most important,
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