The Global Wellness Summit, one of the wellness industry’s most prominent international conferences, hosted its 5th annual Global Wellness Awards and Shark Tank of Wellness student competition last week. This year’s sold-out Summit saw over 630 invitation-only delegates in attendance, hailing from 50 countries to visit the event held at Technogym Village in Cesena, Italy.
The award winners, established by the GWS Advisory Board, were announced on the final day of the Summit, and included the following pioneers in various categories:
Leader in Innovation
Nerio Alessandri, founder and president of Technogym, for his vision and courage to use the word wellness to define his leading technology and fitness company in the early ‘90s before the term became part of the daily lexicon.
Leader in Sustainability
Clodagh, head of New York-based interior design firm Clodagh Design, for being a vanguard of wellness design, as evidenced by her pioneering use of approaches like feng shui, biophilia, chromatherapy, wabi sabi and aromatherapy, as well as her passionate belief that good design supports wellbeing and can transform people’s lives.
Leading Woman in Wellness
Sheila McCann, general manager of Lanserhof UK and prior GM of Chiva-Som, for being a key figure in the global spa industry who has evangelized the transformative effects of authentic, immersive experiences offered by destination spas, integrated wellness resorts and wellness retreats.
Leader in Workplace Wellness
Denise Bober, vice president of human resources at The Breakers Palm Beach, for remaking the culture of a renowned destination property into a shining example of workplace wellness and proving that a “return on wellness” is a real measurement of success.
Debra Simon Award for Leader in Furthering Mental Wellness
John Stewart, one of the founding partners and key visionaries behind the pioneering wellness resort, Kamalaya Koh Samui, for creating projects that make a measurable difference in people’s lives. Stewart proves that happiness comes from giving and has created a unique destination that nurtures guests by combining ancient wisdom with the latest innovations in alternative and modern healthcare, offering healing in the broadest sense, encompassing heart, mind, body and spirit.
The Shark Tank of Wellness Award, a competition that fosters creativity among university students around the world to create bold and viable new concepts in wellness (from technology to architecture to hospitality) received over 150 submissions from 39 countries, and just fifteen of these were selected to present to the Wellness Sharks during the Summit. The finalists were flown to Italy to present to the panel of real-world wellness experts plus a live audience, and three winners were selected to receive the following prizes:
First prize ($5,000) went to Maria Mu of Cornell University for her sleep technology concept, Bellumo, aimed at helping millions of people worldwide that have trouble falling asleep at night. An alternative to potentially harmful medications, Bellumo is a glowing, hanging mobile that guides users through breathing exercises to help them fall into sleep. The form of the mobile was inspired by the bioluminescence of jellyfish and their elegant pulsating shapes, and the glowing and dimming of the soft LED lights guides users to inhale and exhale for set amounts of time, helping them relax deeply.
First runner-up ($2,500) was Ece Nur Temel from Istanbul Technical University for her concept Yoga Lounge, a personal yoga space (or pod) designed for use throughout airports. With over 560,000 flights delayed a month, Yoga Lounge provides a private yoga/meditation sanctuary in the extremely stressful airport environment. Each module is divided into two small areas: one where you place baggage and change your clothes, the other a circular area for doing yoga or meditation, with yoga essentials such as blocks, straps, etc. Yoga Lounge is also a chill-out option for libraries, universities, hospitals, etc.
Second runner-up ($2,500) was Niccolo Saltarelli from Les Roches Global Hospitality Education in Switzerland for his concept CampWell. This innovative health and wellbeing-focused summer camp pairs young adults with experienced camp counselors from an older generation, for immersion in human connection and intergenerational bonding and physical and mental health education and experiences. Programming at CampWell is designed to attack the current epidemic of loneliness and unhappiness among young adults.