The Magazine for spa and wellness in Mexico, the Caribbean and Latin America​

Global Wellness Summit: Day 3

Giselle Fernandez Emcee welcomes delegatesSue Harmsworth Co Chair 2016 Summit MBE Chairman Founder ESPA International UK Co ChairGWS2016

Day 3 kicked off with the student challenge. Over 60 submissions were received this year, and it came down to three finalists who presented their ideas to the judging panel. The winner was announced as Shahrin Ali of North South University in Bangladesh who, unable to attend the summit in person, made her presentation via Skype. Her idea is to make sustainable sanitary napkins accessible to the 80% of women throughout Bangladesh who currently rely on unsanitary and ineffective options. Mukto Sanitary Napkin concept promises to reduce the health and social problems associated with this issue. Shahrin Ali received the $5,000 top prize.


Irene Forte of Rocco Forte Hotels outlined strategies for engaging the market segment of millenials and advised everyone that, based on the research “Like it or not, millenials are quite important!”. Having developed the wellness program for Rocco Forte, she then focused her attention on career development within the hotel industry with an app that helps staff focus on their career goals, learn remotely at their own pace, and advance through the ranks on their chosen career path.


Global Wellness Day was recognized and celebrated as Ambassadors and Key Supporters from around the globe came up to the stage to cheer along to the GWD song. Later on GWD Founder Belgin Aksoy was invited onto the stage to receive the Leading Woman in Wellness Award.

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In total, five awards were presented to leaders in the industry:

Leader in Workplace Wellness: Dr. Fikry Isaac, former VP of global health services for Johnson & Johnson, a pioneer in the field of workplace health promotion and global health.

Leading Woman in Wellness: Belgin Aksoy, founder of Global Wellness Day, a movement that has reached over 90 countries.

Leader in Sustainability: Balthasar Hauser, owner of Biohotel Stanglwirt, was honored for his pioneering, sustainable Tyrolean spa resort.

Leader in Innovation: Richard Schmitz, CEO of H/S/M Hotel and Spa Management, for his forward-thinking addition of the phrase “& Spa” to the name of the iconic “Brenners Park Hotel & Spa” in 1983.

Debra Simon Award for Leader in Furthering Mental Wellness: Jeremy McCarthy, Group Director of Spa & Wellness for Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, and author of The Psychology of Spas & Wellbeing, received this first-ever honor for his work in bringing the power of positive psychology to the spa industry.


Over the course of this 10th Anniversary summit we were encouraged to write our predictions for the future and drop them into the time capsule. This was sealed by Edie Weiner of The Future Hunters and will be opened in 10 years time at the 2026 Global Wellness Summit. Will you be there when it gets opened? I hope to be!

We toasted with champagne to another successful summit completed. The exciting news is that next year’s GWS will be held at The Breakers, Miami, Florida. An easier journey for those of us coming from Mexico, the Caribbean or within the US!

Sara Jones



Sara Jones
Author: Sara Jones