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57. The Godmother of the Wellness Economy – Living History of a Global Movement
Episode 577th July 2022 • Global Wellness Conversations • Global Wellness Summit & NOVA Media
00:00:00 01:22:35

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The Global Wellness Summit (GWS) was launched in 2007 and modeled after the World Economic Forum. Since then it has grown to be the most influential meeting between titans of the wellness industry. Its non-profit research arm, the Global Wellness Institute (GWI) was launched in 2015. Neither organization would exist without the dedication and vision of this week’s guest.

Today we’re talking to the co-founder, chair, and CEO of both GWS and GWI—sometimes called the Godmother of Wellness. During our conversation, you’ll hear the living history of a global movement explained and find out details of Susie’s incredible journey to becoming one of the most prominent voices in the world of wellness. She also details not only how her organizations were the first to identify and quantify the Global Wellness Economy and how you can access all of the free wellness resources that have resulted from the work spearheaded by Susie and her team of collaborators.

When Susie started her career, there wasn’t even a wellness conversation. Things like fitness, nutrition, and beauty existed in their own silos and were only brought together in places called spas. In fact, the very first Global Wellness Summit was actually called the Global Spa Summit.

Despite all of the importance placed on the Summit—and it is an incredible event held in different countries each year and which this year is bringing together industry leaders to the welltech hub of Tel Aviv, Israel —you don’t have to attend to benefit from the Global Wellness Institute’s efforts. Part of Susie’s mission is to promote research and trends that are making a difference in the world and to make much of that information available free to the public. Those research and trends range across the eleven sectors of wellness, in descending order of dollar value as of 2020:

  1. Personal Care & Beauty – $955 billion
  2. Healthy Eating & Nutrition – $946 b
  3. Physical Activity/Fitness – $738 b
  4. Wellness Tourism – $436 b
  5. Traditional & Complementary Medicine – $413 b
  6. Public Health, Preventive & Personal Medicine - $375 b
  7. Wellness Real Estate – $275 b
  8. Mental Wellness – $131 b
  9. Spas – $68 b
  10. Workplace Wellness – $49 b
  11. Hot Springs - $39 b

GWS’ research topic for 2022 is wellness policy. We’re seeing that governments are wanting to have more direction when it comes to wellness, and the policy choices they make have a vast impact on people’s lives. In the coming years, we’re going to see even more how the decisions of policy play a role in our global wellness.

You’ll hear how Susie Ellis’ recipe for success is vision, passion, and responding to a personal calling -- and how that helped grow this dynamic organization. And there’s only more to come as GWS and GWI continue to recognize and research trends to identify and shape the future of the wellness industry.

To learn more, visit Global Wellness Summit’s site at


Hosted by Kim Marshall.




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