Dear Friends,

It is my hope that you have enjoyed a special time during the holidays and are making plans for a healthy, happy and productive start to the new year.

This time of year is filled with many traditions, and one of mine is writing this annual email, Memory Lane and Crystal Ball, and sharing it with all of you. It is something I look forward to doing as it helps me remember the incredible year that is ending and makes me excited and hopeful for the year ahead. Top of mind during the process is wanting these reflections and my predictions for the future to be of some value to you.

Sometimes, as I look back, I am able to see a theme emerging. This year, it is family—in all its many and varied forms. It is my hope that some of this will resonate and possibly inspire your 2024.


In a prominent place in my dining  room, is the FIFA commemorative soccer ball I bought in the Doha airport last February, on my initial site visit to Qatar with Nancy as we were planning the 2023 Global Wellness Summit (GWS). It’s a colorful, somewhat stark reminder of the way the year began, and how 2023 unfolded. While we, unfortunately, had to make a last-minute location pivot due to unrest in the Middle East, I remember vividly our site visit which was filled with warmth, hospitality and hope for the future. I also treasure what I learned—about the importance of sports in this region; the role of the arts and culture to effect change; the enthusiasm and dedication of Msheireb Properties, our host sponsor, to bring Qatar onto the global wellness stage; the extraordinary Zulal Wellness Resort by Chiva-Som, a destination breaking new ground by creating space for families to enjoy a wellness resort together. It was a very powerful start to the year.

Fast forward to early May, and our one-day Wellness Real Estate & Communities Symposium in New York. It was late afternoon, after a packed day of speakers, panels, interactive lunches and more, when I noticed that I was not the least bit tired.  Rather, I was energized. The Symposium was hosted by JPMorgan Chase in their Delos WELL-Certified office space, which features air purification systems and products. Having truly fresh air circulating throughout a packed day and a delicious healthy lunch made a huge difference! While I have been a champion of wellness housing and communities from our inaugural Global Wellness Institute (GWI) research, Build Well to Live Well, it’s a personal experience that often results in the greatest understanding and impact. We all felt the invigorating atmosphere. It is not surprising that GWI has forecast that Wellness Real Estate will enjoy the highest projected average annual growth rate (17.4%) of the 11 wellness sectors analyzed for 2022-2027. JPMorgan has become a home-away-from-home for us, and in 2024 our New York Press Event on January 30, as well as our 2024 Wellness Real Estate & Communities Symposium on May 14, will both be hosted in this wonderful space. It is not overstating to say that both Delos and JPMorgan are part of the GWS and GWI family.

I am also proud to be a part of the EHL Hospitality Business School family. As an advisory board member, I attended the annual meeting in May, 2023 in Lausanne, Switzerland. When I opened my EHL meeting agenda, I was surprised—and delighted—to see that for the first time, wellness and wellbeing were included! While it has taken many years, it felt like a real victory that this award-winning hospitality school is making wellbeing a major focus in their curriculum going forward. The following month I attended Cornell University’s 14th Annual Icon and Innovator of the Industry Awards Gala where famous restauranter Danny Meyer and our own wellness industry pioneer Mia Kyricos were honored. It gave me great satisfaction to realize that both of these top hospitality schools, Cornell and EHL, are now firmly rooted in making wellness and wellbeing part of their curriculum.

Team Meeting:  Sitting outside of the dining area in the gardens at Rancho La Puerta, Mexico, with our GWS/GWI team this summer, was also a special memory. It was the first time our GWI research team and our GWS Summit team were together for such an extended time. I have no doubt that our ability to accomplish so much with a small but mighty team is enhanced because of our efforts over the years to become a family. We worked a bit, laughed a lot, and shared some very special moments. And we recommitted to the GWS core values: being global, future-focused, collaborative, evidence based, inclusive and agile. We are determined to find a “retreat partner” each year so that we can continue to bond and plan the best strategies going forward.

On September 14, the day of my 38th wedding anniversary, I had dinner with my husband at the new Sexy Fish restaurant in Miami. An event like this would not ordinarily make it into my annual email, but the circumstances are unusual; I have mentioned this in a previous email, so consider this an update. It has been almost 3 years since my husband decided that living apart from me works better for him. We have now come to an understanding; while not getting divorced, we are still in each other’s lives although living separately. What had at first shattered my world has now come to yield some blessings and silver linings, as I have regained my equilibrium. It has given me valuable time to focus on my work, and to invest in more meaningful relationships with family and friends. (Silver lining: it sure is nice to have more closet space.)  😊  One surprising benefit of that evening was that when it came time for us to pivot the 2023 Summit to Miami, it was clear to me what a great setting Sexy Fish would be for our gala evening, and indeed, it was!

In November, I had the honor of a lifetime interviewing the great gymnast Simone Biles at the 2023 Summit in Miami. I enjoyed asking her my prepared—and spontaneous—questions interspersed with the exciting video clips that Nancy had so expertly choreographed, showing some of Simone’s amazing gymnastic accomplishments, her family life and the challenging moment in Tokyo when she withdrew from the Olympics due to her mental health. I didn’t realize the extent to which she had been criticized for that decision. Since that time, her advocacy for people coming forward who are struggling with mental health issues has been a huge contribution to our industry—and to the world. I will never forget her sharing her experience of seeing athletes come into the gym with a bandaged limb, receiving understanding and support; yet when it comes to mental health issues, because there is no outward sign, the health challenge is often misunderstood. She said, “what should I do, come to the gym with a helmet on my head?” We all laughed and yet related, as many of us have experienced mental health challenges at one time or another.

The message of support in Simone’s life was abundantly clear when her mother, Nellie, joined us on stage for the final segment of the interview. The strength of family—from the very beginning—is the glue that holds Simone Biles together and gives her the strength and the wings to soar. It was a thrill I will never forget.

Later that same morning, we welcomed the award-winning American artist and music producer Timbaland who shared his journey overcoming addiction and losing a tremendous amount of weight thanks to embracing wellness habits. He announced a partnership with health and wellbeing music company Myndstream that will help others get in touch with the healing aspects of music.

What a joy to realize that the spa, wellness and prevention conversation is not only mainstream, but championed by celebrities who we know will give it even more momentum.

On a personal note, 2023 provided opportunities for me to see more of my extended family. I spent time after Thanksgiving with my granddaughter; saw both of my children (am their “bonus mom”) in LA, visited old friends, and whenever I’m near southern California, I try to spend a few nights at the home of my mentor and dear friend, Deborah Szekely—now 101 years young.

And finally, 2023 will be forever marked by the extraordinary generosity of my twin sister, Katrine Formby. Lucky for me, and my entire extended family, Katrine read and embraced the theory behind the bestseller, “Die with Zero” by Bill Perkins. Perkins’ hypothesizes that instead of amassing wealth that others will get when you die, there is wisdom in sharing it with others while you are alive and able to enjoy it with them, or at least able to witness their enjoyment. Like anything Katrine decides to do, she goes all-in. My entire family, her circle of friends and her philanthropic interests have all benefited from her generosity, especially in facilitating trips with family members. She pays for everything. In a show of remarkable support, Katrine was also the founding donor to the GWI’s Susie Ellis Scholarship for Equity in Wellness, a tremendously successful program Nancy created to honor 15 years of the GWS. This year we were able to bring 4 individuals to the Summit who otherwise would not have been able to afford to attend.

Now, what’s ahead in 2024?


I don’t need a crystal ball to predict that the opportunities ahead for the wellness industry are huge for 2024, within the now $5.6 trillion Global Wellness Economy. COVID did, in fact, accelerate what was already an upward trajectory for all things wellness. It means that most of our businesses have a chance to grow and flourish, and that mergers and acquisitions are increasingly likely. At the same time, the opportunity for well-washing grows. We must be relentless in adhering to transparency and being science-based.

Weight Loss Medications: A few specifics I am seeing for this upcoming year include paying attention to the weight loss drug semaglutide (marketed as Wegovy) as well as diabetes medications such as Ozempic and Mounjaro and how they might affect, and even alter, our wellness landscape. It is the first time in my career that there has been hope of possibly bending that rising obesity epidemic curve, into a new direction. I am amazed at how many people I know personally who have already given these drugs a try. When I read that some airline companies are beginning to calculate changes to aircraft design because of significantly less passenger weight, I realize that many believe that this dramatic change is really happening. Look out for the Oprah-effect as I predict her recent mention of appreciation for weight loss medications will bring this fully into the mainstream.

The Year of Mental Wellness: COVID caused people to pay attention to their physical health, as well as their mental health, exacerbated by an overarching feeling of isolation. The aging population in many parts of the world, and the tragedies that are part of every news cycle are making matters worse. While the stigma around mental health is being confronted more effectively in some parts of the world, I feel that our wellness toolkits need to be refreshed to include things like limiting access to news and social media; practicing meditation and gratitude; more bonding with family and friends; paying attention to our spiritual lives.

“Wellness Is the New Why”: That’s a quote from Teri Slavik-Tsuyuki, who chairs the GWI Wellness Real Estate and Communities Initiative. She reports that research in the real estate arena shows, for the first time in history, that when real estate buyers are asked what their number one purchase motivator is, the answer is wellness! It is everywhere in real estate conversations these days; communities and residences, newly built and rebuilt, homes and office spaces, etc. I am predicting that our Wellness Real Estate Symposium on May 14 at JPMorgan will attract the largest participation yet and that developers, architects, designers, builders and technologists will realize that creating the wellness magic is not as easy as they once thought.

Sports, Wellness and Hospitality: I am also excited about what I see developing at the intersection of sports, wellness and hospitality. Sports is siloed no more. With the new hotel brand by Kerzner Int’l, SIRO opening in Dubai at the beginning of 2024, Sports Illustrated Resorts expanding, and an Equinox Resort in Saudi Arabia on the drawing board, the momentum is undeniable.  While the spa and wellness world moving into offering more recovery options no doubt helped the acceleration, technology advancements have definitely contributed as well. I predict it will be the creativity of the sports and wellness worlds, that know how to market and invest in this space, that will make this a massive opportunity.

Geography of Wellness Program: My own team knows that another thing I get really excited about is our Geography of Wellness program, a foundational pillar of the nonprofit Global Wellness Institute.  This was something we started as a result of countries expressing interest in branding themselves in the wellness space. We also learned that while the Institute gives away a great deal of aggregated research data to offer a global view of the wellness economy, there was an appetite for countries to learn exactly what their country-specific data was for each of the 11 wellness sectors. So, in collaboration with our GWI researchers, we were able to put together a program that provided this information. It has proven to be valuable and popular information and we require the sponsor to share it with everyone in the spirit of our mission: Empowering Wellness Worldwide. I am really proud of the early sponsors who stepped up: Singapore, Thailand, Brazil, Indonesia, United Kingdom, United States, Korea, and Canada, and I cannot wait for our map to fill in even more in 2024.

Climate and the Wellness Industry: And finally, a word about the global climate conversation that some feel we need to embrace more fully. I think 2024 could be time to look at the climate crisis from a unique wellness perspective—and something I propose our wellness world develops together. We do need to talk about and take the very important steps to do our part, clearly. However, we can offer something different. We can emphasize how our health and the health of others, wellness and wellness for all, is itself a contribution. Look for that on the agenda during our exciting 2024 Global Wellness Summit taking place at St. Andrews in Scotland. And while on the topic of family, I am so proud of the sponsorship of Kohler and The Old Course Hotel; storied brands, family owned and run.

One last note about family. My hope is that in 2024 we all act more like family—listening, arguing, coming together, drifting apart, but ultimately, and always, showing up and loving each other. While there are many things that divide us, wellness and the prevention of disease is one thing that unites us all. I remain optimistic that wellness can play a diplomatic role in the world’s future.

Thank you for being part of my extended family and it is my hope that you feel you are part of the global wellness family that is authentically committed toward positive impact. Here’s to a healthy, happy, and peaceful New Year.


Global Wellness Summit & Global Wellness Institute
[email protected]

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