Spafinder Wellness 365
World Travel Market
2016 Wellness Travel Awards :: Meet the Panel 2016

Meet the Panel

The finalists for the 2016 Wellness Travel Awards are determined by these spa and wellness journalists, editors and experts. Properties are nominated by the panel who then narrow the field to finalists for consumers to vote for their favorite locations across 20 categories to help determine the winners.    

Kris Abbey

A health advocate since she was 15, Kris Abbey’s career in the health and fitness industry spans 30 years.  She has authored several books including Going Organic; Your Guide to a Healthier Life and The Low HI Diet: How to Eat Clean and Get Lean.  She also publishes Spa & Wellness International magazine and sits on the Board of the International Health & Wellness Alliance, a global organization with the mission to help spa and wellness businesses effectively educate, empower and engage their clients and community. 

Ann Abel

The former executive editor of Luxury SpaFinder magazine, Ann Abel has been a travel writer and editor for 14 years. She has written about more than 450 luxury spas, hotels, destinations, adventure trips and travel designers in 77 countries (and counting).  Her work has been published in Forbes, Departures, Robb Report, Conde Nast Traveller, Afar, National Geographic Traveler, Yahoo Travel, Outside, Islands, Hemispheres, Brides, Modern Bride, Well + Good, and other print and online publications. 

Gustavo Albanesi

After earning a law degree at the University of São Paulo, and a postgraduate degree in Finance from the University of California, Berkeley, Gustavo Albanesi worked as an investment banker. In 2001, he also began a career in the wellness market as a co-founder of Buddha Spa, the largest spa chain in Brazil with 23 locations. In 2005 he founded JG Partners, an investment fund focused on financial and venture capital investments in the beauty and wellness market. In 2009 he began sharing his time and expertise with the Brazilian Spas and Clinics Association, as a president. 

Bonnie Baker

Bonnie Baker is the vice-president of the board of the Green Spa Network, chair of the Global Wellness Institute’s Sustainability Initiative and founding member of the Wellness Tourism Council in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.  With over 20 years of experience in the spa industry, Bonnie has worked with international award-winning companies and locations, and is the co-founder of Satteva Spa and Wellness Concepts, a Mexican-based wellness company.

Katie Barnes

Katie Barnes has a 14-year career in international spa, beauty and health media. She is the editor of Spa Business magazine and was launch editor of Spa Business Handbook, two of the most highly respected publications for the global spa industry.

Mary Bemis

In 2015, Mary Bemis was honored with a Folio Top Women in Media Award. The founder and editorial director of InsidersGuidetoSpas.com, Mary was a founder of both American Spa and Organic Spa magazines and is a co-founder of the Washington Spa Alliance (WSPA). In 2013, she received ISPA's Dedicated Contributor Award for her decades of service to the spa industry.

Rona Berg

Longtime journalist, best-selling author and editor-in-chief of Organic Spa Media, Rona Berg is the former editorial director of ELLE, deputy style editor for the New York Times Magazine and contributing editor to SELF.  She has contributed to over 100 publications and been quoted as an industry expert in numerous publications, including Huffington Post, New York Magazine, Glamour and USA Today. She co-chairs the Personal Care Committee of the non-profit Green Spa Network, is a charter advisory board member of the Nutritional Aesthetics Alliance, best-selling author of Beauty: The New Basics and Fast Beauty (Workman Publishing), and is a frequent speaker and guest on radio and television and at conferences around the globe.

Elena Bogacheva

As president and founder of the Spa & Wellness International Council and CEO of Spa Priori LLC, Elena Bogacheva has dedicated her career to developing the spa and wellness industry in Russia. She is the author of the first comprehensive manual for spa professionals in Russia, publisher of Spa Universe and a contributing writer for over 100 publications, including Les Nouvelles Esthetiques and Cabines Internationales.

Anitra Brown

Anitra Brown, About.com’s Spas Expert since 2004, has spent her career writing about the good things in life–food, drink, travel and spas. She is a major contributor to The New York Times bestsellers 1,000 Places To See Before You Die and 1,000 Places To See in the USA and Canada Before You Die.  In 2006, she earned her esthetician license and worked in spas to further her expertise.

Julie Keller Callaghan

As the editor-in-chief/publisher of American Spa magazine, Julie Keller Callaghan helms one of the industry's leading publications for spa professionals. She travels the world reporting on top day, resort, medical and destination spas and has led her team to win several prestigious awards for editorial and design. She is also a longtime freelance writer specializing in spa, beauty, health, wellness, travel, art and entertainment.

Sarah Camilleri

Business journalist Sarah Camilleri launched European Spa magazine in 2007 to ensure that leading spa and wellness decision-makers would have access to the latest developments in news, trends and innovations for the sector. Published six times a year, this elegant business magazine has established itself as a “must-read” publication for industry leaders and spa professionals worldwide.

Johnny Chang

A popular columnist for spa and beauty related magazines, an official judge for AsiaSpa and SpaChina Awards, and Founder and CEO of Spa Solutions Management & Training Consultancy (Shanghai) Limited, Johnny Chang has more than 20 years of spa/wellness industry expertise, including successfully delivering business and marketing strategy to international hotel spas and spa products in China.  In his work he acts as a bridge between the East and West, and offers spa and product brands strategic business planning, positioning, development consultancy and training services.

Isabelle Charrier

In 2004, Isabelle Charrier founded Emotion Spa Magazine, a quarterly French and English publication that provides an international overview of the wellness market. The publication’s website provides news about the spa industry and a reference for recruiting spa and wellness managers and other professionals. She regularly leads conferences to bring new directions to the wellness sector, with an attention to quality, professional ethics and pragmatism.

Sandhya Chipalkatti

Sandhya Chipalkatti is the founder, editor and publisher of SpaMantra, India’s first trade magazine for the spa and wellness industry, and StyleSpeak, one of the country’s leading professional magazines for the hair, beauty and nail salon industry. Sandhya is a board member of the Indian Spa & Wellness Association and managing committee member of the Indian Society of Cosmetic Chemists.

Jeri Clausing

Jeri Clausing edits the luxury eNewsletter for Travel Weekly.  A veteran newspaper and wire service reporter and editor, she developed wanderlust from her father, who moved the family from Michigan to American Samoa to Texas to Saudi Arabia.  A freelance writer and former senior editor for Travel Weekly, Jeri has provided in-depth coverage of trends in the wellness, luxury and hotel sectors, including detailed reports from development hot spots around the world.

Susan d'Arcy

Susan d'Arcy has been writing about luxury travel and wellness for The Sunday Times for more than 25 years and regularly travels around the world reviewing the latest openings and visiting the leading wellness properties. She also works as a spa consultant.

Dr. Nadine de Freitas

Dr. Nadine de Freitas is owner and managing editor of Spa Magazine Les Nouvelles Esthétiques – South Africa and works closely with MIMS Pharmaceutical Publications, where she is editor-in-chief for the Complementary Medicines Directory. With 20 years of experience in medicine, publishing and marketing, and a commitment to the growth and development of the spa industry, Nadine is also the founder and executive director of the SA Spa Association, which acts as an ambassador for the industry.  She holds a Masters Degree in Homeopathy (S.A) (Cum Laude) and a Masters Certificate in Acupuncture.

Elaine D'Farley

Elaine D’Farley is a wellness seeker, an award-winning editor, and has spearheaded redesigns of magazines as varied as the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue to COSMOPOLITAN and SELF.  She was the beauty director at SELF for 12 years, and as the fashion and beauty director of COSMOPOLITAN, oversaw a new direction for its fashion and beauty editorial pages. Elaine has appeared as an expert on Entertainment Tonight, The Today Show, CNN, Oprah and more. As editor-in-chief of Spafinder Wellness 365, she is leading Spafinder's editorial and its branded content.

Anne Dimon

Founder & CEO of TraveltoWellness.com, Anne Dimon is a wellness travel consultant and professional travel writer/industry journalist contributing to various publications including the Travel Market Report.  She is also the executive editor at Wander Magazine. A recognized wellness travel expert, Anne is often quoted in the media, speaks on the topic at events such as the New York Times Travel Show and Virtuoso Travel Week, and hosts webinars for The Travel Institute. As a wellness travel consultant she works with companies including the New York Times and Virtuoso. 

Dzigbordi K. Dosoo

Dzigbordi K. Dosoo is a dynamic multifaceted entrepreneur, business expert, international speaker, lifestyle, image and wellness coach and talk show host. She is the founder and CEO of Allure Africa Group, an award-winning spa and lifestyle business; the only female named in the “Top 10 Most Respected CEOs in Ghana” in 2012; and is currently the Board Director of the Spa & Wellness Association of Africa.

Suzanne Duckett

Well known beauty, spa and wellness journalist Suzanne Duckett is the editor of Tatler Spa Guide and Contributing Wellness Editor of Psychologies Magazine. She is also a spa consultant and founder of ThisIsTheAntidote.com, a wellness site and talk hub where Suzanne handpicks and interviews inspiring experts from all walks of wellness, fitness and the arts at dinners, panels and special events for private members clubs, luxury hotels, spas and high end retailers, including Selfridges London. She also writes regularly for national newspapers including The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Daily Mail and The Sunday Times. 

Nora Elias

Nora Elias is the editor of Professional Spa & Wellness, a monthly digital B2B magazine for the global spa and wellness industry that launched in 2012. Based in London, Nora has been a journalist for 10 years. Before joining Professional Spa & Wellness, she worked as an editor across a number of custom publishing magazines in Dubai.

Catherine Feliciano-Chon

Cathy is founder and managing director of CatchOn, a brand and PR consultancy in Asia for hospitality and wellness. A sought after speaker for her keen insights on the Asian consumer marketplace and emerging trends, she has presented at the Global Spa & Wellness Summit and judged the World Spa Awards, Spa China and AsiaSpa Awards.

Jo Foley

For over a quarter of a century, Jo Foley has been reviewing spas, sanctuaries and wellness centers on four continents, and has written about them for publications as varied as the Financial Times and Vanity Fair. She has chronicled the change from fat farms, to pleasure palaces, to holistic hideaways and continues to be fascinated by how spas adjust to our ever-changing needs and demands.

Gustavo F. Gaffrey

Gustavo F. Gaffrey holds a graduate degree in Business Administration and a postgraduate degree in Business Development and International Marketing. He is CEO of Spa & Health Centers Consultants, which he founded in 2003. He is also the former president of the Argentina Spa Association, founder and CEO, Spas of Argentina and director of the Health & Wellness Group of Argentina.

Jenni Gilbert

Jenni Gilbert developed her passion for wellness and anti-aging modalities throughout a long publishing career. She has worked for major newspapers and magazines, including Who, The Australian Women’s Weekly, Woman’s Day and New Idea, which she edited. Jenni also launched and edited Good Medicine magazine (now Good Health) and later Younger You, an anti-aging and wellness magazine and website. She joined Spa Australasia in March 2014 to steer it on its new course as SPA+CLINIC, and in July 2015 launched S+C’s first brand extension, Clinical Aesthetics, for the medical aesthetics community.

Franka Hänig

Franka Hänig is cosmetician who studied communication and media sciences and worked in a leading position at the editorial department of a publisher specializing in cosmetics for many years. In 2007, she established redSPA media Ltd together with Sascha Bostan. In addition to SPA inside, the publisher also distributes INSIDE beauty, a magazine specialized on perfumes, as well as the golf and wellness magazine LADY GOLF.

Sara Jones

Sara Jones is managing director and editor of Spa & Wellness Mexico. The publication disseminates international spa industry information throughout Mexico, allowing spa and wellness professionals easy access to current knowledge and research, as well as the resources available to them through suppliers, events, expos and educational programs. Sara has also worked many years in the Middle East, New Zealand and Mexico.

Catharine Nicol

Catharine Nicol, originally from London, has been based in Hong Kong since the transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to China in 1997. During her eight years at AsiaSpa magazine she fell in love with the spa and wellness industry and now currently writes for numerous titles as a freelancer, as well as her blog, spasandbeyond-blog.com.

Elaine Okeke-Martin

Elaine Okeke-Martin is the president and founder of the Spa and Wellness Association of Africa, which was formed in 2010 to support development, education and productivity in the spa and wellness sector for future generations in Africa. As an ambassador for the spa industry, she combines her experience in spa design, management and training with her creativity to establish new standards in spa development and management.

Si Si Penaloza

Si Si Penaloza: Si Si Penaloza's first brush with luxury spas came at the tender age of eight, when her mother took her for her first scalp massage at the posh Peninsula Hotel. She is the newly appointed Executive Editor and Director of Strategic Partnerships for BEAUTY & WELLNESS Magazine. Over a decade long career, she has since reviewed over 300 spas worldwide and has contributed to The Globe and Mail, JETSET and NUVO.

Sheetal Rastogi

Sheetal Rastogi is the Editorial Director at World Travel, Southeast Asia's Luxury Travel Magazine. Sheetal oversees the magazine's editorial policy and covers luxury travel and lifestyle content. Her love for travel, wellness and a holistic lifestyle is the inspiration behind the magazine. She is a board member of Kaltenhouse since 2009.

Chris Ryall

Chris Ryall had his first massage almost 30 years ago and never looked back. He has since visited spas and experienced treatments on six continents, and in more than 60 countries, and has written extensively for a variety of spa and travel print and online publications. Chris has also written and produced for television and is working to better address the needs of male spa-goers.

Stephanie Shiu

Stephanie Shiu is editor-in-chief of AsiaSpa Magazine. With over 10 years of experience in the magazine publishing industry, her editorial experience covers lifestyle, wellness, high society and fashion, with a particular focus on travel and wellness. During her time at AsiaSpa she has dedicated her time to discovering the finest spas and specialized retreats around the world. 

Sonee Singh

Sonee Singh is an advocate for wellness travel experiences across Latin America.  A holistic aromatherapist and wellness coach, she is also the founder of Petal Life LLC, a resource on complementary alternative medicine.  Sonee has over 15 years of experience in spa and hospitality, having worked for Four Seasons Hotels, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Aromatherapy Associates and Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spas, and holds a Masters of Management in Hospitality from Cornell University and a Masters of Science in Complementary Alternative Medicine from American College of Healthcare Sciences.  She is also an instructor for the University of California, Irvine Extension’s Spa & Hospitality Management Certificate program.

Gaurav Sinha

Gaurav Sinha is an internationally recognised leader in the luxury hospitality, travel and lifestyle sectors. Gaurav founded Insignia Worldwide in 2003 and stands as the visionary behind the world’s first brand enrichment company that focuses on destination brands. He also founded The Travel Marketing Council, the Middle East region’s first forum for travel professionals, and is listed in the 'Top 100 Most Influential Indians in the GCC' by Arabian Business magazine and is recognized for his philanthropic initiatives as the cofounder of Harmony House, a day shelter for over 500 destitute children in India.

Alla Sokolova

Alla Sokolova is the chairman of the Global Wellness Institute Initiative,“ Baltic to the Black Sea,” which was formed to share the culture of spa and wellbeing in Eastern Europe. She is an active member of the SPA and Wellness International Council expert committee and author of "Healing Sources, Spas and Wellbeing from the Baltic to the Black Sea,” which explores the traditional wellness culture of Eastern Europe. Alla is also the founder and CEO of Inbalans, a multi-disciplinary consultancy company and has won numerous awards for co-founding the first international wellness destination in Latvia. 

Liz Terry

Liz Terry is editorial director of a wide range of publications and websites for the spa, leisure and hospitality industries, including Spa Business, Spa Opportunities and CLAD magazines. She also serves as managing director of The Leisure Media Company, the business-to-business publisher. The spa team at Leisure Media works to bring decision-makers the latest challenging thinking about trends and best practices on a global basis, aiming to contribute to forging a stronger and more robust spa industry.

Fiona Vlemmiks

Fiona Vlemmiks is editor of Professional Beauty GCC, a trade magazine for the spa, beauty and wellness industry in the Middle East. She recently spoke at the inaugural Professional Spa and Wellness Convention in Dubai and has been involved in judging the World Spa Awards. Fiona is also trained in holistic therapies.