Interview with W.E.L.L Summit founder Gianne Doherty
When I think about wellness and lifestyle mavens one of the first names that comes to mind is Gianne Doherty. You may not know her name but she is the beauty behind the brands Organic Bath Co and Well Summit. I was privileged to speak at the Well Summit in Boston last year as the keynote and I’m so thrilled that the Summit has found a new home, right here in NYC. Back for its second year Gianne has so many things to share! We caught up with her to learn more about what’s going on with the Summit and in her world!
This is your 2nd year hosting the Summit in its New Home NYC? What inspired the move down from Boston?
NYC has such an impressive wellness scene that it felt like a natural fit to bring The W.E.L.L. Summit to the Big Apple! There are so many inspiring movements happening in New York, between clean, ethically and socially conscious brands that are thriving out of Brooklyn to the constant flow of juice, workout and overarching health trends in Manhattan. The city is known for its rapid pace, and what better way to learn how to care for yourself, to slow down, to take a deep breath and take in some empowering information than at The W.E.L.L. Summit? We’re also committed to helping attendees decipher long-term wellness solutions from the latest fads. What works for you may not be what you’re seeing on the billboards or on Instagram, and that’s ok. It’s about finding how wellness applies to you, and your life, that matters. New York is also such a fun destination–it’s the ultimate weekend getaway! We had so many attendees, brands & speakers travel up from NYC last year that it made sense to bring the Summit to them. Now, we have over 50 people traveling down from Boston for The W.E.L.L. Summit, so I’m thrilled to see it come full circle.
What are some things guests can expect this year that might be different from last year?
The W.E.L.L. Summit is the leading wellness conference for both wellness professionals and everyday enthusiasts; we’ve been described as the perfect mix between a retreat and a conference. With that high praise in mind, we are always thinking how we can outdo ourselves and create the best experience possible for all attendees. This year, we’ve really listened to feedback from our previous attendees and created a schedule that’s rounded out with business advice, hands-on workshops, spirituality, discussions meant to inspire self-care and acceptance and health-focused topics, as well. We’re so proud of our roster this year! Each Breakout Session leader, every panel participant, has been chosen for their unparalleled knowledge and expertise–not to mention their trailblazing in the wellness industry. For previous attendees to The W.E.L.L. Summit, there will be some returning favorites! From such topics as the business of wellness, we have Ksenia Avdulova–joining us for a second year in a row!– teaching Cracking The Code: Use Social Media To Create Influence, Build Community & Grow Your Business. For topics on intuitive healing, self-love and clean beauty, we’re thrilled to welcome back Sacred Beauty Salon Founder, Rebecca Casciano for Learn How to Use Makeup as a Tool for Self-Love. If you wanted to attend these sessions last year and they were full, or if you want to come back for more information and inspiration, this weekend is your chance to learn from these incredible professionals.
How did come up with the idea to launch the Well Summit and how do you manage it while running Organic Bath Co?
Organic Bath Co. started because I was reacting to the preservatives and fragrance in the mainstream lotions I was using. Learning that the EU has banned or restricted over 1,300 ingredients while the US has only banned or restricted 11 ingredients in our personal care products was alarming to me. It opened my eyes–no turning back after learning that!– and that was the start of my clean beauty journey. It also changed who I was a consumer. I am so much more conscious of the ingredients in all the products I use now. From the laundry detergent I buy to what products we use to clean our home or the office to the food we eat–it all matters in the long run, for our health as well as the health of the planet.
I’ve always been a big believer in surrounding yourself with those who share a similar belief system, and those who are willing to work hard. I wanted to share what I’ve learned with others, and to create a community of like-minded individuals who could use their knowledge to empower and inspire those who are at various stages on their wellness journey. From novices to wellness veterans, The W.E.L.L. Summit has something for everyone. No one should be made to feel like an outsider when it comes to their health! So, at the heart of The W.E.L.L. Summit, community, education and empowerment are the driving forces. Both Organic Bath Co. and The W.E.L.L. Summit are growing businesses, but they’re becoming mightier every day! I am in awe of what we are able to accomplish because we believe so strongly in what we do. There are days when we don’t get much sleep, or when things feel a little overwhelming, but those are the days it helps to take a step back and say, “Wow. Look where we are now. It’s all happening!”
Being a woman of color behind the brand what unique challenges do you see for people of color in the green beauty space?
Fantastic question– and so important for everyone to think about, no matter their background. I would say the biggest challenge is seeing myself represented in clean beauty and wellness. I’m Irish American and Afro Caribbean, born in Belize. I come from a globe-trotting family: my mom is from Belize, my father is a native Bostonian and a US Diplomat, so I moved around the majority of my life. I’ve lived in Belize, Ghana, Dominican Republic, Honduras & El Salvador. I come from diversity, so I naturally seek diversity, personally and professionally. For those of us in decision-making positions in the green beauty and wellness space, it’s really crucial to take a look at our team members; to look at what we’re posting on social media. Do most of these women look like us? If so, then let’s think about what we can do to try and represent more women. Think about not just race, but also age, body type and background.
Your conference is so inclusive with modules that run the whole wellness, entrepreneurship and beauty gamut, why do you focus on these topics in break out sessions? What do you hope the attendees will learn?
My goal with The W.E.L.L. Summit is to present wellness from a 360 degree view. As you know, living well is not just what you eat, it’s also about what you put on your skin; it’s how you nourish your mind and soul. It’s about the consumer choices you make, the effect they have on others and the planet. It’s about the work you do and company you keep. All of it is connected.
What is your goal for Well Summit? Where do you see it going in the next 5 -10 years?
To continue bringing leading wellness brands and thought leaders together for one epic weekend! As we grow, we are seeing continued demand for quality events with a focus on community and education. That demand lead us to do a “Tea Time Chat” with best-selling authors Gabby Bernstein and Sara DiVello a few weeks ago. Our community can expect more one-off events such as that throughout the year. I’d even love to have a W.E.L.L. retreat…mostly because I need a vacation!
Any special surprises up your sleeve? Or anything else you want to share?
Oh my goodness… so many fun additions this year! There is the nail polish bar by the beloved tenoverten, which will be at our VIP lunch, as well as our LIVE W.E.L.L. Party. There’s the EcoDiva Beauty Meditation Lounge, which will be open as a place for attendees to stretch, refresh their spirit or enjoy a moment of silence. There’s our Rishi Tea & Steaz Recharge Lounge that attendees can pop into to network, and enjoy healthy snacks & beverages. We can’t wait to see you there!