Susan Harmsworth is recognised as Leading Woman in Wellness

Industry pioneer has been named the 2022 Leading Woman in Wellness at the Global Wellness Summit in Tel Aviv


By Wendy Golledge

07 November 2022

Sue Harmsworth, MBE has been named the 2022 Leading Woman in Wellness at the Global Wellness Summit.

The award, which honours a long-time spa leader who has influenced growth and success, recognised Harmsworth as one of the world’s leading experts at the Summit in Tel Aviv.

Speaking exclusively to European Spa, Harmsworth says: “It’s always amazing to get an award; I’ve been lucky enough to receive a number of accolades, but when it’s from your own tribe it’s extra special.

“I was so dumbstruck; I just didn’t expect it. I hadn’t washed my hair and was in trackies and trainers! The element of surprise was fantastic.

“The GWS team had interviewed all my grandchildren and put them up on video in front of all those people, so of course it was a tearjerker. I’m thrilled and so thankful to all my colleagues who voted for me.”

Sue Harmsworth, MBE

Devoted to spa and wellness

The founder of ESPA, Harmsworth has devoted her life to spa and wellness since the age of 21 and has spent five decades shaping the global spa, wellness and beauty industries, designing more than 500 spas in 65 countries in that time.

Her approach has always been a holistic one, focusing on prevention as well as healing, working with experts in natural science and incorporating traditional holistic therapies.

Accepting the award, Harmsworth said: “This industry has been a lifetime’s work for me; it gives us so much spirit and energy. It’s a privilege to be acknowledged as influencing its shape and success.

“If I think back to the early days of my career, I can see it goes in cycles and I believe the wellness industry is more important now than it has ever been.”

European Spa founder, Sarah Camilleri, said: “Congratulations to the wonderful Sue Harmsworth for being awarded the Leading Woman in Wellness Award in recognition for her work to open spas worldwide and bring wellness to so many.”

Harmsworth was honoured with a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 2010 from the Queen in recognition of her service to the spa and beauty industry.

A challenge to the spa industry

Throughout her career, she has served as a pioneer in the industry, taking on roles including co-chair at the Global Wellness Summit and being honoured with the CEW Achiever Award and the ISPA Visionary Award.

Speaking at SpaFest earlier this year, Harmsworth challenged the industry at large, saying: “I think the spa industry is stuck. We must embrace tech – if we don’t it will become a threat – while at the same time not losing our intuition, our holistic roots.

“You can’t be all things to all people so work out who are your guests? What do they need? Spa managers … ignore trends. Get back into the treatment room, meet your guests and find out what’s best for your clients.

“I believe a new generation of integrative wellness resorts are going to be the way forward. This is the disruption needed in wellness.

“As an industry, if we can build the skill set to support national health systems we will come up with a solution for a healthier future.”

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The Global Wellness Summit is an international organisation that brings together leaders and visionaries to positively impact and shape the future of the global wellness industry. Click below to find out more


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