WELL Summit Founder Shares How to Start Building Your Sustainable Wellness Practice

We are living in an age of awakening, seeing holistic health as more important than ever before. A growing focus on community and fulfillment has ushered in a massive expansion in the wellness space, in which dual-founder, Gianne Doherty, of the WELL Summit and Organic Bath Co. is creating her life’s work. The WELL Summit is a multi-city, yearly event that brings together health and wellness-minded individuals from across the globe. I had the opportunity to connect with Gianne on her inspiration to create the WELL Summit, her experience as an entrepreneurial woman of color, and her down-to-Earth perspective on creating a holistic lifestyle that works for you.

The WELL Summit is described as, “A curated conference promoting a 360° view of wellness.” Share with us what your 360° view of wellness looks like.

I define wellness as a 360° conversation - everything from the company we keep, to the thoughts we feed ourselves, to what and HOW we eat (mindfully, in a way that nourishes yourself body, mind and spirit), to the products we put on our skin, and the way we move through each day.

How did your own health journey inspire the conception of the WELL Summit?

I created the WELL Summit because I wanted to bring world class experts together from across the spectrum to share their knowledge, insights, and perspective on living a healthy life. I didn’t have all the answers to the questions that my friends and family were asking about the broader world of wellness, and I didn’t see an educational conference that focused on wellness at all, so I created one.

What advice do you have for women looking to cultivate holistic wellness at home?

Start with what you have. You may already have a quiet corner in your home that you go to when you need peace, maybe that’s where your future meditation practice can be. You may already have Manuka Honey in your kitchen cabinet which makes for a perfect face mask, or coconut oil which makes for a great hair mask.

Starting small and building a sustainable wellness practice is more important than keeping up with every trend.

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As an entrepreneur with a lot on your plate, how do you create a realistic wellness routine?

I’m not only passionate about and devoted to wellness, but also constantly evolving in my own journey. I’m always looking to improve, it’s something I work on every day. I’m clearly a community-minded person, so having buddies in place to hold me accountable to some of my health goals has been very helpful. I have hiking buddies, gym buddies, and even a book club. Making sure these activities are scheduled gives me something to look forward to, and knowing I’m accountable to someone makes sure it happens!

What is your view on the evolution of the global wellness scene? Do you see any risk of unattainable expectation or comparison for women’s personal routines?

At the core of the WELL Summit, we want our tribe to be able to come, learn from like minded people, and find approachable, realistic ways to incorporate wellness into their own personal lives. Social media can make wellness seem very perfect and privileged. We want people to realize that they need to do what works best for them in their particular situation. I know I have a more extensive evening routine than my friends who have children, for example. My friends who aren’t entrepreneurs may have more of a work/life balance than I do at this stage in my company’s growth.

No one should be feeling guilty or less than because their personal routine doesn’t look exactly like someone else’s.

We should feel good about doing our best for ourselves.

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What inspiration contributes to the Summit’s design?

We make sure that the Summit includes beautiful, open spaces that encourage community interaction. For WELL Summit Boston, Nilda Martin of Reserve Modern created a gorgeous indoor garden for us. Attendees were encouraged to lounge in our garden, make new friends, and recharge.

What do you think caused the seismic shift toward conscious consumption that makes the WELL Summit not only possible, but arguably necessary to help consumers learn about wellness from dependable sources?

I think the shift toward more conscious consumption is part of a larger global awareness and awakening.

People are hungry for community, connection, and fulfillment. It’s not about checking the box and living on autopilot.

You see this awareness happening in all areas, and WELL Summit provides the knowledge, community, and connection in a way that empowers attendees to make better choices.

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More than ever, women are being represented with more diversity in the health and wellness space. What has been your experience as a woman of color leading a brand in the modern wellness industry?

By owning my companies Organic Bath Co. and WELL Summit, I am in a unique position where I am not necessarily asking anyone for permission to go after my goals. My journey in the wellness industry goes hand in hand with paving my way as a self-funded entrepreneur, which is a hard journey!

Having two national brands, I make sure that I use my platforms to help uplift and shine a light on other women of color.

I also define diversity more broadly: whether it’s age, sexual orientation, culture, size geographic location, experience, or interests, I am committed to creating a welcoming space for everyone.

Several of your sessions focus on mental wellness. How do you see psychological health as a factor in our self-care practices?

This is part of that global awakening we were talking about earlier. It’s not just about physical health, it’s also about mental, emotional, and spiritual health. We’re all very comfortable seeking out support for our physical health, and we believe it’s time for that same openness and care to be applied to mental health as well.

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You have cultivated a strong group of diverse and talented women who make up your core team. Tell us a bit about how surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals has impacted the realization of the WELL Summit.

Having first established myself in my corporate career, I know first-hand that your network can be your net worth. In other words, I believe you are the company you keep, so I make sure to keep great company. I count my blessings every day to be able to work with women who are so accomplished as well as passionate about what we’re building with WELL Summit. Together, we inspire, empower, and uplift each other. And that positive energy is at the core of the Summit. Attendees share time and again that there is nothing like WELL Summit and its tribe, and I believe this is why.

Boldly stated, the Summit is geared toward: Wellness. Empowerment. Learning. Luxury. What is your hope that attendees will walk away with?

We are committed to providing an experience that speaks to every attendee, wherever they are in their wellness journey. Whether you’re just starting out or are a wellness professional, we aim to give you tools and support to empower you to take that next step on your journey - and to help you plug into a warm and welcoming tribe of like-minded people to share the journey with.

Photos courtesy of the WELL Summit

Amelia Bartlett

Amelia is a writer + entrepreneur living in the East Tennessee mountains. She writes primarily on paper and can often be found wandering in search of wildflowers. Her twelve year old self thought she’d have it all figured out by now, fortunately she’s just getting started. Along the way, she’s converting a school bus into a Slow Rolling Home with her partner and has her sights set on an unknown horizon.