Judging our inaugural Women in Wellness Awards is an impressive panel of spa and wellness journalists who know the industry inside and out. Together, they are uniquely qualified to evaluate the nominees on their influence, passion, inspiration, innovation, and accomplishments, thanks to their many years of experience in covering the women who have made our industry what it is today. Here, we introduce you to the panel and share their many individual accomplishments.
Mary Bemis is editorial director and founder of insidersguidetospas.com and a pioneer in green spa and beauty. Bemis recently co-curated Cosmoprof North America’s inaugural green beauty pavilion Discover Green and created “The Beauty 100,” a partnership between Insiders Guide to Spas and Spirituality & Health magazine. Bemis is the cofounder of Organic Spa magazine and a founding editor of American Spa. She is a founding board member of the Washington Spa Alliance (WSPA) and past director of the International Spa Association and the New York Spa Alliance. She has served on the Editorial Advisory Boards of Shape, Spirituality & Health, and Premier Spas magazines and serves on several industry advisory committees.
Editor-in-chief of Organic Spa Media, Rona Berg is the former editorial director of Elle, deputy style editor for New York Times Magazine, and author of Beauty: The New Basics (Workman Publishing). She has been cited as an industry expert by New York Magazine and Fox News, and was recently called “the Russell Simmons of the wellness industry” by the Huffington Post. She sits on the Advisory Board of Shape and wellnesswarrior.org and co-chairs the Personal Care Committee of the Green Spa Network (GSN). Berg has contributed to more than 100 publications around the globe. She is a frequent guest on radio and television and has been a featured speaker, judge, and expert for several industry events and organizations.
Abbie Kozolchyk is an award-winning beauty, travel, and wellness writer and editor whose assignments have taken her to every continent and corner of the publishing world,from Condé Nast Traveler to Cosmopolitan. Kozolchyk’s work has also appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Forbes Traveler, Food & Wine, Glamour, Rachael Ray Every Day, the San Francisco Chronicle, and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, where she launched a spa travel column. She is also the author of The World’s Most Romantic Destinations: 50 Dreamy Getaways, Private Retreats, and Enchanting Places to Celebrate Love (National Geographic). Kozolchyk appears regularly at travel conferences around the world as a speaker and teacher.
Liz Ritter is the executive managing editor of NewBeauty, a position she has held with the magazine for nine years. She began her editorial career as an editorial intern for Us Weekly before moving on to Time Inc. She later worked as managing editor at Worth and then editor-in-chief of BeE Woman magazine. Today, she is responsible for covering New Beauty’s spa content as well as various articles on health and wellness, sunscreen, sun safety, cosmetic chemistry, and active ingredients in products. Her favorite spa in the world is Ananda in the Himalayas (Narendra Nagar, India), but she thinks you can never go wrong with 15 minutes of meditation at MNDFL in New York City.
These four women carefully, thoughtfully, and meticulously read and reviewed our over-400 Women in Wellness nominees before deciding who would become the finalists and winners of the Rising Star Award, Visionary Award, Mentor Award, Innovator Award, and the Industry Icon Award. Be sure to visit American Spa online starting Monday, September 18 as we announce new finalists and winners each day.