Pete Ellis, Chairman & CEO
“I stay fit to keep young and stay ahead of the competitive landscape.”
Pete Ellis, chairman and CEO of Spafinder® Wellness, Inc., has devoted his career to creating better experiences for consumers. As one of the largest auto dealers in the western U.S., he pioneered consumer-friendly policies in the sale of new and used automobiles. In 1994–95, he launched the first automotive buying and research website, Autobytel.com, effectively revolutionizing an entire industry. Using technology to make pricing and inventory transparent, his visionary marketing platform became the basis for every commercially viable automotive website in existence.
After taking Autobytel public in 1999, he formed Jubilee Investments, which became the majority shareholder of Spafinder Wellness. Under his leadership, the company has been transformed from a niche spa information company to the world’s largest spa and wellness marketing and media channel. In 2007, Pete also founded SpaBooker (which became GramercyOne), a leading provider of cloud-based management and marketing solutions.
Pete is a founder and chairman emeritus of the Global Spa & Wellness Summit. His Internet technology innovations are part of the Permanent Research Collection at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
Susie Ellis, President
“I wish I had another four decades to be part of the vibrant spa and wellness industry.”
As president of Spafinder® Wellness, Inc., Susie Ellis is recognized as the leading global authority on spa and wellness. Director of Spafinder Wellness' annual Global Spa and Wellness Trends Forecast and author of the popular Susie’s Industry Blog, she is a prominent writer and speaker and a respected industry analyst. Susie is also chairman and CEO of the Global Spa & Wellness Summit; a member of the board of the Center for Medical Tourism Research; and a member of the Spa Advisory Board for the University of California, Irvine, Spa and Hospitality Management Program.
She holds a M.B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles and is the recipient of the prestigious International Spa Association's 2012 Visionary Award.
Susie began her career in wellness at the famous Golden Door in California and keeps fit with daily workouts and eating healthy (but admits to a secret passion for chocolate).
Mia Kyricos, Chief Brand Officer
“My passion is to help people live well every day, and nothing gives me more joy than to share what I’ve learned – from food to fitness, healing and fun - with those I care about.”
Mia Kyricos is a globally respected business leader with over 20 years of experience in the spa, wellness and hospitality industries. As chief brand officer of Spafinder Wellness, Inc.®, she leads the company’s worldwide branding initiatives such as Spafinder Wellness 365™ and oversees marketing, network sales, advertising and media relations, digital strategy, research and communications. Prior to joining the organization, Mia was president of Kyricos & Associates, global advisors for the spa, wellness and hospitality industries, and vice president of Core Performance, overseeing operations of corporate wellness centers at Fortune 500 companies. Additionally, Mia was the director of global spa brands & programming at Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, where she created six international spa brands for Westin, Sheraton, Le Meridien, W, St. Regis and Luxury Collection hotels. She sits on the boards of the Global Spa & Wellness Summit and the University of California Irvine, and she holds a Masters of Management in Hospitality Administration from Cornell University and a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations from Wheaton College.
Steve Kane, Chief Revenue Officer
“From a business standpoint I am just so proud to represent the best, most wonderful product in the wellness industry. Personally, I realize more and more how wellness is my only choice!”
As chief revenue officer, Steve Kane leads the company’s revenue strategy and execution. He is responsible for all sales initiatives, including the company’s leading gift card program and travel, day spa and wellness business partnerships. Since he joined Spafinder® Wellness, Inc., in 2007, gift card sales alone have increased by over 150 percent, and the program has expanded to 70 countries around the globe.
Steve’s professional experience includes 20-plus years of senior executive sales leadership with a focus on account management and client relationships. Prior to Spafinder Wellness, he was responsible for the launch and sales of three high-profile fashion accessories brands at Schifter + Partners. Previous positions also include vice president, North America for LeSportsac, Inc., and national sales manager for Liz Claiborne Handbags and Small Leather Goods.
Steve is a member of the board of directors of the IGCC, a member of the advisory board of SVS Ceridian and a charter member of the RGCA. He attended Bowling Green University, majoring in Business Administration, and is an avid golfer and sports fan.
Neil Kurlander, Esq., Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel
“Playing sports and taking nature walks with my daughter Jordyn is not only fun, it also teaches her good wellness habits at an early age.”
Neil is responsible for all internal and external legal matters, corporate administration and human resource management at Spafinder® Wellness, Inc. He is also corporate secretary and oversees all corporate governance matters.
Prior to joining Spafinder Wellness in 2002, Neil was vice president, corporate legal affairs at Horsehead Industries, Inc., a Fortune 500 company, where he played a major role in the consummation of approximately $1 billion in corporate financings, mergers and acquisitions and other commercial transactions. He has also practiced corporate law at some of the largest law firms in New York City.
Neil received his B.A. from Franklin & Marshall College and his J.D. from The Hofstra University School of Law, where he was a member of the Hofstra Law Review. His favorite workout is on a bike, both in the gym and on the road.
Dave Walters, Chief Technology Officer
“I am most competitive with the man in the mirror, always looking to outperform him each day whether it is in work, exercise or play!”
Dave Walters joins Spafinder® Wellness, Inc., from the XO Group, Inc., an international publicly traded company, where he was most recently vice president of technology solutions, overseeing technology development and execution at The Knot, The Bump, The Nest and other brands in the XO network. Dave brings 15 years of management experience to Spafinder Wellness and has a diverse background across development, application architecture, project management, systems support, quality assurance and release management. He also plays a key role in the company’s technology vision and strategic planning and is responsible for the management of the company’s information technology infrastructure, including content systems and ecommerce initiatives. He will direct and execute large-scale projects, assuring alignment between technology, business groups and consumers.
Dave hails from Long Island, where he is a volunteer firefighter, played college baseball and is a graduate of the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He enjoys participating in obstacle runs and other vigorous exercise programs that test his limits.
Claudia Kraut Rimerman, Senior Vice President, Corporate and Group Wellness
“I believe in ‘real food’ nutrition – stuff that grows in nature, not in a factory - and exercise that’s FUN, so I keep doing it!”
As senior vice president, Claudia Rimerman leads the company’s Corporate Wellness 365™ division and develops incentive products and partnerships that support employee wellness programs.
Prior to her appointment, she was principal of Merritt Advisors LLC, a boutique advisory practice focused on wellness, healthcare and benefits. She has 25 years’ experience launching new healthcare and insurance businesses, managing client relationships and expanding product and distribution lines. Claudia previously held management roles in AIG’s Accident & Health division and its marketing organization and also held positions at UnitedHealth Group, Humana Inc. and Corporate Health Systems.
Claudia holds an MBA in HealthCare Administration from Nova Southeastern University and a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Columbia University. She graduated from Phillips Academy, Andover.
She sits on the board of the Gendler Grapevine for the Environment and Jewish Student Connection. Additionally, she founded the Alliance for Research of Eosinophilic Diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and is a member of Women Business Leaders in Health Care. In her spare time, she performs in community theater, sings in a classic rock cover band and enjoys kayaking, rock climbing and obstacle races.
Mike Muller, Senior Vice President, Finance
“At Spafinder Wellness 365™ I have a unique opportunity to help millions around the world lead a healthier lifestyle.”
Mike Muller, senior vice president, finance, leads Spafinder Wellness, Inc.®’s financial operations and is responsible for the company’s financial and accounting policy management, budget planning and forecasting, along with financial reporting and compliance.
He has more than 20 years of experience in accounting, finance and managing financial operations for traditional publishing and business media companies, most recently as CFO of Vendome Group, LLC. There, he directed the company’s financial goals, managed relations with investors and lenders and implemented new financial reporting systems. Previously he held positions at Wolters Kluwer (WK), a leading global information services and publishing company, serving as group controller for the WK legal division and business manager for the WK/Aspen Publishers division. Earlier in his career, Mike held senior management positions at Simon & Schuster with the Prentice Hall Professional Information Group.
He earned a Bachelor of Science degree at Herbert H. Lehman College of the City University of New York and an MBA at Montclair State University.
Leslie Bruce, Managing Director, Spafinder Wellness Ltd., Canada
“A morning cycle and being outdoors with my kids keeps me mentally and physically energized to live life to the fullest!”
Leslie Bruce joined the Spafinder Wellness, Inc.® executive team to spearhead the 2012 launch of Spafinder Wellness Ltd.® in Canada. Her mission is to create a uniquely Canadian experience for Spafinder Wellness 365™, connecting Canadians from coast to coast to the country’s robust spa and wellness scene. Since its debut, Leslie and her dynamic, all-Canadian staff have positioned spafinder.ca as the country’s top resource in spa and wellness and the leading website for finding services, special offers and gift cards, with 2,000 participating partners in Canada and 20,000 globally. She offers a rich marketing background in the travel industry, most recently with TUI Travel Group and Butterfield & Robinson. Leslie graduated from Queen’s University with a Masters in Science in Exercise Physiology. When she isn’t hard at work, she enjoys yoga and outdoor activities such as cycling and skiing.