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.
Peter Manice, Vice President, Partner Development
“My wellness indulgence is twice-weekly personal training focused on core strength.”
Peter Manice began his career in the travel and leisure industries over 12 years ago as a revenue analyst with Hilton Hotels, and subsequently worked in management positions at TimeLink International, Northwest Airlines and American Airlines. In 2008 Peter conceptualized and launched Gilt Groupe’s travel website, Jetsetter.com, and developed all launch partner relationships. In 2010 he introduced ideeli.com’s travel and experience division, leading the team dedicated to bringing a luxury flash-sale format to its four million-plus members.
As vice president, partner revenue management of Spafinder® Wellness, Inc., Peter is responsible for revenue generation programs, including last minute, local and travel offers for the company’s global network of spa, fitness and wellness businesses. In addition to leading initiatives that will create demand for, and sales of, unsold inventory, he is also responsible for creating and leading consumer-marketing programs.
Peter is a graduate of Georgetown University and the Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business. He lives in New York with his wife and two children and enjoys squash, tennis, skiing and golf.
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.
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 Southern California 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).
Steve Kane, Chief Revenue Officer
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.