The What Summit: Two Tastemakers Present a Different Kind of Wellness Retreat

In Northern California, Amy Parker and Gina Pell plan their second annual meeting of the minds to support “the whole woman”

Words by MEAGHAN CLARK TIERNAN with MARIE LOOK

 

The What Summit — the second annual incarnation of which is scheduled for this October — isn’t your average wellness summit for women. Yes, there will be a gourmet lunch and spa treatments, but there will also be less expected programming, such as sessions led by doctor of human sexuality Emily Morse, and two leading ladies in the cannabis lifestyle space: Verena Von Pfetten, founder of website Gossamer, and Marcia Gagliardi, founder of weekly newsletter mymilligram.

“We address the whole woman,” says Gina Pell, who in 2015 co-founded, along with friend and fellow entrepreneur Amy Parker, the summit’s namesake — The What List, a weekly newsletter and digital community for like-minded women. “[The What Summit] takes into account all the dynamic things that [women] talk about,” Pell explains.

 

Pell and Parker got together nearly two decades ago by way of their dotcom project Splendora, a style and culture hub that touted itself as “the authority on fabulous,” offering recommendations on everything from beauty products to lifestyle services. Following the sale of Splendora to digital commerce website Joyus in 2011, the pair eventually landed on the idea of The What List as a new way to share their favorite things. “This time around we wanted to create something meaningful,” Pell says.

Fast-forward four years and today, The What List — with Pell as head of content and Parker as chief executive — is more than 70,000 subscribers strong, including a 30,000-member online community.

“[The What] is really all about the power of friendship,” Pell says. “The power of friendship is there [in the private online group, The What Women], even though many of the women don’t know each other. [The What Summit] naturally came out of this group.”

 

“We wanted to create something meaningful”

Gina Pell

 

To be hosted at Summit Skywalker Ranch, located in Marin County just outside of Nicasio, on Oct. 17, this sophomore edition will be limited to just 200 guests (roughly half the size of last year’s inaugural event, held at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Club) and promises to be an “opportunity to create more meaningful experiences that tap into the collective wisdom of not just the speakers but the guests and partners,” Parker says. The goal is to provide women from the online group an opportunity to connect and support one another in person, as well as to be an immersive experience for women looking for what’s next in their lives, careers, relationships and health.

To that end, the retreat will encompass outdoor activities, such as a group hike and yoga, as well as influential guest speakers from multiple fields — life coach Jennifer Partridge, activist Kimberly Ellis and neuroscientist-nutritionist Lisa Mosconi, among others.

In addition to breakfast, a gourmet lunch with wine and a post-summit CBD cocktail hour, guests who opt for the Connector ticket level can look forward to the wellness lounge and complimentary beauty bar, a guided meditation and a personalized enneagram reading. “Super connectors,” as Pell calls them, are invited to apply for the Founder’s Circle tier, which includes such perks as overnight accommodations, reserved seating, a private Skywalker Vineyards tasting, an exclusive dinner and more. And no matter your commitment level, a hefty swag bag will accompany you home.

“We’re excited for all the women to come together because they are all so different, but also the same in their awesomeness,” Pell says.

Oct. 17. From $1,495. Summit at Skywalker Ranch.

 

Feature image: AMY PARKER (left) and GINA PELL, the driving forces behind THE WHAT SUMMIT and co-founders of its namesake, a weekly newsletter called THE WHAT LIST. Photo by Emily Scott Photography.

 

Aug. 8, 2019

 

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