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Press Release

Thrive Summit 2019 Highlights: Virgin Pulse Unveils Homebase for Health Vision; Announces Exclusive Wellbeing at Work Partnership with Josh Bersin Academy

Sir Richard Branson headlined sold-out event in New Orleans where 900 attendees converged to hear from leading health, wellbeing, engagement and HR thought leaders and preview Virgin Pulse’s health and wellbeing innovation

Providence, R.I. - (May 31, 2019) - (May 31, 2019)

Virgin Pulse, the largest global health and wellbeing technology and services company, today announced that it sold out its 6th annual, and largest ever, Thrive Summit, the premier conference on workplace health and wellness and employee engagement. Last week, Virgin Pulse and the historic Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans hosted nearly 900 health and wellness leaders, HR experts, researchers and thought leaders who came together for educational sessions, workshops, networking and social activities designed to help attendees navigate the highly-fragmented employee health and wellbeing market. This one-of-a-kind conference convened attendees to share insights around marketplace trends and tips for quantifying the value of wellbeing across various dimensions, from health to engagement to business performance.

(From left) Virgin Pulse CEO David Osborne, Sir Richard Branson and Thrive Summit 2019 emcee Mark Jeffries snap a quick selfie with attendees at the sold-out conference last week in New Orleans.

(From left) Virgin Pulse CEO David Osborne, Sir Richard Branson and Thrive Summit 2019 emcee Mark Jeffries snap a quick selfie with attendees at the sold-out conference last week in New Orleans.

The event opening set the tone for a busy, innovation-filled few days with an entertaining Ocean’s Eleven-meets-Mission-Impossible video short introducing Virgin Pulse’s Homebase for HealthTM vision. This announcement reaffirms Virgin Pulse’s commitment to streamlining a highly fragmented and user-unfriendly health and wellbeing experience for employers and employees while maximizing high-impact outcomes.

The need to simplify employee health and wellbeing stems from the fact that the current healthcare system is broken. “Healthcare costs are skyrocketing, but employees are not getting healthier. People cannot find the information and support they need, when they need it, and they are not getting the right information,” said David Osborne, CEO of Virgin Pulse. “The amount of time, money and energy people are expending trying to navigate this broken system is staggering.  As leaders in this industry, it is our job to solve this challenge. With Homebase for HealthTM, Virgin Pulse is bringing clarity to chaos. By removing the complexity in the system, we can improve access to and quality of care at every point in a user’s health and wellbeing journey, from prevention to intervention to reversal, and we are allowing people to maximize what’s most important to them – their time, their health, their finances.”

Osborne’s opening was followed by Ron Hildebrandt’s highly anticipated innovation keynote, during which Hildebrandt, Virgin Pulse’s Chief Product Officer, unveiled the company’s aggressive innovation roadmap. During his session, Hildebrandt, delved deeper into Virgin Pulse’s Homebase for HealthTM vision which aims to create a single platform where people can easily manage, connect and interact with their health and wellbeing benefits.  The company is delivering on this vision with the addition of benefits navigation, integrated global capabilities, easily accessible digital coaching, an expanded partner ecosystem, a new “partners-as-a-service” offering, and personalized alerts and information to help employees understand, navigate and make informed financial decisions about their health.

Hildebrandt also announced significant wellbeing innovations designed to make the Virgin Pulse platform an even more engaging “homebase” for users, with the addition of two new challenge types, AI-based personalization, integrated live services, digital health wallet and wellness and condition based checklists.

Kazoos, whistles and cheers throughout Hildebrant’s presentation affirmed the audiences’ interest in, enthusiasm for and agreement with the company’s vision, innovation plans and timeline.

Day two of Thrive Summit kicked off with a breakfast keynote by leading HR and talent management analyst Josh Bersin, who echoed the urgency of using technology responsibly, and as a force for good, to personalize and improve the employee experience.  During the event, Bersin and Virgin Pulse announced an exclusive partnership in which the two organizations will collaborate to develop and deliver the corporate health and wellbeing content and learning curriculum for the Josh Bersin Academy’s recently announced Wellbeing at Work program. This new upskilling and enablement platform designed to help people leaders and HR practitioners build holistic, best-in-class wellbeing programs.

“I have found that HR leaders from New York to Moscow to New Delhi to Shanghai have all recognized employee stress as a critical workplace issue and have made employees’ wellbeing a business priority,” Bersin said. “The wellbeing market is an incredibly exciting part of business. The innovations coming out of it give us an opportunity to re-examine everything we do in HR from the standpoint of wellbeing, and that’s a very healthy thing to do.”

Bersin also shared his global wellbeing perspective in the Global Health session with HR and benefits leaders from Brown-Forman, Hewlett Packard and FM Global.

Sir Richard Branson, the iconic founder and leader of the Virgin Group, one of the world’s most recognized and respected brands, delivered Thrive’s closing keynote in animated fashion to a packed ballroom. During the fireside chat with Virgin Pulse CEO, David Osborne, and event host, Mark Jeffries, Branson recounted humorous stories about his largest successes and failures while offering valuable advice for building successful businesses. He reminded attendees of their collective responsibility to create positive change in the world and the importance of putting employees first.

Additional high profile keynotes from leading health, wellness and leadership experts Dr. Peter Attia, Alison Levine, Dr. David Katz, Esther Dyson, Dr. Deepak Chopra, and Dr. Rudolph Tanzi explored important and timely topics including genomics, Alzheimer’s Disease, mental health, addiction, the importance of purpose and inclusion, lifestyle medicine, leadership, and the truth about food. At this year’s event, Dr. BJ Fogg once again delivered his popular breakfast workshop on habit formation and behavior change to a standing room only audience.

In addition to relevant, insightful keynotes, dozens of hands-on retreats and breakout sessions detailed best practices for comprehensive corporate wellness programs and innovative wellbeing and engagement solutions from Virgin Pulse and its extensive ecosystem. Thrive Summit highlights included:

  • More than a dozen benefits, wellbeing and HR leaders from leading organizations including Merck, Hewlett Packard, Fujifilm, MemorialCare, DTE Energy, Argonne National Labs and Los Alamos National Labs (LANL) shared how they are leveraging wellbeing to drive culture, engagement and business results, offering tips on effective employee communications, health coaching, securing executive buy-in and building a global company culture of wellbeing.
  • Leaders from the organization’s research arm, the Virgin Pulse Institute, shared actionable models for measuring the impact of a company’s employee wellbeing program on its organizational goals and business outcomes, along with advice on security, privacy and global data compliance.
  • More than 20 Thrive Summit sponsors and Virgin Pulse partners, including Maven, meQuilibrium, Peerfit, Wellness Corporate Solutions, Enrich, FinFit, Headspace, Healthcare Bluebook, higi, Kaia Health, LifeSpeak, Lingo24, Pivot, Premise Health, Rethink Benefits, SelfHelpWorks, Tango Card, Wellbeats, Wellness Checkpoint, Whil, and Zipongo showcased a broad range of health and wellbeing solutions.

To learn more about the event and get the latest news on next year’s Thrive Summit, visit

About Virgin Pulse

Virgin Pulse is the world’s largest, most comprehensive digital health, wellbeing and engagement company. Founded as part of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, the company is focused on engaging users every day in building and sustaining healthy lifestyles and driving measurable outcomes for employees, employers and health plans. Virgin Pulse is fusing high-tech with high-touch to deliver the industry’s only integrated digital platform with benefits navigation, claims analysis and live coaching to support clients and members across the entire health, wellbeing and benefits lifecycle—from screening and assessment to activation, behavior change and the adoption of sustainable, healthy habits to condition management support and closing gaps in care. Today, members in more than 190 countries, spanning over 4,000 organizations—many of the Fortune 500 and Best Places to Work—rely on Virgin Pulse’s digital and live solutions to change their lives—and businesses—for good. To learn more, visit and follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn.