Entrepreneur Of The Year, Delos Founder & CEO Paul Scialla
Interviewed By Steve Tobia
With a career rooted in Wall Street, Paul Scialla has become a leader in wellness real estate, defining the benchmarks for healthy and sustainable indoor environments.
Paul Scialla is the Founder and CEO of Delos, a company that is transforming homes, offices, schools and other indoor environments by placing health and wellness at the center of design and construction decisions. Delos incorporates technology, consulting, research, design and innovative solutions for the built environment – creating indoor spaces that nurture and promote human health and well-being.
Q: As a young man, what inspired and motivated you to enter the corporate world of finance?
PS: The world of Wall Street first caught my attention in high school. I was drawn to the fast-paced environment, particularly in trading, and the possibilities presented as traders make hundreds of strategic decisions per day. I had always been committed to finding new business opportunities and efficient solutions, and it was this challenging nature of the job that sparked my interest in what became an 18-year endeavor on Wall Street, including 10 years at Goldman Sachs as a partner.
Q: Who were some of your mentors and people that inspired you when you were younger?
PS: My parents always supported my dream to work in finance, as well as my entrepreneurial spirit. They were my inspiration for a lot of the initial work in bringing Delos and the wellness real estate movement to fruition, and provided guidance throughout my career journey.
Q: What did you learn and observe during your career with Goldman Sachs?
PS: Throughout my time at Goldman, I had the unique opportunity to work with a diverse group of people with an array of interests, talents and experiences. From our most valuable ventures, I saw that our achievements depended largely on the team behind the mission. No matter how great an idea is, it is the people who drive it forward that matter most. Often, I saw colleagues with very little background perform and excel in a new task because they were capable and determined to succeed. When starting Delos, I carried these learnings with me as we began the search for talent, and is also what I saw as an immense value proposition for healthy offices.
From our most valuable ventures, I saw that our achievements depended largely on the team behind the mission. No matter how great an idea is, it is the people who drive it forward that matter most.
PASSION & VISION
Q: What was your passion and vision to establish Delos?
PS: I had always been interested in sustainability and altruistic capital, and it was during my time on Wall Street that I became fascinated with both the economic and societal value proposition of wellness real estate. I observed that there was a unique opportunity to merge the world’s largest asset class – the $180 trillion worth of real estate – with the world’s fastest growing industry – wellness, which is now a $4.2 trillion industry. There was a lot of emphasis on environmental sustainability in real estate, but I didn’t see much focus on what a building does to the occupants inside it. I first started looking into this by reaching out to experts and bringing together medical professionals, architects and designers to start the conversation. That’s when we realized that not only was this a new dialogue, but it has immense potential to transform the way we think about both health and real estate.
Personal health and fitness are often prioritized but people and businesses think less of how their indoor environment impacts their overall well-being. The goal of Delos’ wellness real estate and technology initiatives is to take a holistic look at the intersection of health and real estate. Delos offerings and solutions help elevate human performance and well-being by fusing the best innovations in technology, science and design. We realized that by making more conscientious building decisions, we could improve people’s lives with no behavioral changes required.
It was also important that Delos offered a data-driven approach to wellness. Our bodies react directly to environmental factors, such as air quality, water quality, light levels and noise. We wanted to help buildings achieve evidence-based strategies that positively influence human health. And since we can’t improve what we don’t measure, we knew we would need to optimize and test our environments to ensure that our buildings perform as designed.
Q: Where did you see the marketplace going and how did you learn about the industry?
PS: About 15 years ago, I watched as the green building movement accelerated, driven by the fact that high performing buildings are better for bottom lines and better for the planet. But better performing buildings are also better for people, and there wasn’t anyone focusing specifically on the people inside these buildings. From companies looking to attract and retain top talent and boost productivity to families looking for a home to raise their kids, building for human health is one of the best things we can do for people. The work that we are doing is focused on broadening the scope beyond environmental sustainability. By including the best concepts of green technology, we have developed integrated solutions that address human sustainability.
BUSINESS PLANNING & RELATIONSHIPS
Q: You have assembled some of the most prestigious leaders in wellness and health. How did you get these leaders on board?
PS: Everyone who is part of this movement believes fully in the healthy building mission. When we first started talking about what it means to address health and wellness through building design, we found that many people were ready and willing to lead the way in the industry. From architects and designers to medical professionals, from sustainability advocates to health and wellness thought leaders, it was evident to most how critical this concept is. We have been fortunate to attract leading institutions and experts because our underlying mission makes so much sense.
Some relationships started organically such as Dr. Deepak Chopra who is a member of Delos’ advisory board. I met Dr. Chopra through mutual friends and we immediately connected. He is very supportive of our efforts to improve both mind and body through the built environment, as he recognizes the great implications and importance of what we are doing – which is to passively deliver preventative medical intentions into people’s homes, offices and schools.
Q: What is your vision for Delos in five to ten years?
PS: As the creator of wellness real estate, Delos spent seven years researching and rigorously analyzing environmental health impacts on people. We know that we need to keep raising the bar for buildings, so we’re committed to advancing the research, analyzing the latest innovations in technology, and offering best in class solutions to make our homes, offices, schools and other indoor environments as healthy as possible to be in. When people feel better they are naturally happier and more productive. Everybody should have access to healthy spaces, and we expect Delos to continue to play a tremendous role in making wellness real estate the expectation for all buildings.
Q: Can you talk about the major accomplishments of Delos?
PS: Delos has fostered leading research collaborations with leading medical institutions and architects, scientists and wellness thought leaders to introduce wellness standards, programs and solutions into the built environment. Delos established the Well Living Lab™ in collaboration with Mayo Clinic — the world’s first lab committed to researching the real-world impacts of the indoor environment on human health and performance. Delos’ wellness technologies and solutions, along with the International WELL Building Institute’s WELL Building Standard, have seen broad adoption of wellness real estate programs across the real estate market, with over 1,000 projects in 42 countries. Most recently, Delos launched the DARWIN Home Wellness Intelligence platform for the residential market. The DARWIN platform monitors, calibrates and activates indoor home environments, responding to changing conditions to help improve human health, well-being and performance.
I’m also proud of the global reach we have achieved in just a few years. Delos is headquartered in New York with a team in Beijing, allowing us to reach the Asian real-estate market and collaborate with reputable partners in China. We joined forces with Tsinghua University to launch localized research initiatives in the Asia region. We also recently partnered with Simonds Homes to launch the DARWIN Home Wellness Intelligence platform in properties across Australia. Lateral Estate, a preeminent Australian real estate developer, announced DARWIN as a standard offering in its multi-family residences at Parc Blakehurst in Sydney. Furthermore, we’re working to implement the DARWIN platform in single family luxury homes in Beverly Hills, California. DARWIN is currently being commissioned by many of the most sought after newly constructed luxury homes in the United States.
Q: How important are partnerships and relationships in achieving these accomplishments?
PS: At Delos, our partners and alliances have been instrumental in advancing our mission. Wellness real estate is a global movement, made possible by our network of leading organizations who are as dedicated to advancing health and well-being as we are. Delos has about 170 employees, but we have deployed an entire industry – through partnerships, collaborations and a community network of WELL Accredited Professionals and WELL Faculty. From educating local professionals on the WELL Building Standard, to developing new research initiatives on the impacts of environmental conditions on human health, our partners are contributing to the industry in novel and impactful ways.
We strive to form strong strategic relationships with leading organizations at the intersection of finance, technology, real estate, human resources, design and sustainability. Teaming with top organizations across these spheres enables Delos to develop and share the most comprehensive health and wellness solutions for the built environment. As the pioneer of wellness real estate, Delos values the instrumental resources, leading edge knowledge and engaged membership provided by our partnerships and affiliations.
WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS
Q: What is your vision of what and how a home and office will operate in ten years?
PS: From lighting that supports our natural sleep-wake cycle, to constant air purification and water filtration, we know how to design spaces that improve our lives. We spend nearly 90% of our time indoors, and we will continue to do so in the future. That’s why it is so critical that all of our buildings and our communities support healthier, happier and more productive people. And with new sensor technologies and continuous monitoring platforms, we have an unprecedented opportunity to learn even more and remedy our indoor environments immediately and passively. It’s also critical to us that everyone has access to healthy buildings, and I envision that every building will be a WELL building. That’s why we’ve made a concerted effort in all of our programs to be conducive to all space types and all price points.
My ideal hope for the future is that more homes and offices are in accordance with the WELL Building Standard and that there is an even greater focus on establishing healthy indoor environments. Up to 70 percent of a person’s health is influenced by their environment. By focusing on evidence-based strategies relevant to health in the built environment – air, water, nourishment, light, movement, thermal comfort, sound, materials, mind and community – we can improve people’s overall health, wellness and quality of life.
Success to me, and to the Delos team, is largely focused on how many people we can have a positive impact on. Every day I translate the fact that we are influencing health outcomes for over a million people already, and only growing. Through the work that we are doing, we have a unique opportunity to advance health and well-being at scale.
Q: How do you motivate your team and partners to achieve this mission?
PS: Success to me, and to the Delos team, is largely focused on how many people we can have a positive impact on. Every day I translate the fact that we are influencing health outcomes for over a million people already, and only growing. Through the work that we are doing, we have a unique opportunity to advance health and well-being at scale. It is this mission and understanding of our work that continues to motivate the industry.
We also practice what we preach. There are more than 50 groundbreaking health and wellness features included in Delos’ state-of-the-art office spaces. These features include advanced air filtration with an advanced air purification system that reduces allergens, toxins and pathogens, creating better air quality and breathing. There are stretching and relaxation areas for employees on each floor, as well as in-house fitness equipment like treadmill desks which improve cardiovascular health and encourage employees to be less sedentary. We also supply healthy snacks throughout the day. An office that puts employee health, wellness and comfort first helps keeps the team motivated and establishes belief in our company mission.
To learn more about Delos and their programs visit delos.com.
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