The World Happiness Summit® (WOHASU®) is an annual multi-day event in March that unites the world’s leading experts in the science of happiness and wellbeing with a global audience to learn practical tools for a happier life.
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Richard Layard is a British labor economist, currently working as program director of the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics. His early career focused on how to reduce unemployment and inequality. Richard was Senior Research Officer for the famous Robbins Committee on Higher Education. This committee’s report led to the massive expansion of UK university education in the 1960s and 1970s.
Following research on happiness begun in the 1970s by economists such as Richard Easterlin at the University of Southern California, he has written about the economics of happiness, with one theme being the importance of non-income variables on aggregate happiness, including mental health. Richard is co-editor of the World Happiness Report and Global Policy Report, and co-founder of Action for Happiness.
Psychologist Dr. Laurie Santos is an expert on human cognition, its origins, and the evolutionary biases that influence our all-too imperfect life choices. She is also knowledgeable in how behavioral change through positive psychology can lead to a happy and fulfilling life.
Currently the big project of Dr. Santos is to positively influence the culture of Yale University by teaching happiness and well-being. She created a course so meaningful that it became the most popular class taken at Yale in over 316 years.
In her course, Psychology and the Good Life, Santos teaches her 1200 students about behavioral change through positive psychology. Dr. Santos wants her students to be more grateful, procrastinate less and increase social connections. She believes that those positive habits will decrease mental health issues on campus and create happier and more motivated students.
From her research, Santos speaks to how we are biologically programmed to be motivated by sex, to be deeply influenced by other people — and to repeat our mistakes. And while Santos often uses subjects from the animal kingdom to help explain our sometimes-illogical behaviors, she also provides advice on how to engage our uniquely human faculties to counteract evolution, choose more wisely, and live happier lives.
Dr. Santos was appointed Head of Silliman College on July 1, 2016 to a five year term. She is a professor of Psychology at Yale University, where she serves as Director of the Comparative Cognition Laboratory as well as the Canine Cognition Center, a research facility that studies how dogs think about the world. She teaches one of Yale’s most popular undergraduate courses, Sex, Evolution, and Human Nature. She obtained her Ph.D. in Psychology from Harvard University.
Her numerous awards for science, teaching, and mentorship include the Stanton Prize from the Society for Philosophy and Psychology for outstanding contributions to interdisciplinary research.
Tal Ben-Shahar is an author and lecturer. He taught two of the largest classes in Harvard University’s history, Positive Psychology and The Psychology of Leadership.
Tal is a serial entrepreneur and has created and delivers the online Certificate in Happiness Studies.
HSA is the first and only program of its kind, with students from all around the world.
Today, Tal consults and lectures around the world to executives in multi-national corporations, the general public, and at-risk populations. The topics he lectures on include leadership, happiness, education, innovation, ethics, self-esteem, resilience, goal setting, and mindfulness. His books have been translated into more than twenty-five languages, and have appeared on best-sellers lists around the world. An avid sportsman, Tal won the U.S. Intercollegiate and Israeli National squash championships. Today, for exercise, he swims, dances, and practices Yoga. He obtained his PhD in Organizational Behavior and BA in Philosophy and Psychology from Harvard.
Mo Gawdat is the former chief commercial officer of Google [X], a serial entrepreneur, and the author of Solve for Happy.
Mo has an impressive combined career spanning 27 years, starting at IBM Egypt as a systems engineer before moving on to a sales position in the government sector. Venturing to the United Arab Emirates, Mo joined NCR Abu Dhabi to cover the non-financial sector. He then became familiar with the consumer goods industry as a Regional Manager for BAT. At Microsoft, he held various roles over a period of seven and a half years, in his last role at Microsoft he led the communications industry in emerging markets around the world.
Mo joined Google in 2007 to launch its business in emerging markets. He is fascinated by the role technology plays in empowering people in emerging communities and has dedicated years of his career to that passion. Over a 6-year period, Mo started about half of Google’s operations worldwide.
Mo is the author of “Resolve to be Happy: Designing Your Path to Joy” (2017). Through his 12-year research on the subject of happiness, he created a well-designed algorithm and repeatable model for reaching a state of uninterrupted happiness regardless of life circumstances. Mo’s happiness model proved to be very effective. And, in 2014, it was put to the test when Mo lost his son Ali due to a preventable medical error during a simple surgical procedure. Solve For Happy is the cornerstone of a mission that Mo has committed to as his personal mission, a mission to deliver his message of happiness to 10 million people around the world. #unbillionhappy
Karen Guggenheim is a pioneer in the global happiness movement, a leader in promoting the science behind wellbeing to an international audience, and a motivational speaker inspiring people about how to grow post trauma and rebuild a life focused on meaning, purpose, and happiness. She the creative force behind the World Happiness Summit®, the leading wellbeing conference promoting the benefits of an evidence-based approach to increase happiness in all areas of life. She is also CEO of WOHASU®, the comprehensive wellbeing ecosystem named after the Summit that is inspiring a fast-growing movement sending a positive rippling effect around the world.
In 2016 after personal tragedy, Karen drastically altered her career path and invested her time, talent, and treasure to create WOHASU®, a global wellbeing brand fostering a movement for optimism, positivity, resilience, happiness, and community. Her first book will be published by Rizzoli in March 2023 in Italy.
Karen produces the annual World Happiness Summit; a 3-day event that unites the world’s leading experts in the science of happiness and wellbeing with a global audience to learn practical tools for a happier life. Along with fellow experts, she has also develop unique trainings like the WOHASU/Florida International University Chief Happiness Officer Certification, the only CHO program in the world certified by a university.
At heart, Karen is a creator and storyteller who focuses on cultivating the global happiness movement to foster connection, highlight our shared humanity, and acknowledge that the route to happiness often requires us to travel through considerable pain and trauma. She shares her own compelling story to weave these concepts through a real-world lens that moves and inspires audiences and helps them figure out how to activate these ideas into practices for a happier life.
A popular speaker, happiness educator and community builder, Karen’s mission is to make a case for happiness by highlighting the opportunities for win-win scenarios created by learning and implementing evidence-based tools and policies that make people, organizations, and communities thrive. Under her leadership, WOHASU® LLC was awarded with the “Key of the City of Miami” by the Miami Mayor and the members of the Miami City Commission.
Jan-Emmanuel De Neve is a Belgian economist and professor at the University of Oxford where he directs the Wellbeing Research Centre. He is best known for his research on the economics of wellbeing which has led to new insights into the relationship between wellbeing and income, productivity, economic growth, and inequality. De Neve is also an editor of the World Happiness Report. His research was selected among “The Management Ideas that Mattered Most” by Harvard Business Review and he was awarded the inaugural Ruut Veenhoven Award for his contributions to the scientific study of happiness. He is a frequent advisor to governments and businesses, including Gallup, Unilever, and jobs site Indeed, as well as start-ups such as Psychological Technologies and Butterfly AI. Jan obtained his PhD from the London School of Economics and was a Fulbright Scholar at Harvard University. His research and commentary regularly feature in the media, including in The Economist, Financial Times, Harvard Business Review, and on the BBC. He is a frequent speaker at academic and non-academic conferences, including at PopTech and TED.
My passion for well-being began with my journey through surviving breast cancer and managing work burnout. In a prior role, I spent most of my waking hours at work and slept with my cell phone at home. One morning, I realized I didn’t have the energy to get out of bed.
Lucky to get the help I needed to regain my physical and mental health, I learned to establish boundaries to achieve life-work integration. The change in my outlook and productivity was profound, which led me to propose a firm-wide well-being strategy at Deloitte. Because Deloitte places such a high value on its people, this strategy was not only enthusiastically endorsed, but I also found myself in my dream job as Deloitte’s first Chief Well-being Officer (CWBO).
Research proves that well-being works—benefiting not only employees but also employers and customers. Companies that prioritize employee care can expect to see results such as:
◉ Increased morale, engagement, and productivity
◉ Reduced burnout and absenteeism
◉ Improved talent recruitment and retention
◉ Significant bottom-line gains
As CWBO, I evolved Deloitte’s health & wellness program into a first-of-its-kind holistic, inclusive well-being strategy. I pioneered the conversation around mental health at work, launching Deloitte’s Mental Health program focused on changing perceptions and stigma around mental health. I’m proud of the groundbreaking human-centered culture we’ve created at Deloitte.
I often speak and write on the importance of well-being and social connection at work, as well as resilience, happiness, and productivity. I’m the Life-Work Integration Editor-at-Large for Thrive Global, creator & host of the WorkWell Podcast, and co-author of bestselling book Work Better Together.
A wellness and healthy lifestyle enthusiast, I believe self-care is a daily pursuit and consider myself an exercise fanatic, sleep advocate, and book nerd. My husband Albert, dog Fiona, and I enjoy living in Miami. You can find me on LinkedIn at Jen Fisher, Twitter @jenfish23, and Instagram @JenFish23. You can also receive my personal insights and reflections on well-being directly to your inbox by subscribing to my newsletter, “Thoughts on Being Well” @jenfisher.substack.com.
Explore the Six Elements of Wellbeing
MINDFULNESSEstablishing inner awareness and living consciously
PURPOSEFinding meaning in your personal and professional life
SOCIALCreating and maintaining strong and supportive relationships
Fostering healthy living practices
CAREERDeveloping healthy financial awareness
COMMUNITYBelonging and contributing to healthy ecosystems