Allison Holzer, M.A.T. & C.P.C.C.
As a consultant, coach and educator, Allison Holzer is driven by a passion to share insights and knowledge to promote health, well-being and inspired engagement. She is the Director of Education Programs and Co-Founding Board Member of Pursuit of Happiness and Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of InspireCorps. In her work with these two organizations, she trains, coaches, and develops curricula on such topics as emotional intelligence skills, applied positive psychology, and affective leadership. Her interpersonal style is collaborative, supportive and service-oriented. She uses her curiosity and love of learning to translate research and evidence-based practices into concrete, user-friendly knowledge about health and well-being. She is currently writing a book called Affective Leadership (with Janet Patti, Ed.D. and Robin Stern, Ph.D.) and published an article on coaching research called Personal, Professional Coaching: Transforming Professional Development for Teacher and Administrative Leaders. She holds a B.A. in Psychological and Brain Sciences from Dartmouth College and a Masters degree in teaching. She is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (C.P.C.C.) and a Certified Administrator of the Mayer/Salovey/Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (M.S.C.E.I.T.) and other professional development assessments.
Mark Setton, D.Phil.
As the Founder and CEO of Pursuit of Happiness, Mark is dedicated to the advancement of scientific knowledge about happiness and depression prevention. Through his leadership since 2006, POH has expanded its reach to schools and individuals all over the world from across the United States to Beijing, China. As an Associate Professor of World Religions at UB with over 30 years of experience studying, teaching, and writing about East Asian philosophy, he teaches several courses on philosophy and world religions, as well as his favorite course called “Perspectives on Happiness.” In fact, he recently received an award for his work comparing philosophical and psychological perspectives on subjective well-being (SWB). He earned his B.A. and M.A. at Sungkyunkwan University, the only Confucian university in Asia. He has taught at the State University of New York at Stonybrook, the University of California at Berkeley, and Oxford University, where he earned his doctorate.
Emily Joy MBChB, MRCGP is a family doctor who works in the Highlands of Scotland trying to spread a happiness epidemic amongst her patients. Happy patients are healthier patients, even when they are ill! She is the author of The Accidental Optimist’s Guide to Life, where her search for the meaning of life is constantly thwarted by her three children, her job and the series of accidents that go to make up real life. Her first book, Green Oranges on Lion Mountain is a rather different story of her two years as a young single doctor working in an upcountry hospital in Sierra Leone at the outbreak of civil war, but is still filled with optimism, hope and happiness. Her conclusions are that as a cossetted middle class Western woman, she still has a lot to learn, and to that end is delighted to join the Pursuit of Happiness tean to take a light hearted look at some of the happiness literature.
Ray White, M.B.A.
Ray is responsible for Work Place Happiness and Engagement at Pursuit of Happiness. Ray serves as a board member and brings his expertise in work place engagement, work place happiness, and business in general to help support and grow the organization. Ray White has extensive experience driving start-up and fortune 1000 companies to increased profitability. He has more than 27 years of marketing and product experience and was the marketing lead for four companies that grew from $0 in revenue to as much as $320 million. Ray is a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington, where he received a B.B.A in management and an M.B.A. in marketing. Ray has three kids and has been married for 23 years. He spends most of his spare time watching and participating with his kids in various sporting activities. Ray’s passion is helping people become successful, especially the millenials he is currently working with. Ray teaches business classes in Leadership and Success at all levels of the business hierarchy from new employees to C-Level executives. His current area of exploration is researching and documenting the connections between Happiness, Success, and Employee and Business Performance. Ray’s book, Connecting Happiness and Success will be released in June.
Debra Park, M.S.
Debra Park is a Part Time Lecturer at Rutgers University-Camden NJ, Psychology Department, as well as the Institute for Effective Education where she teaches Lifespan Development, Psychology of Happiness and Well-Being, and Behavior Management. Currently, she teaches a variety of courses at the Pursuit of Happiness including the Psychology of Happiness and supports the organization in content and curriculum development and design. Debra taught high school AP Psychology for 33 years and has been involved in the American Psychological Association (APA) in many capacities. At present, she is the Membership Committee Chair for the Society for the Teaching of Psychology (STP), Division 2 of APA. Debra has been honored over the years as the recipient of many awards including the APA Presidential Citation in November (2011), the APA Moffett Memorial Teaching Award (2007), the APA TOPSS Excellence in Teaching Award (2006), Rutgers University Public School Educator of the Year (2004), Gloucester County Teacher of the Year (1999–2000), and State Finalist New Jersey Teacher of the Year (1999-2000). She is an Advanced Placement Reader for AP Psychology exams and has presented at many national and regional conventions, most recently the APA/Clark University Workshop for High School Teachers in Worcester MA (July 2012) and the Atlantic Coast Teaching of Psychology Conference (Sept 2011/2013). Debra serves on the Educational Advisory Board for Myer’s Psychology for AP 2012 Ed/2010 Ed. W H Freeman and CO/Worth Publishing.
Todd Kashdan, Ph.D.
Todd B. Kashdan, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Psychology at George Mason University. Receiving his Ph.D. in 2004 from the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Dr. Kashdan has published over 80 articles in peer-reviewed journals, including many of the eminent outlets in clinical, abnormal, social, and personality psychology, and given over 100 presentations at national and international conferences. In 2009, he published Curious? Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life (William Morrow) to promote the science of well-being for a general audience, is an author of the forthcoming book Designing the Future of Positive Psychology (Oxford University Press), serves as associate editor of the Journal of Positive Psychology, and is on the advisory board for the Templeton Flourishing Children Project. To date, his research has mostly focused on anxiety, positive emotions, gratitude, purpose in life, how personal strengths operate in everyday life, social relationships, and how to foster and sustain happiness and meaning in life. For the past 10 years, he has been teaching college courses on the science of happiness. He is regularly invited to give talks and workshops to business executives, schools, parents, retirees, scholars, and health professionals. His research has been featured in several popular media outlets including the New York Times and The Washington Post.
Paul Desan, M.D. & Ph.D.
As a co-founding board member and Director of Research at the Pursuit of Happiness, Dr. Paul Desan is interested in furthering the scientific understanding of happiness and well-being. He consults on various POH projects and manages a research study on a happiness curriculum intervention in Beijing, China. In addition to his work with POH, he is the Director of the Psychiatric Consultation Service at Yale New Haven Hospital where he manages a team of clinical practitioners and researchers. His present research interests include mood disorders, particularly Seasonal Affective Disorder or S.A.D., and the question of how a resilient individual can regulate mood and maintain life satisfaction in medical illness and existential loss. He obtained an A.B. in psychology at Princeton University, a Ph.D. in neurobiology at Harvard Medical School and an M.D. at Yale University School of Medicine.
John has developed curricula for elementary, secondary and university programs in the areas of philosophy for children and civic engagement. He received his B.A. in Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature from the University of Minnesota and studied photography at The Maine Media Workshops. He is currently pursuing his own happiness as a freelance designer near the Mississippi where he spends most of his time chasing two adorable imps, playing on the computer and taking photographs.