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  • Talia Soen

Bridging Science and Practice: A Conversation with Vicki Cabrera

In an age where the pursuit of happiness is both a personal aspiration and a global endeavor, the realm of positive psychology has surged to the forefront. Positive psychology, a scientific discipline that focuses on the study of human flourishing, has garnered considerable attention in recent years. It endeavors to illuminate the facets that render life meaningful, offering insights into fostering well-being, resilience, and overall life satisfaction.

Against the backdrop of this growing landscape is Happy Things. Our mission is to bridge the chasm between the science of positive psychology and its pragmatic application in everyday life. By transforming complex research into accessible, bite-sized tools for everyday practice, Happy Things is translating academic insights into actionable practices that resonate with the public.

As we move our mission forward, we’re happy to welcome the newest addition to our team: Vicki Cabrera, a seasoned expert in the field of positive psychology. Stepping into the role of Well-being & Social Impact Consultant, Vicki brings to the table a wealth of experience, profound insights, and a genuine dedication to fostering positive change. In this introduction interview, we discussed her personal journey to becoming an expert in positive psychology and her vision for the field.

"I see myself as a bridge that connects organizations to the science of well-being”

Image: Talia Soen, Happy Things' Founder & CEO (right), and Vicki Cabrera, Happy Things' Well-being & Social Impact Consultant, (left)
Image: Talia Soen, Happy Things' Founder & CEO (right), and Vicki Cabrera, Happy Things' Well-being & Social Impact Consultant, (left)

With an academic background firmly rooted in Positive Organizational Psychology, Vicki's area of expertise centers on comprehending the intricate interplay between well-being, positive psychology, and the dynamics of organizations. "I see myself as a bridge that connects organizations to the science of well-being, positive psychology, organizational psychology, and evaluation so they can help people thrive and flourish in life and at work," says Vicki. Her aspiration is clear: to empower organizations with the tools to cultivate environments that allow individuals to flourish and create a positive ripple effect across entire communities.

Vicki is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Positive Organizational Psychology at Claremont Graduate University, where she conducts and publishes research on well-being and positive psychology interventions to improve well-being. As an independent consultant, she helps organizations measure and optimize well-being, effectiveness, and social impact using evidence-based programs. Before consulting and pursuing her Ph.D., she worked as a program and product manager for nonprofit organizations and in education in both the United States and the Philippines.

"I had experiences of languishing and burnout early in my career”

Vicki's path into the realm of positive psychology was not just a career choice; it was a journey sparked by her personal experiences and desire to make a difference. "Earlier in my career, I had experiences of languishing and burnout, which inspired me to embark on my own personal journey of improving my well-being,” she shares.

Passionate about aiding others in realizing their fullest potential, Vicki became involved with nonprofit organizations centered on women's professional development, education access, and poverty alleviation. “My discovery of positive psychology was serendipitous and gave me the knowledge and tools I was looking for in my life and my work,” she explains.

“At the time, I was leading the establishment of a school for disadvantaged youth to teach them social entrepreneurship. I was able to apply what I learned to help support the well-being and development of students and staff, which convinced me of the positive impact positive psychology can have on people.”

After working for a consulting firm focused on building empowering workplace cultures based on positive organizational psychology, Vicki decided to become an expert in the field and pursue a PhD at Claremont Graduate University, which offers the only Ph.D. programs specialized in positive psychology.

"I was able to apply what I learned to help support the well-being and development of students and staff" - Vicki Cabrera

Happy Things: Pioneering a Digital Pathway to Well-being

Vicki's journey eventually led her to Happy Things, where her expertise in positive psychology finds a perfect match with the platform's mission. "I think innovations in digital technology present a huge opportunity to provide more well-being interventions at scale," Vicki explains. Happy Things, focusing on combining positive psychology with digital accessibility, aligns with Vicki's vision of leveraging technology for the greater good.

"Happy Things is doing just that and has so much potential to positively impact people by making the science of well-being simple and accessible," Vicki underscores. The platform's dedication to simplifying well-being interventions and making them universally accessible resonates deeply with her aspiration to empower individuals to embark on a journey toward a more joyful existence. With Vicki's insights and expertise, Happy Things is poised to make the science of well-being a tangible way of life.

“I'm excited to embark on this journey with the team to help make happiness a way of life for more people and to contribute to creating a happier and kinder world,” she summarizes.

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