About the Executive Committee
1) The Executive Committee’s responsibilities include:
(a) Formulating policies;
(b) Acting on the behalf of SIPPA in accordance with the SIPPA Constitution; and
(c) Providing all administrative oversight and directions as needed.
2) The Chair, Chair-Elect, and Past-Chair will serve for one year.
3) The Communications Representative, Membership & Recruitment Representative, and Conference Planning Representative will serve for a two-year term.
4) Executive committee members should complete their term prior to graduation.
Sonia White, President
Sonia has a Master of Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Coaching Psychology from the University of Sydney. She is passionate about helping people to achieve their goals, drive positive change and maximise their potential. Sonia became a coach after a 15-year successful career in the pharmaceutical industry. More recently, as the mother of a young child, she has become inherently interested in working in child development and family flourishing. This shift inspired Sonia to further her graduate studies through Monash University in Melbourne to achieve psychology registration.
Sonia joined the student division in 2018 in the role of Conference Lead. In this capacity, she coordinated student events for the 6th World Congress on Positive Psychology in July 2019. After the conference, Sonia moved into the President-Elect role and in March 2020 became the President. Sonia brings a wealth of experience to this role from her professional career and postgraduate qualifications. She is committed to building a global network that students who can learn from each other and the broader positive psychology community.
Lisa Kamsickas, President-Elect
Lisa Kamsickas is a graduate student at Northwestern University studying how to increase positive emotion and how positive emotion can buffer from the negative effects of stress. Though a Detroit native, she earned her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of St Andrews in Scotland. As SIPPA’s President-Elect, Lisa is enthusiastic to represent and support the students in the International Positive Psychology Association. Feel free to reach out to her with any questions, ideas, or jokes; she would be happy to hear from you!
Ketaki Diwan, Immediate Past President
Ketaki Diwan is a graduate student in Social Psychology at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Ketaki is from India where she completed a masters in I/O Psychology. Ketaki is currently a research assistant at Amsterdam Interdisciplinary Centre for Emotion. Her research is focused on socio-cultural shaping of distinct positive emotions. Ketaki believes that positive emotions are subtle but powerful in their own way. She is keen on discovering how people from different cultures share positive emotions in different yet effective ways. Ketaki’s goal as SIPPA President is to create engagement, opportunities and networking channels for students of positive psychology from all corners of the world.
Kaya Reingold, Secretary, Communication and Community Lead
I am a fourth-year undergraduate studying Corporate Communications and Public Affairs with a concentration in nonprofit management and social entrepreneurship at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. I am interested in bringing positive psychology to mainstream education in hopes that all curriculums will have a social-emotional component. As a Freshman in high school, I co-founded The Happy Institute, a positive psychology program that helps to increase optimism, gratitude, and resilience for students in school. I have worked with over 700 students in the Boston and Dallas area and the results of the program have been impactful.
As my interest in this field grows, I aim to focus on the neuroscience behind positive psychology, as well as the ability to alter subconscious brain activity through positive psychology principles to create meaningful and long-lasting changes in the brain. As SIPPA’s Communication Lead, I am excited to help facilitate a cohesive communication strategy across all touchpoints and develop communication messages that integrate and coordinate various SIPPA values.
Sierra Trudel, Past President
Sierra Trudel is a third year school psychology masters student at the University of Hartford. She currently works as a graduate assistant to the Program Accreditation Board Chair of the National Association of School Psychologists. Upon completion of her masters program, Sierra plans to obtain her PhD in school psychology or clinical psychology. Her research goal is to examine children and adolescents living in low socioeconomic urban communities, how this experience may alter brain development and what strategies can be implemented into these communities to combat systemic trauma. Specifically, how to create authentic and culturally sensitive interventions to foster flourishing – be it in a school setting or clinical setting. Sierra’s goal as President is to create a program that is accessible to all, which promotes diversity and authenticity within the positive psychology community.
Annalise Roache, Mentor and Professional Development Program Co-Lead (MSc, PCC)
I am currently undertaking my Doctorate at Auckland University of Technology, in New Zealand, focusing on wellbeing research & Positive Psychology and undertaking an empirical study on Lay Theories of wellbeing. I completed my Master of Science (Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology) at the University of East London in 2017 where my research focused on embracing the dark side of life through expressive writing, in particular building self-compassion, self-efficacy and general wellbeing by harvesting learnings from prior life events.
I am a Positive Psychology Practitioner, Coach and Mentor through my business, The Coaching Toolbox, where I focus predominantly on 1 to 1 coaching, mentoring and consulting on wellbeing initiatives. As a coach mentor I love helping other coaches to develop their coaching mastery.
I recently joined the International Positive Psychology Association Student Division (SIPPA) executive team, taking up the role of Mentor and Professional Development Program Co-Lead. I look forward to growing the program and, in particular, I am excited to have the opportunity to marry two of my favourite things, mentoring and positive psychology. I am very grateful for the many wonderful mentors I have had in my career and for the rich learning and growth I have gained from my own mentees and I look forward to facilitating that process for others.
Sarah Schimshal, Mentor and Professional Development Program Co-Lead
I’m the Founder and Director of Positive Legacies. I received my MSc in Applied Positive Psychology from the University of East London in 2017 and currently undertaking my PhD with the University of Tasmania. I’m an accomplished leader, coach and researcher with over 20 years’ experience working across different industries including education, manufacturing, retail, hospitality, and recreation. I live in Sydney, Australia and my research interests focus on grit, positive leadership and wellbeing. In April 2019, I joined the executive team of IPPA’s Student Division (SIPPA), taking up the role of Mentor and Professional Development Program Co-Lead. I’ve benefited immensely from professional support and guidance throughout my career. Thus, I’m looking forward to working with my colleague Annalise Roache to develop new resources and virtual events which will provide even more value to members.
Mike Lennon SIPPA Student Speaker Series Lead
Mike is a graduate student from Birmingham, England studying on the MSc in Applied Positive Psychology & Coaching Psychology at the University of East London. He is a qualified Coach currently working as a Coach and Trainer in the healthcare industry. As well as volunteering with SIPPA Mike is also a volunteer Mentor for SSAFA, a charity for former members of the armed forces in the UK, as well as a volunteer Coach for The Shaw Trust, a charity which aims to assist unemployed people back into work.
Mike loves implementing what he is learning about positive psychology to support individuals and teams through coaching & training. He has a particular interest in creating positive emotion in learners to improve performance as well as being curious about the coexistence of the darker side of positive psychology as a stimuli for positive growth .Mike also enjoys facilitating awareness, exploration & application of character strengths as a path to engaging individuals and teams and to inspire positive change.
In his role at Student Speaker Series Lead, Mike aims to contribute to IPPA’s mission of promoting the science of positive psychology, facilitating collaboration among researchers , teachers and students and sharing the findings of positive psychology with the broadest possible audience.
Milad Hadchiti, Positive Psychology Coach & TV Host (MAPPCP)
Milad Hadchiti is people-oriented and has a passion for human potential. Through his 20 years of work as a radio and TV host, Milad has developed a deep interest in the fields of Positive Psychology, coaching psychology and self-development.
He is the founder of HUMANSHIP, a nonprofit organization and a resource network for positive psychology in Lebanon, and NEC PLUS ULTRA, a self-development firm which serves to spread positivity by engaging in specialised training. These trainings are customised to the needs and demands of the customers and their environment.
Milad Hadchiti holds a Master of applied positive psychology and coaching psychology from East London University and a Bachelor degree in Radio and Tv from Lebanese University.
He is the author of the best-selling book“365 for a Positive Life”, a daily guide to adopting a positive mindset.
Recently, he produced a show entitled “Sar Wa2ta”, which embarks on the idea of spreading positivity. The content of the show includes techniques and guides on how to achieve positivity, as well as empowerment stories from guest stars.
Monica Elvira Gutierrez Mesino, SIPPA Regional Representative
Monica Elvira Gutierrez Mesino is a psychology student at Universidad Nacional Abierta y a Distancia, UNAD in Barranquilla, Colombia, student researcher at Kaamash (UNAD’s Research hotbed group/ Psychology, Emotional development and Education Research Group), freelance translator Spanish-English-Spanish since 1999.
She has been working as Human Resources Coordinator in her family’s small business since 1993. As part of the company where she works, she has obtained Grants to develop machinery for the company, she has leader Innovation Projects. She is certified as Assistant on Innovation at GIM Institute (Global Innovation Management Institute) and She has performed as freelance translator for several national e international organizations, including E3 Partners, formerly called Global Mission Fellowship.
Monica’s primary objective is to share well-being with other people, well-being that comes from exercising a purposed life, based on the virtues and character strengths that are promoted in Positive Psychology. Psychology Professional Practice under supervision. Professional translation book “Mindfulness Based Strengths Practice a practical guide to flourishing”. SIPPA Regional Representative.
Currently, Monica is working on her project based on the development of virtues and character strengths through Mindfulness-Based Strengths Practice (MBSP) in middle school teachers at Eustorgio Salgar, Atlantico, Colombia.
Rémi Thériault, Regional Representative (Québec)
Rémi Thériault obtained his B.A. Psychology and M.Sc. Psychiatry from McGill University, Montréal, Québec. His undergraduate research has principally focused on exploring the mind-body connection through the placebo effect and the malleability of the sense of embodiment. His Master’s research focused on psychological strategies to increase empathy and reduce intergroup prejudice, such as taking others’ perspective using virtual reality technology. His current doctoral research at UQAM explores ways to boost altruism and reduce aggression through loving-kindness meditation. Overall, Rémi is passionate about putting social-psychological research to use to increase people’s wellbeing and intrinsic motivation to help one another.