TEAM

Meet the people who make it all possible

Seph Fontane Pennock, BBA

Founder

Seph is a seasoned entrepreneur and the business mind behind PositivePsychology.com.

With his background in online marketing and a passion for helping therapists and coaches, he co-founded the new mental health application Quenza that helps practitioners better help their clients with digital support.

Top strengths

  • bravery
  • hope
  • love of learning

Hugo Alberts, PhD., Psychologist

Founder, CPO

Dr. Hugo Alberts (Ph.D.) – psychologist, researcher, and entrepreneur. Upon completion of the master’s psychology in 2002, he obtained his doctorate in 2007 on the theme of self-control.
In 2008, mindfulness was a major focus of his research and teaching. Through controlled lab- and field studies his research seeks to provide insight into the effectiveness of this method and the processes that underlie mindfulness.

Top strengths

  • creativity
  • love of learning
  • curiosity

Lucinda Allen

CEO

Lucinda brings a wealth of experience in building processes and driving operational excellence to PostivePsychology.com, helping the team run more effectively behind-the-scenes. She strongly believes in the power of shifting one’s mindset and is motivated by helping others discover many of the tools that helped her on her own journey toward positive mental health.

Top strengths

  • Appreciation of beauty & excellence
  • Honesty
  • Fairness

Alex Ciric

Customer Satisfaction Manager

With his technical knowledge and friendly, positive attitude, Alex has been making customers happy for more than six years in customer service roles. He’s motivated by helping others overcome challenges and is only ever an email away. Don’t be shy to reach out!

Top strengths

  • kindness
  • humor
  • appreciation of beauty and excellence

Aleksandra Negojevic

Customer Satisfaction Manager

Aleksandra holds an MA in Linguistics and her travels across five continents (and counting) helped her realize that being positive takes you to many places. She finds joy in seeing others happy and will always be there to answer a question, provide support and overcome any kind of obstacle for you. This genie never runs out of wishes!

Top strengths

  • fairness
  • kindness
  • honesty

Annelé Venter

Publisher

With her zest for life and a love for the written word, PositivePsychology.com is blessed to have Annelé as its publisher. Annelé manages the team of writers and co-ordinates the content creation process. She ensures all the blog contents are beautifully formatted and lays a final set of eyes on all content before it airs.

Top strengths

  • creativity
  • gratitude
  • spirituality

Lucy Guzman, B.Sc.

Practitioner Success Manager

Lucy brings an extensive background in facilitating practitioner success. She has a passion for freedom, peace, health and wellness. Her top priority is adding value to client’s lives. She does this through establishing a personal connection, deep listening and thorough discovery sessions where she can guide clients closer to reaching their goals.

Top strengths

  • love
  • gratitude
  • hope

Joanie Scheepers

Graphic Designer

Joanie is tasked with creating captivating social media assets. She enjoys learning about positive psychology while designing and drawing inspiration from the invaluable knowledgebase at PositivePsychology.com. Joanie embraces challenges and continuously evolves her skills as she gains experience.

Top strengths

  • Humility
  • Love of Learning
  • Perseverance

David Kingsbury

Copywriter

David has a passion and curiosity for all things marketing and writing, so it’s no coincidence that he found his calling as a copywriter. With a background in coaching and a long-standing interest in psychology and self-improvement, he is a big believer in the power of living authentically and nurturing a growth mindset to become your best self. David loves working with ethical businesses that help people reach their true potential. His writing has appeared in publications including Marketing Examined, Start It Up, and Mind Cafe.

Top strengths

  • creativity
  • love of learning
  • hope

Katie McCandless

Editor

Katie is an editor and proofreader originally from Kentucky, now based in the Netherlands. She is a self-proclaimed word-nerd and passionate about helping writers clearly communicate their message to readers. Outside of work, she loves to read, cook, and travel.

Top strengths

  • love of learning
  • honesty
  • perseverance

Lucinda Poole, Psy.D.

Tool Developer

Dr. Lucinda Poole is a psychologist, researcher and mindfulness teacher from Melbourne, Australia. Lucinda is trained and experienced in a number of therapeutic approaches, including Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Mindfulness, and interventions drawn from Positive Psychology research (e.g., strength-based change, self-compassion, gratitude, resilience).

Top strengths

  • social intelligence
  • love
  • curiosity

Elaine Houston, B.Sc.

Writer, Researcher

Originally from Ireland, Elaine Houston is an independent business owner and Behavioral Science graduate with an honors degree from the University of Abertay, Scotland. After graduating, Elaine developed her passion for psychology through a range of avenues, focusing on consumer and small business psychology before going on to work within her local community as a learning and development officer. When she isn’t working, Elaine enjoys exploring creative outlets such as painting, drawing, and photography.

Top strengths

  • Prudence
  • Love of learning
  • Judgement

Julia Poernbacher, BsC.

Content Developer

Julia is currently pursuing an MSc in Positive Psychology and Well-Being and an MSc in Talent Development and Creativity. Her zeal lies in facilitating individuals in uncovering their intrinsic talents and in demonstrating to them the means by which they can harness their full potential. She believes that everyone should be given the opportunity to live a fulfilling life.

Top strengths

  • Love of learning
  • Curiosity
  • Social intelligence

Lorena Berber, M.S.

Tool Developer

Lorena is a clinical & health psychologist with a Masters’s degree in Positive Leadership. She works as a wellbeing consultant as well as a mindfulness instructor. Her purpose in life is to help others to live a meaningful and flourishing life through the science of happiness. Positive psychology is her absolute passion; what is life for if not for the joy of being alive?

Top strengths

  • spirituality
  • creativity
  • gratitude

Nicole Celestine, Ph.D.

Research Assistant

Nicole holds a Ph.D. from the University of Western Australia. Her research interests lie at the intersection between well-being, personal energy, and positive psychology. Her work appears in several top business journals, including the Journal of Organizational Behavior.

When she’s not busy working on her thesis, Nicole can be found writing for psychology and wellness services, helping them to prepare science-backed communications for their customers.

Top strengths

  • Gratitude
  • Perseverance
  • Hope

Jeremy Sutton, Ph.D.

Writer, Researcher

Jeremy Sutton, Ph.D., is a writer and researcher studying the human capacity to push physical and mental limits. His work always remains true to the science beneath, his real-world background in technology, his role as a husband and parent, and his passion as an ultra-marathoner.

Top strengths

  • Love
  • Curiosity
  • Love of learning

Tchiki Davis, Ph.D.

Writer, Researcher

Tchiki is a content writer, technology consultant, and co-creator of online programs that have helped more than a million people worldwide find a bit more happiness. Tchiki obtained her qualifications from The University of California, Berkeley in social and personality psychology with a certificate in management of technology innovation.

Top strengths

  • Creativity
  • Fairness
  • Honesty

Jo Nash, Ph.D.

Writer, Researcher

Jo Nash, Ph.D., is a writer, researcher, and coach. Jo obtained her Ph.D. in Psychotherapy Studies from the University of Sheffield, where she was a Lecturer in Mental Health at the Faculty of Medicine for over a decade.

Today, Jo’s coaching practice specializes in working with creatives, neurodivergent adults, and those with mental health difficulties. Her writing focuses on mental health, creativity, and transpersonal and psychospiritual development.

Top strengths

  • Honesty
  • Humor
  • Creativity
Jessica

Jessica Beer, Ph. D.

Writer, Researcher

As a developmental scientist with a background in neurocognitive research and sociocultural theory, Jessica brings a lifespan perspective to her work.

As co-founder of The Urban Chalkboard Play Cafe in Indiana, her applied work focuses on the cognitive, social, and mental health benefits of children’s play.

Kirsty Gardiner, Ph.D.

Writer, Researcher

Kirsty is a Social Psychologist with a passion for using research to power social change. She holds a doctorate in Psychology from Queen Mary University of London, and is a registered chartered Psychologist with the BPS.

Kirsty holds a masters in Applied Positive Psychology from the University of East London. On completing her Ph.D. she taught on the MAPPCP programme for several years.

Currently, she is based in the UK as the Research Director at Ardent – a DEI consultancy, where she takes a data-driven approach to assessing clients’ DEI needs.

Top strengths

  • Humor
  • Love
  • Kindness

Amanda O'Bryan, Ph.D.

Writer, Researcher

Amanda is a certified wellness coach and specializes in using evidence-based practices to empower her clients to shift the ways that stress and anxiety impact their lives.

She also works as a freelance writer, creating psychoeducational content. Her goal with writing is to help people understand themselves better by presenting cognitive science in a fun and interesting way.

Prior to becoming a full-time writer and coach, Amanda worked as a Psychology professor. She is also trained in several meditation modalities and volunteers as a meditation teacher to individuals in addiction recovery.

Top strengths

  • Appreciation of beauty & excellence
  • Honesty
  • Love of learning

Tiffany Sauber Millacci, Ph.D.

Writer, Researcher

Tiffany is an educator for both university students and elementary-aged students. She is a continuous learner who seeks facts through research and enjoys sharing her learning through her writing.

Top strengths

  • Gratitude
  • Fairness
  • Kindness

Christina R. Wilson, Ph.D.

Writer, Researcher

Chris is a conflict resolution specialist who studies and teaches conflict resolution, communication, and emotional intelligence skills.

Top strengths

  • Spirituality
  • Love of learning
  • Gratitude
Dr. Anna Schaffner

Anna Katharina Schaffner, Ph.D.

Writer, Researcher

Anna Katharina Schaffner, Ph.D., is a professional burnout and executive coach and a writer. She used to be a professor of Cultural History at the University of Kent. Anna specialises in helping people overcome burnout and overwhelm and rediscover their passion and purpose. Her unique blend of expertise as both a writer and a coach reflects a lifelong dedication to the art of self-improvement.

Top strengths

  • Love of learning
  • Honesty
  • Judgement

Melissa Madeson, Ph.D.

Writer, Researcher

Melissa believes in a holistic approach to mental health and wellness and uses a person-centered approach when working with clients. Currently in a full-time private practice, she uses her experience with performance psychology, teaching, and designing collegiate wellness courses and yoga therapy to address a range of specific client needs.

Top strengths

  • Compassion
  • Forgiveness
  • Curiosity

Alicia Nortje, Ph.D.

Writer, Researcher

Alicia is a research fellow at the University of Cape Town, where she is involved in multiple projects investigating eyewitness memory and face recognition. She’s highly skilled in research design, data analysis, and critical thinking.

When she’s not working, she indulges in running on the road or the trails, and enjoys cooking.

Top strengths

  • Creativity
  • Curiosity
  • Leadership

Catherine Moore, Psychologist, MBA

Writer, Researcher

Catherine Moore has a B.Sc. in Psychology from the University of Melbourne. She enjoys researching and using her HR knowledge to write about Positive and Organizational Psychology. When she isn’t getting super ‘psyched’ about her favorite topics of creativity, motivation, engagement, learning, and happiness, she loves to surf and travel.

Top strengths

  • Creativity
  • Social Intelligence
  • Humor

Joshua Schultz, Psy.D.

Writer, Researcher

Joshua is a therapist and writer based in Philadelphia. He holds a doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Widener University, where his dissertation focused on compassion in leadership. He believes in systemic justice and is interested in reforming organizations and institutions through the introduction of love and empathy. His work is aimed at helping others act with compassion while living a life they find meaningful.

Top strengths

  • Love
  • Appreciation of beauty and excellence
  • Judgement

Oliver Page, MD

Writer, Researcher

Oliver is a doctor and writer based in London, holding an integrated medical and psychology degree from University College London.

He believes in the intentional cultivation of values and strengths-based approaches to promoting wellbeing. Oliver aims to motivate and inspire people to recognize their potential and act on goals congruent with their authentic self.

Top strengths

  • Honesty
  • Curiosity
  • Humility

William Smith, Ph.D.

Writer, Researcher

William recently completed his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Nottingham and now works as a scientific advisor to The Beckley Foundation. He specializes in the neuropsychology of personality and emotion and has presented his work to an international audience.

William has a diverse background in research and writing, and recently completed work on a book on the neuropsychology of performance. His passion is communication and applying science to fuel positive lifestyle changes.

Top strengths

  • Spirituality
  • Love of learning
  • Gratitude

Helen Brown, Ph.D.

Writer, Researcher

Helen is a freelance writer with a Ph.D. in Psychology and MSc in Organizational Psychology.

She has a varied background working in mental health and wellbeing research and is passionate about all things psychological. As well as writing about many psychology and health topics, Helen loves to scribble away at fictional stories and screenplays too. You can usually find her in the countryside just south of Bristol, UK.

Top strengths

  • Creativity
  • Fairness
  • Social Intelligence

Saima Latif, Ph.D.

Writer, Researcher

Saima is a writer, researcher, psychologist, therapist, hypnotherapist, Health and Behavioral Change Coach, and expert consultant. Based in the UK, she has worked with clients from all over the world. Her interests are diverse in all aspects of the human psyche, and her passion is about developing individuals to their full potential.

Top strengths

  • Appreciation of beauty & excellence
  • Gratitude
  • Love of learning

Heather S. Lonczak, Ph.D.

Writer, Researcher

Heather S. Lonczak, Ph.D., is a researcher and author with a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Washington. Heather is the Author and Academic Editor for Magination Press (American Psychological Association), PositivePsychology.com, and American Journal Experts. She is the author of numerous published children’s books; one of which is an iParenting Award winner.

Top strengths

  • Humor
  • Creativity
  • Bravery

Jeffrey Gaines, Ph.D.

Writer, Researcher

Jeffrey Gaines earned a Ph.D. in Philosophy from SUNY/Stony Brook in 1992, and a further Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Pennsylvania State University in 2001. He sees clinical psychology as a practical extension of philosophy and specializes in neuropsychology – having been board-certified in 2011. Jeffrey is currently Clinical Director at Metrowest Neuropsychology in Westborough, MA.

Top strengths

  • Appreciation of beauty and excellence
  • Humor
  • Spirituality

Dr. Katherine Compitus, DSW, LCSW

Writer, Researcher

Dr. Katherine is a licensed clinical social worker, doctor of social welfare, and animal behavior scientist. She is trained in multiple modalities including CBT and DBT and is a Certified Hypnotherapist and Certified Family Trauma Therapist. Katherine is the founder and chairman of Surrey Hills Sanctuary, a non-profit organization providing veterinary social work services in New York State.

Top strengths

  • Love of learning
  • Appreciation of beauty & excellence
  • Fairness

Jessica Swainston, Ph.D.

Writer, Researcher

Jessica is a psychologist, researcher, and industry professional. After completion of her MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience, Jessica’s doctorate focused on cognitive and emotional health in women affected by breast cancer. Jessica is now working in industry, helping to develop digital mental health applications for the modern world.

Top strengths

  • Honesty
  • Creativity
  • Curiosity

Claire Vowell, Ph.D.

Writer, Researcher

Claire is a Counseling Psychologist, currently working with adults and young people in private practice and the NHS (UK). She is trained in several modalities, including CBT and psychodynamic therapy, and is passionate about reducing mental health stigma. When not working, Claire is passionate about food and spends much of her free time cooking with her young children.

Top strengths

  • Humor
  • Creativity
  • Honesty

Maike Neuhaus Ph.D.

Writer, Researcher

Dr. Maike Neuhaus, PhD, is a Positive Psychology Lecturer, Keynote Speaker, and Coach. Her biggest passion is to elevate individuals who have outgrown aspects of their lives (their jobs, relationships, or way of living) so they can find their purpose, reach their full potential, and create impacts and work lives that excite them.

Top strengths

  • Appreciation of beauty and excellence
  • Hope
  • Zest

Gabriella Lancia, Ph.D.

Writer, Researcher

Gabriella obtained a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto (OISE) in Developmental Psychology and Education where her research is centered around emotions, instruction, and online learning. She currently works as a psychological consultant with children, adolescents, and adults in Toronto, Canada. In her spare time, she enjoys building her writing portfolio, spending time with her family, and walking her dog.

Top strengths

  • Honesty
  • Kindness
  • Humor

Joshua Bourne, PsychD

Writer, Researcher

Joshua Bourne, PsychD, works as a Counselling Psychologist, Life Coach, and consultant. He loves to help individuals and businesses thrive and understand themselves better to create everlasting positive change.

Joshua is also an avid fan of everything space-related and loves sports. A world traveler based in London, UK, although originally from San Francisco, USA, Joshua help others adjust to life in different countries.

Top strengths

  • Love
  • Perspective
  • Honesty

Daniela Ramirez-Duran, Ph.D. candidate, MAPP

Writer, Researcher

Originally from Chile, Daniela’s passion for positive psychology led her to pursue further studies in Melbourne, Australia. With vast experience as a Clinical and Educational Psychologist, her current work is focused on research and applications of contemplative practices such as yoga and meditation to contribute to people’s health and wellbeing.

Top strengths

  • Honesty
  • Creativity
  • Gratitude

Angelica Attard Ph.D.

Writer, Researcher

Angelica has over 10 years of clinical experience supporting individuals worldwide with the challenges they face in their life.

Currently specializing in working with professionals from legal, financial, consultancy, technology, and academic sectors, Angelica also paints and works with polymer clay. She is passionate about using both her art and writing to communicate psychological concepts to support others to navigate life with greater ease, effectiveness, and compassion.

Top strengths

  • Honesty
  • Kindness
  • Courage

Courtney E. Ackerman, MA.

Writer, Researcher

Courtney is a researcher and evaluator of mental health programs for the state of California and contributes regularly to the Positive Psychology blog. She is the author of several books based on concepts rooted in positive psychology. She has a passion for taking research findings and translating them into concise, actionable packages of information that anyone can understand and implement.

Top strengths

  • Judgement
  • Humor
  • Perseverance

Birgit Ohlin, MA, BBA

Writer, Researcher

Birgit Ohlin, M.A., BBA, is an organizational change expert and coach from Zürich, Switzerland.
She has worked in Marketing for over 20 years in different leadership roles, industries, and countries. In 2015, she decided it was time for a change. She asked herself: where in my life do I experience meaning? Being an empathetic person, she decided to use this strength to help others as a coach.

Top strengths

  • Love of learning
  • Gratitude
  • Zest

Elaine Mead, BSc.

Writer, Researcher

Elaine Mead has almost a decade of experience working with and supporting individuals from a range of backgrounds to uncover and progress towards their career and work goals. For the last 4 years, she has worked with young people in a range of educational settings on careers education, information, and guidance, as well as coaching and supporting their skills development to better be able to handle the ups and downs of life.

Top strengths

  • Love of learning
  • Curiosity
  • Appreciation of beauty and excellence

Joaquín Selva, Bc.S., Psychologist

Writer, Researcher

Joaquín Selva first became involved in psychology as a behavioral neuroscience researcher as an undergraduate. At that time, he was both a teaching assistant and a research assistant and conducted research that led to the publication of three peer-reviewed papers.

Since then, his work has included writing for PositivePsychology.com and working as an English editor for academic papers written by non-native English speakers.

Top strengths

  • Love of learning
  • Curiosity
  • Perseverance

Leslie Riopel, MSc.

Writer, Researcher

Leslie Riopel is a professor of psychology at Northwood University and an authority in the Psychology of Mindfulness. She has over 25 years of experience in the Corporate World as a Real Estate Client Services Manager & over 10 years of experience in the Wellness Industry as a freelance writer & Health & Wellness Subject Matter Expert.

Top strengths

  • Judgement
  • Social Intelligence
  • Bravery

Beata Souders, MSc., PsyD candidate

Writer, Researcher

Beata Souders is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Psychology at CalSouth and MA in Creative Writing at SNHU. She holds a master’s degree in Positive Psychology from Life University.

An ICF certified coach and a Gottman Institute Certified Educator, Beata is on the Executive Committee for the Student Division of the International Positive Psychology Associations and has published and presented on subjects ranging from Flow Theory to learned helplessness.

Top strengths

  • Love of learning
  • Appreciation of beauty and excellence
  • Curiosity

Kori D. Miller

Writer, Researcher

Kori D. Miller is an enthusiastic life-long learner pursuing a master’s degree in Educational Psychology from Ball State University. Her specializations are in neuropsychology and positive psychology. Kori has authored eight books. Her writing has appeared in Fine Lines Literary Journal, Better Humans, The Writing Cooperative, Publishous, The Start-Up, and The Ascent.

Top strengths

  • Perseverance
  • Honesty
  • Forgiveness

Kelly Miller, BA, CAPP

Writer, Researcher

Kelly Miller, CAPP, is a coach, positive psychology blogger, and author of Jane’s Worry Elephant: A Self-Help Guide for Kids With Anxiety. Kelly Miller holds a degree in Psychology from Plattsburgh State University of New York. She is also a graduate of the Certificate in Applied Positive Psychology Program, as well as the Applied Positive Psychology Coaching Certification from The Flourishing Center.

Top strengths

  • Gratitude
  • Honesty
  • Love