Nataly Kogan: Life is short. Take more chances.
Sharer of Joy: Nataly Kogan at TEDxBoston
Nataly Kogan is a former VC and the founder of Happier, a global technology and learning platform helping individuals and organizations to to realize full potential by adopting scientifically-proven practices that improve their well-being.
From her teenage years as a Russian refugee learning English in the projects outside of Detroit, to becoming a leading venture capitalist in a predominantly male industry while still in her twenties, Nataly has continually achieved at the highest of levels.
She has held top positions at Manhattan-based firms McKinsey and Co. and Hudson Ventures, served as the only female board member at Constant Contact, worked at Microsoft's state-of-the-art Future of Social Experiences Lab (FUSE), and served as Vice President of Consumer Experience at WHERE, which she helped sell to PayPal in 2011.
Despite a lifetime of accomplishments, Nataly found herself vastly unfulfilled. Initially a skeptic of the research related to the positive effects of gratitude, kindness and mindfulness on our daily lives, Nataly decided to incorporate happiness into her own life—solely in order to prove the research wrong.
But the more she applied these techniques, the more she immersed herself in and embraced the science and research—experiencing firsthand how effective happiness can be as a tool for realizing full potential in all aspects of work and life.
Rather than chasing "The Big Happy" of career, money and achievements, Nataly soon decided to dedicate her life to discovering and sharing the tools and best practices required to reframe the concept of "I'll be happy when..." to the more powerful "I'm happier now because..."
With this mission in mind, Nataly launched Happier to an overwhelming global response and has since built a community that has shared over six million happy moments (and counting) on the Happier mobile application and website.
Since launching Happier, Nataly has been featured in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, New York Magazine and Time Magazine, and has appeared as an expert on Dr. Oz, Bloomberg TV, and "One World" with Deepak Chopra.
She is a sought-out keynote speaker, having appeared at events that include at Million Dollar Roundtable, Fortune's Tech Brainstorm, Blogher, SXSW, the 92nd St. Y, Harvard Women's Leadership Conference, TEDx Boston, and many more.
Nataly lives in Boston with her husband and daughter. When she isn’t running Happier, she can be found painting in her art studio, doing creative projects with her daughter, deepening her practice of yoga and meditation, or cooking up feasts for her family and friends – all of which bring her a lot of joy.
Improving Happiness, and the Bottom Line
Our always-on work environments are making us less productive, less creative, and generally unhappy regardless of our chosen careers. A recent Gallop study shows that when an employee reports increased feelings of well-being, it is 20% more likely that the employee's coworkers will report being happier too. In other words, well-being spreads, much like stress spreads—with more than 50% of employees reporting being "close to burnout" when asked about their stress levels.
In this talk, Nataly shares insights and strategies for a happier workforce. Why? Because happier employees are more creative, more productive, less likely to take time off from work for health reasons, better communicators, and deliver better customer service—resulting in an improved bottom-line for all.
- Happiness is a practice, comprised of simple scientifically-proven techniques, rather than a vague, spontaneous feeling. Encouraging these practices for employees at work and in their personal lives will dramatically improve their well-being , leading to improved productivity, creativity, teamwork, and engagement.
- The most important factor influencing job satisfaction is whether employees find their work meaningful. There are speciic ways to help them connect their jobs to their inner purpose and improve their motivation and performance.
- The frequency of positive interactions employees have with their colleagues can dramatically improve how engaged and satified they are with their jobs. There are simple ways to create opportunities for these interactions without dramatic changes or expenditures.
The Pursuit of Happier...
Why is the pursuit of happiness so stressful and unfulfilling? Why do we believe that huge achievements trump small everyday moments that connect us with ourselves and those we love most? After years spent chasing "The Big Happy" of career, money and achievements, Nataly explores how the science and research behind happiness can be used to improve all aspects of our lives, showing audiences why we should stop saying "I'll be happy when..." and start saying "I'm happy now because..." Nataly approaches happiness as a clearly-defined practice rather than some spontaneous feeling, sharing with her audiences strategies, techniques, and tools – along with a strong dose of necessary inspiration – to make them part of their own busy lives.
- Happiness is something we do, not something we feel. It’s a capacity we all have, like a muscle, which we can develop through regular simple practices, which have been scientifically proven to improve our well-being and health.
- Happiness is not void of all negative emotion. It’s a practice of being mindful of how we feel, without judgment, and from that place reframing negative events and committing to the practices of gratitude, kindness, and mindfulness to nurture genuine lasting happiness.
- The joy is in the doing. As long as we hang our well-being on the outcome of our achievements, we will always be left wanting and chasing more. We have to learn to cultivate a state of inner wellbeing regardless of our successes, failures, and whatever storms life brings our way.
The New Way to Lead at Work
This speech is suited for managers and division leaders who are driving toward specific strategic goals. In a high-stakes, high-stress environment, creativity, teamwork, and shared purpose become fragile. How does a leader protect those values which determine the success of a project, and retain the best people for the next project? How do leaders cultivate purpose, satisfaction and the right environment amid the stress of a project to bring out the best in the team? The balance might seem delicate, but Nataly explains how happiness helps the team drive faster and better toward shared strategic goals.
- Psychological safety – the ability for team members to feel like they can be themselves at work, and not risk being reprimanded – is one of the top factors that determines how well a team works together.
- The best way to impact change is to model behavior leaders want their teams to adopt. Nataly shares specific ways leaders can do this in the workplace.
- Leaders who help remove obstacles for their teams, encourage celebration of small wins, and are honest about their own emotions, including stress, encourage better engagement and performance on their teams.
Cultivating Happiness at Work
In this speech, Nataly helps individuals learn how to move their careers forward with optimism, purpose and satisfaction. She shares her happiness manifesto and gives research-based instruction to make happiness a habit and a regular practice, rather than a vague concept. She shows how we each have a responsibility to ourselves and our careers to find the positive path in any work environment, and how if we can do that, we make ourselves invaluable to our employees.
Fire Up The Awesome
This speech is targeted at women to encourage them to connect to their true purpose, learn how to deal with fear, and move from a position of strength to achieve significant growth and fulfillment in their careers and beyond. Nataly has spent her career in male-dominated industries and doesn’t deny that women face significant challenges in the workplace, as well as trying to balance their usually extremely high expectations of themselves with often out of date societal expectations. She offers women audience frank stories, paradigm shifts in thinking, and practical strategies to help them unlock more of their potential without losing their sanity.
- Cultivating your own sense of well-being isn’t selfish. It’s the best way you can realize your full potential at work and in your personal life.
- Perception of bias is often stronger and greater obstacle than actual bias women encounter in work situations. There are specific ways to learn how to avoid sabotaging your own success.
- Don’t try to be fearless; that’s only possible if you never try anything new. Instead, understand your fear, accept it, and move to a place of love for what you do, trust in your ability to adopt, and commitment to doing what you believe is important.
Realizing Happiness: How to unleash hidden assets and improve the bottom line
Employee happiness isn’t some feel-good amorphous idea: It’s the greatest unrealized asset in your organization, one that can have a dramatically positive impact on how engaged, productive, and creative employees are at work. In this session, you will learn the practices that can be incorporated into the day-to-day interactions of your employees that have been scientifically shown to significantly increase well-being, reduce stress, avoid burnout, improve team communication and productivity, and increase employee retention and job satisfaction.
“Nataly’s message of gratitude and mindfulness complimented our integrative wellness philosophy and her workshop activities were extremely well received by our discerning guests.”
“Her message is simple, powerful and thought provoking. We have seen lasting impressions of her message all over campus; stickers she handed out are on our student’s backpacks, “you rock” cards are being passed about, and most impressive, a student created “what makes you happy” board now resides in one of our dorms. She had a great effect on our community.”
Wentworth Institute of Technology
“Nataly’s accessible and personal approach made it easy for a diverse audience to connect with her message. She dared us to be happier and we are excited for the challenge!”
Young Women in Digital
“As the keynote speaker at our biggest event of the year, Nataly immediately captivated our audience of entrepreneurial young professionals. Her witty sense of humor, genuine passion for her work, and real world stories gave us inspiration (and many head nods and laughs!). Her positive energy is infectious, and our audience left feeling ready to take their careers to the next level thanks to her unique advice and words of wisdom. I'd highly recommend her as a speaker at any event.”
“Nataly has an amazing personal story, and has created an impressive brand based on her believe in making each moment in life matter. Her passion for and belief in the power of happiness is palpable and allows her to connect with her audience in a unique way that provokes them to in turn reflect on how they can bring more happiness into their own lives. The power of Nataly's words continued to resonate within our walls long after she had left the building!”
“Nataly’s background and experience on what really drives a happier existence at work & home was very well received. She brings a lot of credibility to the topic as she is very honest about her own experiences. It was refreshing to hear. I can’t recommend enough adding an element of Happier to a company event.”
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