Karen Guggenheim is a pioneer in the global happiness movement, a leader in promoting the science behind wellbeing to an international audience, and a motivational speaker inspiring people about how to grow post trauma and rebuild a life focused on passion, purpose, and happiness. She is Co-Founder and producer of the World Happiness Summit®, an experiential event promoting the benefits of an evidence-based approach to increase well-being in all areas of life. She is also CEO of WOHASU®, the comprehensive wellbeing ecosystem named after the Summit that is inspiring a fast-growing movement sending a positive rippling effect around the world.
When her husband died suddenly, she still found her way to the discovery that happiness was not only attainable after loss – it was teachable. In 2016 after this personal tragedy, she drastically altered her career path and invested her time, talent, and treasure to create WOHASU®, a global wellbeing brand fostering a movement for optimism, positivity, happiness, and community.
Karen produces the annual World Happiness Summit; a 3-day event that unites the world’s leading experts in the science of happiness and wellbeing with a global audience to learn practical tools for a happier life. Amidst the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, she also led the crisis management response to successfully pivot from a live in-person event to create WOHASU® virtual offerings. She activated the WOHASU® network of leading experts to create original content, programs and hosted 40 masterclasses.
She founded the H-20 Government Meeting, which discusses wellbeing economics and policy, and has ideated, produced, organized, and promoted several global events attended by thousands of people from over 40 countries and 45 US states. Along with fellow experts, Karen has also created unique trainings like the WOHASU/Florida International University Chief Happiness Officer Certification, the only CHO program in the world certified by a university.
At heart, Karen is a creator and storyteller who focuses on delivering authentic narratives about the global happiness movement that foster connection, highlight our shared humanity, and acknowledge that the route to happiness often requires us to travel through considerable pain and trauma. She shares her own compelling story and those of others to weave these concepts through a real-world lens that moves and inspires audiences and helps them figure out how to activate these ideas and practices in their own lives to connect with meaning and purpose as a gateway to happiness.
A popular speaker, happiness educator and community builder, Karen concentrates on taking an evidence-approach to wellbeing, purpose-driven communities, and post-traumatic growth. She believes in cultivating inclusive communities of changemakers committed to making the world happier, healthier, and more sustainable. Her mission is to make a case for happiness by highlighting the opportunities for win-win scenarios created by learning and implementing evidence-based tools and policies that make people, organizations, and communities thrive.
Karen is an invited professor by the University of Lisbon in their Executive Master in Positive Psychology program, a mentor for Endeavor Miami and a featured guest on a variety of podcasts focusing on wellbeing, policy, and work. A frequent speaker at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and a creator on Marc Cuban’s Fireside Chat podcast platform, her work has been featured in a variety of media including CNN Español, VICE, Outdoor Magazine, and The Miami Herald. In 2019, she was invited by the U.S. State Department and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands to attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in The Hague, Netherlands and her work has inspired many others to create happiness centric organizations, services, and foundations.
Under her leadership, WOHASU® LLC was awarded with the “Key of the City of Miami” by the Miami Mayor and the members of the Miami City Commission.
Stepping into this role is an evolution of her extensive career arc, which includes integrated marketing expertise with C-Level executives as well as worldwide brands. Karen has an MBA from Georgetown University, is a member of their Women’s Leadership Institute, is recognized as the Graduate Student of the Year at the University of Miami, where she earned her Master of Arts in Journalism and graduated with Phi Beta Kappa honors while attaining her undergraduate degree there.
Karen is the mother of two sons and is currently based in Miami.