Gratitude & Well-Being at Work

When was the last time you felt truly appreciated at work? How often do you say “thank you” to a colleague, supervisor, or employee?

Research suggests that expressing and receiving gratitude at work makes people feel happier and more fulfilled, cooperative, motivated, and effective. Yet we are less likely to feel or express gratitude at work than anyplace else: Only 10 percent of Americans say they express gratitude to their colleagues every day, and 60 percent say they never or very rarely express it. And according to the U.S. Department of Labor, the number one reason why people leave their jobs is because they don’t feel appreciated.

Help change that by attending Gratitude & Well-Being at Work. This day-long conference features an innovative mix of science, practice, and interactive learning, including:

  • Presentations from some of the leading researchers of gratitude, offering cutting-edge findings on the benefits that gratitude provides for organizations, from higher productivity to stronger relationships;
  • Practical lessons from workplace leaders who have developed innovative gratitude programs at companies like Genentech, Charles Schwab, and Facebook;
  • Experiential breakout sessions teaching powerful gratitude practices by trainers from Pixar, Logitech, the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, and others;
  • A design-thinking workshop led by OpenIDEO to help prototype and refine ideas for fostering gratitude at work—part of our OpenIDEO #GratitudeAtWork Challenge;
  • An interactive session exploring how to bring key insights from the day back to your organization.

Attending will be invaluable to managers, HR or employee wellness staff, and other workplace innovators or mental health professionals—indeed, to anyone looking for research-based strategies to improve the well-being of individuals and the culture and effectiveness of organizations.

The day includes beverages, lunch, and a two-hour networking reception immediately following the conference, featuring libations and light appetizers at Ft. Mason's Gallery 308.

The GGSC is presenting Gratitude & Well-Being at Work in partnership with OpenIDEO as part of their OpenIDEO Challenge on #GratitudeAtWork. Participate in the Challenge to help design more grateful workplaces!

5 continuing education credit hours available for psychologists and other health professionals. See continuing education for more details.

Thanks to the John Templeton Foundation for its support of this conference, which is part of the GGSC's Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude project.

  • {mtx_speakers_name}

    Jessica Amortegui

    Jessica Amortegui teaches leadership to executives and emerging leaders around the world. She brings a multidisciplinary approach to her work, operating at the intersection of various disciplines--that of a strategy consultant, organizational development practitioner, culture shaper, and thought leader in the field of leadership and management development.

    She has been featured in ForbesFast CompanyThe Wall Street Journal, Huffington PostChief Learning Officer, and Fulfillment Daily. In 2015, she was awarded the Positive Business Award for her ground-breaking work to cultivate more meaningful and connected workplaces. Her work in program design and facilitation also earned her a LEAD award for Best Global/International Leadership program. 

    Jessica received an undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College and master's degrees from Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania. She lives in San Ramon, CA, with her husband and two boys who share her unbridled zest and over-active curiosity.

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    Peter Bonanno

    Peter Bonanno is Director of Program Development for the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute. He has taught and designed mindfulness-based programs for business, healthcare, education, and government organizations around the world. His teaching style shows a deep curiosity about how the mind works and creativity in making learning easy.

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    Cindy Elkins

    Cindy  Elkins is passionate about creating vibrant and high-performing cultures where people thrive and bring  their  best  selves  to  life  and  work  every  day.  While at Genentech as Vice President of Pharma Informatics, she led her team on a multi-year, community-based journey culminating in a five-year program including two years focused on an "Attitude of Gratitude." In 2016,  Genentech was ranked No. 3 in Computerworld’s “100 Best Places to Work in IT” and has been in the Top 10 for seven years. 

    Cindy is a co-founder of MyWays, a social caregiving startup, and she is on the Board of Directors of Weight  Watchers. Cindy graduated from UCLA in Applied Mathematics and received an MBA from Santa Clara University.

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    Robert Emmons

    Robert Emmons is arguably the world’s leading expert on the science of gratitude. He is the author of over 200 original publications in peer‑reviewed journals or chapters and has written or edited five books, including Thanks! How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier and The Little Book of Gratitude.

    Since earning his Ph.D. in personality psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana‑Champaign, Dr. Emmons has been a leader in positive psychology and a pioneer in the study of gratitude, serving as the founding editor and editor-in-chief of The Journal of Positive Psychology. His research on gratitude and happiness has been featured in dozens of popular media outlets including The New York TimesThe Wall Street JournalTime, NPR, and PBS.

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    Ryan Fehr

    Ryan Fehr is an Associate Professor of Management at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business. His research interests include positive organizational scholarship, ethics and morality, and leadership. He received his Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology from the University of Maryland.

    Ryan's research has received multiple best paper awards from the Academy of Management, has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Homeland Security. In addition to his research experience, Ryan has served as a consultant for numerous organizations including Mercer Human Resources, the University of Washington Hospital System, and Pascal Metrics.

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    Amie Gordon

    Amie Gordon is a social-personality psychologist who takes a dynamic, dyadic approach to investigating the affective, social-cognitive, and biological processes that shape interpersonal relationships. She is driven by the belief that our relationships underscore every aspect of our lives, influencing the health and well-being of individuals, groups, and organizations. She is currently completing a postdoctoral research fellowship at UCSF. She received her PhD in Social-Personality Psychology from UC Berkeley and her BA in Psychology from UCLA.

    Amie’s research has been published in top academic journals as well as featured in popular news outlets such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. She also blogs about research for Psychology Today and the Greater Good Science Center. In addition to research, Amie gives invited lectures on the science of well-being to a variety of audiences and consults on research design and advanced statistical analysis.

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    Diana Jason

    Diana Jason is the managing director of employee communications at Charles Schwab and Co. For 29 years, she has been helping companies tell their stories to the world. For the past 18 years, she’s partnered with executive leaders at Charles Schwab on communications and program strategies that engage and inspire employees in advancing business goals and building the company’s reputation and brand.

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    Kate MacAleavey

    Kate MacAleavey is an expert in the area of positive psychology and positive organizational psychology and utilizes a strengths based model to increase job satisfaction, employee commitment, trust, engagement and many more important psychological traits. 

    She is currently an organizational designer at management consulting firm The Ready and was previously Learning and Development Partner at Facebook. Kate has a M.A. in Positive Organizational Psychology and Evaulation and an MBA, both from Claremont Graduate University.

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    Chris Marcell Murchison

    Chris Marcell Murchison is a passionate advocate for positive workplace cultures. In his broad career spanning the higher education, for-profit, and not-for-profit fields he has focused his energy on developing creative means to building community at work.

    As the Vice President for Staff Development and Culture at HopeLab, Chris guided the organization’s efforts to create an organizational culture that values learning and innovation. Over the course of 11 years at HopeLab, he led a strategic staff expansion to support a portfolio of work focused on the support of resilience in everyday life and the development of principles and practices that embedded HopeLab’s values into the everyday experience of the organization.

    In 2014, Chris was named the first Visiting Leader at the Center for Positive Organizations at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, where he advises, connects, and convenes faculty and students to explore practical applications of Positive Organizational Scholarship. He concurrently serves on the Board of Directors of the Joe Goode Performance Group, a San Francisco-based dance-theater company that uses embodied movement and performance to promote compassion, resilience, and thriving.

    Chris currently works as an independent thought-partner, consultant, and consultant to organizations ready to reimagine the possibilities of their culture.

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    OpenIDEO is the open innovation portfolio of global design company IDEO, empowering people to design solutions to the world’s toughest challenges and working with partners around the world to bring these solutions to life. OpenIDEO was created to put the power of human-centered design in the hands of many, harnessing the diverse skills and perspectives of people from all over the world to spark conversation and innovation where it’s needed most.

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    Stephanie Pollock

    Stephanie Pollack M.A. is a risk taker, master motivator, expert facilitator, and gratitude seeker. With 25 years of experience working on six continents, Stephanie uses interactive methods to create Cultures of Appreciation in organizations by focusing on appreciation skill building, individual diversity characteristics, and organizational change. Stephanie uses her extensive consulting, facilitation, training, instructional design, and coaching experience with clients such as Facebook, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., United States Geological Survey, and University of Virginia to increase positive communication, uncover the value of different perspectives, build authentic relationships, and nurture diverse teams.

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    Mike Robbins

    Mike Robbins is the author of three books, Focus on the Good StuffBe Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken, and his latest, Nothing Changes Until You Do. He delivers keynotes and seminars that empower people and organizations to be more successful, appreciative, and authentic.

    Prior to his speaking and writing career, Mike played baseball at Stanford University and then professionally with the Kansas City Royals organization. After his athletic career was cut short by injuries, he worked for two internet startups, before starting his consulting business in 2001. His clients include Google, Wells Fargo, eBay, Gap, Twitter, the San Francisco Giants, and many others.

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    Lynette Silva

    Lynette Silva is a Senior Recognition Strategist for Globoforce and a researcher in the WorkHuman Research Institute. She is passionate about creating more human work environments by helping millions of employees feel noticed, valued, and appreciated for what they do and who they are. She provides organizations with the supporting industry trends and best practices often needed to consider the many aspects of what it means to make work more human, validate their social recognition strategy and approach, and achieve success. 

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    Leigh Threlkel

    Leigh Threlkel teaches corporate mindfulness and meditation courses throughout the Bay Area. She also assists companies in creating their own in-house mindfulness programs that meet the needs of their employees while matching their unique environments. Her six-week courses are meant to introduce employees to the ideas of mindfulness, meditation, presence, stress reduction, kindness, and gratitude. Her Mindful Leadership workshops introduce leaders of any level to the proven benefits of mindful practice – reducing reactive behavior, widening perspective and improving communication. As mindfulness teacher at Pixar Animation Studios, Leigh conducts ongoing introductory and advanced level courses in addition to working with specific departments, coaching employees and leading one-hour meditation workshops.

  • 8:30-9:00 am

    Registration and Check-in

  • 9:00-10:25

    What Is Gratitude and Why Practice It at Work?
    • Keynote by Robert Emmons, Ph.D., University of California, Davis and author of Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier
    Mike Robbins, author of Focus on the Good Stuff: The Power of Appreciation
    Diana Jason, Charles Schwab

  • 10:25-10:45


  • 10:45-12:15

    How to Get Started: Debunking Myths, Overcoming Barriers, and Finding the Keys to Gratitude at Work
    Lynette Silva, Globoforce
    Amie Gordon, Ph.D., University of California, San Francisco
    Ryan Fehr, Ph.D., University of Washington
    Kate MacAleavey, The Ready

  • 12:15-1:30 pm

    Lunch (provided)

  • 1:30-2:35

    Breakout Sessions

    Putting Gratitude into Practice: Activities and Trainings

    Breakout Workshop Leaders:
    Jessica Amortegui, Logitech
    Peter Bonanno, Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute
    Stephanie Pollack, Culture of Appreciation
    Mike Robbins, author, Focus on the Good Stuff
    Lynette Silva, Globoforce
    Leigh Threlkel, Pixar

  • 2:35-2:45


  • 2:45-3:45

    Design-thinking workshop led by OpenIDEO to present and refine the leading ideas generated by the OpenIDEO Challenge on Gratitude in the Workplace, a partnership of OpenIDEO and the GGSC.

  • 3:45-4:00


  • 4:00-5:00

    Building Cultures of Gratitude & Appreciation
    Cindy Elkins, former Vice President and Head of IT Americas at Genentech
    Chris Murchison, Center for Positive Organizations, University of Michigan

  • 5:00-7:00

    Reception in Gallery 308 at Fort Mason
    Sponsored by DeYoe Wealth Management

1. Gratitude and the Mindset of Abundance: A New Paradigm for Thriving Workplace

Led by Jessica Amortegui, Senior Director, Learning & Development, Logitech

Gratitude might not be a word widely considered in the organizational vernacular, but it's an essential mindset for greater innovation, collaboration, and agility. Most employees learn how to work—and be productive—in a mindset of scarcity. However, in this zero-sum mode, there are never enough resources, talent, and opportunity. Shifting to a mindset of abundance invites employees to consider a new paradigm—one in which their self-worth and validation can't be secured from the outside but must be built from within. One potent lever organizations can use to make this shift is to nurture a habit of gratitude. This session will share practices to embed a mindset of gratitude into employees’ psyche, and make it a cultural tool to foster greater collaboration and fuel creativity.

2. Turning Difficulty into Compassion

Led by Peter Bonanno, Director of Program Development, Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute

During challenging times, how can teams maintain a sense of connection, empathy, and purpose? This session will teach three portable skills to help you and your team recover a sense of cohesion and appreciation, and it will cover research on the individual and team effects of a more harmonious workplace. It is brought to you by the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, and draws on the organization’s work teaching mindfulness and emotional intelligence practices in diverse organizations around the world, from Google and SAP to the US Navy and United Nations.

3. Building Your One-Page Strategy for Gratitude Success

Led by Lynette Silva, Senior Recognition Strategist & Consultant, Globoforce; Researcher, WorkHuman Research Institute

You understand the importance and value of empowering employees to recognize and celebrate the good work and contributions of their peers and colleagues, but what’s the roadmap for creating that experience in your workplace? In this session, we’ll lead you through a facilitated conversation on the priorities and considerations for creating a more powerful, positive culture of recognition and appreciation that has a direct impact on your organization’s bottom line. Through collaboration with other attendees and examination of your own needs, we’ll walk through the key decisions necessary to set your strategy, establish metrics for success, and outline a roadmap to make giving gratitude common in your organization.

Key takeaways:
•    A completed one-page strategy for building a culture of recognition and appreciation in your organization
•    An understanding of risks and opportunities within your organization as you move forward
•    An outline for the business case for social recognition and appreciation in your organization

4. Finding Gratitude: Practical Lessons from Pixar

Led by Leigh Threlkel, Mindfuless & Meditation Teacher, Pixar Animation Studios

Leigh Threlkel will focus on gratitude in the workplace and how to cultivate it in your own company. She will open with the experiential practice of gratitude, guiding you through several creative gratitude practices that have proven popular and effective in her many years teaching mindfulness and meditation at Pixar Animation Studios. She will also offer some nuts-and-bolts on how to bring both the attitude of gratitude and the practice of gratitude into any workplace. This will include ideas for a wide variety of sizes, budgets, and administrative resources.

5. Create a Culture of Appreciation at Work!

Led Stephanie Pollack, President, Creative Facilitations & Founder, Culture of Appreciation

Culture of Appreciation is a program created by expert facilitator and speaker Stephanie Pollack that focuses on: 1) appreciation skill building (how to appreciate); 2) individual diversity characteristics (what to appreciate); and 3) organizational culture transformation (appreciation as change). Through discussions, activities, reflection, and play, together we’ll explore our personal relationship with giving and receiving appreciation and how we can expand our skills--and activity toolkits--to foster inclusion and shift workplace environments for the better. 

6. Bringing Appreciation to Work

Led Mike Robbins, Author, "Nothing Changes Until You Do"

How can you bring more appreciation to your work and to the people with whom you work?  In this interactive workshop, Mike Robbins builds upon what he spoke about in his morning keynote – the key distinction between recognition and appreciation – and shares some specific tips, techniques, and insights from his 17 years of researching and speaking about appreciation in the workplace. In this session you’ll learn some simple, yet powerful exercises you can use in your own work and ways you can inspire those around you as well.  

All conference attendees are invited to a two-hour reception taking place at Ft. Mason Center's Gallery 308 immediately following the conference. Beer, wine, soft drinks, and light appetizers will be served.

Reception is sponsored by DeYoe Wealth Management. Learn more

Foundation Sponsor



Premier Sponsor






Marketing Sponsors

The Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture main campus entrance is off Marina Blvd at Buchanan Street. 

The day will begin at the Center's Cowell Theatre; lunch and the evening reception will take place in the Center's Gallery 308. Signage at the event will direct you to breakout sessions.

Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture is served by the following MUNI lines: 
28, 30, 30X, 43, 47 and 49.

In addition, Golden Gate Transit stops at the intersection of Lombard and Fillmore Streets.


Bay Bridge to Fremont Street Exit; on Fremont (100 yards north) take first right on Howard; left on Embarcadero & go 2 miles; left on Bay, about 2 miles. Turn right on Buchanan. Cross Marina Blvd. & sharp right into Fort Mason Center. 


Golden Gate Bridge (US 101) to Marina Exit; go 1.5 miles. Turn left at Buchanan & turn right into Fort Mason Center.


US 101 North to 9th St. Exit; 9th across Market & left on Hayes; right on Franklin; about 2 miles. Turn left on Bay St, right on Buchanan. Cross Marina Blvd. & sharp right into Fort Mason Center.


Bay Area-Wide: or call 817-1717 or 511 from any area code
East Bay BART: (510) 465-2278
North Bay Golden Gate Transit: (415) 455-2000
Peninsula/South Bay CalTrain: (800) 660-4287
San Francisco MUNI: (415) 673-6864

Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture provides paid parking. The parking lot does fill up occasionally. 

Parking fees may increase on certain high-attendance dates. Overnight parking is not permitted. Parking fees are in effect from 7:00 a.m. - midnight daily. 


0 - 1 hour $2.00
1 - 2 hours $5.00
2 - 3 hours $7.00
3 - 4 hours $10.00
4+ hours $12.00

There is also free parking in the Yacht Harbor lot outside the Fort Mason Center grounds along the water. Parking here is limited and signs restrict certain areas–be sure to read all posted signs!

Attendees will be able to:

  • Describe what gratitude is and why it's important for organizations
  • Explain the many benefits--for health, relationships, productivity--that graitude provides for organizations
  • Identify strategies for cultivating gratitude on an individual and organizational level
  • Explain how gratitude can enhance relationships and strengthen the culture within an organization

Co-sponsored by R. Cassidy Seminars

Satisfactory Completion

Participants must have paid tuition fee, signed in, attended the entire seminar, completed an evaluation, and signed out in order to receive a certificate. Failure to sign in or out will result in forfeiture of credit for the entire course. No exceptions will be made. Partial credit is not available.


R. Cassidy Seminars is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to offer continuing education for psychologists.  R. Cassidy Seminars maintains responsibility for this program. 5 CE hours


NY: R. Cassidy Seminars is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed psychoanalysts. #P-0005. (5) clock hours.

Social Workers

R. Cassidy Seminars, ACE provider #1082, is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) Program. R. Cassidy Seminars maintains responsibility for the program. Approval Period: April 15, 2015-April 15, 2018. Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval. Social workers participating in this course will receive 5 continuing education clock hours.

CA: The Board of Behavioral Sciences has deferred CE course approvals to APA and ASWB for its licensees. See those approvals under Psychologists and Social Workers

NY: R. Cassidy Seminars is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider (#0006) of continuing education for licensed social workers. This program is approved for 5 contact hours live

OH: Provider approved by the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage and Family Therapist Board for (5) clock hours, #RCST110701

Counselors/Marriage and Family Therapists

CA: The Board of Behavioral Sciences has deferred CE course approvals to APA and ASWB for its licensees. See those approvals under Psychologists and Social Workers.

Other States: If your state is not specifically listed, nearly all state Counselor and MFT boards accept either APA or ASWB approval, or are reciprocal with other state licensing board approvals, such as those listed below. Check with your board to be sure. The Ohio Board includes Counselors and MFTs.

IL: Illinois Dept of Professional Regulation, Approved Continuing Education Sponsor, #168-000141.  (5) hours.

NY-LMHCs: R. Cassidy Seminars is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board of Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors. #MHC-0015. (5) contact hours.

NY-LMFTs: R. Cassidy Seminars is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board of Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed marriage and family therapists. #MFT-0011. (5) contact hours.

OH: Provider approved by the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage and Family Therapist Board for (5) clock hours, #RCST110701

TX: Approved CE Sponsor through the Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists. Provider #151 5 CE hours.

Creative Arts Therapists

NY: R. Cassidy Seminars is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board of Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed creative arts therapists. #CAT-0005. (5) contact hours 

Chemical Dependency Counselors

CA: Provider approved by CCAPP, Provider #4N-00-434-0218 for (5.75) CEHs. CCAPP is an ICRC member which has reciprocity with most ICRC member states

TX: Provider approved by the TCBAP Standards Committee, Provider No. 1749-06, (5) hours general. Expires 3/31/2018.  Complaints about provider or workshop content may be directed to the TCBAP Standards Committee, 1005 Congress Avenue, Ste. 460, Austin, Texas 78701, Fax Number (512) 476-7297.


TX: R. Cassidy Seminars is an approved provider with the Texas Education Agency CPE# 501456. This course is (5) CE Hours. 


CA: Provider approved by the CA Board of Registered Nursing, Provider #CeP12224, for (5) contact hours 

Occupational Therapists

R. Cassidy Seminars is an American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Approved Provider No. 6782. This course is offered for (5) CE Clock Hours (1 Clock Hour = .1 AOTA CEUs). The assignment of AOTA CEUs does not imply endorsement of specific course content, products, or clinical procedures by AOTA.

Please Note: Licensing Boards change regulations often and while we attempt to stay abreast of their most recent changes, if you have questions or concerns about this course meeting your specific board’s approval, we recommend you contact your board directly to obtain a ruling.

Disability Access: If you require ADA accommodations please contact our office 30 days or more before the event. We cannot ensure accommodations without adequate prior notification.

The following nearby hotels are offering discounts for conference attendees:

Hotel Del Sol
3100 Webster Ave.
San Francisco, CA
(415) 921-5520

A 1950s motor lodge turned boutique hotel in the Marina District, complete with palm trees and a sparkling saltwater pool. Family friendly 

15% off the best rate available at time of booking with code "SCIENCE"

Hotel Zephyr
250 Beach St.
San Francisco, CA
(415) 617-6565

Qccommodations with postcard-perfect views of the San Francisco Bay and the city skyline. Hip outdoor space including a fire pit surrounded by cushy chairs and shuffleboard.

15% off the best rate available at time of booking with code "WELLBEING"

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