As current president of GNHUSA, I am pleased and grateful to announce that both Laura Musikanski, executive director of the Happiness Alliance (happycounts.org) and Sharon Parker, who recently retired as the Assistant Chancellor for Equity and Diversity at the University of Washington Tacoma, have agreed to serve on the GNHUSA Advisory Board. Both women have been tireless advocates for social justice for their entire careers, and both are strong supporters of changing the economic paradigm to ensure well-being, equity, and sustainability for all people, animals and the planets. They both have great gifts to share, and GNHUSA is fortunate indeed to have them on our advisory board.
Both are also from the Pacific Northwest (Musikanski in Seattle, and Parker in Olympia), where Paula Francis and I were able to have in-depth conversations each of them when the Happiness Walk was in Washington state in May. While their thoughtful natures and fierce dedication are similar, they bring very different perspectives to the table — perspectives that will help us move the collective happiness movement forward in a way that meets the needs of our country’s very diverse populations.
Dr. Parker, who holds a Ph.D. from the University of Auckland (NZ), a M.Ed. from Antioch University Graduate School, and a B.A. from the University of California Los Angeles, is an expert on diversity issues, and has led enterprises such as the Symposium on Contemporary Native American Issues in Higher Education at U-WA/Tacoma; the California-based Campus Diversity Initiative (CDI) which aspired to increase access and success of low-income and underrepresented racial/ethnic minority students in higher education; the American Institute for Managing Diversity, a nonprofit focused on diversity initiatives in organizational development; and the Social Responsibility Programs for The Union Institute, among many other important, forward-thinking assignments.
Sharon’s work in addressing vast systemic inequities is serious, but I can also tell you, she is one of the best laughers you will ever meet! She is a joy to be with.
As for Laura, who is a lawyer with an MBA and certificates in environmental management from the University of Washington — she is arguably the most important grassroots advocate for the gross national happiness movement in this country, and even worldwide. She is tireless, creative, heart-driven, and collaborative. Just two months ago, Laura was one of the co-convenors of an exciting international venture, “The Happiness Roundtable,” which is bringing diverse international voices together, to advance the movement and support all our work. She is also a prolific happiness writer; her most recent work, “Why a Muslim Nation May Save the World or the Rising Middle Power of Happiness,” published last month on the Solutions website, is groundbreaking.
Laura has been a friend of GNHUSA since the beginning, and collaborated with us — and we with her — on multiple national conferences. It is great to finally formalize the relationship! Laura deeply believes in the need and importance of grassroots activism (also “bottom-up approach”) for social change. For this reason, her life purpose is to help provide the tools and resources, including the Happiness Index to individuals and communities around the world.
Laura, too, is serious AND fun. She is an amazing person to call friend and colleague.
You can read more about both women, and our other three Advisory Board members, here.