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Lea Waters

President of IPPA

University of Melbourne, Australia

Professor Lea Waters PhD is an Australian academic, researcher, psychologist, author and speaker who specializes in positive education, parenting and organizations.

Professor Waters is the Founding Director and Inaugural Gerry Higgins Chair in Positive Psychology at the Centre for Positive Psychology, University of Melbourne where she has held an academic position for 22 years. Lea holds affiliate positions at Cambridge University’s Well-Being Institute and the University of Michigan’s Center for Positive Organizations. As a researcher, she has published over 100 scientific articles and book chapters.

Lea is the 2017-2019 President of the International Positive Psychology Association, serves on the Council of Happiness and Education for the World Happiness Council, is the Patron of Flourishing Education Japan and Ambassador for Positive Education Schools Association.

Her book, The Strength Switch: How The New Science of Strength-Based Parenting Can Help Your Child and Your Teen to Flourish, was the top release on Amazon in the parenting category, was listed in Top reads for 2017 by Berkeley University’s Greater Good Centre and was listed in the Top Five Books on Happiness for Children in the UK’s Top Five site. It is being translated into Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Hungarian, Arabic, Russian and French.

In 2015, Professor Waters was listed as one of Australia’s Top 100 Women of Influence by the Financial Review and Westpac Bank.  She has been listed in the Marques ‘Who’s Who in the World’ since 2009 and has been included in the 2017 edition of Who's Who of Australian Women.

Lea was featured in the ABC TV documentary Revolution School and is frequently featured in print and on the radio, including USA based outlet such as Wall Street Journal, TIME.com Magazine, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Live Happy Magazine, Success Magazine as well as outlets in other countries such as The Globe (Toronto), The Guardian (UK), and The Age (Australia). . Lea’s TEDx talk, Warning: Being positive is not for the faint hearted!, explores how, with small positive steps, we can make a huge impact on our wellbeing. 

Her positive education program, Positive Detective, is being used in schools in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Finland, Ghana, Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Australia, and New Zealand. Her Visible Wellbeing initiative is being used in schools across Australia, Asia, Canada and New Zealand. Her newest program, The Strengths Switch offers parents and educators free resources to better build the strengths of young people as well as a five-week on-line course for parents and is being used by parents across the globe.