Two decades of research by the team and others shows that helping people learn about their neural traps and finding ways to transcend them can undo most of our brain's vulnerabilities. The Resilient Option program helps overcome these traps in four modules:
Carla Paonessa lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, with her husband of 46 years, Russ Paonessa.They have 3 children, 5 grandchildren, and 4 great grandchildren.
Carla chairs the Mayo Clinic Leadership Council in Chicago while also being active on theLeadership Council of Mayo Clinic in Arizona. She is Chair Emeritus of the Board of Trustees forLeaderShape, a 35+ year old organization that has trained more than 100,000 young peoplehow to lead with integrity and a sense of possibility.
Prior to retirement, Carla was a Managing Partner of Change Management for Accenture, the$139b global consulting company. During her 25-year career there she held several positions,including global responsibilities for client service in multiple industries and working with the CEO and the Executive Team during their successful IPO in 2001. Prior to Accenture, Carla had 12years in government service with IRS, running an 8 state Regional Training Center and FAA,retraining air traffic controllers who had to leave their jobs for health reasons.
She holds a BA in English from the University of Oklahoma and a MA in English from theUniversity of Kansas.
Carla describes her life’s work as “...reminding other people how good they are. Sometimesthey forget.”
Carla brings her enormous corporate experience to support the growth and dissemination of theprograms.
"As a grandmother who is separated from her grandkids by the pandemic, I was interested in participating in HappiGenius to get some ideas for my twice weekly Story Time Zoom sessions with my young grandkids. They have loved many of the videos and activities, so it has been a boon to me. And Gauri and Amit are wonderful in the way they interact with the participants, the majority of whom are young kids, drawing them out and getting them involved. Amit is a physician colleague of mine, both of us being involved in the world of mindfulness and stress reduction. His translation of these concepts into age-appropriate calming, prosocial, and attention-focusing activities for kids is evident, and high schooler Gauri is great at moderating and keeping the dialogue active and fun. I highly recommend this course for kids, parents, and grandparents alike!”
“Doing this program alongside my son made for a meaningful experience plus it was fun learning with him. I discovered so much, proving you can always learn and change. I would love to see every child and family experience and learn with Happi Genius. The skills we learned and practiced together will be helpful in so many life situations. These are the exact skills we can use in today’s everchanging and sometimes stressful world. I believe this program should be part of every child’s education.”
“This program is really phenomenal. The proven mindfulness techniques that I worked to learn as an adult have been adapted in this program to teach them to children. I wish I had learned any of this when I was a child! What a blessing to be planting these seeds in our young. As a third grader, my daughter has learned deep breathing exercises, and to practice mindfulness, and gratefulness, and patience, and learning to reframe disappointment… and honestly I’m learning right along with her!
Perhaps most importantly, from my parental perspective, this is like teaching the brain muscle good exercises for the common childhood challenges of ADHD and anxiety.
This class taught focus during each session with very fun videos and questions that my daughter LOVES – the graphics and animations are really beautiful and the questions really require that you pay attention and give such a feeling of joy and accomplishment! This class also taught very important skills for managing anxiety. I think a lot of kids have trouble expressing anxiety or even realizing when it is happening. We have pulled skills from this class to help – star breathing, taking a quiet moment, and reframing the situation differently. I also really liked when we all looked for circles in the room – I had never thought of that before and it’s a great exercise to refocus your mind.
As a family we all really enjoyed the gratefulness exercise, and we did this together at the dinner table. One of our favorite things to do now is to say around the dinner table “what was your favorite part of today?”. Hearing what our kids are grateful for (and they hear from us too), and making this a mostly daily habit, teaches our kids to look for the good in each day and also lets us as parents get a broader glimpse into their lives and thoughts. I liked that we had simple homework each week, one task to learn or practice between classes. One that was particularly special was making it a point to tell a family member or friend that they are special to us – quite simply something we all need to remember to do and it was a good reminder for me as well.
Unexpectedly, this class seems to have also led to increased independence. At first, my daughter wanted me to join each time and she was a little nervous before each class. By the end, she was asking me why it was over and how we could get the class extended AND she was participating on her own without needing me there. She booted me out of the room last week because I was distracting her! The virtual format was also really great because it allowed us to participate from Florida – a totally different state and time zone – without travel.
Gauri’s personality is absolutely perfect for this. She is approachable, kind, gentle, supportive, and so positive. The kids gravitate to her – I’m pretty sure my daughter, Sabrina, thinks Gauri hung the moon and the stars! She makes this very relatable for the kids, and goes out of her way to be inclusive of everyone. She’s like the big sister the kids participating have all adopted! One of my favorite things she said was if you burn your pizza crust, just cut it off and eat the middle J. This is a brilliant and very understandable metaphor for so many things in life!
Amit and Gauri – I want to sincerely thank you for putting this together and allowing us to participate and be a part of this. Amit – you have a great daughter!”