Professor Ilona Boniwell is one of the European leaders in positive psychology, studying, researching, teaching and implementing positive psychology for over 20 years, working as an academic, but also as a consultant with private companies, education, higher education and governmental institutions.
She was the original founder and the head of the first Master's Degree in Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) in Europe at the University of East London (UEL). Nowadays, she is a full professor of positive psychology and coaching psychology at the UEL, co-directs the International MSc in Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology and a PhD Programme in Positive Psychology at UEL, teaches Positive Management at l'Ecole CentraleSupelec Paris and HEC, and consults around the world as a director of Positran. Her main teaching expertise lies in the areas of positive psychology and positive psychology applications, with research interests around: subjective time use, time perspective, eudaimonic well-being, measuring well-being and engagement at work, tangible tools and applications of positive psychology to business, executive coaching and education.
Ilona founded and was the first Chair of the European Network of Positive Psychology (ENPP), and was subsequently the member of its Steering Committee for many years. She organised the first European Congress of Positive Psychology in June 2002 (Winchester), starting a successful tradition of bi-annual events. She was the first Vice-Chair of the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA) and has been continuingly the member of its Board of Directors since 2007. She is currently the Vice-President for the Francophone Association of Positive Psychology, serves on the Board of Directors of the Wellbeing Education Network (WEN) and is a co-editor of the Applied Positive Psychology Journal.
She had authored, co-authored and co-edited twelve books within the discipline of positive psychology. Ilona is the author of Positive Psychology in a Nutshell (2006, PWBC; 2016, McGraw-Hill), co-author of The Happiness Equation (2008, Adams Media), Positive Psychology: Theory, Research and Applications (2011, 2019, Open University Press), Well-Being Lessons for Secondary Schools (2012, Open University Press), co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Happiness (2013, Oxford University Press) and Positive Psychology Coaching in the Workplace (2021), and co-author of Motivated Adolescents (2015, Odile Jacob) and PEPS: Positive Education for Parents and Schools (2018, Leduc). She is currently working on a new book, Positive Psychology at Work in a Nutshell (forthcoming in 2022). She acted as the main consultant for and appeared in the BBC2 series The Happiness Formula (2006). Her other media work included Guardian, Times, Top Sante, Cosmopolitan and Psychologies articles, TV and radio interviews, and columns. Currently, she is consulting ARTE on the documentary about the progress of positive psychology (appearing alongside Professor Martin Seligman) and writing a monthly column for the Positive Psychology magazine.
Ilona frequently addresses psychology and professional audiences at national and international conferences, having delivered a TEDx, as well as over 300 keynotes, invited presentations and workshops. Multiple keynotes delivered range from those addressed to highly specialist audiences (e.g. International Conference for School Violence, Canada, 2018; 9th European Congress of Positive Psychology, Hungary, 2018; 5th Happiness and Well-Being Summit, Mexico, 2017; 8th Congress of the European Network of Positive Psychology, France, 2016), the 5th Australian Positive Psychology and Well-being Conference, Australia, 2016), through to many other professional groups - business leaders (e.g. EY, Luxembourg, 2021; Chanel, France, 2021; Goldman Sachs, UK, 2018), teachers (e.g., GESS Education, UAE, 2018), parents (e.g. Unilever, 2020-21), general public audiences (e.g. Action for Happiness, UK, 2014) and even children (e.g. Printemps d'Optimisme, France 2021). She gave evidence to the British and Bhutan Governments, and addressed congresses of up to 5, 000 delegates (e.g., LH Positive Economy Forum, Italy 2014).
Ilona is passionate about practical applications of positive psychology to coaching, business and education. Her clients include Club Med, L'Oreal, Microsoft, SNCF, EDF, Sanofi, Bull, Mars, Eric Bompard, Microsoft, BNP Paribas, Sanofi, Sodexo and many others. Nowadays, as a director of Positran, a boutique consultancy specialising in the applications of evidence-based methodologies to achieve lasting positive transformation, Ilona delivers advanced professional training in positive psychology. She has developed her own approach to positive psychology coaching and training and trained thousands of professionals around the world (in Japan, Singapore, China, Dubai, South Africa, Portugal, France and the UK). She further worked for the Government of Bhutan to develop a framework for happiness-based public policy at the request of the UN, as a member of the International Expert Working Group for the New Development Paradigm. She also consulted the Prime Minister's Office of the UAE around the development of the toolkit for workplace positivity and organisational well-being assessment.