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Wellbeing Summit Represents the Best of Santa Monica

Approximately 900 people come out to explore community wellbeing

November 19, 2019

Wellbeing Summit Represents the Best of Santa Monica

SANTA MONICA, Calif. – Santa Monica’s first-ever Wellbeing Summit was held on Saturday, November 16. Approximately 900 people participated through workshops and activations at Santa Monica College Center for Media and Design. The event brought people together to engage on how we can use our many community strengths to better understand and address the things that challenge all of us and the planet. Early event surveying shows that 40 percent of participants met five or more people for the first time. All workshops were well attended and included:

  • Wellbeing: What it is, what it isn’t and why it matters with Anita Chandra, Carol Graham and Neal Halfon, moderated by Alejandro Adler
  • Normal Sucks: Stop trying to fix people and start empowering them to succeed with Jonathan Mooney
  • I am not sick, I don’t need help! How to engage people who don’t want help with Dr. Xavier Amador and Gabriela Canedo
  • Gross National Happiness: How Bhutan rewrote their constitution to make happiness the goal of government with Kinga Tshering
  • Global wellbeing from the UK to Bhutan to Latin America: How countries across the globe are taking wellbeing seriously with Alejandro Adler, Benilda Batzin, and Kinga Tshering, moderated by Juliana Essen
  • Walking the talk: What’s next for wellbeing with City Manager Rick Cole and Mayor Gleam Davis, moderated by Alejandro Adler

In the final session, Mayor Davis shared: “We truly are a Sustainable City of Wellbeing, but this is not something that the city government can bestow on you or can do alone. If we are truly going to live up to that title, then each and every one of us needs to invest in this community. I know, we heard today, that there are things we need to work on. But let’s do the hard and satisfying work of working on them together to make this a better community for each and every person in it.”

The event builds on four years of work to measure the wellbeing of residents through the Wellbeing Index. This data is used to understand how residents are doing so we can invest in areas that will have the greatest impact. This work is part of a global wellbeing movement that has taken root in Bhutan, Finland, Australia, Latin America, and Santa Monica. 

Wellbeing Summit Photos >

CityTV Wellbeing Summit Video >

What’s Next for Wellbeing Workshop Video >


Quotes from presenters:

“Santa Monica's inaugural Wellbeing Summit was such an inspiring event! The energy was palpable and overwhelmingly positive: the obvious care participants felt for the wellbeing of their communities, the celebration of the progress made so far, the commitment to keep moving forward and to do so collaboratively.”

- Dr. Juliana Essen, Founder & Executive Director, Global Wellbeing Institute 

“The energy was amazing primarily because of community interest, resident voice, and spirited exchanges. The passion and commitment of the community is inspiring not just for Santa Monica but for others around the world.”

- Dr. Anita Chandra, Vice President, Director Social and Economic Wellbeing, RAND Corporation 

“Es necesario construir y fortalecer alianzas estratégicas, con sociedad civil, organizaciones de toma de decisiones y medios de comunicación, para la exigencia de un cambio sistemático y estructural, logrando así el bienestar, seguridad, soberanía y gobernanza de los pueblos indígenas.”

- Benilda Batzin, REDC-Salud y CEGSS, Guatemala

“I would describe the energy of the day as very positive, full of excitement, engaging, good coming together and the outside area felt joyful and fun. People came prepared to listen, learn and share, which really showed me how many people want to see Santa Monica be and do it’s best.”

- Irma Carranza, Moderator, Building Resilience in Communities of Color: Lessons from Virginia Avenue Park’s Parent Groups, Santa Monica resident and Community Advocate

“From the perspective of someone who has worked hard for many years trying to insure that the measurement metrics are robust, and to make the gradual, hard-fought transition from getting the metrics into academic economic analysis and then into statistics offices around the world, seeing the progress and energy and amazing outcomes that are coming from Santa Monica city’s usage of the metrics as a genuine frame for policy and as an organizing principle for the community was an amazing and uplifting experience. Kudos to Julie Rusk and her wonderful team!”

- Dr. Carol Graham, Leo Pasvolsky Senior Fellow, BROOKINGS Institute

“I would describe the energy of the day as incredibly friendly. The air was vibrating from all the smiles and curious mindsets roaming the campus, looking for opportunities to connect and learn. I am hoping everyone who attended will bring their curiosity back to their communities, neighbors, local coffee shops, and seize more opportunities to connect!”

- Caroline Toren, Gender Equity Presenter, Santa Monica resident

“It was an inspiring and uplifting day connecting with members of our community to broaden our mutual vision of what wellbeing means to us and how we can further embed it into the fabric of our community.”

- Cynthia Rose, Director, SM Spoke, Santa Monica resident and Community Advocate

“The energy was positively electric and full of optimism. I met many inspirational people from the fellow panelists, presenters on other topics as well as the students who were also inspirational including a young high school female who talked about her welding and work in the community.  My hope for the future is to build on this first event by finding other perhaps less intensive ways to connect in between these annual extravaganzas and to continue learning as we do and being as inclusive as possible.”

- Dr. Michael Rodriguez, Professor and Vice Chair, UCLA Department of Family Medicine




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