Randy Taran is a filmmaker, author, businesswoman, and founder and CEO of Project Happiness
, a non-profit organization that empowers youth and communities to create greater happiness in their lives and in the world. Drawn from research in neuroscience, mindfulness and positive psychology, Project Happiness uses books, film, social media and educational programs to teach vital social and emotional skills to empower children, families and communities. Project Happiness’ emotional resilience-building programs have been endorsed and used by public schools, private institutions and universities in all 50 U.S. states and in more than 90 countries around the world. Its purpose is to provide proven techniques to cultivate one’s own authentic happiness through an "inside out" approach. The idea is that everyone is born with the innate capacity for happiness, but with the stresses of life that can dim. Project Happiness offers tools to help people of all ages access the happiness within, and then share it, so together we can create a world where everyone can thrive.
Randy began creating accessible tools for personal happiness when her daughter began to experience stress and depression and told her one evening, “I want to be happy, but I don’t know how.” Shocked to learn the escalating rates of stress, depression, bullying and even suicides occurring both nationwide and globally, Randy drew upon her skills as a filmmaker to produce the award winning Project Happiness documentary
in which youth from three continents interview George Lucas, Richard Gere and neuroscientist Richard Davidson on the nature of lasting happiness. Then, they travel to India for an unforgettable private audience with the XIV Dalai Lama. After completing the film, she co-wrote, with Maria Lineger, the Project Happiness Handbook
, which combines the best of mindfulness, positive psychology, neuroscience, and conflict resolution. It has over 70 experiential activities and guides readers on a transformational journey to self-awareness, stress reduction and activating one’s strengths to make a difference. Programs which grew from the book and film provide opportunities for hands-on engagement with the concepts, focusing on seven thematic lessons: Happiness; Obstacles to Happiness; Self-Reflection; Self-Mastery; Compassion in Action; Interdependence; and Share Your Gifts. The Facebook community
is served with messages of inspiration, based on Everyday Happiness Habits.
Randy speaks regularly on various happiness and youth-related issues, and is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post. Randy serves on the Board of the Dalai Lama Foundation. She previously designed and manufactured a high fashion children's sportswear line, and then founded Spring Communications to develop and produce youth-oriented television and film programming, which included screenplays optioned by Hallmark and a documentary series on the subject of peace. She is the mother of three and currently lives with her husband and their three dogs near Palo Alto, California. She is a Yoga Alliance certified teacher and holds her MBA in International Business and Marketing from New York University.
Five Questions with Randy Taran
What Makes You Come Alive?
What makes me come alive is helping to empower others to know that they can generate their own happiness from within. Whether through a book, film, curriculum or social media, i am moved to be offering messages from mindfulness, neuroscience, positive psychology or ancient wisdom that serve to remind people of who they are, their innate goodness and their capacity to love.
Pivotal turning point in your life?
My daughter. When she was a teenager, we were sitting across the kitchen table and she said to me, "Mom, I'm stressed out - I want to be happy, but I don't know how." That was a turning point in my life as, with every fiber of my being, I wanted to help ease her pain. That's the moment that the project was born.
An Act of Kindness You'll Never Forget?
The act of kindness I will never forget is sitting with the Dalai Lama, who received the students in the film so graciously, with so much compassion, wisdom and humor. His energy was palpable. We were all transformed.
One Thing On Your Bucket List?
Planting Seeds Globally :)
One-line Message for the World?
Happiness is not something to pursue - you have everything you need inside of you.