Home All MAPP Summit Poster Presentations Part I: Intentional Leadership

MAPP Summit Poster Presentations Part I: Intentional Leadership

written by Denise Clegg 6 November 2008

Denise Clegg, MAPP 08, is Program Officer for the Positive Neuroscience project at the University of Pennsylvania Positive Psychology Center. She also serves as a facilitator for the Penn Resilience Program and is a daily editor for Positive Psychology News Daily.

Denise writes on the 20th of each month, and her articles are here.

MAPP Penn LogoThe MAPP Summit Conference featured alumni presentations sharing some of the latest innovations in positive psychology research and application.

PPND coverage of the MAPP Summit poster session will continue on November 8, 9, and 10.



Louis AlloroLouis Alloro’s poster, titled How Communities Flourish: A New Leadership, presented a positive psychology based framework for individual and collective leadership in communities, schools, and families. His capstone about this work is available from Penn Scholarly Commons.

Click here to view the poster by Louis Alloro.

What kindled your early curiosity and inspired your research project?

As both a student and a teacher, I was dismayed by the culture of schools. I came to the MAPP program to learn more about how positive, sustainable social & cultural change happens. I knew that working for positive change in schools had to be more broadly ecological–outside the four walls of a school and into the community and homes it supports. So, as part of my project I engaged my own family in action research to determine how change happens from within networks and from the ground-up. This is the main premise behind Social-Emotional Leadership.

Social Emotional Learning

What is the most important take-away you want to share about your research?

Social-Emotional Leadership starts with an individual’s decision to be different in the world. Each of us can choose to live with increased amounts of integrity each and every day and invite the people around us (our Social-Emotional Leaders) to help us through this process. Together, we can become our best selves–making the groups we comprise stronger. Imagine how just one person can create a web of infinite influence.



Kathryn BrittonKathryn Britton presented positive psychology applications for  busy individuals and organizations in her poster Positive Psychology On the Run. Her work is based on six fundamental positive psychology principles: intentionally increasing positive emotions, establishing conditions that enable flow, practicing reframing for negative events, celebrating positive events effectively, enabling hiqh-quality connections, and exploring the strengths of organizations. A paper based on this project was recently published in Coaching: An International Journal of Theory, Research, and Practice.

Click here to see Kathryn Britton’s poster.

What kindled your early curiosity and inspired your research project?

This poster came from my own attempt from inside an organization to find applications of positive psychology that could have a big impact with a small investment of learning effort. I was working in an organization of people who felt that they were under great time pressure. So I had to figure out things they could do without slowing down much. That involved selecting and adapting things we learned in the MAPP program. The picture below shows my mental picture of the relationship between academic study and practical applications.

Positive Intervention Life Cycle

What is the most important take-away you want to share about your research?

The one thing I would like people to know is that they possess the power to alter their own experiences of a particular work situation. They don’t need to wait until a high-ranking executive orders a change. They don’t have to wait till the factors that they don’t like are changed. They can make choices that affect whether they feel like victims or actors in their work lives.



Eleanor ChinEleanor Chin presented Authentic Independence, a positive framework for parents to support healthy development and autonomy in their children, and counter the phenomenon pejoratively known in popular literature as “helicopter parenting.”

Click here to view Eleanor Chin’s poster.

What kindled your early curiosity and inspired your research project?

As a parent and coach I became very concerned about “helicopter parenting” and how disempowering it can be to kids and parents. Parents can become controlling, doing too much for their kids and sending the message “I’m going to do this because I don’t think you are capable of doing it” which undermines a child’s development of self-determination and sense of self-efficacy. As I learned more about this trend, I saw that it is often the unintentional result of an abundance of caring and lack of information. So I was inspired to find a positive solution, building on parents’ strengths and a child’s naturally developing instinct for self-determination.

Girl on Railroad TracksSkateboarderGraduates

What is the most important take-away you want to share about your research?

Learning about self-determination theory was an “a-ha” moment for me, and this research can really help parents navigate the boundary between “bonding and binding.” If we understand kids’ natural propensities and support them, it can make parenting a whole lot more pleasant and even more mutually liberating. The Authentic Independence model taps into parents’ wellspring of love and concern to build more positive relationships with their children.


Eleanor Chin purchased permission to use the images of the girl on the railroad tracks, graduate, and skateboarder from istockphoto.com.


Alloro, L. (2008). Shift happens: Using social-emotional intelligence to construct positive, sustainable cultural shift. Capstone project for University of Pennsylvania MAPP program. Available from Penn Scholarly Commons.

Britton, K. H. (2008). Increasing job satisfaction: Coaching with evidence-based interventions. Coaching: An International Journal of Research, Theory, and Practice, 1(2), 176-185.

Brown, K. W., & Ryan, R. M. (2004). Fostering healthy self-regulation from within and without: A self-determination theory perspective. In Linley, P.A. & Joseph, S., (Eds.), Positive Psychology in Practice 105-124. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons Inc.

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