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You Inspire Hope, Shane

written by Senia Maymin and Kathryn Britton 29 July 2016
Shane Lopez with books

Senia Maymin and Kathryn Britton are the senior editors of PositivePsychologyNews.com. Together they have edited two books in the Positive Psychology News series: Resilience: How to Navigate Life's Curves and Gratitude: How to Appreciate Life's Gifts. Kathryn co-edited the third book in the series, Character Strengths Matter, with Shannon Polly. Their co-authored articles are here.

Senia Maymin, MAPP '06, is the coauthor of Profit from the Positive. Maymin is an executive coach to entrepreneurs and CEOs. Her PhD is in organizational behavior from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Full Bio. Her solo articles are here and her articles with Margaret Greenberg are here.

Kathryn Britton, MAPP '06 also co-authored Smarts and Stamina on using positive psychology principles to build strong health habits. Blog. Full bio. Her solo articles are here.

Shane Lopez died last Friday.

We don’t know the details. We’ve just been touched by another shock wave going through the world-wide positive psychology community that is mourning the loss of generous and productive life.

Earlier in his career, Shane worked in partnership with Rick Snyder, another generous and productive scientist, to explain Hope in a way that leads to action. Doug Turner wrote a short article on Hope Theory for PPND in 2008, for those that want a quick refresher on the way the theory translates into action.

In 2007, Angus Skinner quoted Shane speaking about the untimely death of his mentor, Rick Snyder.

“Rick was in the business of changing lives, plain and simple. As my mentor he taught me how to honor suffering and seek out hope in daily life. As a leading positive psychology scholar, he demystified hope and forgiveness for the world.” ~ Shane Lopez, 2006

We can use the same words for him. He wasn’t just doing the research and bringing it together. He was reaching out to people in many walks of life to hear their stories and help them understand how to nourish hope. He collected stories of hope, some appearing in his book, Making Hope Happen, others in his blog, and more in his speeches and interviews.

Together Rick Snyder and Shane Lopez were incredibly productive in our field. They were researchers in their own right, building, testing and explaining Hope Theory. They were also editors, who perform a tremendous service by pulling together many research resources into collections that make life easier for the rest of us. Being an editor is not an easy job. It brings herding cats to mind.

In the comments, we invite you to add any Shane stories that you are moved to tell. We’ll start with our stories.
We will also add photos of Shane here, so please email us with the image attached: admin@PositivePsychologyNews.com

We also hold out the call to action in Michelle McQuaid’s tribute to Shane Lopez:

“I urge you today, in memory of Shane, and for the people that you most care for, to create a tiny ripple of hope and help build a future that is better than where we currently find ourselves.” ~ Michelle McQuaid

Shane, we are thinking about you …


Here are just some articles on PPND that reference Shane directly.

Alloro, L. (2008). Toward a Hopeful New Year. Positive Psychology News.

Chin, E. (2008). Becoming our own visionaries. Positive Psychology News.

Cohen, A. (2007). Searching versus Seeking. Positive Psychology News.

Jewell, L. & Polly, S. (2011). Leading to Well-Being Conference. Positive Psychology News. Shane Lopez was a keynote speaker at this conference, and some of the main references were suggested by him.

Skinner, A. (2007). I’d love to be the kind of guy… Positive Psychology News.

Turner, D. (2008). Restoring Hope. Positive Psychology News.

Turner, D. (2013) Making Hope Happen (Book Review). Positive Psychology News.

Another Tribute to Shane Lopez

McQuaid, M. (2016). What happens when hope is lost? Psychology Today.

Book by Shane Lopez:

Lopez, S. (2013). Making Hope Happen: Create the Future You Want for Yourself and Others. Atria Books.

Other Resources: Web site and podcast


Shane Lopez (2015). Making Hope Happen. LiveHappy Podcast. “Find out the importance of creating a relationship with your future self, coming up with multiple pathways to reach your goals and a few activities you can try to become more helpful.”

Books edited by Shane Lopez, with or without Rick Snyder

Lopez, S. J., & Snyder, C. R. (2003). Positive Psychological Assessment: A Handbook of Models and Measures. New York: Oxford University Press.

Snyder, C. R. & Lopez, S. (2009). Handbook of Positive Psychology (Oxford Library of Psychology). Oxford University Press.

Lopez, S. (2008). Positive Psychology [Four Volumes]: Exploring the Best in People.

Lopez, S. J., & Snyder, C. R. (2011). The Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology (Oxford Library of Psychology). Oxford University Press.

Snyder, C. R., & Lopez, S. J. (Eds.), Handbook of Positive Psychology. 277-287. New York: Oxford University Press.

Snyder, C.R. & Lopez, S.J. (2007) Positive Psychology: The Scientific and Practical Explorations of Human Strengths. Sage Publications.

Snyder, C. R. & Lopez, S. (2009). Handbook of Positive Psychology (Oxford Library of Psychology). Oxford University Press.

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Kathryn Britton 29 July 2016 - 11:52 am

When I think about Shane, I picture a person of great warmth, great humility, and a great talent for listening. I have seen him at many conferences. Even when he has been a primary speaker, he has been as interested in meeting others as they are in meeting him. I love the picture of him with books all around.

Senia 29 July 2016 - 1:04 pm

What a loss to the positive psychology community…

I had met Shane at one of the Gallup conferences and he was immediately so open to talking to a positive psych newbie. That warmth and generosity continued over the next few positive-psych-based interactions.

Shane, you were one of those people that everyone had a strong and positive interaction with. We will miss you. Sending your family so much warmth in this time.

Michelle McQuaid 29 July 2016 - 7:51 pm

One of my favourite insights from Shane was: “Hope is created moment by moment through our deliberate choices. It happens when we use our thoughts and feelings to temper our aversion to loss and actively pursue what is possible.” Now more than ever we need acts of hope to guide our world forward. I am grateful every day that we have Rick and Shane’s wonderful work to learn from, apply and share with others. Vale Shane Lopez.

Jan Stanley 30 July 2016 - 6:56 pm

When Shane came to teach in our U Penn MAPP program, he began by asking, “Where’s Jan Stanley?” I raised my hand and he moved toward me, sharing that we shared a common bond in LSU (his hometown, my daughter’s grad school alma mater). He then went on to call out several other students before beginning his lecture on hope.it turns out he had read all of the student bios. Personal connection was an obvious priority to him, something I e never forgotten. I am grateful to have learned from Shane Lopez. May the seeds of hope he shared with us all continue to reach far and wide.

Hopeful 31 July 2016 - 7:59 am

I’m still coming to terms with Shane’s passing. How could a person so hopeful leave us so soon? Dr. Lopez was the chief architect for the Gallup Student Poll. He created jobs, he helped to increase student engagement, he made people feel validated, he made me feel that my contributions to our work mattered. For this, we will miss you.

Margaret Greenberg 31 July 2016 - 9:13 am

Shane was a wonderful ambassador for positive psychology. Our paths first crossed 10 years ago in preparing for the University of Pennsylvania’s first Master of Applied Positive Psychology poster session at Gallup in DC. After volunteering to coordinate the event I realized I didn’t have a clue on what we needed to do. As busy as he was with way more important work, Shane made himself available all along the way to make our first poster session a success. I will never forget that and him. My heart aches for his family.

Judy Krings 31 July 2016 - 10:38 am

Hi, Senia and Kathryn. What a wonderful legacy of light and learning you are gifting to us here. Thanks you for creating this tribute.

Shane was the real deal. An exceptional man whose authenticity, empathy and humor will forever shine a bright light into the universe. He blessed us with his kindness and generosity. My heart goes out to his family, friends, students and all who treasure his hope research and wisdom.

Lisa Sansom 1 August 2016 - 12:51 pm

I met Shane a few times, though mostly at positive psychology conferences. I remember seeing him at one conference (the third IPPA Congress in LA I think…) and he was giving a pre-conference workshop. I wanted to say “hi” because he’s completely awe-inspiring and I love his work. However, I knew he would be setting up for his talk. I went early to the room and there were only a few technicians getting Shane ready to go. I went up to him to re-introduce myself and I started to say “Hello Shane, I’m Lisa…” and he said “Of course I know who you are Lisa” and he, the Hope Rock Star, made me feel like I was the Rock Star in the room! He was generous, gracious, knowledgeable, smiling – always warm and friendly – and we touched base on his work and the great things he was doing. His passing has left an enormous gap and I do hope that other “Hopemongers” will pick up the torch – working with kids, helping research hope and encouraging others in the personable way that he did. You are greatly missed by many Shane – you probably never realized how many lives you had touched and influenced for the better.

Ryan M. Niemiec 1 August 2016 - 2:43 pm

I met Shane but did not know him personally. Speaking on behalf of fellow strengths enthusiasts, Shane will absolutely be missed, for many reasons.

In the first decade of the inception of the positive psychology movement, Shane Lopez was the most prolific author/editor in positive psychology. Bar none. Hard stop. No debating it. What he did for OUR field – to get it mobilized, enhance its credibility, boost its practical applications – cannot, should not, and will not, be under-estimated. If you look at his many volumes of work (and I have all of them), you will be astounded that someone could even read that much material, much less write/edit/publish all of it in such a short period of time (and that’s alongside all his other thought leadership-work at Gallup!).

My sympathies to Shane’s family and close friends/colleagues.

With a virtual bow of respect and gratitude to you, Shane.

Gordon Parry 3 August 2016 - 8:21 am

I was introduced to Hope Theory ten years ago at Penn, the theory was at the core of our concluding cohort project and was a contributing construct to the capstone project focused on movement along the job career calling continuum. Several years ago Shane Lopez was the keynote speaker for a client’s annual convention, speaking to hundreds of world-wide leaders engaged in changing the face of aging. It is beautiful to reflect on Shane’s legacy and the breadth and depth of his influence showing how hope can be acted upon to change lives for young students and the face of aging. As in so many aspects of human flourishing, in Hope Theory as Chris Peterson so aptly summarized positive psychology … people matter. Hope can be borrowed and shared.

Sincerest sympathy to Shane’s family, friends, and colleagues.

In your honor Shane, I intend to take specific action in my little corner of the world to thank those who have willingly shared hope with me and to intentionally extend this same gift of hope sharing to others.

Alli Rose Lopez, Shane's wife 4 August 2016 - 9:11 am

Thank you all for sharing your stories. They are lovely and much appreciated. Shane was so lovely, and I know he would be happy to know he made you all feel like you mattered. That’s what he was all about. That’s a lot of what our life was about. He was so much goodness. In many ways, he was kind of a miracle.

Sandy Lewis 4 August 2016 - 1:35 pm

Shane’s work literally changed my life. As one who has the strengths of optimism and positivity, I was often negatively labeled as a dreamer with rose colored glasses. Shane gave me a way to define my way of viewing the world and the courage and tools to translate this into positive action.

I had the pleasure of meeting Shane in 2005 during my MAPP year at my first Gallup Summit. I heard him speak in a breakout session, I believe with Robert Biswas-Diener and Todd Kashden. I laughed with them about being the hot new Positive Psychology leaders and Shane’s warm smile and humility struck me immediately.

I later read Shane and Rick Snyder’s work on hope and agency which led me to some of Shane’s papers on hope. Shane defined hope as “the process of thinking about one’s goals along with the motivation to move toward these goals and the ways to achieve these goals.”

He said that if people view themselves as having high hope, then they tend to choose goals that are more challenging. They also do better in education, work, have better health and have better problem solving skills. I finally was able to take who I was and use this to make the changes in the world that I knew were possible.

In 2006 I had the opportunity to turn a failing non-profit around and used Shane’s model openly with all of the members, the community and the board. I had them work on what they hoped for and generate the approaches to get there. Helping the group have hope and supporting them in discovering how to get to where they hoped to be literally changed the shape and energy of the organization. When I left, the agency was healthy and in the black. I was dying to share this story with Shane so that he could understand his impact on this organizations rebirth. He was so moved that he used my story in his book Making Hope Happen.

I met Shane another time at a GMU well-being summit while I was in transition, and he told me that wherever I went that I would bring light and energy. I shared that same impression back with him and remember this as a highlight to my professional courage and growth. I was thrilled and honored to be able to tell him this. Today I am a business and executive coach and turnaround consultant who works with challenging companies to move them forward. I am stewarding another turnaround situation now and just last week gave them the hope and agency talk. Thank you Shane, you are still spreading light and energy.

Marcia Ryan 5 August 2016 - 9:31 pm

I met Shane a year ago at his pre-conference workshop at IPPA 2015 Conference and had been introduced to his Hope Theory, Pos Psych textbooks he edited and his work with Gallup in my MAPP class at University of Melbourne. What struck me when I met Shane was his ability to articulate theory and research into such clear, simple and memorable messages. He had the gift of making the message memorable. He provided practical ways to apply the learnings to impact positive change in our personal lives and our workplace. I still have my notes from that workshop and I regularly use his messages with leaders and teams I work with. Some of the great quotes I wrote down from Shane that day include:
“Happiness depends on the goodness of our jobs and those jobs are MADE not found.”
“Test drive your future to meet your future self – dream a little.”
“Attaching your present self to your future self propels the work you do today.”
“Chase what matters the most – are you chasing happiness or meaning?”

In Shane’s honour, I will create a ripple of hope in my corner of the world by helping leaders and teams propel themselves to a positive and hopeful future.
Marcia Ryan

Miriam Akhtar 7 August 2016 - 5:59 am

I never met Shane but I was inspired by his work on Hope. Often when optimism has felt out of reach, I’ve found comfort in Hope and its simple formula of willpower and waypower. The Handbook of Positive Psychology, which he co-edited, has been my go-to reference book for years. Recently he connected with me on Twitter and I felt truly privileged to be in touch with such an inspiration in the world of positive psychology and a friendly guy too.

Thank you for giving me the hope which I have shared many times with clients. And many condolences to his loved ones.


Genevieve 8 August 2016 - 3:06 am

Thanks for finally writing about > Positive Psychology News » You Inspire Hope, Shane
< Loved it!

Senia Maymin 8 August 2016 - 1:08 pm

Alli, thank you so much for writing.

I wish I could “LIKE” so many of the comments above for the depth that they say about how much Shane touched everyone.

As additional background to all of us about Shane, this was posted to Shane’s FB site. It’s by Lisa Flores and she delivered these thoughts at the APA Memorial service for Shane:

Lori Stone Handelman 8 August 2016 - 10:29 pm

I met Shane when I was an acquiring editor at Oxford University Press, 2006-2010. Even though I am a social psychologist, my research hadn’t caused me to cross paths with him in person, but Oxford has a strong list in positive psychology and so I had the opportunity to meet him at a conference. I only spent substantive time with him twice, but I walked away from both meetings feeling like I was the most special person, he just shone his light on me, gave me his whole attention and presence and listened, and our conversations quickly drifted away from publishing and into personal issues related to hope, and life, and possibility. He left me feeling like I was a dear friend, and all the years since I’ve carried him in my heart as a friend. In the days since his death, I’ve felt his loss intently and remind myself again and again that we had one lunch and one dinner together, and that’s all — but that’s the wonder of Shane. I’m grateful that when I think of him it’s his big beautiful smile and grand laugh that I remember, and I’m grateful that the memory causes me to smile. My heartfelt condolences to his wife, who caused him to light up and glow when he told me about her, and to his son, who caused his eyes to shine in a beautiful way.

Emily vanSonnenberg 11 August 2016 - 7:47 am

Shane Lopez gifted me with practical insight that transformed the way I approached and now lead my life. One day, in class at UPenn, Shane was lecturing about work and meaning. As a highly-curious individual with many interests, I often felt tugged in various directions by my innate curiosities. I wanted clarity around how to decide whether or not to agree to new professional opportunities that would be presented in life. So, I raised my hand and asked Shane, “How does one know which opportunities to say ‘Yes’ to and which to say ‘No’ to in life? He quickly replied, “Emily, get clear on your mission in life. Then, say ‘Yes’ only to opportunities that are in line with your mission.”

Every day, Shane’s advice is relevant in my life. Every day there are opportunities—to make choices that are aligned or not with one’s mission, values and priorities. Given that time and energy are limited, these decisions are important. Shane provided me with a clarity that taught me how to make integrity-filled decisions, and I regularly share his words with others. I savor the gift of Shane’s presence and the impact his work had on human beings.

Kathryn Britton 5 September 2016 - 9:54 pm

I came across this obituary for Shane today. It has interesting information that I didn’t know, so I thought perhaps others might find it interesting. His memorial service in New Iberia, Louisiana is scheduled for September 10.



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