Happiness is a fleeting emotion rather than a permanent state – Interview with Maya Topitzer, Head of Product and Research at LiveBetterFeatured

I spoke with Maya Topitzer @MayaTopitzer, Head of Product and Research at LiveBetter, a well-being company providing scalable technology based solutions to empower people to live happier, healthier, and more fulfilled lives. Maya graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara with a degree in psychology. During her time at university, she had worked in academic psychology research and community based mental health. Following graduation, she went to work full time at a clinic providing support to adults with severe mental illness. Around this time, she connected with the LiveBetter founders and loved what they were creating: a personal wellbeing coach at scale. She felt there was an immense need for the product and appreciated the founders’ vision to leverage technology to democratize wellbeing support. She began doing work on the side to support LiveBetter’s growth, specifically through conducting and drawing upon psychology research to create evidence-based, data driven messages for the LiveBetter platform to share with users to help them live happier and more meaningful lives. A few years after school, Maya began graduate school in public health and social work at Columbia University, but ultimately felt that graduate school did not align well, at least for the moment, with her goals. As a result, she put getting an advanced degree on hold and began a full time position with LiveBetter in July 2019. In addition to driving the research behind the LiveBetter content shared daily with users, Maya is now also spearheading the development of LiveBetter LIVE: a well-being service for remote workers to combat loneliness and isolation. Through this new offering, Maya and the LiveBetter team have been able to apply their solution to a large, but specific end-user group that has traditionally been underserved by existing wellness solutions. Maya shares common mental health misconceptions and insightful advice for building confidence personally and professionally. Contrary to what many believe, happiness, Maya notes, is a fleeting emotion rather than a permanent state. Too often people feel pressured to reach a state of happiness constantly when in reality, the true goal should be achieving contentment, which comes with negative emotions and situations. Understanding the distinctions and accepting the ups and downs should be the core focus to achieve a more balanced life. On giving advice, Maya underscores the importance of focusing presentation details that ultimately go a long way in building confidence, personal brand, and networks. Removing phrases like, “I think,” from your vocabulary adds more weight, legitimacy, and determination to all that you say. Starting with details like these and making conscious, consistent efforts to step and speak up are crucial to elevating the voices and presences of women and other underrepresented groups in the workplace and beyond. If you are interested in wellbeing technology and the intersection of consumer platforms, research driven innovation, and healthcare, check out LiveBetter!-- Elpha Techies is a biweekly column by Jessica Li, featuring stories and best advice of women in tech. Interested in being featured or know someone who may be a fit? DM Jessica. Jessica Li, an Elpha Ambassador, is a recent graduate of Harvard College and is now working in the Bay Area in Morgan Stanley’s Global Technology Investment Banking group. Over the past few years, she has been involved with the Boston and SF startup ecosystems and as a venture investor with funds including Rough Draft Ventures/General Catalyst, Romulus Capital, Global Founders Capital, and Female Founders Fund. She is passionate about supporting female entrepreneurs, operators, and others in tech and beyond! She also blogs about early stage founders at Medium (@jessli).
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For someone who was also a psychology major in college, this was incredibly fascinating to read. We need more women like this. One of the biggest lessons that I've learned in my early professional career is not using the term "I think" in settings or emails - it makes such a difference! Thank you for this feature!