About Lea…

Lea Waters, PhD is a psychologist, researcher, professor, published author, internationally-celebrated keynote speaker and one of the world’s leading experts on Positive Education, Positive Organizations and Strength-Based Parenting and Teaching.

Positive Psychology Expert & Educator

Professor Waters is the Founding Director and Inaugural Gerry Higgins Chair in Positive Psychology at the Centre for Positive Psychology, University of Melbourne where she has held an academic position for more than 23 years. Lea holds affiliate positions at Cambridge University and the University of Michigan and serves on the Scientific Board at the University of California, Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center. Lea is a Board Member and the 2017-2019 President of the International Positive Psychology Association, serves on the Council of Happiness and Education for the World Happiness Council, is the Patron of Flourishing Education Japan and Ambassador for the Positive Education Schools Association. She is a registered psychologist (AHPRA) and a full member of the Australian Psychological Society.

Media Expert

Lea is committed to spreading the science of positive psychology as widely as possible and has been featured on Morning Dose (The CW, Dallas, TX, USA), Revolution School (ABC, Australia), Matter of Fact (ABC, Australia), Destination Happiness (Channel Nine, Australia), Today Extra (Channel Nine, Australia), National Nightly News (Channel Ten, Australia), The Project (TV3, New Zealand), The Café (NZTV, New Zealand), Breakfast (NZTV, New Zealand). Lea is also frequently featured in print media, including The Wall Street JournalTIME MagazineThe Washington PostThe AtlanticThe Globe (Toronto), The Guardian (UK), and The Age (Australia).


Lea’s TEDx talk, Warning: Being positive is not for the faint hearted! explores how small positive steps can make a big impact on the wellbeing of ourselves and others, has been viewed more than 120,000 times. She has spoken to organizations, schools and parents all over the world, including to: Target, Merrill Lynch, BlackRock, Positive Education Schools Association, the World Government Summit, Ridley College (Canada), The Shipley School (USA), Tecmilenio (Mexico), Discovery College (Hong Kong), Mayerson Academy (USA), Samuel Marsden Collegiate School (New Zealand), The Hill School (USA), and more.

Researcher & Author

As a researcher, Lea has published over 100 scientific articles and book chapters. Her book, The Strength Switch: How The New Science of Strength-Based Parenting Can Help Your Child and Your Teen to Flourish, was the top release on Amazon in the parenting category, was named one of the top reads for 2017 by the University of California, Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center and was listed in the Top Five Books on Happiness for Children in the UK’s Top Five site. It has been translated into Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese, Hungarian, Arabic, Russian, French, and Spanish.


Lea is the founder of Visible Wellbeing, an initiative that brings the science of wellbeing and learning to schools. Visible Wellbeing is being used in schools across Australia, Asia, Canada, New Zealand and United Arab Emirates. Her newest program, The Strength Switch, offers parents and educators free resources, online courses, and facilitated courses to better build the strengths of families across the globe. 

Accolades, Awards & Honors

Professor Waters has been listed as one of Australia’s Top 100 Women of Influence by the Financial Review and Westpac Bank and featured on the Marques ‘Who’s Who in the World’ and the Marques ‘Who's Who of Australian Women’ lists.

Lea was inducted as a Fellow of the International Positive Psychology Association and is the only Australian to be inducted (2015). She was named the Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management Educator of the Year (2004), received an Australian University Individual Teaching Excellence Award from (2007), was awarded the Teaching Excellence Award by the Melbourne Graduate School of Education (2011) and received a team Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning from the Australian Government’s Office for Teaching and Learning (2013). 


Honors, Distinctions & Certifications