Judith W. Umlas

Sr. VP, Author & Facilitator, IIL

Finding Your Ikigai

This presentation demonstrates how Gratitude, Appreciation and Acknowledgment in our corporate culture can lead to a state of workplace well-being. When people use these tools for team communication and project excellence, they both feel and perform better.

One of the 7 Principles of Acknowledgment in The Power of Acknowledgment by Judith W. Umlas states: "It is likely that acknowledgments can improve the emotional and physical health of both the giver and the receiver." The neuroscience of Gratitude is a field of growing interest to leaders at workplaces worldwide. Bringing these tools with commitment and intention into the workplace creates a sense of well-being among employees. This is a result at least in part to the release of chemical neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin, among others. Feeling appreciated and valued further creates and enhances that sense of well-being.

Acknowledgment of and gratitude for peoples’ passions also helps them achieve their state of “Ikigai,” a Japanese Concept meaning "A Reason for Being." The convergence of what people love (their passion), what the world needs (their mission), what they are good at (their vocation) and what they can get paid for (their profession) creates the state of Ikigai which then fosters a sense of joy and well-being. This can take the form of an employee volunteering for an organization outside of work, doing what they love at work or playing the drums. By acknowledging them and expressing your gratitude to them for pursuing these passions, companies can support the joyful state of Ikigai that helps lead to an overall sense of purpose and workplace well-being.


Judith W. Umlas is Sr. Vice President, author and trainer at International Institute for Learning, Inc. (IIL). She is the publisher of IIL Publishing, New York. She is also the author of the ground-breaking book, The Power of Acknowledgment ©2006, IIL Publishing, New York, which has been credited with changing workplaces and lives by making use of the 7 Principles of Acknowledgment she developed.

Her book on Grateful Leadership: Using the Power of Acknowledgment to Engage All Your People and Achieve Superior Results was published by McGraw-Hill Professional in association with IIL in early 2013 and You’re Totally Awesome! The Power of Acknowledgment for Kids was published in late 2013 by IIL Publishing. In 2016, Judith founded the Center for Grateful Leadership under IIL auspices, which is a growing, global community of practitioners and contributors to this leadership model/initiative.

Judith delivers inspiring, motivational and transformational keynote addresses on Grateful Leadership and The Power of Acknowledgment all over the world. She also leads webinars and teaches full day virtual and traditional courses to organizations such as Volvo, the U.S. Army, Prudential, JMP Engineering, the World Bank, Fannie Mae, IBM, AT&T, Google, Amway, the New York Police Department and many others. She has trained tens of thousands of people through her leading edge, highly interactive and engaging courses and keynotes – with outstanding and long-lasting results. Grateful Leadership and The Power of Acknowledgment are Judith’s passion, mission and purpose!