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Angela Duckworth

CEO Character Lab; Professor, University of Pennsylvania

Angela Duckworth is the founder and CEO of Character Lab, a nonprofit whose mission is to advance scientific insights that help children thrive. She is also the Rosa Lee and Egbert Chang Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, faculty co-director of the Penn-Wharton Behavior Change for Good Initiative, and faculty co-director of Wharton People Analytics.

A 2013 MacArthur Fellow, Angela has advised the World Bank, NBA and NFL teams, and Fortune 500 CEOs.

Prior to her career in research, Angela founded a summer school for underserved children that was profiled as a Harvard Kennedy School case study and, in 2018, celebrated its 25th anniversary. She has also been a McKinsey management consultant and a math and science teacher at public schools in New York City, San Francisco, and Philadelphia.

Angela completed her undergraduate degree in Advanced Studies Neurobiology at Harvard, graduating magna cum laude. With the support of a Marshall Scholarship, she completed an MSc with Distinction in Neuroscience from Oxford University. She completed her PhD in Psychology as a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania.

Angela’s TED talk is among the most-viewed of all time. Her book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance is a #1 New York Times best seller. Angela is also co-host, with Stephen Dubner, of the podcast No Stupid Questions.

>Presentation Topic: How and Why to Develop Character

In this talk, Character Lab Founder and CEO Angela Duckworth discusses three different families of character strengths (also known as social-emotional skills, 21st century skills, whole child capabilities): Interpersonal strengths like gratitude and generosity enable positive relationships with other people. Intrapersonal strengths like grit and self-control enable the accomplishment of valued goals. Intellectual strengths like curiosity and creativity enable a fertile life of the mind. Character is malleable, and much of Dr. Duckworth’s scientific research examines conditions that enable young people to thrive. In particular, what adults do and say, and opportunities and obstacles, can either encourage or discourage the mindsets and skillsets that underlie character development. 

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