In her pursuit of happiness, Nataly Kogan ’98 found her way to the positions of CEO and Chief Happiness Officer of Happier. Kogan’s life before Wesleyan was anything but easy: She escaped her native country, Soviet Russia, as a Jewish refugee at age 13 and made it to the United States after jumping from one refugee camp to another across Europe. Even after achieving the “American Dream,” Nataly Kogan wasn’t happy. She believes that “you can’t actually be happy, but you can always be happier,” so she spends her days spreading good cheer to as many people as possible with her new startup, Happier.
Happier is “an emotional bookshelf in your pocket,” a social network through which users upload anything that makes them smile: small day-to-day success stories, photos of their favorite things, anything cheerful. These items are then available on a mobile device to be accessed in a time of emotional need. Kogan informed CNN that since the app launched in February, users have shared over one million happy moments. Kogan has high hopes for Happier, hoping to reach the fame and influence of Oprah or Martha Stewart, possibly by creating Happier products such as clothing or even an airline. Her big dreams are driven by a simple motto: “Life is made of moments. Choose to create and collect the happy ones.”