About The Happy Engineer


Robin Sacks, Ph.D.

Director & ChO (chief happiness officer)

Robin has secretly always wanted to be a camp director. Admittedly, launching a professional development program for engineers is kind of a back door to camp directorship, but she's glad to be fulfilling a dream nonetheless. 

Robin is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering at the University of Toronto. She has been working at the Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering at U of T since 2008, developing leadership courses for undergraduate and graduate students. She also served as Director of Research for the Engineering Leadership Project, which aims to help universities teach people skills to engineers.

Robin loves launching education initiatives. She is a founding member of Peace Games International, Peace by PEACE Canada, and Rotman's I-Think Program. She lives part-time in the sky and part-time in the forest with her partner Mike and their four children.

Facilitators, Past and Current

Jonathan Alderson, M.A.

Jonathan Alderson is the Founder and Director of the Integrative Multi-Treatment Intervention program for autism treatment. He holds a Masters degree from Harvard University and completed an Honours BA in developmental and educational psychology at the University of Western Ontario. He spent a year at the Sorbonne University of Paris, an internship with the Harvard Family Research Project, and experience as the Curriculum Specialist Coordinator with Teach For America in Houston, Texas. Jonathan worked for eight years at the Autism Treatment Center of America in Massachusetts. He has trained over 3000 families, working in the UK, Ireland, Holland, Spain, Australia, Israel, Mexico, the US, and Canada.

An underlying principle of his work with children, families and professionals is that “Attitude impacts behavior.” He has developed a unique approach to improving personal wellbeing and positive mental health called Attitudinal Fitness. He has introduced these powerful concepts in staff trainings in business and corporations including Bell Canada, Point Guard College, and at GoodLife Fitness. 

He served as Chair on the board of Drum Artz Canada, as a Trustee of the Awesome Foundation Toronto, and Executive Committee member at Toronto East General Hospital “Friends” Campaign. He currently serves on the Advisory Committee for the Seneca College Behavioural Sciences program and is Chair of the Autism Speaks to Young Professionals Advisory Board. He is a contributor to the HuffingtonPost and is the author of the book Challenging the Myths of Autism, honoured with a Mom’s Choice Gold Award, an American Non-Fiction Authors’ Association Silver award, and the 2012 International Book Award for Best Parent-Resource.

Mark Franklin, M.Ed. P.Eng

Mark Franklin is the award-winning practice leader of CareerCycles, a career management social enterprise based in Toronto, and co-founder of OneLifeTools. Mark and a team of Associates have enriched the career wellbeing of 4000+ clients individually and in organizations. Mark holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Industrial Engineering, a Master of Education in Counselling Psychology, and a P.Eng. license. In 2015, he received the Stu Conger Award for Leadership in Career Development. In his earlier engineering career, Mark consulted with hundreds of organizations as a technology manager, then management consultant with KPMG. Changing careers, Mark led student services initiatives in two of Canada’s largest universities, now teaches a for-credit Engineering Career Management course at University of Toronto and applies system thinking and engineering problem solving to create scalable, gamified and evidence-based career management tools.

Mark hosts the Career Buzz radio show where he’s interviewed hundreds of guests about insights and turning points in their career stories.

Helen Naoumov

Helen is passionate about helping people find their inner voice, fully embrace it and use it to make a positive impact. She knows from personal experience that discovery and growth doesn’t happen within the security of one’s comfort zone and enjoys facilitating an exploration outside of it for others.

Helen is the Manager, Learning & Development at Infrastructure Ontario, the organization she joined in 2006 for the opportunity to make a difference in lives of people in Ontario. She received her Masters in Applied Physics from St. Petersburg Polytechnic, and worked for a number of years as a scientist, before attaining her MBA in Human Resources Development. She became a successful entrepreneur in Russia and then immigrated to Canada with her family, in 2001. She is curious about the next turn on her professional journey – and invites campers to explore possibilities for theirs together.

Sonia Sennik, B.Eng, MBA

Sonia is an engineering and project manager at Hatch, where she works on major capital projects. She loves unleashing the power of a high performing team by facilitating open communication, respect and enthusiasm.  Sonia coaches the Ontario provincial senior women’s rugby team, plays several instruments and is always excited to meet new people and explore thoughtful ideas.

Katie Underwood

Katie Underwood is a National Magazine Award–winning Canadian journalist whose work has appeared in FlareToronto Life and Reader's Digest, among other fine publications. She's currently working as a senior editor at Chatelaine Magazine. She enjoys telling and hearing stories small and large, funny and sad, on and off the page. She was recently tickled by Margaret Atwood and would be more than happy to tell you about it.




Fun. Creativity. Discovery. Adventure. Joy. Humour. Openness. Learning. Connectedness. Self-expression.

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