Our „Corporate Culture of Happiness“ Event is officially in the books

By Chris Thaller

Published: 12/05/2023

Our Recap

Especially for a new, young agency like ABO, it is often a challenge to stand out in the dense jungle of agencies and consultants. This challenge becomes even greater when your goal is to be perceived as #anythingbutordinary.

On November 22, 2023, at the beautiful Bergschlössl in Linz, the time had come.

Our goal was not only to present our work but to take our guests on a journey through our world of corporate culture, sustainability, and above all, happiness.

And who could be a better fit as a Special Guest for our event than our friend, Dr. Ha Vinh Tho, the former Program Director of the Gross National Happiness Center in  Bhutan!

As so-called “opening act” and as host of our event, I took the chance to open our program by taking our guests into my personal creative world with a brief keynote.

By presenting “Run for the Oceans” – my biggest campaign success to date – introducing our “Impact Days” and “Mental Health” event formats, and by showing some unique corporate in-house talent competition formats, I wanted to share my message:

Always Be Bold and Chase Your Passion like it’s the last bus of the night!

Then, after a short break, our event “headliner” and Special Guest, Dr. Ha Vinh Tho, former Program Director of the Gross National Happiness Center in Bhutan, took the stage.

What does happiness truly mean? Can one actually learn to be happy? And what lessons can businesses or even schools draw from the GNH concept of Bhutan?

In his truly unique and wise manner, Tho delved into these and other questions, bringing them closer to the audience. In a one-hour keynote, Tho not only shared his extensive theoretical knowledge about happiness but, more importantly, his personal passion for the subject. 

He shared how his work as an educator with the International Red Cross in war zones led him to contemplate happiness. 

Tho also presented a real highlight; how he managed to inspire the PISA study to measure the well-being of students in the future with his amazing “Happy Schools” concept, which he once started in Vietnam.

He opened the door to a world where the well-being of employees should not merely be a goal for companies but rather a commitment.

His words on happiness and its implementation in businesses inspire and call for a change that comes from within and is undoubtedly essential in today’ world.

And just as in every Tho presentation, a “moment of silence” was not to be missed, where Tho took us on a brief, meditative journey to ourselves.

We are more than grateful to have had you come to our event in Linz and we look forward to many more collaborative projects to come.

Thank you, Tho!

As a perfect conclusion of our program, our  “Corporate Culture of Happiness” panel further deepened the discussion, highlighting that the pursuit of happiness in businesses is not only necessary; it is possible.

A lively exchange unfolded among our panel participants: Dr. Ha Vinh Tho, Irene Bouchal-Gahleitner (Chief People Officer, Netural), David Schellander (Co-founder & CEO, teamecho), and Manuela Kiesenhofer (GWÖ consultant, certified CSR expert).

Topics such as New Work, methods for capturing and measuring the well-being and happiness of employees, as well as the similarities and differences between the Common Good Economy (GWÖ) and Gross National Happiness (GNH), were discussed. It was wonderful to see how intensively companies are already engaging with the themes of “happiness and well-being.”

And as if our panel discussion hadn’t already been the perfect conclusion to our official program, Tho surprised us with a spontaneous, beautiful Hang performance in duet with percussionist Johannes Kronegger.

Personally, I could have listened to them forever.

True to the motto “Happy Food for Happy Mood”, our event was rounded off by the excellent vegan/vegetarian catering provided by our friends Shadi & Hanif from Café Schadzi in Linz.

If you’re looking for catering for your next company or private event, you know where to go -> Cafe Schadzi.

To sum it up

Our “Corporate Culture of Happiness” event was much more than we had expected for our agency presentation – it was a great evening with fantastic guests that celebrated the importance of happiness, sustainability, and positive corporate culture.

A huge thank you goes to our supporters from Verein für Gemeinwohl-Ökonomie and Lebuco. Many thanks, especially to Manuela Kiesenhofer for all her great support in making this event happen.

We hope that our event could spark a bit of inspiration that will lead to a change in companies and, beyond that, in the personal lives of those who attended.


So, what’s next?

If you’re now interested in “GNH for Business”, we offer intro workshops providing a good overview of how GNH values can be integrated into companies. Upon scheduling, these workshop sessions can also include a live keynote by Dr. Tho.

Once again, thank you to everyone for making this event so great!

#LetsBeHappy #LetsBeBold


PS: Thanks to the fantastic Ness Rubey for the great photos!

PPS: Also, a big thank you to our pianist Philipp Rist for the musical accompaniment of the evening and last not list, thanks to the the fantastic Laure Brouard for her amazing Edith Piaf cover! Merci Brouard!


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