meet the team behind happiness project!

In April 2017, when Jake was a junior in high school, a tragedy hit the community. A classmate had lost their battle with mental illness, and something needed to be done. His name was Nick Spaid. Nick had dreams of being an entrepreneur and loved classic rock. Our smiley logo is named after Nick and we strive to carry on his legacy forever through the Happiness Project.

Name: Jake Lavin
Age: 20
Interests: Hiking, listening to music, working out, ministry

My name is Jake, I founded Happiness Project in 2017 after the loss of a classmate.  I have always had a passion for fashion and philanthropy growing up, so working on Happiness Project is a dream come true. Mental health awareness is something very near and dear to my heart. With my family, friends and self having all struggled with mental illness, one thing I have learned is that it is okay to not be okay and we need to talk about how we feel. Opening up about my own struggles has helped me immensely in the past and I want others to be able to do the same.  I hope that the work and message Happiness Project sends can make a real difference in people's lives.

My main role at Happiness Project is creative direction & design, marketing, and content creation.  Most of the posts you see and the designs are drawn with my own finger on an iPad!  I love creating a fun & playful way to educate, bring awareness, and tell our brand story to bring awareness to mental health.

Name: Joey DeFilippo
Age: 22
Interests: video games, spending time with family and friends, MLB
My name is Joey, and I’ve been working in the happiness project team for almost 3 years now. I approached Jake after working with him at lululemon, and hearing about what he had started, I wanted to get involved. Mental health has always been an important topic of discussion for me, as I have suffered and still do with depression and anxiety. I also lost my brother in February of 2021, who lost his battle with addiction.

My job at the happiness project is dealing with the merchandising, along with helping with creatives on socials. The great thing about having a small team is that we all help each other out. We all have our small responsibilities, but for the bigger picture, we are always working together towards the same goal. I wouldn’t want to be working with anybody else.

Name: Mike Jones
Age: 23
Interests: Playing basketball, Chess, Anime, Esports

Hey guys! My name is Mike Jones and I joined the happiness team in May of 2020. Beforehand, I attended Miami University where I studied computer science and business. In my time there, I witnessed myself and friends struggle with mental health, however, there was one common denominator; no one wanted to talk about it. It’s my belief that through the happiness project, we can end the stigma behind mental health and let people know that it is okay to not feel okay.

On the business side, I handle a lot of our website design along with crunching numbers and analytics. I also work with our philanthropic partner, the AFSP, in identifying ways we can raise awareness and money for mental health!