“A French philosopher once said that the purpose of philosophy was to help us become sculptors of our lives. That’s my great privilege! To create and facilitate programs to inspire amazing folks to become the Michelangelos of their own lives.
I’ve had the joy of witnessing: A secretary blossom into a film producer. An MBA certify as a movement therapist. A financial analyst open an online cake bakery. A piano teacher (and a data director) both create successful fitness studios. A social worker become a health coach. A corporate manager retrain as a minister. A Fortune 500 director become a writer.
I get to see dreams fulfilled—a young woman adventuring across America on a six-month pilgrimage; a stay-at-home mom re-certifying as a physician and another hired to use her problem-solving skills and passion for learning to advise an entrepreneur; a musician selling his fine-art photography; folks training for and completing ultra-marathons.
I'm lucky enough to work with men and women who have the curiosity and courage to engage the question American poet Mary Oliver asks of all of us: ‘What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?’”
Dr. Spence is co-founder of i∙ki∙gai and creator and principal facilitator of “What Should I Do with My Life?” workshops.
Over the past four decades, she has developed numerous programs and courses winning local and national recognitions, including a U.S. Presidential citation for “outstanding public service.”
Her national-award-winning class on how to live a meaningful life (which she taught for seven years at the University of Cincinnati) was cited by a major online news source as “among the ten most worthwhile, interesting courses on college campuses.”Her book Life Medicine: Wisdom for Extraordinary Living, now in its 4th edition, has been used by faculty or staff in more than 60 colleges and universities. (The book is available at Cincinnati's Joseph Beth Booksellers, Rookwood Commons. Click here for a brief description; click here to listen to radio interviews.)
During the thirteen years she served as a director in student affairs at the University of Cincinnati, she created a variety of groups and one-of-a-kind courses to enhance students’ psycho-spiritual development, including material now part of “What Should I Do with My Life?” workshops.
Further inspiration comes from the eight years she served as faculty for learners earning advanced degrees in clinical psychology, education, organizational management, leadership studies and religion and from additional years teaching literature and writing at both the community-college and university levels, including four years at Xavier University where her department chair described her teaching as “provocative, challenging … inventive and engaged…with an unusual capacity to reach a wide variety of students.)
A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Penn State, Spence earned two masters degrees from the University of Michigan and Ph.D. in East-West Psychology. Her doctoral dissertation has been described by a founder of human-potential psychology as “a very, very important study… rich, crucial and quite wonderful.”
She has served as a trainer for Cincinnati Women Helping Women, the Cincinnati Police Department, and the Cincinnati YWCA and has presented over 70 local, national, and international radio, television, and conference programs. For the past ten years, she’s been cited in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the World, or Who’s Who among American Women.
Her lifelong passion for world cultures and what they have to teach about optimal well-being has taken her to 30 countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Far East, and South Pacific. She has studied Asian psychotherapies in Japan; explored Chinese medicines in The Peoples' Republic of China; observed Hindu ritual along the sacred Ganges; shared midnight stories with New Zealand's Maori; studied Celtic spirituality in Ireland and Iona, Scotland; and hiked East Africa's Serengeti with one of the world's last semi-nomadic tribes.
At the heart of it all is a deep enthusiasm for exploring how humans live their best lives and then helping others discover and maximize their own unique excellence.
Christopher Dwyer will be assisting Dr. Spence during upcoming workshops.
Chris currently works as the Energy Director for Sol Design + Consulting, an architecture firm in Over The Rhine specializing in sustainability consulting and historic renovation--two of Chris' passions.
Along the way, though, Chris was no stranger to the trials of vocational discernment: He tried his hand at several entrepreneurial start-ups—his own energy-consulting business, an LED-lighting manufacturing and leasing company, and a solar-and-wind installation company—and he taught science at Cincinnati’s St. Ursula Academy. Earlier, he even spent time in a seminary--“Gregorian-chanting his youth away.”
Another lifelong passion? Athletics. "One day, I'll be a professional triathlete," he vows. For now, he runs marathons, 50 & 100-Mile Ultras, and co-owns Hyde Park’s boutique fitness studio (studio s) with his wife Susie where he “plays the lesser role of coaching, spread-sheeting and towel-folding.” This, he says, “allows me an opportunity to play in the world of movement, nature and sweat, all ‘essential’ to me."More than once, he’s been known to say, "My true calling is... X.” He's even asserted the opposite: "There is no such thing as a calling." Now, he embraces the calling as a fundamental gift of his own cosmic wiring, and he’s looking forward to the continued unfolding of the fullest version of himself which he hopes to include more science fiction, horses, sailboats, starlit skies, ideas, and home design.