Consulting is provided for a diverse clientele. Among them: the US Air Force, Castle Rock Entertainment, families engaged in intergenerational transfers of wealth, and others.
Dr. Pamela Paresky is a psychologist, author, and adjunct professor who teaches courses on happiness, leadership, and human development, and writes a blog for Psychology Today entitled “Happiness and the Pursuit of Leadership.” She is the Director of the Aspen Center for Human Development, and a former Adjunct/Research Professor at the United States Air Force Academy. She consults with individuals in private sessions that explore a wide range of topics that include leadership, philanthropy, values, happiness, and more; with families in their decision-making processes regarding philanthropy, family businesses, and family governance, with educational organizations in assessing and developing curricula; and with organizations and other groups in their efforts to create vision, build cohesive teams, and design an optimal organization. *
She received her PhD in Human Development and Psychology from the University of Chicago where her work at the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) focused on happiness, relationships, and “Flow,” a construct describing optimal experience that was developed by Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi, a pioneer in the study of both happiness and performance. Building on his discovery that the best moments in life often occur when people stretch themselves while working toward something worthwhile, Pamela has spent the past twenty years investigating the source of both optimal performance and a life worth living. (A more extensive bio can be found here)
Listen to Dr. Paresky discuss Habits of a Free Mind with Jennifer K. Thompson on the Civil Squared podcast.
Listen to Dr. Paresky’s appearance on the Matt Townsend Show
Dr. Paresky works with a small number of individuals in private, one-on-one consulting sessions both in person and on the phone. When we are not satisfied with our results, we generally understand that our actions need to change. However, when we focus on changing our actions, we are constrained to a set of actions that are within a certain range of possibilities that we are already able to see. It takes a shift in how we see to expand our range of possibilities.
Thoreau famously provided the challenge to “live deliberately.” Using a non-medical, non-clinical, philosophical model, The Aspen Inquiry™ is a creative process that allows the individual to develop a habit of continually seeing in new ways, and empowers clients to design a personalized path to live deliberately and discover a personally optimal experience of life and effectiveness.
Clients are accepted based on an initial consultation.*
"I have had the great fortune of working with Pamela for my first year in a new leadership position, including during the transition from my former position. Pamela's coaching has helped clarify the purpose of my work, led by a clear vision of what fits the future I'm committed to and what doesn't. This empowers me to say "no" to the things that do not align with that vision, and to prioritize the things that do. Pamela's coaching style involves a remarkable balance of non-judgmental curiosity, on-target questioning, keen listening, and research-based wisdom. She has an amazing ability to reflect back what she hears from me in a way that increases my own self-awareness, and she offers fresh perspectives and ideas. Her coaching has prepared me well for some of my most challenging conversations and meetings, and I leave every conversation with Pamela feeling confident, grounded and empowered."
The Aspen Legacy Workshop™ is a program designed for organizations and teams to create a new vision for the future, new perspectives that provide unprecedented avenues for team cohesiveness, and inspired approaches to fulfilling the organization's mission. Building on a philosophical foundation that includes a focus on action, interpersonal relationships, and individual self-awareness, this workshop is customized to fit the specific intentions of each organization or group.
Mary Oliver, in her poem, The Summer Day, asks, “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” For families and organizations wishing to engage in high-level reflection, Dr. Paresky designs customized seminars that explore ideas about leadership, decision-making, timeless human values, and what it means to live a good life.
The Aspen Legacy Seminar™ is an opportunity for families, organizations and other groups to come together in reflection and retreat to explore core values, the tensions among them, and their practical applications in a wide variety of contexts – among them: leadership, family and organizational governance, philanthropy, and avenues for making a difference. Using classical and contemporary texts in Socratic, roundtable discussion, participants have the opportunity to transform their thinking about their roles and relationships, work and philanthropy, and about fundamental questions of personal meaning and happiness. The seminar is also an opportunity for individuals to clarify a vision for the next stage of life, examine issues related to wealth, and reflect on questions of legacy.
Led by Dr. Pamela Paresky and often another qualified moderator, the Aspen Legacy Seminar™ brings participants together to meet at the Aspen Meadows Resort, in an idyllic setting conducive to thought, fellowship, and dialogue, and provides the opportunity to see family members or members of an organization in a new light while creating lasting bonds. Through the unique perspectives participants bring to the table, the timeless wisdom of the chosen texts is illuminated and brought to life. By participating in thoughtful and civil discussions of classic and contemporary texts, families and members of organizations find common ground while coming to understand themselves and each other in ways very different than possible in everyday settings.
Participants’ completion of questionnaires in advance of the Seminar date allows Dr. Paresky to choose the appropriate texts for the needs of the participating family or organization. Materials are sent in advance of the Seminar, and participants read the texts before arriving at the retreat.
Seminars vary in length from three to seven days. Group size will generally range from ten to twenty participants and can consist of more than one group or family, or can be customized for one family or group. The cost to attend varies depending on the length of the seminar and number of participants, and is inclusive of lodging, meals, group events, and materials. Airfare is not included.
Although the Aspen Meadows Resort campus is the ideal retreat setting for the Aspen Legacy Seminar™, when prospective families or groups are either unable to travel or have other preferred venues, the Seminar can be further customized and brought to other locations.
Dr. Paresky creates customized hardcover books through which younger family members learn about their elders, and members of organizations come to know about their founders. The narratives elicited through the Aspen Legacy Interview™ give insight into the passions, values, and motivations of families' and organizations’ founders. The Aspen Legacy Interview™ not only provides a vehicle for younger generations to gain wisdom, but also provides an opportunity for those participating in the interviews to recognize the threads that run through their lives, and discover what it is that fills their lives with meaning.
* No Financial Advice and No Medical or Clinical Advice or Treatment: Dr. Paresky does not provide financial advice, investment advice, trading advice or any other advice. Dr. Paresky’s work with families engaged in intergenerational transfers of wealth revolves around family dynamics and decision-making processes. Although Dr. Paresky is a Psychologist, she does not offer medical or clinical treatment or advice. Her work with individuals, families, and groups is neither medical nor clinical; she does not treat mental health challenges; and The Aspen Inquiry™ is not designed for clients with mental illnesses.