toni aspin transformative studies Toni Aspin

Alumna
Transformative Studies, Ph.D.

Consultant, Educator, Coach
Aspin & Company, Inc.

Entering into the Transformative Studies PhD program at CIIS was, in many ways, a culmination of my professional and personal endeavors for nearly 30 years. Throughout my career, I worked with boards of directors as a corporate executive, as a member of a board, and as a consultant to boards. I began to feel ill-equipped to consider the kind of wholesale change that I feel is needed in corporate governance. The tools provided me via my MBA became insufficient. To truly grapple with the issues, I needed an entirely new language and new lenses through which to see. My experiences at CIIS reframed my speech, my vision, alas, my ways of thinking and being. The program led me to frame questions as a means to inquire into an area of exploration, transcend disciplinary boundaries in building knowledge, integrate body, mind, and spirit into the experience of learning, and to embrace uncertainty and complexity. These are ways of being that are not static, rather require constant attention. I am applying these notions in my consulting practice with boards of directors, with my students in the classroom, and in my own continuing curiosity about life. It turns out that earning a PhD in Transformative Studies transforms the researcher as much as bringing new insights to the focus of research. The old adage, "be careful what you wish for" is relevant to my experience with CIIS. I am forever changed - there is no going back.

Revisioning Corporate Governance through a Participatory Worldview: A theoretical study

Organizations can serve as regenerative forces for building a better society by operating in ways that do not jeopardize the future. To take up this opportunity, centuries-old collective patterns of thinking that reduce, divide, and control must shift to patterns of thinking that connect, open, and enliven. Boards of Directors, the primary guardians of organizations, can lead this transformation from the boardroom by enacting practices that are rooted in a participatory paradigm: reflexivity, generative discourse, creative action, and mutual regard.

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