Helen Hirsh Spence
Helen Hirsh Spence is the co-lead of the AEA’s Education and Training team. She spent 30 years as a leader in both public and private education, was President of the Ontario Principals Council representing more than 5,000 professionals, and spent a decade devoted to board governance and not-for-profit work.
In her 60s, she founded the Top Sixty Over Sixty, a social enterprise which offers consulting, thought leadership and training on age inclusion. With a focus on retooling older adults with an entrepreneurial mindset and helping organizations transform their multi-generational workforce into intergenerational teams, Helen champions age diversity and the power of intergenerational collaboration.
Since 2007, Helen has spoken at conferences, facilitated retreats, and delivered seminars and workshops that are rooted in research and in practice. She has a proven record in designing original programming for varied audiences at conferences and for NGOs, businesses and boards.
As a respected facilitator and motivational speaker, Helen is also a strong performer in multicultural environments with the ability to gain trust and build rapport quickly among those with diverse backgrounds, interests and life circumstances. She brings an international and versatile perspective to all her projects. Her fluency in French, German and Spanish serves well to break down barriers.
Her 2018 research study in partnership with the Ontario Centre of Workforce Innovation and Ryerson centered on how to successfully engage older adults with an entrepreneurial mindset and highlighted the importance of raising awareness about ageism. The end result was the design and delivery of ReSet, the Top Sixty’s signature program.
In addition to consulting, Helen is an active volunteer locally, nationally and internationally, including: Past Chair of the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada; a former President of the Ontario Principals’ Council; Executive member of the International Women’s Forum, Ottawa. In her spare time, she serves as a mentor and life coach to youth and new immigrants.