Dr. Susanna Wu-Pong Calvert, MAPP, PhD is a leader, coach, speaker, entrepreneur, and writer who inspires and enables others to make our beautiful future a reality. Like so many people, Susanna started life pursuing the American dream: a successful career, happy marriage, two children, McMansion… the whole nine yards. With a stroke of a pen in 2000, the final piece fell into place when Susanna got tenure at a large, public research university where she taught pharmaceutical sciences, in recognition of her achievements in teaching, research, and service.
All her dreams came true.
Why did it feel like the worst thing that ever happened to her?
For many people, the realization that external measures of success do not bring happiness comes about slowly as we start to sense depths of desperation amid our success. For Susanna, it felt like a crushing blow that caused her to resign her tenured position and search for meaning and purpose. Her mental and physical health and marriage were on the rocks, with no end to the apparent toll on her life, and she knew she had to change her life.
This terrible and wonderful turning point allowed Susanna to rediscover herself without the blinders of all the cultural and societal shoulds and musts that she had endorsed. This increased openness and self-awareness enabled Susanna to discover her love of leadership, career, professional, and personal development, in part due to her work with the Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute as a program facilitator and the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy Academic Leaders Fellowship Program. Susanna realized she had wisdom to share and a talent for program development and facilitation. She decided to go back to school to get a degree in the science of wellbeing, applied positive psychology, and several coaching credentials so she could devote herself to helping others in this way.
In 2016, Susanna found her dream job supporting faculty success and wellbeing at the University of Georgia, Athens. This bliss was short-lived because in 2018, Susanna learned, on the heels of her sister Sabina's funeral, that her beloved husband Christopher also had cancer. In that moment, Susanna knew her life as she knew it was over and faced another rock bottom moment that persisted past Chris’ death seven months later.
This turning point sent her on an even deeper quest for meaning and purpose, this time turning to the divine for support and inspiration. Susanna felt guided to quit her dream job, move back to Richmond VA where she had spent the prior 23 years, and start the Foundation for Family and Community Healing.
The Foundation for Family and Community Healing is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that helps all to learn to create healthy, rewarding, and resilient relationships with ourselves, each other, Earth, and the loving force that unites us. FFCH offers online education on relationship skill development on this whole spectrum, thus filling the gap that schools and workplaces leave behind when they focus only on creating successful students or employees. FFCH seeks to enable human beings who are a successful part of humanity and Earth’s beautiful ecosystems. Dr. Calvert envisions that FFCH’s modules will provide humanity the skills needed to create the loving future that we all dream of.
Dr. Calvert brings decades of experience as a visionary leader, educator, mentor, coach, writer, speaker, and facilitator to her work helping individuals and organizations find greater clarity, authenticity, and strategic pathways to actualizing our highest purpose.
Susanna’s work is also now infused with a deep sense of purpose at the soul level, and she uses a keen intuition to inform and enrich all that she does. Susanna feels her soul’s purpose is to help all realize their highest purpose so that they can become their highest self. She believes that this is the path for us to individually and collectively create heaven on Earth for ourselves, each other, and for Earth herself.
In addition to her roles as Founder and Convener for Mission and Vision at FFCH, Susanna is an consultant, speaker, coach, educator, social entrepreneur, writer, and host of TheWorkFM93.9’s program Finding Our Fit which can be heard on 93.9 FM radio, Facebook, or https://theworkfm.org.
Dr. Calvert is also actively involved in the Unitarian Universalist community. She is the lead for the First UU of Richmond’s Earth Ministry, and is interim co-chair of the board of the Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth.