Spencer Institute Faculty

John Spencer Ellis

Dr. John Spencer Ellis

President & CEO

John knew from the age of 12, when he received his first health club membership as a birthday gift from his father, that fitness & personal development would be his calling. His unique success story started in a 400 sq. ft. studio apartment where he slept on the floor. He had just $2,000. What began as a personal training business has grown into a multi-million dollar group of corporations providing a variety of fitness and personal development products and services globally. John has helped create over 500,000 jobs.

John competed in over 100 sports competitions including the Ironman triathlon and the Jiu Jitsu World Championships.  He also finished 5th at the U.S. National Run/Bike Championships. It was because of John’s love of cycling and triathlons that he created Endurance Plus, the name he gave his company in 1992. His passion for fitness education and business led him to develop the National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association (NESTA), which educates, certifies and provides business solutions for fitness, coaching and nutrition professionals. NESTA now has over 55,000 members throughout the world.

Fitness and Personal Development Expert:

Each week, over one million people enjoy a fitness and personal development program John developed. His systems are used in the top resorts, spas and fitness centers. John is the CEO of the National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association (NESTA), Fitness Hall of Fame, Spencer Institute for Life Coaching (SI), International Triathlon Coaching Association (ITCA), and the Mixed Martial Arts Conditioning Association (MMACA). John created Adventure Boot Camp, the largest fitness boot camp system in the world. He also created Intense Mixed Performance Accelerated Cross Training (IMPACT), Kung-fu Fitness, TACTIX and co-developed Survival Combat Fitness (SCF). His programs are used by Cirque du Soleil, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard, and he’s consulted the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championships).

John is the CEO of the Get America Fit Foundation (GAFF) (501c3), which educates the public about living a healthy life and provides exercise equipment for schools and helps military veterans with physical challenges.

Endurance Athlete:
John has ridden his bicycle enough miles to circle Earth. He competed in cycling, running and triathlon events for over 10 years.

Martial Artist:
John has earned a 2nd degree black belt in Kung-fu, black belt in Ninjutsu, blue belt in Krav Maga, and blue belt in Kempo Karate and blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He also trains in Muay Thai.  John is a certified instructor of self-defense, fitness kickboxing and fitness boxing.

John holds two bachelor’s degrees (business & health science), an MBA, and a doctorate in education. He also completed doctoral level studies in naturopathic health education. He holds fifteen certifications including massage therapy, plyometrics, physical education, flexibility, nutrition coaching, water fitness, exercise rehabilitation, golf conditioning, Pilates, personal training, clinical hypnotherapy, sports hypnosis, PACE circuit training and yoga. His medical training includes a license in radiological technology, a medical assisting certification, and training in McKenzie rehabilitation. He has specialized training in ropes course facilitation and corporate team-building.

John has been featured on Oprah radio, ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, FOX, FOX Sports, FOX Reality, SPIKE and ESPN. He was featured as the fitness and lifestyle expert on Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Orange County and Daybreak OC. John has also appeared on Starting Over, Life Moments, Camp Reality and America’s Premier Experts. He is the creator and executive producer of the movie The Compass. He hosted the Ms. Fitness U.S.A. & World pageants on Fox Sports Net, The Fit Show, Health & Wellness Today, Core 360 Personal Gym infomercial, Personal Trainer TV, The OC Body, The Spencer Power Hour radio show, the now the Training & Coaching Lifestyle Podcast. John is featured in the movie Riches.

Print Media:
John is the former Fitness Editor for OC Flair magazine and has been featured or mentioned in the following publications: MMA Business, Muscle and Fitness, Businessweek, U.S. News and World Report, C magazine, IDEA Fitness Journal, Cosmopolitan, Fit, New York Times, Men’s Health, Better Homes and Gardens, Women’s World, Self and on the cover of Personal Fitness Professional Magazine. John is the publisher of Personal Trainer Magazine.

John delivered the Commencement Speech for (IVC) Irvine Valley College and shared the stage/screen with the following luminaries: Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Leigh Steinberg, Barbara De Angelis, Jon Biel, DC Cordova, Denis Waitley, Frank Maguire, Michael Gerber, Les Brown, Joe Vitale, Simon T. Bailey, John Assaraf, Brian Tracy, Larry Benet, Dr. John Demartini, Marie Diamond, Topher Morrison, Martin Rooney, Kevin Nations, Peter Thomson, Gary Goldstein, Dr. Robi Ludwig, Ryan Lee, T. Harv Eker, Dr. Bruce Lipton, and many others. He has also been an expert panelist for TEDmed and fitness expert for eHow.

New Rules of Success,The Compass, The Code, How Badly Do You Want It, Peak Vitality, Power of Champions, The Wellness Code, The Ultimate Life Coach Business Book, Collaboration Economy and Rapid Body Makeover

John has collaborated on books with other leading experts such as Dr. Oz, Dr. Deepak Chopra, Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Dr. John Gray, Eckhart Tolle, Dr. Andrew Weil, Dr. Michael Beckwith, Kevin Harrington, Yanik Silver and Mariel Hemingway.

Awards and Recognitions:
Amazon #1 Best Selling Author “Rapid Body Makeover”
Amazon #1 Best Selling Author “The Wellness Code”
Amazon #1 Best Selling Author “New Rules of Success”
Amazon #8 Best Selling Author “Collaboration Economy”
Personal Trainer Hall of Fame Inductee
Nominated for induction to the National Fitness Hall of Fame
Best Health Book: Nautilus Book Award “Peak Vitality”
Best Self-Help / Motivational Book: US Book News “Peak Vitality”
Top 10 New Release: Hudson News “The Compass” book
Communicator Award “The Compass” movie
Telly Award “The Compass” movie
Quilly Award from the National Academy of Best Selling Authors
Nominated for the California Community College Distinguished Alumni Award
Named One of the Top 100 Most Influential Personal Trainers of All Time
Named One of the Top 100 Fitness Entrepreneurs in the World
Named Outstanding Member of IDEA Association of Fitness Professionals
Named Top 40 Fitness Blog of 2013

Advisory Boards:
National Health Wellness and Prevention Congress, Exercise TV, Sleep Number Bed, Medical Wellness Association, Irvine Valley College, Life & Leisure TV, Health Journal Television, Fellow – National Board of Fitness Examiners


Mark Teahan

Mark Teahan


Mark Teahan brings 10 years of experience to the Spencer Institute and currently serves as its Director. He began his journey into this evolving field after finishing curriculum at The University of Utah in Salt Lake City in the Department of Exercise and Sport Science and immediately launched a successful career in the fitness industry upon relocating back to his roots in the Southern California area.

Mark has been fulfilling the role of wellness coach in the mid-Atlantic region as well as in California. His client list is impressive, including Coca –Cola Enterprises, Baltimore Aircoil Company, Roadway Freight, Conway Freight, xPedx Paper and The Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers in Washington, DC. Mark was fortunate to gain access into the Wellness industry during its infancy and has contributed to the process of refining the corporate wellness genre overall. Mark has applied his skills and expertise to help many workers who came to value their own health through highly refined coaching techniques that inspire change while delivering results.

Mark holds multiple certifications in the industry, and is an instructor for NESTA and its Personal Fitness Trainer designation (PFT). To date, Mark has certified over 500 Personal Fitness Trainers and has therefore had a direct influence in the fitness industry as he travels from coast to coast and all points in between. He believes in the value of life quality by keeping people moving and healthy, regardless of circumstance or situation.

Al Sargent

Director of Research and Development, Success Design International

Co-Founder of Hemispheric Integration, Leader Instructor for the Spencer Institute

As a neuro-psycho emotional researcher, Al began the development of HI in 1996 at the Institute for the Advanced Studies of Health World Health Course, studying how our language indicates our thinking which then influences physical and emotional healing. His project thesis focused on the structure of visualizing abilities and skills – this is where he discovered that instead of one mind’s eye – we actually have two!

This revolutionary awareness is documented in Al’s book, The Other Mind’s Eye: The Gateway to the Hidden Treasures of Your Mind. He explains the basic cognitive functions of the hemispheres of the brain as they relate to our ability to be proactive. Al continues to develop tools for accessing the information and integrating the perceptions in each hemisphere in order to resolve internal conflicts and achieve goals. After years of researching the structure of grief, Al has designed a blueprint for a ground-breaking step back to the natural process of grieving, which he details in his second book, Moving Through Grief with Grace and Dignity, the Way Nature Intended.

Al’s love for bringing more enjoyment and success into a person’s life has carried into SDI’s advanced format of training. His passion is guiding someone in discovering their true essence of being, to know that no matter what the circumstances, peace, confidence and congruency will prevail. Prior to entering the field of intellectual research and personal growth, Al was a golf professional and coach. Al and Marilyn were an integral part of the educational team that led Moorpark High School to win numerous CA State Academic Decathlon Championships and then on to winning the National Championship for five years. They coached the students in creating states of focus, confidence and determination, and prepared for them for Speech and Interview competitions.

Marilyn Sargent

Founder and Co-Owner of Success Design International, Leader Instructor for the Spencer Institute

Education – Experience

Marilyn is a teacher at heart – this is her gift and her passion.

Her educational experience and certifications are:

  • AA degree in Physical Education
  • Certification in Early Childhood Education
  • Director of a pre-school specializing in dance, music and the arts, as well as academic basics.
  • Teaching credential with the Royal of Dance, London, England with an emphasis in anatomy, education and performance.
  • Established the Ballet Studio by the Sea in Malibu, CA in 1978
  • Formed The Malibu Ballet Society – a community non-profit organization
  • Certified Practitioner – 1986, Master Practitioner – 1988 and Trainer -1990 in the field of neuro-linguistics and communication skills.
  • BA in Psychology from Antioch University
  • Founded Success Design International
  • Subject Expert at Wexford University – MA and PsyD in Sport Psychology

1996 was a major life turning point when she and Al Sargent met at the Institute for the Advanced Studies of Health World Training. With neuro-linguistics as their communication foundation, Al’s discovery of the Other Mind’s Eye, and their extensive research in the structure of how the brain processes information, together they have developed the field of Cognitive-Emotional Re-Alignment with Hemispheric Integration. She and Al have traveled extensively in the US and internationally teaching workshops, seminars and presenting at conferences.

With her clear, precise teaching style and gentle compassion, Marilyn’s mission is to support others in being the best they can be and to make a positive difference in the world. Her specialties include:

  • Relieving anxiety disorders, phobic reactions, and PTSD.
  • Conflict prevention and resolution and stress management.
  • Assisting adults and children with learning difficulties such as ADD/ADHD, how to build strategies and skills to overcome social and emotional. challenges.
  • Business clients request her expertise in leadership and management tools, negotiation skills, improving presentations and productive meetings.

As an expert in educational development, Marilyn maintains a full time consulting and coaching practice for individuals, couples, organizations, and corporate clients, both in person or via SKYPE.

laura klein

Laura Klein

Biting into a fresh-from-the-farm, in-season heirloom tomato quite literally changed Laura Klein’s life. In 2003, Laura attended the New School of Cooking in Culver City, CA, a truly life-altering experience that put her on a one-way path to green advocacy and sparking an unstoppable ardor for communicating the positive health impacts of living green to the masses.

Tasting the Difference of Green – Awestruck by the superior flavor and quality of organically grown produce, pasture-fed meat and sustainably harvested fish, there was no turning back for Laura to inferior conventionally grown foods. She discovered that ‘conventional’ farming, with its herbicides, pesticides and other chemicals, is deeply destructive to the planet, animals – and human health and creates nutritionally deficient food; a realization that created a paradigm shift in her life.

Invisible and Dangerous Ingredients: Beyond the Plate – If toxic chemicals are poisoning our food and water supplies, and radically depleting the earth, Laura began to wonder, what chemicals and toxins lurked in her trusted home care cleaning products? Or her beauty products? Or ‘basics,’ like toothpaste, shampoo and even a bar of soap? “I began to wonder how all of these ‘invisible’ ingredients, ones that we use repeatedly, day after day, impact my health, my family, and the health of the world around me.” The answers shocked her. Delving into research, Laura soon learned that dangerous chemicals are present in every single area of our lives. So eager to share her burgeoning knowledge of these invisible toxins, Laura launched OrganicAuthority.com in 2005. A labor of love, Laura’s grass roots online effort now reaches tens of thousands of followers and readers and continues to grow. Laura is Publisher of OrganicAuthority.com and the web mistress for the subscription membership site, LauraKlein’sGreenClub.com, which will launch soon.

She has developed her own line of home and car cleaning products, available on www.LauraKleinsGreenCleaning.com. She is also a regular speaker at green seminars and events as well as the host of the television show Better Living with Laura Klein. Laura regularly teaches Green Living workshops to women and families. She is a sought-after green expert covering topics ranging from the health benefits of a green lifestyle to using DIY home and personal care recipes to saving green by going green and more. Laura also hosts Better Living with Laura Klein, and the Andrew & Laura Show, two lifestyle shows that air on JLTV. Laura Klein’s Professional Credits: Oorganic food and green living expert on: The Food Network, Fine Living’s Shopping with Chefs, First Look LA, JLTV, The OC Body Show, Females Uncut radio show, Malibu Times Magazine, Woman’s World, Arizona Nutrition, TreeHugger/Planet Green.com, This Next.com, SheKnows.com, and Dog Fancy Natural Dog’s Magazine.

Dr Topher Morrison

Dr. Topher Morrison

Topher is a professional Hypnotherapist, Master Practitioner and Master Trainer of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). Since 1989, “Topher,” as he is known to his friends and colleagues, has trained tens of thousands of people worldwide including Olympic athletes, and is acclaimed as a dynamic presenter on a wide array of topics ranging from personal growth to sales training. Dr. Morrison is internationally recognized for his columns on personal development, keynotes, and leadership training. Creative and prolific, Topher is the creator of the MusicTrance series – music specifically created for the profession of hypnotherapy. His first book on human potential will be released in 2004.

Topher maintains a rigorous schedule traveling throughout North America, Australia, and the UK teaching people the importance of hypnosis and the role it plays in overall mind/body health. His unique style is at once informative and entertaining, demonstrating Topher’s instinctive ability to convey the most sophisticated topics to his audience in an easy to understand manner.

Between speaking engagements, Topher resides in Tampa, Florida where he talks with students about their hypnotherapy practices. He also volunteers his time to the non-profit agency ACEER (Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research) by conducting seminars at schools and organizations, sharing with them the importance of preserving our earth.

Kelli Ellis

Kelli Ellis

Kelli Ellis, interior designer and lifelong traveler, represents the epitome of livable luxury and  casual international style. Her celebrity and discerning clientele benefit from her extensive world travels, which bring pieces of exquisite furniture, dramatic artwork and unique accessories used to create thoughtful havens.  Her influences translate to her new outdoor rug line for Jaipur Rugs International, and the luxe Kelli Ellis Collection for Tilebar.

An accomplished interior designer, Certified Life Coach and Design Psychology Coach, Kelli received her Certification in Interior Design from the Interior Design Institute in California. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Marketing from California State University Fullerton, a Law school education from Western State University and a liberal arts education from The University of London. Her international schooling and extensive travel have given Kelli a unique perspective in her design work, which has been published in numerous national and international magazines including Traditional Home, Riviera Modern Luxury, LUXE Magazine, CA Home and Lifestyle, Better Homes and Gardens, Las Vegas Luxury Magazine, Image, Dabble Magazine and Hearst publications Nationwide.

You’ve likely seen Kelli as the featured designer on TLC’s Clean Sweep, HGTV‘s Takeover my Makeover, and productions of Value Booster’s, Move or Improve,  and The House Therapist. You’ve watched Kelli design homes and offices on Bravo’s, Real Housewives of Orange County. On HGTV’s #1 Holiday hit, Celebrity Holiday Homes, Kelli added season sparkle to a Haylie Duff’s and Lorenzo Lamas’ homes. In addition to HGTV, TLC, Bravo, Kelli has guest appeared on NBC, CBS, ABC Nationwide. A Hulu hit, Las Vegas Home Makeover follows Kelli  as she revamps a Vegas fixer into a Vegas stunner.

The web knows Kelli from eHow.com as their resident Interior Design Expert, professionally blogging and vlogging for Ziploc and Clorox. You’ve heard her give decor and “Design Psychology” advice on HGTV Radio/Sirius, MomTV and BlogTalk Radio, and nationwide radio programs. She is also a regular keynote and panelist at High Point Market, Las Vegas Market, Atlanta Market, Seattle Market, Modernism, and AD in New York.  Kelli proudly represents the Society of American Florists, as their interior expert.

Awards: Riviera Magazine recently gave Kelli the Best of OC 2015, Top 5 Favorite Designers status. She is Luxury Magazine’s “Editor’s Top 10 Designers” and also voted “Top Interior Designer in Orange County” by OC Metro magazine. Kelli is also a featured expert in the global documentaries, “The Compass”, “Riches”, and “The Vow”. Kelli was also nominated for “Remarkable Woman of the Year” by NAWBO, National Association of Women Business Owners.

As a CLSC and the leading CDPC, she has created the Certified Design Psychology Coaching program through the nationally accredited, Spencer Institute. As a follow-up, She has authored the ”Design Psychology” book entitled, “Do I look skinny in this house?”

To bring education to all designers, she co-created Interior Design Camp and Design Campus, the world’s leading interior design conference, educating thousands of interior designers, decorators, and design lovers nationally and internationally.

Visit Kelli’s personal site