Jennifer Spengler runs hard to raise money for The Leukemia Society

Jennifer Spengler has lived in La Jolla since she was 8 years old. She is founder of PR in a Flash, and co-owner of studio m la jolla with her husband photographer Michael Spengler. The couple has three daughters, Kyra, 12; Mila, 9; and Evie, 2. Spengler sits on committees at La Jolla Elementary School and The Bishop’s School, and is a member of National Charity League’s San Diego Chapter.

Spengler is also a member of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Endurance Sports Team in Training. She is working toward her second race and has raised more than $20,000 in the last two years toward cures for blood cancers like leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma, which took her father’s life. You can read more at

What brought you to La Jolla?

My sister’s desire to escape the Midwest brought us to La Jolla when I was 8. We were living in Hinsdale, Illinois, when my sister Terrie was applying to the University of San Diego and the whole family accompanied her on her campus tour trip. We stayed at a hotel in La Jolla and my parents fell in love with this beautiful coastal community. So while my sister thought she was making a fast break to the West Coast on her own, her five siblings, parents, and the family dog all followed her!

What makes this area special to you?

La Jolla is my home. I have tried to leave a few times (a semester in London, a stint in Michael’s hometown of Munich after college, a year in Northern California for a job) but I always came right back. My mom and stepfather and sisters live here, several of my close friends from elementary school and high school live in the area, and this is where my daughters were born. I have so many great childhood memories of growing up in La Jolla and I hope my daughters will feel the same when they look back on their upbringing here.

What might you add, subtract or improve in the area?

I know this response is tired, but I’d love to subtract some of the traffic and “For Lease” signs in the Village. We own a small business and it breaks our hearts every time another business has to close its doors. I’d love to see more outdoor dining in town and more walkable areas … maybe even a couple of car-less (gasp!) blocks. What I’d like most, though, is a touch of the La Jolla of old; where kids can run to a friend’s house or ride their bikes into town or to the beach without parents having to agonize over their safety; where we’re not all concerned about others’ financial well-being or marital status; where kids are just kids regardless of the labels on their clothes or the cars their parents drive.

Who or what inspires you?

Teachers inspire me every day. I don’t know how they do what they do, day in and day out, and remain passionate about education and children.My husband inspires me. He has worked so hard to follow his dream … he never complains about the long hours, petty (and not so petty) annoyances, and stresses of owning a business. He then comes home and jumps right in with the family. Authors inspire me. Those who sit down and write — whether it’s one hour at the crack of dawn before the kids wake or eight hours throughout the day. One day, I want to have the courage to write more than a blog entry or press release. Until then, I’ll keep reading and being inspired by those who “just do it.” Finally, my mom inspires me. With six kids, two stepchildren, and 20 grandkids, she continues to give endless amounts of love and support to us, while also caring for my grandmother.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

Well, if you know me well enough, you know the first person I’d have to invite is a caterer. I hate to cook. Honestly, though, I’d love to have a dinner with my dad. Just me and my dad. He died after a valiant battle against leukemia when I was 12, and I’d love to have just an hour or two to sit with him as an adult and ask him how he thinks I’m doing, what he’d like to see me do differently, and whether we’ll all be together in the end.

Tell us about what you are reading.

I have Jonathan Franzen’s “Freedom” on my iPad and I’m in awe when I can sit and really ingest each brilliant sentence.

What is your most-prized possession?

I most value my husband’s photographs of our girls and the home they hang in.

What do you do for fun?

Because I’m training for a race with TNT right now, I’m enjoying running along the coast and La Jolla’s streets of dreams. I also love to jump on my treadmill in the garage and catch up on “Grey’s Anatomy” or a “Real Housewife” or two. We love to go to the movies as a family and don’t mind the occasional gloomy day in San Diego so we can sneak off to a matinee. Quick trips to L.A. or the desert keep us happily going through the mundane of the day-to-day for weeks.

What is your greatest accomplishment?

Well, I felt pretty great crossing the finish line of my first marathon last January. I was turning 40 and wanted to do something “epic,” and I was able to raise $13,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and honor the memory of my father at the same time. But I am most proud of the family Michael and I have built together.

What is your motto or philosophy of life?

“Hope is not a plan.” While we may buy the occasional Lotto ticket, we have come to realize that it’s all on us. We can make a difference in our own lives and in the lives of others, but to do so, we have to be consciously pro-active. All that consciousness can be exhausting, but when the results are positive, it is incredibly rewarding.



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