Our educational and career paths began in a similar fashion. We attended the same high school, the same university for undergraduate studies and both went to law school. We both articled with Charlottetown law firms and began practices. At that point, our paths diverged.
Kirstin: I’ve spent the past 20 years of my career supporting people to live their best lives. After one year, I left the practice of law to open a mediation firm and to teach conflict resolution at the University of Prince Edward Island. As a facilitator of collaborative process and transformative, experiential workshops for individuals and groups, I’ve honed collaboration skills and a focus on finding mutual benefit and good relationships. I often find it challenging to pick one word to describe my work: I’m a mediator, a ropes course facilitator, a conference and event planner, a project coordinator, a facilitator of collaborative and consensus process, an innovator. What flows through all of my work is a commitment to my philosophy of collaboration.
Karolyn: After law school, I joined a firm and soon became a partner. I had a successful law practice for 17 years and developed skills such as issue spotting, providing guidance and advice to individuals during times of change, and finding creative solutions in difficult situations. I didn’t know that all of these skills would someday contribute to successful outcomes for the participants of winding path inc. programs. While I greatly valued my clients and gained satisfaction from delivering quality work products, after I had children, I looked at life in a very different way and my excitement for my career began to diminish. Instinctually, I knew that I needed to pursue a different path; however, my years of training and practice as a lawyer had taught me to make decisions based solely on fact and logic – not instinct. Logic dictated that I bury my feelings, do what was practical and ‘suck it up’, because that is what is demanded of professionals in the ‘real world’. I was left feeling like I was watching life from the sidelines. I imagined an exciting life where I put aside my logic to take chances and tackle new challenges. I realized my dream when I gained the courage to take a leap and leave my legal career to follow my passion. I did not want to be living with regrets and unable to make changes because it was too late. With the decision made, I began my own two year transformative journey by immersing myself in a new life of change. I drew upon my background in sociology and applied my research and analytical skills to study, document, and reflect upon this process.
During a chance encounter, we talked about Kirstin’s work facilitating transformational workshops, and Karolyn’s idea to develop a business using research to support effective change and knew we could create something great together. That idea has grown into winding path inc.