See that motto up top there? To me, “not for school but for life we learn” means that I believe in applied research – and taking the best of academic learning to the consumer. As a consultant, I bring 15 years of research, teaching and applied experience to your organization. Plus, my journalism background means I can deliver information clearly, concisely and effectively.
Every company seeks to change the behavior of consumers – to buy their product, to embrace a certain lifestyle or to join a particular community. That makes the study of behavior change – from self-improvement to mate-preferences, from self-control to self-efficacy – integral to our understanding of self in modern society.
I am a thought leader and a member of the Curation Action Team for the Life Reimagined Institute. Since 2013 I’ve worked closely with AARP’s Brand team to launch the next phase of Life Reimagined. My roles have included:
- Education: What does the latest research tell us about behavior change? Who are the leaders in this field? How can positive psychology guide us? In a series of reports, I presented an overview of findings, with “takeaway” summaries for each section.
- Content Creation: I’ve designed two free programs for Life Reimagined. Check them out here.
- Evaluation: After the initial launch of Life Reimagined, I provided an analysis of strengths and areas for improvement, all underpinned by academic research. My report and in-depth presentation was widely circulated throughout the organization.
- Research: I led the search for the most effective behavior change programs on the market, and facilitation the introductions of those programs to the Life Reimagined team. In addition, I helped synthesize market research and consumer studies on the core audience.
- Focus Groups: I designed the stimulus for a multi-day focus group and provided an in-depth report based on the findings of this research, highlighting both the takeaway points and proposal next steps.
- Ideation: From brainstorming meetings to white papers, I have ideas and I’m happy to share them.
I serve as a board member of SEEKSafely, a self-help industry watchdog group dedicated to encouraging safe and effective personal discovery. SEEKSafely is leading a groundbreaking effort to encourage prominent self-help practitioners to sign a pledge that they will advise and guide seekers in a safe and constructive way. As a board member and consultant, I helped design the pledge and have circulated it to encourage its adoption. My roles with SEEKSafely have included:
- Guidance: I am a firm believer in the benefits of personal improvement. There’s wonderful research being done on good strategies for behavioral change, positive psychology and the importance of seeking meaning and purpose in your life. But, from supplements to seminars, if something has the power to transform for the better, it is also powerful enough to do harm. We have this idea that seminars and inspirational lectures can’t hurt, and might help. But as we learned tragically in Sedona, this just isn’t true. The promise of new beginnings and transformations are very compelling—and not all leaders are guiding their flock in a safe and research-based direction.
- Media Outreach: When SEEKSafely launched its promise campaign, I published an op-ed in USAToday to highlight its efforts. I have spoken at press conferences and mentioned the organization in interviews.
- Content: I continue to work with SEEKSafely to provide content for its site – the latest research, excerpts from my own published work, original blog content – and guidance to the other SEEKSafely members for their speeches and outreach.
Christine Whelan first came to our attention after her article on the tragedy in Sedona where three people died as a result of a sweat lodge ceremony held as the culminating event of a 5 day spiritual warrior retreat in October, 2009. Her insightful and cogent explanation of that event was the best description of what we believed happened to our daughter, Kirby Brown, at James Ray’s self-help debacle.
We met Dr. Whelan in Pittsburgh to discuss the organization we had created to educate self-help consumers and effect ethical and safe practices in the industry. She has graciously given of her time and expertise as a member of the Advisory Board of our organization, SEEK SAFELY,inc. She has been a tireless supporter of our mission, writing articles and providing a scholarly perspective to these issues on our website and appeared at a press conference we held in July, 2013 when James Ray was released from his 20 month prison sentence for negligent homicide.
Her intelligent advice, passion for truth and personal compassion have enhanced our organization and given us encouragement to pursue our mission to be Kirby’s Voice!
Seeking a Consult?
I consult with large companies and start-up ventures – not listed here for privacy and copyright reasons – on outreach in the self-improvement space, guidance on designing internal seminars on purpose and meaning seeking, and Millennial retention. If you’d like to get in on the action, contact me for more information.