Karen Patterson, owner of Muskoka Family Works, is a family mediator and relationship coach. Through her years in the business, she often noticed that when many women are in transition or conflict they can feel lonely and isolated. To help close that gap in the community, Patterson decided to launch the Women and Wisdom group.
“At the time, I myself was beginning the road to empty nesting and realized that it was a tougher transition than I imagined,” she said. “I noticed how great it felt to have the support of women friends from different ages and stages. Many women don’t have that network so I wanted to create it.”
The group started with 40 women and within just one year it quickly grew to 416.
For the first two years, Patterson offered evening workshops once a month.
“The intent was to have a facilitated chat/support group. We covered topics such as how to navigate family relationships, personal goal setting, managing finances. At around the second year, I decided to launch a Facebook group so that I could reach other women who may also benefit from having a safe, peer place to check into.” (Joining the Faceboook group is free. You can request to join at Women & Wisdom Muskoka.)
“Part of my wish was to have a multi-age group so people can share their wisdom from different perspectives,” said Patterson. “I didn’t want a ‘mom’s group’ or a ‘business women’s’ group.”
She is currently organizing her fall calendar and will soon be starting an email group for updates on events. Starting this autumn, Patterson will be changing the format of the in-house sessions and will be offering four-to-five-week programs.
In the works right now is a workshop titled “Re-Finding Our Fun Selves” which will be held on Thursday nights for five weeks.
“I’m also planning to start online ‘tea and talk’ nights where people can sign up ahead for an interactive group without having to leave home,” said Patterson.
The majority of Patterson’s events and workshops are free, and some have a small fee to pay for supplies. She recently received a grant from the District of Muskoka Pay-it-Forward program, but before that she covered most of the costs of running the workshops herself.
“It’s kind of my way to give back as a business. I often have people call for relationship coaching who can’t afford it,” said Patterson.
To contact Patterson, email [email protected]
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