Hi there... I'm Burt Woolf, and I've spent my entire professional life exploring how people, organizations and communities create a context of quality of life in their world.
My early professional life was quite successful in conventional terms. During the 1970's and into the 1980's, I held a series of senior and chief executive positions in the public arts agency field nationally in the U.S. By the time I was 33 years old, my professional executive future looked bright and secure.
But in 1981, my life took a dramatic turn with the sudden illness and death of my first wife, just days after giving birth to our first child. As my grieving process evolved over the next 25 years, my career path as an institutional executive shifted to a portfolio of diverse professional activities -- entrepreneurial ventures, consulting assignments and personal projects -- all focusing on ways that I might help individuals, organizations, and communities find fulfillment and create high performance results, even in the face of daunting circumstances around them.
From 2001-2003, I returned to the life of an institutional manager as Executive Director of the Creative Education Foundation, an international nonprofit best known for its annual Creative Problem Solving Institute and its peer-reviewed academic publication, The Journal of Creative Behavior. During my two years at CEF, I came to see my own life as a creative process; to recognize that my own journey has had many unexpected twists and turns; and to notice that each time things have seemed daunting, limiting and constrained for me, I've somehow found the inner resources to get back up and seek new ways to express myself.
In 2004, following my tenure at CEF, I made the life-changing decision to set my professional career aside, in order to pursue a doctorate in education at the University of Massachusetts, whose flagship campus is located in Amherst Massachusetts, about a mile from my home. For the next seven years, I was a full time student, interspersing professional assignments amidst my doctoral course work, research, graduate assistantships, and dissertation writing. I earned my doctorate (Ed.D.) in early 2011.
My academic research focused on an aspect of adulthood called "transformative learning:" the process by which we are able to adapt to dramatically changing circumstances in the world around us. In particular, I studied the personal experience of five people who had shifted their work and careers from the business world to the nonprofit service sector. I recorded not only what happened to them, but more importantly, how they spoke about what happened to them – studying how their identity changed as they moved from an enterprise-driven motivation to succeed, to a mission-driven life of service and personal fulfillment. In essence, my doctoral work wrapped scholarship around the practical experiences of my own professional career and personal life.
(Click here to access Burt's dissertation).
Meanwhile, as my studies progressed, a new passion emerged for me. During three amazing trips that I took to Thailand in 2007 and 2008, I not only fell in love with that country, its people and culture (I now lead trips there) but I also began re-vision my own life and to re-create my public identity, not so much as a professional practitioner, but rather, as a seasoned life-adventurer.
I now consider the diverse professional services I offer as reflecting the wisdom I've gleaned from experiences and lessons I’ve been blessed to accumulate over the years in a wide variety of professional fields,settings and endeavors. This website encompasses my current professional passions in three of these areas, and the services that I offer to others. They are...
Center for Quality of Life. Through C4QL, I offer workshops, personal coaching and motivational speaking programs that help people learn about, and apply quality-of-life strategies to their own lives, to their teams, organizations, and communities, and to the world around them. Through the services of C4QL, people experience greater personal productivity, resourcefulness, and compassion for others, and thus find greater meaning, purpose, and fulfillment in their lives.
Accelerated Consensus® (formerly called QL Consulting) encompasses facilitation and strategic planning services I offer to assist public-sector community improvement initiatives intended to enhance the quality of people's lives where they live, work, learn, play, and visit.
World-for-World Travel. W4W Travel is my latest project, where I lead a 19-day service-learning tour to Thailand. Check out the W4W web site and contact me if you are interested in joining me for a unique and fascinating travel adventure-of-a-lifetime!
Thank you for taking a look at my professional passions. I invite you to contact me for more information, or to book one or more of these quality-of life services for yourself, your organization or your community.