WYLD's Roots - Our Story
WYLD is about finding the internal compass within yourself or your business. It is about quieting society’s chaos and incessant chatter that influences us to steer our lives or businesses according to cultural expectations, norms and pacing. Inspired by the beauty and simplicity of Wyoming and the resources within yourself to build the life you want, WYLD is about learning to see and feel what’s already within you. Undomesticated, free, autonomous, and creative, WYLD serves people of all ages and industries.
Here is our acorn to oak story…
Kristin spent her childhood summers working on her family’s cattle ranch in Buffalo, Wyoming. Instead of swim lessons and sleep away camp, she learned about the seasons of work on a ranch, how to fish, shoot, build fires, and appreciate the classroom of nature. (She did, eventually, learn to swim, too.)
Growing up outside of New York City it was natural for Kristin to feel the cultural value and pressure of working her way to Wall Street. She decided to major in Finance at Duke. And then she failed her economics class. Hoping to restore her confidence, Kristin’s father gave her a book, “Now, Discover Your Strengths”, written by his mentor in college, Don Clifton.
Having a concrete positive language to describe the automatic patterns and pathways of her mind and personality, it made sense to her why psychology, anthropology, and sociology came so innately to her. She changed her major to psychology and began following a path of curiosity, rapid learning, and joy.
Enthusiastic about Gallup’s research, Kristin reached out to Gallup to inquire about summer internships. Synchronistically, that summer (2004) was the first year Gallup, in partnership with Thurgood Marshall College Fund, was offering internships for college students to become Strengths Coaches for other student leaders across the country.
At Gallup, Kristin met her mentor, Connie Rath, and started her journey of guiding others in the understanding and application of their strengths. Upon graduation from Duke (2007) she immediately got her Masters in Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) at University of Pennsylvania.
The following year Gallup hired Kristin full-time as a selection analyst and strengths coach. Kristin moved to the education team in 2009, excited to consult, teach, and coach administrators and educators in public schools across the nation. Kristin worked with school districts within Georgia, Texas, and Maryland to develop strengths-based school cultures.
In 2013 Kristin got curious about what other experts in the coaching field were teaching and enrolled in Coaching Training Institute (CTI) co-active coaching courses.
CTI graduation required a “capstone” where each individual created a roadmap and action plan for applying the breadth and depth of leadership lessons acquired through the program. This call to action combined with Kristin’s love of nature, horses, and adventure became the catalyst for her life’s quest. This quest became her life’s work, Wyoming (WY) Leadership (LD)--WYLD.
Two months later Kristin and her brother Morgan ran their first WYLD pilot at the Quarter Circle G Ranch in Buffalo, Wyoming. Using the expansion and activities of the wild west as a co-teacher, Kristin created experiential curriculum blending Gallup’s workplace research, Positive Psychology, neuroscience, and coaching. Each WYLD activity serves as a metaphor for purposeful living and working. Each experience provides feedback on how we uniquely show up as a leader.
Kristin continued for the next several summers bringing different groups of people together for WYLD retreats. In 2015 she transitioned from Gallup’s non-profit, The Clifton Foundation, and founded The Strengths Lab. The Strengths Lab is a 501c3 that brings students with high entrepreneurial potential together to build a business. As a curriculum designer and lead teacher Kristin launched the Builders program, a 4 week internship that guides students in a launch of a profitable business. In August 2017, after helping hundreds of students know their value in the workforce Kristin decided to pursue her own entrepreneurial pursuit full time.
...and so WYLD was born from a non-linear path that started with a ranch and a failed economics class. Today, WYLD is a web of coaches, mentors, and faculty that together help individuals and teams find their true north.