John Curtis is not one to shy away from challenges or change. In fact, they are precisely what motivate him. His interest in problem solving steered him early on in his undergrad years to change academic paths and pursue a degree in Philosophy, which he later followed up with what he calls an “applied philosophy” degree, graduating from Queen’s Law School in 1995. It was while studying for this second degree that he discovered his interest in employment law, and workplace related disputes.
John Curtis shares his knowledge, experience, thoughts and ideas in various works and publications available for download.
Throughout his academic studies, and early in his career as a young lawyer, John was also pursuing one of his personal passions; sailing. As a member of the Canadian Sailing Team, he strived to compete in the Olympics, and succeeded to do so in 2004, Athens. Once the Olympics were over, John spent a year working as High Performance Manager and General Counsel at the Canadian Yachting Association which was the beginning of his special interest in sport law.
While learning about conflict resolution and how to get the most out of a team, John was able to relate to his own experiences within his sailing career. As a highly competitive sport, double-handed sailing relies very much upon being able to get the best out of two different people, and being able to resolve any conflicts quickly. John views this teamwork as being central to success, as the ‘magic happens’ when a good team can accomplish the goals better than two people working alone. He became fascinated with how this relates to the workplace where conflict is far too commonplace and destructive of potential. He decided to turn his focus to helping people avoid these pitfalls and resolve things before they get to the breaking point of a court case, arbitration or a messy termination.
John has been a sessional lecturer for Alternative Dispute Resolution at Queen’s University Law School, in Kingston, Ontario, for the last 2 years and a lecturer in Negotiation before that. He is a negotiation and mediation skills trainer with the Mediation Centre of South Eastern Ontario, and also specializes in conflict coaching in the work place.
John’s career’s as both a lawyer, professional mediator, educator and an Olympian have given him a unique perspective on the issues surrounding conflict in the work place, and the value added in learning how to resolve them. He combines his professional skills and experience with the dedication and determination required to be a top athlete.