Canada’s Top Businesswomen: Nathalie Boutet
written by: Sarah Lambert
Editor-in-Chief at Women’s Post and blogs at thelaughingmedusa.com.
Nathalie Boutet, Family Law Mediator and Collaborative Negotiator & Solicitors and Co-Founder of NEXT Ltd.
Growing up, Nathalie Boutet thought she wanted to become a psychologist, but realized that law would open more doors and be a better avenue for her to pursue her desire for helping people. With this focus in mind, she was called to the bar in 1991 and decided to practice family law. While practicing and seeing how families could be torn apart by the legal system, Nathalie was motivated to go into mediation and collaborative law, and now works in these areas at the Basman Smith law firm in Toronto. Here she uses interest-based negotiation for families undergoing separations, in order to avoid the uncertain outcomes and unpleasant process of the court system.
Nathalie is also a legal member of the Chief Justice of Ontario Advisory Committee on Professionalism, member of Family Mediation Canada, member and former president of the Association of French speaking jurists of Ontario and a former member of the Equity and Aboriginal Issues Committee of the Law Society of Upper Canada.
“I love to be part of policy development,” Nathalie explains, “I love to bring in people with different expertise and collaborating for the betterment of whatever the initiative is.”
Nathalie is always looking to better herself as well and is currently enrolled in a neuro awareness training course, committed to integrating what she knows about the brain and how people make choices; it also ties in with her teachings on neuro family law. She is the founder of the Neuro Family Law Institute, an organization designed to raise awareness of how the brain works and how families are impacted by separations and divorces.
After both personal and professional experiences, Nathalie and her partner, David Folk, both realized that families and individuals at crossroads in their relationships were suffering even after relationships ended.
The divorce rate is said to be higher in second marriages than it is in first. People seem to be making the same mistakes, and changing partners doesn’t necessarily resolve the problem. It was this knowledge that inspired the couple to start NEXT Ltd. Using a science-based methodology, NEXT takes individuals and families beyond traditional therapy and counselling. “We don’t just work with who you are, we focus on who you will become,” says Nathalie.
Nathalie balances her dynamic career with her role as a mother and an active lifestyle. The knowledge she has attained through her professional endeavours has also helped her gain perspective in her personal life. Aware of the pitfalls that can sometimes occur in blending families, Nathalie and David proceeded with theirs with caution, waiting four years to move in together. She feels that many people make the mistake of rushing into things. Fortunately for them, she says that their caution led to a seamless experience.
When it comes to balancing it all, for Nathalie, it’s all about priorities. “It’s really important to me to focus on my priorities – my priorities are my family and work – but within that, if there’s a choice to promote the wellness of families – I really see what the opportunity is and see if it fits my objective of the wellness of families; it requires making choices,” she explains.