Owner & Lead Consultant, Productive Conflict LLC
YWahine In Business Financial Accelerator participant
Jennifer Jones-Patulli was born and raised by immigrants in Montreal, Quebec. Growing up in this French-speaking part of Canada and attending an English school, she was often called “not French enough” and frequently felt like an outsider. Despite the challenges, this experience as a “third party” eventually proved an asset when she discovered her calling in conflict management and leadership development. “Being an outsider, it’s natural in what I do. I see things differently and help my clients get new perspectives on tough issues,” Jennifer explained.
After working for the Canadian government for seven years as a conflict management practitioner (in-house mediator) and as a consulting associate with the Human Systems Dynamics Institute for five years, Jennifer immigrated to the U.S. in 2019. Since then, she’s been offering her wealth of knowledge and experience to leaders and their teams through Productive Conflict LLC. Her services include executive coaching, workshop design and delivery, group facilitation, and team-building—all to empower people to “be better stewards of their conflicts and remain professional and focused under pressure.” Today, she calls Kauai home with her partner and serves clients in Hawaii, the contiguous U.S., and Canada.
“I’m still unique in my field, mixing conflict with complexity thinking and power dynamics,” Jennifer said. “When a leader is working with me, they’re getting someone who can shine a light on power dynamics, identify strategy to influence complex patterns, and offer tactical skills around communication. Not everyone possesses all those skills.”
When asked about challenges throughout her business journey, Jennifer started with the experience of moving her business from Canada to the U.S. “I have a Canadian mindset. My profession is well-rooted there. In Canada, mediation and conflict coaching are prominent options for managing disputes. In the U.S., people often choose litigation as their resolution pathway. In Hawaii, the focus on ohana and community is more in line with my values of different people coming together to tackle the big challenges we face. It’s been a process of understanding where I’m different, where I fit in, and what that means for my business.”
Jennifer also talked about the challenges of being an immigrant. “My parents were immigrants, and now I’m one too. It’s one of many things that sets me apart, much like when I was growing up in Montreal. In business, some differences can be a competitive advantage, and others can be a risk. For example, as a veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces, I can benefit from a competitive advantage. However, as a queer immigrant, sometimes being open about who I am can be a risk."
As a participant in the YWahine In Business Financial Accelerator with instructor Mariko Gordon, Jennifer’s most significant takeaway revolves around “mixing narrative with finance.” Reflecting on her experience, she noted, “I’ve taken accounting before and learned QuickBooks. Mariko brings in narrative, teaching us how to understand numbers without getting caught up in the drama and judgment. With judgment, we can actively hold ourselves back. I see that in my journey. That was tremendously valuable and a main highlight.”
Jennifer further emphasized the exceptional quality of these programs, stating, “These programs have been great. Finding them has greatly supported me as I make important professional decisions.”
Looking toward the future, Jennifer said, “I want to be able to train others, be a mentor, and ultimately, build capacity to teach and hire. More immediately, I want to find new markets and identify new opportunities. It goes back to the course and what I’ve been learning—how to grow a business based on services.”
Jennifer offers her fellow women entrepreneurs and small business owners the following advice: “Surround yourself with smart people who will tell you things that you want to hear and don’t want to hear. You need a candid person. The services are out there, especially here in the U.S. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help. You do not have to do it alone.”