Kristen A Tolbert Wynwood

Welcome! I’m Kristen.

I am a Nationally Board Certified and Licensed Counselor and Master Certified Career Counselor. I work with people all over the world who find themselves looking for help with the “what’s and how’s” and next best steps in their careers. 

My goal is to help you get clear and laser focused on the activities that lead to the achievement of career and life satisfaction.

A tall order?

Whether you’re a hustling entrepreneur, career changer, or student, my mission is to help you step up your game and take it to the next level by giving you the best step by step resources and support that you need to get there while taking good care of yourself along the way.

I am the founder of Career CoLabs; an online career counseling and education community focused on personal and professional development for smart, bold, thoughtful, high achievers who take charge of their careers and do what they do best. Our programs serve the dynamic and unique needs of our extraordinary leaders, entrepreneurs, careerists, and students.

I am a pragmatic creative; helping people make decisions that make the most sense for them and their situation. My humanistic and results-focused programs apply simple and strategic processes that move people forward quickly; out of stressed, stuck, overwhelmed, and confused to achieve clarity, direction, and focus to experience careers and lives that light them up and serve them well. People start achieving results quickly and show up smarter, stronger, and more productive with renewed energy and enthusiasm about their futures.

I have been working with people for over 20 years as a career counselor and coach helping them achieve personal satisfaction in their careers and lives. I have a Doctorate in Organizational Leadership with research focused on The Independent Workforce, Engagement, Relationship Marketing, and Social Media Technologies. I also have a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology.

My Career Burnout Story

I was bored, disheartened, under-appreciated, overworked, underpaid, and conflicted. (and felt really guilty for not being more appreciative and loving my jobs like my colleagues did)

The Pivot: A New Direction

Burnt out and discouraged by our fragmented and broken mental health care system, I set out to discover better ways to work with people and empower them to make the most effective and meaningful decisions for themselves that did not use dehumanizing techniques such as disparaging labels, useless clinical jargon, manipulative client techniquing, or overwhelming interventions. 

My reinvented career allows me to have more control and more impact.

My approach is guided by strategic and systems psychology merged with humanistic, existential, and transpersonal psychologies. I have a thing for reframing stories that don’t serve us well and I really despise shaming, psychobabble, and the hyper pathologizing of “normal” human behavior. It’s not really all that helpful in empowering you and driving you forward toward your goals.

Misguided. A great paying job, poor direction, and bad advice sent me on a detour to attaining a degree and career that I ended up hating.

I was supposed to pursue graduate education in I/O Psychology. That is where my interests, passion, and natural understanding and inclination were. BUT, a great paying, flexible job was pretty much handed to me, so I started counseling as a bright-eyed, idealistic 22-year old. I quickly found myself burnt out and detached from conventional psychology practice. I could never reconcile my differences in values, my personality, and needs with the culture of the corporate world and the corporate counseling industry, and for me, that was A VERY BIG deal! And frankly a deal breaker! I’ve always been a “make my own rules” kinda gal. (Ask my parents about my fierce independence and determination from toddlerhood).

I am, in fact, a 3x champion and survivor of career burnout. No kidding. Many times I thought it would kill me. The burnout and stress were showing up EVERYWHERE in my life, my health, my career, and my relationships and I found myself questioning my career and life direction and my purpose. I was exhausted and found myself employing the “fake it ’til you make it” strategy. Many times I had to drag myself out of bed, completely dreading facing the day. There were times in my life when I would wake up so sick with burnout and stress that I would vomit every morning before going to work. Burnout from my job would literally wake me up in the middle of the night. That was a really brutal existence!

It was a bad fit. I found myself pigeonholed and in incompatible environments over and over.

I learned how to be more clear, intentional, proactive, strategic, and tenacious in my career and life pursuits. The result is that I now know how to better identify compatible and aligned values, interests, people, work, and environments. I recognize toxic, incompatible working situations much more quickly and easily. I know how to clearly identify the deal breakers, the deal makers, and the negotiables. 

Some corporations have weird rules (and cognitive dissonances) about how people treat each other and how they achieve their goals.

I have a problem with that. I have always admired and have been surrounded by thoughtful leaders and great entrepreneurs. That life always made the most sense to me. In retrospect, I really suffered working in the corporate world much like many of the people I work with in my practice do— leading me to the work I do today. I found it incredibly boring and soul crushing; not allowing me the freedom to express my own passions and creativity and ability to work in the ways that I believed really mattered. My spirit was getting crushed when I was not honestly living in my own truth and purpose doing work that lit me up and allowed me to have freedom, peace, happiness, meaning, balance, flexibility, and control in my life and my work. Those are the things that I need – my personal deal makers.

The vulnerability and unpredictability in playing by someone else’s rules and economics always freaked me out too. I am a staunch advocate of creating our own success, multiple income streams, and protecting the downside.  

I have always been a connector, researcher, planner, and strategist.

My friends would say “you’re a walking encyclopedia who knows someone everywhere you go.” I’m a power connector and I have always been super resourceful and knew how to pull things together to get people unstuck and make things happen. So after my first burnout (and second and third), I hired career and business coaches to help me move through my career obstacles. It was while working with my executive coach in NYC the first time that I realized I had to figure out how to reinvent myself and create a career that inspired me and got me excited to jump out of bed every morning and face the day. We spend so much of our lives at work; shouldn’t we like and believe in what we’re doing? I continue to work with many strategists and mentors who help me clearly define the end game, move through obstacles, and achieve results and success in my career. They have been profoundly instrumental to my forward movement and successes.

Rewriting My Story. A Happy Ending.

I have reinvented my career and my work many times. It was in working with my coaches who helped me to create plans, to achieve balance, and move forward through obstacles to design a life and career that pleased me, that I was able to also create a practice that helps other people in similar situations move through their own career obstacles, because I know that life is precious and it does not have to be that way. We can always create a new story! 

Credentials and Background

Nationally Board Certified Licensed Counselor and Master Career Counselor

In-House Career Consultant for a mid-sized Federal Agency 
Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediator
20+ years as a practitioner working in Personal and Professional Development
Creator of several Proprietary Strategy and Success Systems: Careers Reinvented™, MissionMapping™, Priority Planner™, The Job Search Bootcamp, The Interview, Resume Builder. “Careers Reinvented: A Step by Step Guide for Finding Your Career Direction and Personal Brand”

Ed.D.  (Doctor of Education) Organizational Leadership.

M.S.  (Master of Science) Counseling Psychology. Specialization in Strategic and Systems Psychology.
B.A. (Bachelor of Art) Psychology. Specialization in Industrial/Organizational Psychology.

Master Career Counselor (MCC), National Career Development Association

National Certified Counselor (NCC), National Board for Certified Counselors
Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and Qualified Supervisor, Florida Department of Health

Association for Transpersonal Psychology, Palo Alto, California

My practice provides career management services to people globally through career advisor guided online programs, online video conferencing, and in offices throughout the country.