Lynne’s life has been a constant process of embarking on new ventures and enjoying many learning experiences. She then somehow manages to rearrange these various pieces of her life in a multitude of different ways, almost like a kaleidoscope.
Although half French Canadian by heritage, she was raised in a non-French speaking home. She went off to college with four years of high school French, but decided to start a new language. Her degree in Russian Studies from Mount Holyoke College led her into teaching and then to graduate school at Rutgers University where she earned a Master’s degree in Modern European History. Her love for history, particularly women in history, and for the French and Russian languages was, however, back-burnered by a 17-year business career (MBA from University of California at Berkeley) at two very large financial institutions.
In the middle of that career, a curious chain of events significantly readjusted the course of her life for the next 20 years when she rather serendipitously fell into the study of creativity. After completing her Ed.D at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, she let her passion for the topics of creativity and leadership drive her departure from her banking career toward independent consulting and adjunct teaching positions in local colleges and universities. As part of that consulting practice, Lynne published Breakthrough Creativity: Achieving Top Performance Using the Eight Creative Talents (2001) and The Breakthrough Creativity Profile and Facilitator’s Guide (2003, 2012), along with several articles on topics of creativity and leadership. While still consulting, she spent 5-1/2 years as a senior researcher at Harvard Business School, where she co-authored multiple cases and articles on critical leadership challenges. Continuing to pursue more writing projects, she helped a dear friend write and publish his memoir You Can’t Win If You Don’t Play.
Another set of unexpected occurrences led her to start on a different path while still working as a consultant. For over a decade now, she has been researching the history of her eighth great grandmother. The journey to uncover her ancestor’s story has caused Lynne to come almost full circle back to her French Canadian roots and her love of history, although now more enriched by life’s twists and turns. And after teaching, writing and talking about creativity for so many years and urging others to unleash their creative talents, she has now begun to access in depth all of her own talents as a dedicated writer of non-fiction.
Throughout her life, she has continued to be a dogged questioner and researcher. She now is putting those disciplined analytical, management, and networking skills that were polished in business school and in her many years in banking and consulting to good use in her new project. The search for her ancestor’s story requires her to dig deep into the history of 17th and 18th century France and Quebec, to unearth 300 year old records that reveal the details of the lives of her ancestor and her three husbands, and to chase down a variety of different leads across Quebec, the United States and France in order to put all the various pieces of her ancestor’s life together.
Along the way, Lynne has had the good fortune of connecting with her second cousin C. Peter Dumont, younger by exactly 364 days. Raised in the same hometown as Lynne and also the oldest of five children, Peter’s life has taken a quite different course. Since both his parents are of French-Canadian heritage, he grew up speaking French as a first language. After attending elementary school in New Hampshire, he received a grant to complete his high school studies in French at a boarding school in Quebec. He went on to college in Sherbrooke, Quebec for six years before pursuing studies that would lead to the priesthood. After completing his A.B degree at St. John’s Seminary in Boston, he continued his theological studies at St. Francis Seminary in Pennsylvania where he received his Master of Divinity degree.
Peter was ordained a priest in 1971. Over the past 40 years he has served in a variety of capacities in several parishes across New Hampshire. Since at that time a significant number of his parishioners still spoke French and were of French-Canadian heritage, Peter’s skills in the French language continued to stay sharp.
In the midst of his pastoral work, Peter, like Lynne, became interested in his family history. His interest, however, has been much broader. He has managed to capture his complete family tree, as contrasted with Lynne’s focus on a single ancestor. His tenacious persistence and incredible attention to detail have resulted in the mapping of all eight grandparents back to their French ancestors; he has also managed to visit most of their birthplaces across France and Quebec.
Peter’s knowledge and disciplined research have already proven to be invaluable to Lynne’s project. They are very much looking forward to a most fun and fruitful collaborative adventure in tracking down the story of their eighth great grandmother, Jeanne Chevalier.