Bob Tomes and Jane Warren are husband and wife.
Normally this wouldn’t be news on any day but their wedding day (16 years ago), but the two of them are also partners on a new digital counselling platform. It’s called The Journey, and it promises to unite people going through a divorce with the information, resources, and support they might not otherwise know where to find.
Jane Warren explains it thusly.
“The Journey is providing a place where people can, whatever step in the divorce they’re at, can get information, resources, and one on one support from professionals that they might need along the way. We would collect psychologists, coaches, mediators, ideally lawyers, financial professionals, anyone who can offer support. If you were listed, you’d provide free information, videos, ebooks: here’s how I can support you, and here’s how we can connect.”
Jane has connected to over 1,000 couples in her 12 years of divorce mediation. Bob Tomes was originally an accountant with Telus since it was Alberta Government Telephones and now works as a relationship coach.
The first seeds of the project were planted when Bob suggested to his wife that she simply have the answers for the most basic questions (“I’m filing for divorce, what now?”) ready to go for potential clients. Before Jane was a mediator, she had a 20 year long career in IT, and it was this experience that she called upon to get The Journey started, beginning with a master video archive meant to answer as many of the introductory questions people have upon starting their divorces.
The video archive is already available for use at TheJourney.io. All of the videos are under five minutes—most between three and four minutes long. Eventually the archive will contain between 150 to 200 videos—currently the site has 145 of them available. The Journey is offering those videos for free, with a second tier offer to be factored in upon the archive’s completion. According to Jane, it’s been well-received.
“People who’ve engaged with it gave really good feedback in terms of its use and value, so we’ve been very pleased with that. One of my big bugbears on the internet is long, long videos. One of the things I was determined to do was keep everything as short as possible. …I had to discipline myself, stay on topic, and did a separate video. I had to keep all of them small.”
The videos may be small, but The Journey has big things ahead. Her Calgary mediation practice, Civilized Divorce, will be digitized to the best of her abilities.
“I want people who are not just in Calgary to have access to this information, and these ideas, and the possibilities that can help them take what is traditionally such a an adversarial process and event and make it into more of a springboard for a better life than a millstone.” There are limits to what can be offered: obviously legal advice that would be appropriate in Maine wouldn’t apply in Manitoba. Yet there’s never been a divorce advice collective of this scale before.
Bob approaches the project from a more pragmatic position, but with exactly the same zeal.
“There’s 7,000 people a day in the US who are receiving divorce papers. There’s so many people who are going through this process. From what we can see on the professional assistance side, the counselors, the mediators, the financial advisors, there’s plenty of people out there who can help but they just don’t know how to market themselves,” he explains. “How can we help them market themselves? By bringing both sides together. There’s a large number of people always going through it, and a large group of providers looking to help, and they’re technophobes.”
With 145 videos online already, that’s one thing you certainly can’t call Bob or Jane.