Who We Are – Our Story
Jean-Paul Gravel’s life-changing moment occurred in 1996, in New York City. To this day the founder and CEO of ThroughConversation recalls it vividly:
“I experienced a beautiful moment of clarity. As if a veil had been lifted from my eyes, suddenly I could see clearly. I was no longer blinded by people’s behaviour. I could now see the intentions governing their every thought, feeling and action.”
The Jean-Paul of 1996 wasn’t expecting such an epiphany. On the surface a successful and happy young man, he was – as he realizes now, in looking back – accepting unhealthy emotions as a normal way of life. Perhaps not all that surprising, given Jean-Paul’s background.
“I was born into a very dysfunctional family where I began experiencing physical and emotional abuse at a very young age. The amount of violence I’ve lived through in my life is not something I would wish upon anyone.”
On that transformative day in 1996, he looked around and for the first time saw, really saw, the people around him.
“I noticed that everybody was pretending. As if everyone was wearing masks in order for other people to see them a certain way. It’s the only way I can describe it. Not that they were pretending on purpose; rather that living an illusion is a human condition.”
“And when I shifted my focus inwards, towards my own intentions, I realized I was no different. What I saw was the inauthenticity within everything I did. No matter how successful I had become, my life, according to this new perspective, was not real. It was a theatrical performance, and everybody around me was doing the same.”
“Through this experience I understood how beliefs shape everything from our relationships to our emotional health.”
With this understanding, relates Jean-Paul, came feelings of unconditional love and compassion for himself and for every single person around him.
The epiphany was a dramatic turning point, permanently changing the course of Jean-Paul’s life. It was also the beginning of his long journey into self-discovery – and ultimately to a method that would create happier, healthier lives: ThroughConversation.
“I have spent the last 23 years on this path, and it all began by working on myself. I realized my emotional limitations were impeding on my life and I was determined to become the best version of my self I could be.”
By 2004 Jean-Paul, while still working on his emotional limitations and physical challenges, had also began helping and caring for others.
“I discovered a very strong and undeniable link between one’s emotional freedom and physical health and this is what inspired me to create a methodology that would impact both simultaneously.”
“As I progressed on this journey, I found myself teaching more friends and more strangers. The results seen on one person would bring in another, until one day I felt that I did not have the time or the energy to keep up with this demand. This is when I considered stopping.”
But the people Jean-Paul had already helped knew he shouldn’t stop – they couldn’t let him. In their own lives they’d experienced the transformative value of his work. It was vital that he continue, they felt.
These people rallied to Jean-Paul. They stepped in and provided the support he needed so that he could indeed go on. Olga was one of them, and her story is next.
Olga Kniazeva, PhD, says she came across ThroughConversation in 2009 by accident.
But the company’s Managing Partner then laughs and corrects herself: “If you really think about it, everything in our lives happens for a reason. And I needed this to happen, just then, more than at any other moment in my life.”
Born and raised in the Soviet Union, Olga lived through the excitement of that country’s collapse. Those dramatic historical events taught her a lot about life, she recalls.
They also paved the way to an exciting career for her in international security, politics and intercultural communications. Olga travelled the world, working with a number of prominent academic and policy making organizations such as NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Brussels, Harvard University Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and Women Waging Peace. In 2003 she made her way to Vancouver, where she pursued her doctoral degree.
Like Jean-Paul, Olga experienced a major turning point. In 2009, she was leading a life that to onlookers appeared picture-perfect. But inside, as Olga confesses:
“I was dealing with an ongoing personal crisis. My emotional and physical health was deteriorating, and I was desperately looking for help. I was working with a few different therapists and coaches in hopes of finding a solution that would help me regain my happiness.”
Olga’s hopes weren’t translating to reality, though – until she encountered ThroughConversation.
“After speaking with Jean-Paul for a little while, I quickly realized that he had exactly what I was looking for. He emanated the wisdom and knowledge I was craving to find. I signed up for the program, and was very impressed with the results of the process. I could not believe how much and how quickly my life changed for the better!”
Inspired by all that ThroughConversation had done for her, Olga decided to help others who could benefit find out about it. The importance of letting more people know about ThroughConversation grew from an interest into something more powerful: a sense of responsibility, a calling, a mission.
Olga decided to change her career path, she was determined to concentrate on making this unique, remarkable program accessible worldwide. From 2013 on, she has devoted her time and expertise to expanding ThroughConversation internationally.
“The work we do is incredibly satisfying for both of us, personally and professionally,” says Olga. “It’s amazing to see people coming in through the door, seeking help and growth, wanting to get out of their struggles – and then seeing their transformations by the end of their journey. I can’t tell you how happy we are, how satisfied we feel, to see them come out of our program empowered, resilient, free from emotional stress and freshly invigorated for life and all the promise it now holds for them.”
Olga and Jean-Paul at the Terminal City Club, 2017
Medical doctors, top CEOs and many others have done and endorsed ThroughConversation. Various news media have featured the program. If you’d like more information and/or are interested, please feel welcome to contact us – and to join the Conversation.
Many of our clients become great friends
Brandy taking Jean-Paul to North Vancouver for a hike in the woods.
Jean-Paul and Jim in a Ferris wheel while In Seattle.
Rob and Jean-Paul spending the evening at Bacchus Lounge.
Shanelle and Jean-Paul on the seawall.
Rahim surprising Nina with flowers at the end of her program.
Jean-Paul and Rahim at Provence, in Yaletown.
Stefanie and Jean-Paul at Hy’s Steakhouse.
Eric shows Olga, Masha, and Jean-Paul a different view of the city.
Andrew’s last session, he’s clearly going to miss Jean-Paul.
Jean-Paul and Olga going to a ThroughConversation event in Vancouver.
Jean-Paul and Olaf at Bacchus Lounge for the Concierge Magazine photo shoot.
Olga, Keith, Jean-Paul, Masha, and Alissa at Mount Baker in Washington.
Olga and Jean-Paul at The Portland Tango Festival (2009)
Jean-Paul and Olga at Seasons in the Park (2019)
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