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148 Waverly Place
New York, NY, 10014
United States

New, female-led commemorative jewelry and gifts company offering stylish alternatives to traditional college and high school gifts like class rings. Many of the collections are inspired by high school and college architecture. 

 

Compass Connections

Discover the Nature of your Leadership

kyle walotsky

March marks the celebration of Women’s History Month. Throughout every industry and in the streets of New York we have heard and seen campaigns empowering female leadership. To continue this theme I wanted to celebrate two women entrepreneurs whose clarity, passion and belief in their purpose has been an endless source of strength. Friends and mentors - from my freshman year dorm room to launching Kyle Cavan, I want to introduce you to two of my greatest sounding boards and fellow female entrepreneurs, Kristin and Alexandra.

Kristin Gregory Meek and Alexandra Dupont Crosswell hold their BA’s in developmental psychology and psychology, respectively, from Duke University and now have a masters and PhD between them. Their pathways though different, Kristin as a consultant and entrepreneur and Alexandra as a health psychologist and researcher, have now merged in mission as they co-create a leadership development business called WYLD. I asked them to interview one another and explain to us more about WYLD, their work and their opinions on what women are seeking most right now.

Check out www.wyleadership.com to learn more about their June WYLD Women Retreat in Wyoming or sign up for their daylong Women Who Run with the Wolves retreat in San Francisco on May 6th.

ADC:  I am so proud of what you've built with WYLD. Tell everyone what it is, and where it came from?

KGM: WYLD is a leadership retreat business inspired by my love of the great outdoors and passion for human growth and development. WYLD is built upon the science and stories of ancient indigenous wisdom, neuroscience, and positive psychology. Through activities like moving cattle, shooting guns, fly fishing or working with horses, participants learn about their strengths, their brain and their impact and potential as a leader and storyteller. Similar to Kyle Cavan’s logo, the compass and four directions serve as a metaphor and developmental model for WYLD’s curriculum. People learn and grow best when their body and mind are are in tandem and experiencing something meaningful. Giving yourself the gift of reflection, wilderness and adventure is vital for our wellbeing and yet an opportunity we often disregard in our overwhelmed lives. WYLD serves as a catalyst to improve the way people and teams work and navigate everyday life.

KGM:  Now it's my turn to brag, you are a wise WYLD woman scientist, share more about what you study, why it's important to you, and why it's important to the world?

ADC: I have always been fascinated by the mind-body connection. Finally science has caught up to what we know intuitively -- that the mind and body are deeply connected and we need to understand this connection in order to heal ourselves from trauma and illness. As a scientist I investigate the biology underlying the mind-body connection. My belief is that if we can actually understand how the mind (say, experiencing stress) affects our body (like increasing inflammation), then we can figure out how to reverse those negative effects. For example I study how meditation and yoga can both improve our ability to handle stressful situations and negative emotions, and enhance our cognitive and immune system functioning. In my work as a leadership coach my goal is to help people become aware of their own thought patterns, emotional reactions, and to develop skills to overcome the tendencies that don't help them. 

ADC: I’d be curious to hear how you explain how your background in positive psychology informs or integrates with the curriculum you've developed for WYLD?

KGM: Sure… So for those of you who don’t know, Positive Psychology is the scientific study of the strengths that enable individuals and communities to thrive. The field is founded on the belief that people want to lead meaningful fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within them, and to enhance their experiences of love, work, and play.

WYLD participants learn how to better articulate and apply their strengths (via Clifton StrengthsFinder) to maximize their work, relationships and better achieve their goals. PERMA (Positive Emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and Achievement) is a well-known model for well being based on the five key elements or drivers of authentic happiness and meaning. The five day retreat is guided by these themes as well as neuroplasticity, energy management, gratitude, and creativity.

KGM: How do YOU think the science and the curriculum are integrated?

ADC:In so many ways! For example, one of the parts of the WYLD curriculum I'm most excited about right now is the work on getting in touch with the sensations of your body. This is a concept my research colleagues are just beginning to explore -- a concept called interoception. Interoceptive awareness is your ability to tap into your physical sensations and listen to what your body is telling you about your emotional states. And some people are better at this than others. Being out in nature and taking a mindful solo hike or herding cattle on horseback requires you to connect in with your body, and helps you develop the skill of interoceptive awareness. Developing this skill, so we can connect and listen to our bodies well, enables us to better handle stress in our daily lives. 

KGM: We recently ran a Women Who Run With the Wolves day long retreat in SF together- what was your favorite part and what do you think we learned about what women need most in the world right now? 

ADC:My favorite part was seeing how much beauty each woman has within them. I feel like most days I rush around, getting sh** done, and not actually seeing people. By being in nature with 14 women for a full day with no cell phones and meaningful conversations I was reminded how truly miraculous and beautiful each person. It reminded me that we need this type of work so badly in the world -- the type of hard work that makes us slow down and look deep within ourselves, and deep within others, to try to understand the world with a little broader lens or from a different angle. With the political and social climate as it is, I see a need for women to come together and connect meaningfully now more than ever. The power of it is that it gives each person who is there that little bit of extra strength they need to make a stand for what they believe in, whatever that is for them. 

ADC: How would you answer the same question? 

KGM: Oh gosh, it’s about getting back to basics. It’s about old school summer days of curiosity and wonder.  This retreat was particularly powerful for me because I witnessed brilliant, driven women reclaim bits and pieces of their authenticity and curiosity all because Alexandra and I dared to turn an idea into an invitation and date on the calendar. 

Brene Brown says, the two greatest words in the human language are "me too". Something very powerful happens when we take the time to put down our phone, explore in nature, ask questions and listen to answers. When we actually take the time to use our five senses and be present in the museum that is a forest or a beach something shifts in us; we tap back into our inner wisdom and intuition - we find ourselves in the stories of others and under the big, big sky. 

If you look at the world around you, if you really notice and look around the corners of your day as if there might be some magic or a little message just for you… It appears.

Only at Tulane, only in New Orleans

kyle walotsky

Tulane University Alumni Ali Garcia

Ali Garcia, Tulane University '15

As a Tulane University student, there are so many incredible aspects that make this university such a special place, but one of the greatest parts of Tulane is having New Orleans at your fingertips.  While the education in the classroom is obviously a critical part of any college education – especially at Tulane – It was not only my professors that inspired me, but stepping out and sharing in the celebration of the food, music and personality of New Orleans.

I graduated a few years ago and have since moved to New York City but experiencing the culture and history of New Orleans first hand is something that stays with you long after you have left. As a Tulane student you are immersed in NOLA culture, and one of the biggest celebrations of this unique culture is Mardi Gras.

 Mardi Gras and the events leading up to it are some of my favorite memories from school. Mardi Gras doesn’t just take place on Bourbon Street or along the parade route – the costumes, music and celebrations take place all over campus. Mardi Gras may not be the typical “traditional” celebration but some of my favorite parts of were the traditions my friends and I made our own and relieved each year. It was also incredible that people from all over the world traveled to OUR city, to our home to experience the culture, music, and vibrancy that is NOLA. When you live in New Orleans, it is YOUR celebration. Like the saying goes, “Only at Tulane, only in New Orleans”.

I hope all the current students, exhausted after the marathon that is Mardi Gras, realize what a once in lifetime experience we all share. It is an experience that connects us back to not only New Orleans and Tulane University but a shared history, Alma Mater, and home.

The Washington and Lee Legacy

kyle walotsky

Kyle Cavan Washington and Lee University Alumni Profile

Lindsay Crittenden, Washington and Lee '13

Where are you from and where did you go to college? Richmond, Virginia and Washington and Lee University

What was the most important tradition at W & L and how has it impacted your life? Probably the honor system. Personal relationships run very deep and wide at W&L, and I think the honor system has a lot to do with it, directly or indirectly. It instilled in many of us a strong sense of trust and faith in others. And I think that optimistic approach to relationships can go a long way in a world where that's hard to find.

Where do you live now and what are you "doing there"? New York City. I'm in graduate school at Parsons studying Interior Design and Architecture.

How has living in New York impacted your personal style? New York gives you lots of room to play around with different looks and decide on what styles feel right and fit your personality best. The city has made me more playful while simultaneously helping me hone in to my favorite looks. I've finally found my staples.

Who inspires you most? That's a hard one. I gather different types of inspiration from different people. Each person in my family is a big source of inspiration. They all have their own talents and dreams and encourage me to go out and pursue my own. Artists of all crafts who make amazing things, and who create intellectual dialogue about people and society through their work. Edward Abbey. Hemingway. Anyone who packs their bags and moves to a new country and travels. Mother nature. Passionate people. And dogs. I hope I'm like my dogs one day.

Redefining a Classic

kyle walotsky

As I’ve been building Kyle Cavan over the past few years, I’ve spent countless hours traveling to campuses around the country, reconnecting with old friends, and meeting new ones.  Compass Connections is meant to be a place where we can share the stories of students and alumni whose passion and purpose we hope to honor through our collections. It seemed fitting that the first post should tell my story. I hope you enjoy reading it, as much as I’ve enjoyed getting to live it. 

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The idea started small. A few years after college graduation, I was looking at my own collection of jewelry – defined by a few too many oversized costume necklaces. I was truly proud of the collection that I’d put together but I realized that my cherished pieces weren’t the loudest, newest or even my most expensive. My real treasures were the one that were handed down to me and that I never took off, like the cross that I had worn underneath those oversized necklaces since my 16th birthday. They weren’t just beautiful, they inspired me, and they connected me to my family and my past. Each piece evoked feelings in me that were beyond description, and together they told my life’s story. This is when I knew I wanted to design jewelry that would have meaning for every person that wore it. With this new purpose in mind, I immediately reflected on what was missing from my story and it was in this moment that the Kyle Cavan story began.

My years at Duke University were some of the most important years in my life, but I owned very few things that reminded me of those years. I had never purchased a class ring, because, even at 21, I knew I would never wear it. So, I set out to redefine the classic class ring and design a Duke-inspired jewelry collection that I would be proud to wear every day. The Signature Bracelet was my modern take on the classic piece that many people owned, but few actually wore.

The architectural elements were not introduced until I stepped back onto the Duke University campus and into the Duke University chapel. Call it my AHA moment but transforming the detailed gothic vaulted ceiling of the chapel into that first Shield Pendant came naturally. I had been considering using elements from my family crest, in the shape of a shield, as a logo, and it seemed like a natural fit that the 21st century interpretation of family shields would be found in the hallways of higher education. The rest of the designs came together as I began to source my inspiration from the iconic architecture, familiar crests and timeless beauty found on college campuses like Duke. 

Today, we have 13 college collections and we continue to grow.  It is my hope that these collections stand the test of time and serve as a reminder of one of my favorite quotes,

Be more than proud of your legacy. Live up to it.

With Love, Kyle 

Coming Soon!

kyle walotsky

We are here to inspire and connect people across this unique network (a network that will continue to grow as we add more schools)Posts will feature student and alumni profiles, style tips, architectural influences, inspirational school stories, and lifestyle content. Ultimately, we hope to spark new connections and relationships among this network that wouldn't have existed if we didn't make the introduction. It's like when you introduce your work friends to your home friends and they end up all loving each other. There's no better feeling!