Meet Christine Williams: Lawyer, banker, Alison Publisher
Christine Williams practiced law in Chicago before moving from the United States to Canada and beginning a career in banking. She has been teaching in Canada for nearly 15 years. Her areas of expertise are law and personal finance. Christine tells us about her background, her love of teaching and her advice for Alison’s learners.
I was raised in the United States, in Chicago. I originally worked as a lawyer. I moved to Canada twenty years ago and instead of practicing law here, I went straight into banking. I did personal financial planning which I love, I just love being able to manage that part of our lives. I got into education about 12 years ago. I was teaching law and finance at a local university here in Vancouver. I was doing online education before most people were, now of course everybody’s doing it.
I was looking at publishing some classes I had designed. I had this idea a while ago of how can we teach law in an easy, attractive, accessible way. Common law is a thousand years of cases, it can be a very dense topic. So I had designed a series of videos about someone starting a small cafe, and what would be involved in learning the basics of corporate law for a small cafe. I’d put that together and I found a link to Alison. I did some research and I really liked it. One reason I like Alison is that your material is available free. I really like the idea that anyone in the world can educate themselves free of charge. It is no longer something that only the wealthy can do and I just think that’s an amazing model.
I like the idea of putting forward your material in small modules. All my material is 4 minutes or less because people are busy. We have children, families, jobs, covid. Folks are not really available for a 50 minute lecture. Make it small and make it accessible. I would also say that a lot of online learners do not speak English as their first language so use accessible language if you can. Make your course attractive and interesting and people will come because there are people all over the world who want to educate themselves.
Understanding law gives us a sense of power over our environment and the same is true of finance. Personal finance is about how to position yourself to be as wealthy as you want to be. Life is gonna kick us around. There’s gonna be job loss, sickness, credit issues. But I like the idea that anyone can look at my courses and position themselves with small easy accessible steps to set themselves up to take care of themselves and their family without pulling your hair out about money. We shouldn’t be worrying about money. We should worry about other things: the love in our lives, our connections, our communities. If we get our finances in line, then we can think about more important things in life.
As far as law, I focus on common law. I think of law as a superpower. If you can understand the basics of law you can do a lot with it. You can manage your way through a very complicated world and have some idea of where you and your family and your business are located and how to move yourself forward. People say my classes are accessible and interesting. Most of all I want them to be applicable.
Free education means that anyone in the world can get a great education. It is no longer limited to just those families who can afford to send their kids away for 4 years or 6 years. Anyone can learn what they want to learn. And it’s an exciting world for those of us who choose to take advantage of it.
Give learning 10 minutes a day, don’t knock yourself out. Everybody’s busy but see if you can educate yourself ten minutes a day, just watch one or two modules. After a month, two months, you’ll be lining up certificates and skills. You’ll be earning self-esteem for yourself and you’ll be improving your prospects. It doesn’t take a lot of time.
If I could teach the world anything, it would be English! I love the English language. It’s messy, it’s difficult, it’s complicated, it’s nuanced. It changes every day. It’s a mess but it is the international language of commerce. I would probably publish a series that could help people learn English quickly and easily.