Jon Kenfield

Jon Kenfield - photo

Founder, CEO and Master Solutionist, The Solutionist Group.

Arbitrator, Mediator and Expert: Dispute Solutions.

Family Business Adviser: see Family Business Strategies.

Author: “The Solutionist Guide to Family Business” (360pages).

Qualifications and Work Experience

(download full CV)

Jon is a Master Solutionist.

He has an honours degree in law, and has been a chartered accountant for over 30 years, including positions as a principal/director in two “Big 4” firms. He’s a Grade 1 Commercial Arbitrator and one of Australia’s most experienced Mediators and Family Business Advisers. Jon is also a qualified teacher, scuba diving instructor and oil rig diver.

Jon has been involved in professional development training for many years and enjoys developing workshops on topics as diverse as: communication, negotiation, facilitation and mediation; values & visioning; problem solving & decision making; succession planning & business continuity; leadership and family business best practice.

After obtaining a law degree, Jon worked as a scuba instructor and safari guide in the Red Sea; as an adventure travel and wildlife photo-journalist based in London; as a developer and promoter of worldwide adventure travel programs, and as an underwater photographer on the oil rigs of the North and Java Seas.

He returned to England; qualified as a chartered accountant and promptly went overseas to work for Deloitte in Africa (Zambia and Zimbabwe).

In 1985, with wife Sara and 1.6 children, he migrated to Australia, settled in Perth, re-joined Deloitte, and established Australia’s first major forensic accounting and dispute resolution practice. He transferred to Melbourne in 1992 to establish a national forensic practice, and later joined Ernst & Young.

Seeking more freedom to provide clients with the types of process and outcomes he believed they were really asking for, Jon left EY to establish his own boutique practice: Dispute Solutions. His aim was to provide innovative conflict management processes for clients who wanted practical solutions without pitched battles and enormous fees.

Ten years later the firm spawned The Solutionist Group (“TSG”) to reflect its broadening focus on proactive problem solving. Dispute Solutions remains a leader in the dispute resolution field, while TSG is the leader for creative problem solving. The two companies co-exist happily, side-by-side.
Australian Family Businesses started coming out of the closet in the late 1990s. Jon was there to greet and encourage them, initially as a uniquely well-qualified dispute resolver, specialising in managing meltdown family conflicts, and later as an accredited adviser, helping families to avoid getting into conflict in the first place.

Interests and Pastimes

Jon Kenfield - fly fishing
Jon’s interests include reading, writing and films. His main passions (outside work and family) are fly fishing, travel and photography, which provides plenty of scope for an ever-expanding bucket list of things to do, while he can still do them.

Jon’s recently published book, “The Solutionist Guide to Family Business”, is regarded as the definitive Australian text on operating a prosperous family business and having a harmonious family. It draws heavily on his many years of conflict management experience, which have been enormously enriched by the challenges of working with family businesses.