Dispute-resolution specialist says that being in the milieu of humanity — despite seeing the despair and loss — provides satisfaction in the form of sacred moments, when people transcend their fears and begin to work in common.
What do you do? I work with the Dispute Resolution Centers in both King and Snohomish/Island counties doing primarily family and business mediations, [as well as] coaching and mentoring mediators in training. Both of these Dispute Resolution Centers have nationally recognized training and practicum programs.
I have a small reconciliation practice, working with families in conflict around issues and perceptions of faith. I conciliate and facilitate with different faith organizations in conflict. I am also a Foreclosure Fairness Act mediator.
How did you get started in that career? I had a previous career working for surgeons in transition and crisis. Helping find a way through the impending crisis was interesting, but the fix didn’t seem to last because at the heart of their crisis was conflict. I started looking for a change model that was more equitable, that had more integrity and that could reasonably address the concerns and needs of all parties involved.
What’s a typical day like? I am in session four days a week. My average day has two different mediations, often in different places, working with different kinds of conflicts. I travel a lot.
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What’s the best part of the job? Two things. Facilitating a neutral process where people can have a larger conversation that can lead to conciliation, resolve and closure.
Working with a wonderful group of people that come from a variety of cultures, business and education backgrounds and denominations. Collectively, they are a huge resource of experience and knowledge and are very dedicated, deeply decent and kind.
What surprises people about the job? How satisfying it is to those of us who do the work. We are in the milieu of humanity, seeing the despair and loss, yes, but also, we are witness to some sacred moments, too, when people transcend their fears and begin to work in common.
I would say, too, that mediators are in the hope business. We believe there is a third way. That surprises people.