“Striving for Excellence: The Emergence of the Modern Mediator,” the theme for our Annual Conference next month, has so much meaning for me as I continue to work with MC3 to more closely align the standards for our mediation field with the requirements the public expects from any profession. What does it mean for you? Does it mean incorporating the latest technology into your mediation practice, either in your business, marketing, or in your mediations? Does it mean trying to facilitate discussion, or mediating, with difficult personalities and subjects in the ever-changing landscape of public discourse? Join Ken Cloke, Forrest “Woody” Mosten, Wendy Kramer, and, of course, our Cloke-Millen award winner Avis Ridley-Thomas and our Lowry award winner Professor Lisa Klerman in a variety of activities and workshops this November 2 and 3. A complete description of the workshops is available here, and our Advanced Track for commercial mediators led by the American Arbitration Association (AAA) and AAAmediation.org is here. Early registration ends this week, so don’t miss out on large savings. As I write this, there are still some copies left of Ken Cloke’s latest book, “Politics, Dialogue and the Evolution of Democracy: How to Discuss Race, Abortion, Immigration, Gun Control, Climate Change, Same Sex Marriage and Other Hot Topics,” available at 50% off for those of you interested in talking with Ken at the conference and participating in his book signing.
SCMA is so thankful for the exceptional support and cooperation we have from three different universities: California State University at Dominguez Hills, Pepperdine University, and the University of Southern California. In addition to assisting in sponsoring this conference, each university is sending a distinguished member of their faculty and leadership teams to form a panel to talk about our core theme as part of AAA President & CEO India Johnson’s closing plenary to the conference. The Pisces dreamer (me!) knows that if we are ever to achieve elevating our field to a profession, it is that very kind of partnership between the universities and the practitioners that can help make it happen. A century ago that kind of partnership between the law schools (American Association of Law Schools, AALS) and the practitioners (American Bar Association, ABA) helped the legal field become a profession!
I hope I have an opportunity to see everyone at the Annual Conference. It has been such a joy to serve as your President this year, and I look forward to thanking all of you for your support. Your support has meant a lot to me, and of course, I am very excited about the induction of President-Elect Angela Reddock-Wright into the role of President. She has been amazing in putting together the 30th anniversary Annual Conference and moving us forward as an organization, and I look forward to joining with you and supporting her 2019 term!
Have a great month of October and we will see you in November.
September is a month associated with learning for me. It is a new academic year (well, actually, my first class this fall was August 20!) and as my family points out, I have spent most of my life either working towards a degree or teaching in a degree program! At SCMA, it is our month to start putting together the largest gathering of mediators in the region as we host our Annual Conference at the LA Hotel on November 2 and 3 at the LA Hotel. For me, I am like a kid in a candy store when it comes to helping our President-elect, Angela Reddock-Wright, and our immediate Past President, Jason Harper, put together the program.
First I start dreaming…who would I like to see? In mediation, I dream big…in my ideal world, I would like to have Ken Cloke at the conference, because I feel like I am a better human being after every time I talk with him. Then I would sure like Woody Mosten, because he is such a master teacher. But I keep dreaming…having a revered name in community mediation, Avis Ridley-Thomas, would be fantastic, but I also so respect what former SCMA President Wendy Kramer has done in helping mediators build their practices. And then if I could have my colleague, Professor Lisa Klerman there as well, someone from whom I have learned so much. Those of you who saw her opening remarks at our Employment Mediation Institute in May know just what I mean.
Okay, you can pinch me and wake me up now, and yes, our SCMA Conference this fall is all those great speakers and many more. And to further add the American Arbitration Association and their mediate.org division putting on our Advanced Track, with AAA’s President and CEO, India Johnson, combining on a closing plenary with some of our friends at California State University at Dominguez Hills, Pepperdine, and USC, I think my candy appetite will be satiated! I join with the membership in thanking Angela and our Executive Director, Anne Sawyer, in putting all of this together.
With the divisiveness across the United States so prevalent today, it has made us all “up our game” in facilitating dialogue in our peacemaking. The Conference theme, “The Emergence of the Modern Mediator,” allows us to tackle those issues head-on. In part, the release of Ken Cloke’s latest book, “Politics, Dialogue and the Evolution of Democracy: How to Discuss Race, Abortion, Immigration, Gun Control, Climate Change, Same Sex Marriage and Other Hot Topics,” has given us a special opportunity to open our Conference with Ken speaking to those very issues. As a special treat, my company (Educational Solutions 4 Change) and Angela’s firm (Reddock Law Group) are sponsoring paying ½ the cost for Ken’s book for the first 100 registrants for the Conference and Ken has agreed to a lunch-time book signing for attendees who are interested.
I look forward to seeing everyone at the Conference. In the meantime, we have had more interest in serving on the SCMA Board than we can recall in recent history, with three incumbents amongst nine candidates running for five open seats. I am so gratified by the interest in our community in volunteering to continue to further the amazing work of our non-profit organization. And if you were not amongst the group that is running for the Board, perhaps we can get the benefit of your insight by getting you to vote! Ballots will be sent out within the next week, and we need our membership to participate; so please, help us the best way you can by voting for your ongoing leadership.
It is such an honor to serve as the current President of SCMA, an organization whose historical impact has been largely unchronicled until our recent release of the updated About SCMA page. A big thank you to all of our past presidents who served as the inspiration in creating our updated history, and a special thank you to our friends, Lee Jay Berman, Woody Mosten, and Peter Robinson, for filling in the gaps for a history that has been largely anecdotal to date. I hope you will take this opportunity to briefly review that and think about what role you would like to take to advance our field.
I am partially commenting on that because we have issued our annual “Call for Nominations” for SCMA Board positions that are up for election this fall. So many of our members have found it rewarding to serve on the SCMA Board, including me, and serve the community. As an educator, I have always found the intrinsic value in helping my constituents further their careers and achieve their goals, so my time at SCMA has been focused on just that; helping former President Wendy Kramer create the Mentorship Program and helping those new to the field build their skills and find their way to establishing their practices. Ultimately, our work at MC3, the mediation certification organization SCMA continues to support and build (whose progress will be further discussed at the Annual Conference this November) will be another step towards helping the field. If you have a passion, or even if you have ever thought “SCMA should be doing this or that,” this may be the time to pursue that passion with the help of the largest professional mediation organization in the region. If you have the time and interest, please consider answering the “Call.”
But first, our traditional annual party known as the Summer Soiree occurs this Thursday evening, August 9th, at the Bonaventure Brewing Company. Join your colleagues and friends in what promises to be our largest such event ever! President’s award winner Forrest “Woody” Mosten will be honored for his achievements, we will be honoring our recent class of graduates from the SCMA Mentorship Program, and there will be plenty of food and refreshments for everyone. If you joined SCMA in part to network, this is your event!
For all of you, I hope you have had a great summer and I look forward to seeing you this Thursday.
July is the month when we leave the “June gloom” behind and really heat up, only this year that appears to apply not just to the weather but to the collective political rancor in our country. There may not have been a time in our recent history that cries out more for us peacemakers to be trying to facilitate civil dialogue and ways to connect with one another. As emotionally draining as that can be, it is the role we selected and wear proudly.
Some of our greatest peacemakers amongst us in the community remain largely unheralded, so I wanted to devote this space for a big “thank you” from SCMA for all the work you are doing. We were recently invited to an event hosted by Kathy Shimizu of the Orange County Human Relations, a Dispute Resolution Programs Act (DRPA) organization, and were so impressed by their work both in and out of the courts in Orange County. The DRPA organizations operate throughout the state, providing pro bono or low cost mediation to so many in need, and those with whom we have frequent contact with, including Professor Mary Culbert (2017 recipient of SCMA’s L. Randolph Lowry award) and Sara Campos of the Center for Conflict Resolution at Loyola Law School, Christopher Welch of the Center for Conflict Resolution in Reseda, and Maritza Gutierrez of the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs, deserve a “shout out” for all their efforts…as do the other dozens of organizations locally and statewide. SCMA continues to provide its support for their efforts and hope that all of you who attend our Annual Conference on November 3 will stop by their Mediation Fair tables and thank them for all they do. The Annual Conference RFP for workshop proposals is now accepting submissions and registration is now open!
Of course, prior to its Annual Conference, SCMA will have its Annual Summer Mixer so that all of us can “let our hair down” with our colleagues. This year is planned for 6 p.m. on Thursday, August 9th at the Bonaventure Brewing Company in Los Angeles. Join us as we celebrate our latest class of graduates from the SCMA Mentor Program and join immediate past president Jason Harper in bestowing the President’s award to our esteemed colleague Woody Mosten. Good food and conversation with your friends and colleagues is on the menu! This event is FREE for members. Click here to find out more.
Many thanks again for all our volunteers who make SCMA such a great organization. Our 1st annual Family Mediation Institute was a huge success as over 75 participants joined us on June 8 and 9 at the Doubletree Hotel in Santa Ana for a day and a half of workshops and learning. I personally witnessed our Board members Terri Breer and Susan Guthrie and a host of other committee volunteers “raise the bar” on a well-run conference, including the exhibitors and the sponsors as participants in an event where everyone shared and learned together. In addition, many thanks to our Executive Director, Anne Sawyer, for ably helping to coordinate the event for all of us.
We so appreciate all our volunteers who make SCMA events so special, with special acknowledgement to our Professional Development Group leaders who continue to facilitate lively and energetic get togethers throughout the summer months. If you haven’t had a chance to join one yet, please make it a plan to use this summer to connect with your colleagues either at a PDG and/or at the Summer Mixer located at Bonaventure Brewing Company next month.
I will keep this message short, but it carries with it my hopes for you and your families to have a peaceful and restful summer despite the rancor around us. I hope to see you at a SCMA event soon and certainly, if not before then, at our Summer Mixer on August 9th.
As we have heard from many of you, one of the things SCMA can do for you is to continue to provide lost cost and high-quality programming to help nurture your minds and to continue to build your practices. Judging from the attendance at our workshops, webinars, town halls, and institutes this year, that is working for you. But our hard-working volunteers are not done yet! June 8-9 is our new Family Mediation Institute (FMI) titled “Essential Skills and Innovative Approaches for Family Mediation.” The keynote speaker, Dr. Sam Alibrando, will kick off the FMI with a Friday afternoon workshop on “The Emotionally Intelligent Mediator,” a relevant topic to all mediators. That workshop will be immediately followed by a reception, and then a full day of Family Law-only programming on Saturday. If you are not a family law mediator and just want to attend Friday, our easy registration makes it possible; all others can get combined pricing for the two-day event at the Doubletree Hotel in Santa Ana. There is still time to register for the event! You may register here.
June is also the time when many of you start making your plans for our Annual Conference, where hundreds of Southern California mediators come together for a variety of workshops and networking activities. Please save the date for this year’s conference, set for November 2 and 3 at the L.A. Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. We are delighted to welcome the American Arbitration Association and its “Mediation.org” as our Advanced Track program planner; look for us to post more details on that programming in the summer months.
As SCMA President, I often stand in the shadow of mediators who have dedicated much of their lives to helping the mediation community be a better place in which to work. Two of those luminaries have earned SCMA’s highest honors and have agreed to join us for the festivities in November. Our Cloke-Millen Peacemaker award goes to an individual who has inspired us for years through her passion and dedication to peacemaking. On November 3, Ken Cloke will introduce Avis Ridley-Thomas as our award winner and we are so honored to have her be our plenary speaker for our Annual Conference. The previous night, November 2, will be our dinner held to honor a mediator who has inspired us with her dedication and passion for education; we will be delighted to bestow the L. Randolph Lawry award upon Professor Lisa Klerman of USC Gould School of Law. We hope you will make plans to join us for all of the festivities and the learning that accompanies our Annual Conference.
I wish each and every one of you a safe and rejuvenating summer. If you have the opportunity to go to one of our programs, I hope you will take the time to thank one of our many volunteers who made that event happen. None of this is possible without the hard work of your colleagues on the SCMA Board and its various committees that so graciously volunteer countless hours to make our mediation workplace a better place. To all of them, I continue to give my thanks and accolades.
“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” These words, uttered by the great American Jackie Robinson, who broke baseball’s “color line” years before the landmark case of Brown vs. Board of Education and decades before the civil rights movement, has special significance for those of us in conflict resolution who are constantly devoting ourselves to impacting lives in positive ways. These words resonated with us as SCMA’s sister organization, Kids Managing Conflict (KMC), hosted dozens of southern California peer mediation program administrators and coaches at its April 26 Symposium on Kids Managing Conflict: Creating Peace on Our Schools Through Dispute Resolution Programs at the California Endowment for the Arts. As Sally Patchen, KMC’s President, noted in her opening remarks, peer mediators have a statistically significant impact on conflict reduction in the schools. SCMA congratulates KMC at its first annual conference of its kind and looks forward to continuing to support KMC’s great work in the community.
SCMA’s own 6th Annual Celebration of Peer Mediation, hosted by SCMA’s immediate Past President Jason Harper, is being held on May 3 at 6 p.m. at the Galen Center at the USC campus. This conference will enable you to hear from student peer mediators and professionals in discussing best practices in peer mediation. Please join us; you cannot beat the $0 cost. You may register at: https://www.scmediation.org/scma-calendar/npe-events/?eid=4361
April finished our initial webinar series to help you build you mediation practices, as past SCMA President Wendy Kramer delivered the very popular webinar on “Tips on Building a Financially Successful Mediation Practice.” If you missed one or more of our Building your Mediation Practice series, and would like to watch a recorded copy, they are available on our website. You may see them at https://www.scmediation.org/webinars/
May brings us our extremely popular annual Employment Mediation Institute. The conference theme this year is “On the Front Lines: How Mediators can Help Heal Workplaces in the #METOO Era.” There is still room to register for this event and discounted “early bird” registration is available through May 4. The panoply of speakers includes some renown employment mediators and speakers, with introductory remarks by Professor Lisa Klerman of USC Gould School of Law. The full schedule of speakers and panels is at https://www.scmediation.org/employment-mediation-institute-2018/, including Cherry-Marie B. Destura, of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and Harold Coleman, Jr. of the American Arbitration Association’s Mediation.org. Thank you to President-elect Angela Reddock-Wright and conference chair Samantha Blake for putting together this outstanding lineup of speakers.
And those of you who are in Family Law will not want to miss our two-day Family Mediation Institute in Orange County on June 8-9. Keynote speaker and author Dr. Sam Alibrando heads an all-star lineup of family mediation professionals divided into various panels; a larger description of the program is located at https://www.scmediation.org/family-mediation-institute-2018/ Thank you to Board member Terri Breer and Communications Chair Susan Guthrie and the host of others who have dedicated their time to putting this exciting new conference together.
As you can see from the above, your volunteer Board and committees are dedicated to continuing to add value to your membership. In addition to the above activities, there are a host of others, including our monthly professional development groups. We welcome your comments and contributions and thank you for your continued support.
Providing opportunities for professional networking, helping mediators build their practices, and low cost educational programming all go to the heart of what SCMA means to many of us. I am so thankful for all the volunteers who continue to devote their efforts for the benefit of our membership. The diversity of our programming continues to make SCMA the premier mediation organization.
Building your mediation practice? Many of you were able to join us in March for Board member Mark Lemke’s webinar on “Using LinkedIn to Build Your Mediation Practice.” If not, you can view it in our webinar library along with past president Nikki Tolt’s “Building Your Mediation Skills and Practice.” Our upcoming April webinar, past president Wendy Kramer’s “Tips to Building a Financially Successful Mediation Practice,” is a tremendous complement to our previous webinars. You may register for this webinar at https://www.scmediation.org/scma-calendar/npe-events/?eid=4347
And what about a workshop for those of you interested in using your mediation skills in other work environments? We have that too, as Jason Harper, our immediate Past President, heads a panel of six mediators who will address Non-Traditional and Unexplored Career Paths for Mediators at USC Gould School of Law on April 7. There is still some space available to register for this event; see https://www.scmediation.org/scma-calendar/npe-events/?eid=4293
Professional networking? If you haven’t had a chance to join one of our regional professional development groups, April is a great time to do so! April will see the launch of our Orange County PDG, with much thanks to Ed Pallotta. But other regional PDGs will also be holding their monthly meetings led by our many dedicated volunteers; please see our website for that information as it is posted.
But April marks the return of one of our best social networking programs, our breakfast with SCMA past presidents. Those of you interested in connecting with some of the top mediators who have served as president of our organization will find this an excellent opportunity to do so. We will also spend some time at this breakfast honoring Joe Markowitz, our 2014 President who was taken from us so prematurely. If you did not have a chance to attend the beautiful service held for him in January, this will be your opportunity to know more about this wonderful individual who contributed so much to our field. You may register for the program at https://www.scmediation.org/scma-calendar/npe-events/?eid=4316
Low cost educational programming? In addition to the previously mentioned programming devoted to building your mediation practice, two noteworthy events are just around the corner. Our May 19 Employment Institute, headed by President-elect Angela Reddock-Wright and chaired by Samantha Blake, will pull together dozens of the top employment and workplace mediators in the area in a half day of topical workshops; see https://www.scmediation.org/employment-institute-2018/ and register early to lock in a reduced price. The other event, our inaugural June 8-9 Family Mediation Institute in Orange County, will include scores of mediators joining us for what promises to be a remarkable experience. Look for an announcement soon on our website regarding early registration for this event. And again, thanks to Board member Terri Breer and her committee, including Susan Guthrie who is doing double duty as a member of the SCMA Communications Committee, in organizing this event.
There are so many volunteers who are dedicated to making our mediation field a better place for all of us, and this page is too small to thank every one of them. However, when you attend one of these events, please let them know you appreciate their efforts as that is their compensation. Do you have an idea for programming that would benefit our community? Please let us know…we value your patronage and continue to want to make your SCMA experience significant.
Thanks to our many volunteers, February was another good month for SCMA and its members. The Professional Development Groups (PDGs) continue to thrive under the leadership of President-elect Angela Reddock-Wright and Stacey Lisk (Westside), and continued support from leaders such as James Cameron (San Fernando Valley), John Irwin (Pasadena), and Andy Shelby, Marvin Whistler, and Mark Sarni (South Bay). Sayre McNeil has taken the lead in re-forming our Santa Barbara/Ventura group, and Ed Palotta has done the same with Orange County. Plans are under way now to initiate a San Diego group. We hope as a member you have taken advantage of the opportunity to attend these valuable networking sessions.
Our SCMA Education Foundation, Kids Managing Conflict, initiated their plans for 2018. One of their upcoming events include a trip for peer mediators to the Museum of Tolerance. In addition, they are making plans for their first conference of peer mediation programs. Kids Managing Conflict’s website is replete with information about its plans and initiatives; see https://www.kidsmanagingconflict.org/.
February also saw 65 mediators attend a dialogue on voluntary mediator certification at USC Gould School of Law. Presentations by Angela Reddock-Wright, Jason Harper, Barbara Brown, Chris Welch, Adam Ravitch and myself led to a dialogue session with those in attendance. This opportunity for community dialogue and feedback on such an important issue for our field continues to strengthen the initiative. MC3’s efforts will continue to be chronicled on the SCMA website under mediator certification; see https://www.scmediation.org/for-the-public/mediator-certification-program/.
Our friends at the National Conflict Resolution Center (San Diego) hosted our SCMA panel, led by Ana Sambold and Jason Harper, on Non-Traditional and Unexplored Career Paths for Mediators on February 24. Participants attending were excited to meet representatives from fields such as Ombuds and learn about entry paths into those fields. SCMA hopes to announce soon another panel presentation for the Los Angeles area soon.
March continues to be a busy month for SCMA. Another webinar that promises to assist your career, “Using Linkedin to Build Your Mediation Practice,” will feature Board member Mark Lemke. You can register for the webinar at Using Linkedin to Build Your Mediation Practice. The attendees to the February webinar presented by former SCMA President Nikki Tolt appreciated her tips on “Building your Mediation Skills and Practice.” If you missed Nikki’s presentation, but would like to review it, we will be announcing details shortly about how you can access that through the SCMA site.
We appreciate your continued patronage and membership in SCMA and want to continue to provide you with resources and opportunities that help you in your careers. We welcome your continued ideas and suggestions. Have a great month and we will look forward to seeing you at a PDG or other SCMA sponsored event!
February is a great month for celebrating history, with Presidents Day and Black History Month allowing us to remember so many great Americans. It is also a romantic month, with our American tradition of Valentine’s Day. For many of us, it is time to get over any holiday hangover we may have still had in January and back to the business of peacemaking and/or creating peacemakers.
Thanks to its many volunteers, SCMA has some great programming for its membership planned for February. We launch our new Webinar series for the Friday noon hour, and begin with former SCMA President Nikki Tolt on Friday, February 23rd with her presentation on “Building Your Mediation Skills and Practice”—practical tips for success. For new mediators in our field, or even if you have been mediating for a while and are looking for some extra tips on building a successful practice, this is the webinar for you. Online registration is now available at SCMA 2018 Webinar Series #1; make sure you do not miss this one!
In conjunction with our friends at the National Conflict Resolution Center (NCRC) in San Diego, Board member Ana Sambold takes her highly successful panel on “Non-Traditional and Unexplored Career Paths” to San Diego for a presentation at the NCRC headquarters in San Diego on Saturday, February 24, at 10 a.m. Former SCMA President Jason Harper joins the panel, which is sure to point out a number of opportunities outside of traditional mediation that exist for those of you with conflict resolution skills. You may register for this panel presentation at SCMA/NCRC San Diego Program Registration.
Our community was stunned in January with the sudden passing of our former SCMA President, Joe Markowitz. Many of you highlighted what Joe meant to you in our listserv, and your comments were appreciated by all members of our community. I joined many other former SCMA Presidents and our President-elect, Angela Reddock-Wright, at a beautiful memorial service on January 28. At that service, many of us became acquainted with his family and friends, and part of Joe’s legacy is the joy and peace he brought to everyone with whom he interacted. Joe meant a lot to many of us, and his influence will continue to be felt in the mediation world. For my part, I remember Joe being at a number of the initial meetings of what is now the Mediation Certification Consortium of California (MC3), and talking about creating a “gold standard” for the field. Joe will be in our hearts and minds when we see you at USC Gould School of Law on February 10 to discuss why voluntary mediator certification would be beneficial to our field.
Joe’s legacy included “rolling up his sleeves” and volunteering his time and efforts to the betterment of our community. As I look at the myriad of volunteers who are helping SCMA and MC3, I am mindful of the fact that we could not accomplish anything without everyone pitching in. Thank you for your continued contributions, and I look forward to seeing all of you at one of our upcoming educational events or professional development groups.
It is a great honor to start the new year as your President. Your volunteer Board took the time at our December meeting to reflect on the organization as it might be seen through the prism of the mission set forth by its founders in 1991. Seen through that lens, our membership is enjoying an organization that is accomplishing everything that had been hoped for in its original Articles of Incorporation. And yet there is so much more to do, so much that we can do together…from my viewpoint, all it takes is the “sweat equity” of our members engaged in a vision for the success of our mediation field, and we will continue to achieve at a high level.
In those Articles, our founders thought that we should “provide a vehicle to build community and provide encouragement for those involved in and supportive of mediation in Southern California.” Our Professional Development Groups, led by our volunteers including President-elect Angela Reddock-Wright, deserve great credit for hosting these mediator roundtables and providing an avenue for regional networking. Stacey Lisk has volunteered to help Angela with the coordination and continue the fine work of Board members John Irwin and James Cameron, amongst others. Board members Terri Breer and Dale Ordas are leading the charge to expand these networking groups further into Orange and San Diego counties, and with your enthusiasm and help, we look forward to those new groups forming.
But there is so much more in encouraging and supporting mediation! Board Secretary Leslie Kushner leads a committee devoted to public outreach, and with your help, continues to organize our speaking bureau and advocates for mediation. Our sister organization, Kids Managing Conflict/SCMA Education Foundation, led by its new President Sally Patchen, continues to raise money for peer mediation in middle schools and high schools throughout the region.
Our founders also pictured “an organization through which high-quality and cost-effective educational programs could be offered.” SCMA hosted its largest conference ever in October, with the renown William Ury headlining a conference of workshops and panels that is unparalleled in our mediation community. As usual, with your help, SCMA will be continuing to host a number of educational programs throughout this upcoming year, headlined by our Peer Mediation Conference chaired by our former President, Jason Harper, but also including our re-envisioned Employment Institute chaired by SCMA volunteer Samantha Blake, and a newly proposed Family Law Institute chaired by SCMA Board member Terri Breer. Additional seminars, workshops, and even webinars are being planned this year to help our members maintain and add to their skill level in professional development.
Finally, our founders tasked us with providing “a vehicle through which the mediation community could seek to influence the development of the mediation field…” It is in this final vision that your SCMA Board is taking its boldest step…encouraging the development of mediator certification based upon the professional model that has been developed by its sister organization, the Mediator Certification Consortium of California (MC3); see our recently posted position paper (SCMA MC3 Position Paper). While many other fields have organized professionally based certifications as a means of maintaining control of who is defined as a practitioner, it has usually taken a dramatic event or series of events to create the initiative. The recent Los Angeles Superior Court (LASC) request for providers for mediation services for which all mediators without J.D. degrees and even those with J.D.s who have had less than 10 years of practice experience are excluded, may have been such a dramatic event, as many of our members who have been dutifully and successfully mediating litigated cases suddenly found themselves outside the bounds of those defined as “mediators” by LASC.
Please set your calendars for February 10, 2018, from 10 a.m.-noon, as former President Jason Harper, myself, Chris Welch and other Board members from MC3 will detail our plans for a professionally based certification; see the event announcement posted here: SCMA Mediator Certification Program. Seeing our membership thrive and prosper continues to be at the heart of why the Board and others continue to volunteer to lead SCMA. But it will be the “sweat equity” of all volunteers that pushes us forward as a field and a profession. Join us for one of our many events in 2018, and most importantly, if you feel impacted by the new LASC definition of a mediator, join us for the program on January 20…you can make a difference!
As a non-profit, SCMA needs volunteers to continue to advance our field and provide programs and services for our community. We are in the process of forming our 2018 committees and look forward to your contribution. All we ask is that the next time you see a request for volunteers on the listserv or elsewhere, you take just a moment to reflect upon “why not me.” I did…as did so many other volunteers too numerous to mention in this short message…and we hope to have you join us as well.