April was a bittersweet month for SCMA — a month where, among other things, we celebrated our Past Presidents, but also, sadly, a month that ended with the passing of a longtime andcommitted member of the SCMA community.
On April 4th and April 6th, respectively, the Pasadena and Santa Barbara Professional
Development Groups held their meetings.
On April 14th, I traveled to Sacramento to attend the California Law Review Commission hearing on mediation confidentiality. I had an opportunity to address the Commission on behalf of SCMA and expressed the concerns raised by SCMA members at the recent Town Hall.
Although the Commission did not take any specific action, it does appear as though the Commission is poised to recommend that the legislature revise the Evidence Code with respect to mediation confidentiality when there is a claim of attorney malpractice. The scope and breadth of the Commission’s ultimate recommendation remain to be determined, so I was heartened that others in attendance felt my remarks were well-received.
On April 16th — a spectacularly clear day, with the most gentle breezes and absolutely perfect temperatures — SCMA honored its Past Presidents, as well as its Sustaining Members, at the Second Annual Past President’s Breakfast at the Del Rey Yacht Club. We could not have selected a better venue for such a wonderful celebration. Many thanks to Board Member David Levaton — and his dad! — for helping with the arrangements. Speaking selfishly, I can only hope the Dey Rey Yacht Club becomes the venue for all future Past President’s Breakfasts!
On April 20th and 27th, the San Fernando Valley and Westside Professional Development Groups held their meetings. The Westside PDG meeting was especially noteworthy because four of those in attendance were brand new members attending their first PDG meeting and two others were “not-yet-members” who learned of the meeting by visiting the SCMA website!
On April 28th, the SCMA Education Foundation, along with the Western Justice Center, presented a hugely successful program highlighting Peer Mediation. As Maria Simpson reported, approximately 50 people attended the truly inspirational program! And in the days following the program, at least $500 has already been generated in new contributions to the Education Foundation — an amount which SCMA will match pursuant to its “challenge grant!”
Sadly, April 28th was also the day I learned that longtime member Christine Harwell had lost her battle with cancer. Christine had long been an advocate of mediator certification and served with distinction on SCMA’s Ad Hoc Committee on Voluntary Mediator Certification the past several years. Last summer, Christine expressed to me that she was interested in serving on the Board of Directors, but she later asked that the Nominating Committee withdraw her name from consideration when she became aware of her illness. With her passing, the mediation community in general and SCMA in particular have suffered a tremendous loss.
Christine would not have wanted me to end this month’s message on a somber note. She would have preferred that I look forward to what lies ahead for SCMA, and so I will.
On May 2nd, the Pasadena PDG will be holding its monthly meeting at John Irwin’s office.
On May 7th, SCMA will be an exhibitor at the South Coast Collaborative Professionals (SCCP) Spring Summit and Expo at the Westin South Coast Plaza.
On May 18th, the San Fernando Valley PDG will be holding its monthly meeting at Jim Cameron’s home. On May 19th, SCMA will hold its Annual Employment Mediation Institute at Pepperdine’s West Los Angeles campus, with dinner and networking from 6-7 pm and an outstanding program from 7-9 p.m. The Employment Mediation Institute is always one of SCMA’s most highly-regarded and well-attended programs, so be sure to register if you haven’t already done so.
Looking ahead to June, the South Bay Professional Development Group will be holding its inaugural meeting on June 9th (exact details to follow). Many thanks to Angela Reddock for volunteering to spearhead the effort!
As I mentioned previously, this year’s Summer Mixer — honoring Forest Whitaker as the recipient of the 2015 Cloke-Millen Peacemaker of the Year Award — will be held on August 10 at USC Law School.
And, as I mentioned last month, the 2016 Recipient of the Cloke-Millen Peacemaker Of The Year Award will be the Honorable George J. Mitchell — United States Senate Majority Leader from 1989 – 1995, President Clinton’s United States Special Envoy to Northern Ireland from 1995 – 2001, Recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1999, and President Obama’s United States Special Envoy for Middle East Peace from 2009 – 2011. With Senator Mitchell in mind, the Fall Conference Committee — co-chaired by Jason Harper and Terri Lubaroff — have decided upon the theme for the 28th Annual Fall Conference: “Discourse and Diplomacy: From Interpersonal Conflicts to International Relations.” If you haven’t already done so, make sure to save November 5th for what I’m sure will be one of SCMA’s best conferences ever!
Finally, for those of you who are looking to become more involved in SCMA, I encourage you to consider volunteering to serve on a committee. Whether it be the Membership Committee, the Communications Committee, the Programming Committee, the Public Outreach Committee, the Attorney Outreach Committee, the Mentorship Committee, the Professional Development Group Committee, the By-Laws Revision Committee or the Annual Fall Conference Committee, there is a role for you to play. And it would be a wonderful way to honor the memory of Christine.
I hope to see you at the Employment Mediation Institute on May 19th, if not sooner!
Floyd J. Siegal, President
Southern California Mediation Association