“The event was amazing — and very thought provoking! I had no idea that Forest Whitaker was so involved with programs like that. And it was threaded beautifully with the concept of mediators as peacemakers. One of the best I’ve ever seen.”
Those are the words of Stephen Weaver, President-Elect of the Santa Monica Bar Association, one of the nearly 100 members and non-members who joined us for SCMA’s Summer Soiree last month.
Those who were able to attend already know that Stephen described the evening perfectly! And for those who weren’t able to be there, here is a link to video from the event:
In addition to the Summer Soiree, August was another great month for SCMA’s Professional Development Groups, with Pasadena, San Fernando Valley and South Bay all holding terriﬁc meetings.
If you still haven’t been to a Professional Development Group (PDG) meeting, there are a number of opportunities coming up in September:
On September 12th, the Pasadena PDG will meet at John Irwin’s new ofﬁce in Pasadena. On September 13th, the Westside PDG will meet at Wendy Kramer’s home in Santa Monica. On September 21st, the San Fernando Valley PDG will meet at Jim Cameron’s home in Encino. On September 27th, the South Bay PDG will meet at Curt Surl’s ofﬁce in El Segundo.
And that’s not all that’s happening in September!
On September 15th, ballots will go out for next year’s Board of Directors and President-Elect. We anticipate there will be more candidates than openings, so please be sure to vote!
On September 16th, SCMA’s Attorney Outreach committee will be presenting a luncheon seminar in conjunction with the Desert Bar Association. Titled “Tips for a Successful Mediation,” the program is from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., at the Classic Cub in Palm Desert. Kudos to Bill Molfetta and Richard Lutringer for coordinating the event on behalf of SCMA.
Looking ahead to October, the San Diego PDG is planning a marketing program for October 6th. More details to follow in the coming weeks!
And be sure to hold the date of October 13th for SCMA’s 4th Annual Peer Mediation Program, from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at USC’s Galen Center. This year, like last, a group of student mediators will describe the impact that peer mediation programs have had on them and their classmates.
Finally, the schedule of workshops for SCMA’s 28th Annual Fall Conference on November 5th will be announced shortly, but I guarantee you will not want to miss the closing plenary session.
Titled “The Power of Forgiveness and Compassion,” the closing plenary session will feature Franky Carrillo, who, at the age of 16, was convicted of a murder he did not commit. After spending 20 years in prison, he was exonerated with the help of the Northern California Innocence Project. I have heard Franky tell his story, and it is mesmerizing and inspirational! Franky will be joined by Professor Betty Gimore, director of the Center for Dispute Resolution at Southern Methodist University and co-author of “The Darkest Hour: Shedding Light on the Impact of Isolation and Death Row in Texas Prisons.”
Given that the opening plenary session will feature presentation of the 2016 Cloke-Millen Peacemaker of the Year Award to the Senator George Mitchell, this is one conference you will want to attend from start to ﬁnish!
Early bird registration ends earlier than usual, so be sure to register in the next 30 days to take advantage of the reduced rates! To register, click here:
This past month showed the true promise and potential of SCMA’s Professional Development Groups!
At the Pasadena PDG meeting on July 11th, Noah Stein shared his recent experience attending the third annual World Mediation Summit in Madrid, where he was one of the panelists for a workshop titled “Designing Our Destiny.”
At the South Bay PDG meeting on July 12th, a dozen or more members of SCMA — including Past President Phyllis Pollack — described how they began their mediation practices and discussed the marketing ideas they are currently using to promote themselves.
At the San Fernando Valley PDG meeting on July 20th, SCMA Past Presidents Jan Schau and Myer Sankary offered keen insights regarding a variety of marketing strategies to a full house at Jim Cameron’s home in Encino.
And at the Santa Barbara PDG meeting on July 27th, Lee Jay Berman, Judge Frank Ochoa and Heather Reed presented an inspiring two-hour program about marketing, which we hope to replicate in one or more locations in the coming months. A huge shoutout to Sayre Macneil and Cindy Brokaw for their tireless work putting together the Santa Barbara program on fairly short notice!
Upcoming PDG meetings include:
August 1st — Pasadena PDG, at the office of John Irwin August 17th — San Fernando PDG, at the home of Jim Cameron August 23rd — South Bay PDG, at the office of Curt Surls Sept.13th — Westside PDG, at the home of Wendy Kramer
The event of the summer — SCMA’s Summer Soiree, featuring presentation of the 2015 Cloke-Millen Peacemaker of the Year Award to Forest Whitaker — is right around the corner! If you haven’t yet registered, please note that early bird pricing ends this Friday, August 5th. And if you haven’t already heard the exciting news, Ken Cloke himself will be there to present the award that bears his name!! So please join us on August 10th, from 6-8 p.m., in the faculty lounge at the USC Gould School of Law!
Finally, as hard as it is for me to believe, the time has already come for me to issue a call for candidates for the 2016-2017 SCMA Board of Directors. Anyone who has been a member of SCMA for one year prior to commencement of their term is eligible to run for one of the 5 open seats on next year’s Board. If you would like to have your name placed in nomination, please notify current SCMA Secretary Jack Goetz — in writing — no later than 4:00 p.m. on Friday, August 26th. Jack can be reached at email@example.com.
If you would like to learn more about the benefits of serving on SCMA’s Board of Directors, just give me a call!
I hope to see you at the Soiree!!
Floyd J. Siegal, President Southern California Mediation Association
I’m delighted to begin my message this month with some genuinely exciting news. Last week,the SCMA Education Foundation (“SCMA-EF ”) was awarded a $10,000 grant to support the development of Peer Mediation Programs in local middle schools and high schools!! The grant, generously awarded by the Judicate West Foundation, will enable SCMA-EF to continue — and expand — its invaluable work in this important area. Congratulations to SCMA-EF President Maria Simpson and the entire SCMA-EF Board for this wonderful achievement!!
For those who may not be aware, SCMA-EF is the charitable and educational arm of SCMA. Established in 2007 as an independent 501(c)(3) organization, SCMA-EF complements the work of SCMA by, among other things, providing financial support to organizations that offer mediation training and mediation services to the public. SCMA-EF seeks “to build a more peaceful society by having the benefits of mediation so clearly understood by the public that it becomes the preferred conflict resolution process for disputes at work, at home, in school, and in the community.” Toward that end, SCMA-EF supports “projects that educate the public about mediation and teach mediation skills, beginning at an early age with school peer mediation programs, and continuing with high-quality community mediation services.”
The grant from the Judicate West Foundation might not have been possible but for the generosity of SCMA members and others who have contributed to SCMA-EF throughout the past year, especially during SCMA’s recent Challenge Grant. By showing that it has the ongoing and enthusiastic support of SCMA and the rest of the mediation community, SCMA-EF was able to establish that it would be a worthy recipient of the grant. Many thanks to Darrell Forgey, President of the Judicate West Foundation, and the other members of the Judicate West Foundation Board of Directors for recognizing and supporting the exceptional work of SCMA-EF.
I hope you will continue to support SCMA-EF in the coming months. Every contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference. Donations can be made at www.scmaedfoundation.org.
In other SCMA news, the Santa Barbara Professional Development Group is planning a special program for the evening of July 27th. Although the specific details are still being worked out, including the exact time and location, the program will feature a timely discussion on marketing led by Lee Jay Berman, with the possibility of additional panel members as well. The program will be open to all SCMA members, and others, so be sure to mark the date on your calendar if you live or work in Santa Barbara, Ventura County or the San Fernando Valley, or simply wouldn’t mind taking a drive along the coast to beautiful Santa Barbara for a terrific program.
Other Professional Development Group meetings in July include: Pasadena (July 11), South Bay (July 12) and San Fernando Valley (July 20). For those who still haven’t been to a Professional Development Group meeting, many members believe it may be the single most valuable benefit of membership in SCMA!
Speaking of member benefits, Early-Bird Registration for the 2016 Annual Fall Conference is now open — earlier than ever because of the unprecedented interest in seeing and hearing Senator George Mitchell! And for those interested in presenting a workshop at the Conference, the deadline for submitting a response to the RFP has been extended to July 15th.
Finally, for those who haven’t already done so, be sure to register for SCMA’s Summer Soiree, honoring Forest Whitaker, on August 10th, from 6:00-8:00 pm, at the USC Gould School of Law! We are expecting a full-house!! With the expansion of the Expo Line to Santa Monica, it is now easier than ever to get to USC from virtually anywhere in the greater Los Angeles area. No need to worry about rush-hour traffic or parking — the Expo line stops directly across from the USC campus and is a 5 minute walk to the law school. Public transportation in L.A. has never been better nor more accessible!! For more information, visit www.metro.net/riding/maps.
Wishing everyone a happy 4th of July!!
Floyd J. Siegal, President Southern California Mediation Association
As I reach the midpoint of my term as President of SCMA, I can’t believe how quickly the first six months have flown by — nor how much we’ve been able to pack into those first six months!
On May 19th, SCMA added to the list with its annual Employment Mediation Institute — traditionally the most well-attended program of the year other than the Fall Conference, and this year’s program was no exception! Close to fifty people — several from as far away as San Diego — gathered at Pepperdine’s West Los Angeles campus for dinner, networking and an outstanding two-hour program. Kudos to Angela Reddock for coordinating the panel and moderating the program; Ann Kotlarski and Curt Surls for presenting the perspectives of defendant’s counsel and plaintiff’s counsel with such wisdom, practical insights and humor; John McDowell, who was originally scheduled to represent the mediator’s perspective but was unable to attend because of a death in the family, for his invaluable contributions; and especially Steve Paul, who so ably filled in for John on short notice!
Looking ahead to June and beyond:
On June 6th, the Pasadena Professional Development Group will hold its monthly meeting at John Irwin’s office, 70 S. Lake Ave, Suite 1000, in Pasadena.
On June 9th, the South Bay Professional Development Group will hold its inaugural meeting, at the law offices of Curt Surls, 1500 Rosecrans, Suite 500, in Manhattan Beach. Many thanks to Angela Reddock for spearheading the effort and to Curt for offering to host!
On June 11th, SCMA will be repeating another terrific program from last year’s Fall Conference — “Mediator Self Care.” Join moderator Maurice Attie and presenters Arezou Kohan and Simon Fox for an interactive workshop on the best ways to optimize your own health and well-being while doing the important work of a peacemaker. The program is from 10-12 at USC Gould School of Law.
On June 16th, the San Fernando Valley Professional Development Group will hold its monthly meeting at the home of Jim Cameron, 17605 Tarzana Street, in Encino.
For those interested in presenting a workshop at this year’s Fall Conference, June 24th is the deadline for submitting a response to the Request for Proposals. As I noted last month, the theme of this year’s Conference is “Discourse and Diplomacy: From Interpersonal Conflicts to International Relations.”
On June 28th, the Westside Professional Development Group will hold its regular meeting at the home of Wendy Kramer, 225 19th Street in Santa Monica.
In late July, the Santa Barbara Professional Development Group is hoping to present a marketing seminar, featuring Lee Jay Berman of AIM. More details to follow!
And don’t forget to save August 10th for SCMA’s Summer Soiree, at the USC Gould School of Law Faculty Lounge, honoring Forest Whitaker as the recipient of the 2015 Cloke-Millen Peacemaker of the Year Award!
Finally, as I noted last month, I hope many of you will consider becoming more involved in SCMA by volunteering to serve on a committee.
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
March definitely lived up to its advance billing as another exciting month for SCMA.
On March 19th, more than 60 members attended SCMA’s Town Hall on Mediator Certification and Mediation Confidentiality. In the first half of the program, Jack Goetz and Barbara Brown updated those in attendance on the work and recommendations of their Ad Hoc Committee on Mediator Certification and then led a spirited discussion concerning the benefits that voluntary certification would bring to the mediation community — a discussion which could easily have been extended another 90 minutes! In the second half of the program, Lee Blackman and Phyllis Pollack offered a brief history lesson concerning mediation confidentiality and then moderated an equally spirited discussion concerning possible amendments to the Evidence Code being considered by the California Law Review Commission. Before all was said and done, a three-hour Town Hall had spilled into a fourth hour, and then some!
On March 22nd, the Desert Professional Development Group — led by Richard Lutringer and encompassing Palm Springs, Riverside, San Bernardino and everything in between — held its inaugural meeting, joining the Pasadena, Westside, San Fernando Valley, Orange County and Santa Barbara Professional Development Groups. Next up is the South Bay Professional Development Group, led by Angela Reddock, which hopes to launch in the next month or two!
March 28th – April 1st was the 12th Annual Mediation Awareness Week, and SCMA honored the occasion with daily e-blasts to the mediation community. And on March 30th, President-Elect Jason Harper represented SCMA and was among those who addressed the Los Angeles City Council when the Council issued its annual Mediation Awareness Week proclamation.
April is jam-packed with activity as well.
On April 4th and 6th, respectively, the Pasadena and Santa Barbara Professional Development Groups will be holding their meetings. On April 14th, I will be traveling to Sacramento to address the California Law Review Commission on behalf of SCMA. On April 16th, SCMA will honor its Past Presidents, as well as its Sustaining Members, at the Second Annual Past President’s Breakfast at the Del Rey Yacht Club. On April 20th and 27th, the San Fernando Valley and Westside Professional Development Groups, respectively, will be holding their next meetings, and on April 28th, the SCMA Education Foundation, along with the Western Justice Center, will be presenting a program that highlights Peer Mediation.
Looking ahead, the annual Employment Institute is scheduled for May 19th and additional programming will be announced shortly for the month of June.
And, as I noted last month, Forest Whitaker — recipient of the 2015 Cloke-Millen Peacemaker of the Year Award — has confirmed he will attend SCMA’s Summer Mixer on August 10, 2016 to formally receive the award. I am delighted to announce that the Summer Mixer will be held at Mr. Whitaker’s alma mater — USC — in the law school’s fourth floor Faculty Lounge and the adjoining patio which overlooks the nearby museums and portions of the campus.
Finally, as I first revealed to those who attended last month’s Town Hall, it is my privilege and honor to announce that 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. The award will be presented to Senator Mitchell at the 2016 Annual Conference on November 5, 2016 — three days before this year’s Presidential Election. I guarantee this is one event you will not want to miss.
I look forward to seeing many of you at the Past President’s Breakfast on April 16th!
Floyd Siegal, President Southern California Mediation Association
On February 20th, Mark, Baer, Len Levy and Terra Russell Slavin presented their compelling workshop “Equal Rights for the LGBT Community: The Last Frontier of the Civil Rights Movement,” followed by an equally important workshop “Critical Race Theory: Introduction to the Genre, Intellectual Influences and Emerging Issues,” with Kim Clark, Lucy Jewel and Andrea Smith. My thanks to each of the panelists, who graciously gave up their Saturday morning in order to give 30 of us a second opportunity to attend these two highly praised workshops from last year’s Annual Conference!
Four days later, 24 mediators filled the large conference room at the Conflict Solutions Center (CSC) in Santa Barbara for the inaugural meeting of the Santa Barbara Professional Development Group. My thanks to Sayre McNeil, Cindy Brokaw and Harriet Causin for their amazing efforts to promote the group, and to Lizzie Rodriguez, of CSC, for offering to host the meeting!
And the month of March promises to be equally exciting!
On March 2nd, March 7th and March 16th, respectively, the Westside, Pasadena and San Fernando Valley Professional Development Groups will be holding their meetings.
On March 19th, SCMA will be hosting a Town Hall to discuss Mediator Certification and Mediation Confidentiality. First, Jack Goetz and Barbara Brown will provide an update concerning the work and recommendations of their Ad Hoc Committee on Mediator Certification, after which Lee Blackman and Phyllis Pollack will moderate a discussion concerning potential changes to the Evidence Code with respect to mediation confidentiality that are being considered by the California Law Review Commission. This is one event you won’t want to miss!
Mediation Awareness Week begins on March 28th, and President-Elect Jason Harper will be representing SCMA and addressing the Los Angeles City Council on March 30th, when the Council issues its annual Mediation Awareness Week proclamation.
Looking ahead, SCMA’s Second Annual Past President’s Breakfast is coming up on April 16th, and we are beginning to work on SCMA’s Annual Employment Institute and other programing for this spring and summer.
Finally, I am excited to announce that Forest Whitaker — recipient of the 2015 Cloke-Millen Peacemaker of the Year Award — has confirmed he will be able to attend SCMA’s Summer Mixer on August 10, 2016 to formally receive the award. More details to follow!
Looking forward to seeing all of you at the Town Hall on March 19th!
Floyd Siegal, President Southern California Mediation Association
In the last thirty days, 11 members of SCMA upgraded their membership status to the new “all inclusive” Sustaining Member category;
In the last three weeks, 33 members of SCMA attended meetings of the Pasadena, Westside and San Fernando Valley Professional Development Groups, with several attending more than one meeting! Many thanks to John Irwin for hosting the Pasadena group in his office and to Wendy Kramer and Jim Cameron for hosting the Westside and San Fernando Valley groups in their homes;
A week ago Saturday, more than 50 members of SCMA, plus several non-members, gathered in Classroom 101 at USC’s Gould School of Law to see Becky Callahan and Harold Coleman — back by popular demand — reprise their highly praised workshop, “Lying for the Sake of the Deal,” from this past November’s Annual Conference;
Last Wednesday, SCMA’s Public Outreach Subcommittee — chaired by Leslie Kushner and with invaluable assistance from Maria Simpson, PhD — made arrangements with students in the Digital Media class at Cal State Dominguez Hills to produce several PSA videos in the coming weeks, promoting the benefits of mediation;
Last Thursday, SCMA’s 2016 Spring Mentor Program — with 7 new mentees — met for the first of its four monthly meetings; And that was just in January!
The next few months promise to be equally exciting. On February 20th, SCMA will be repeating two other hugely popular workshops from the Annual Conference: “Equal Rights for the LGBT Community” and “Critical Race Theory;” on February 24th, the Santa Barbara/Ventura Professional Development Group will be holding its first meeting of the year; and on March 19th, SCMA will host an important Town Hall to discuss two hot-button topics: Mediator Certification and Mediation Confidentiality.
I am fortunate to have an incredible Board of Directors working along side me this year to make all of this possible. President-Elect Jason Harper will oversee programming and co-chair the Annual Conference with Terri Lubaroff. Stephanie Maloney has offered to once again serve as SCMA’s Treasurer. Jack Goetz has volunteered to serve as this year’s Secretary and will also co-chair the Membership Committee with Wendy Forrester. Together, Wendy and Jack have already implemented several ideas guaranteed to increase, and enhance the value of, membership in SCMA. Lee Blackman and Victoria Gray co-chair the Communications Committee, and their influence has already resulted in several improvements to the website. Mark Lewis has answered the call to serve as Coordinator of Professional Development Groups and has jumped in with unmatched enthusiasm, which, judging from the turnout at last month’s meetings and the number of new groups in the works, is clearly contagious! David Levaton once again serves as chair of SCMA’s popular and successful Mentorship program and Bill Molfetta will serve as chair of SCMA’s vital Outreach Committee. Orange County’s Terri Breer will be serving on the Annual Conference Committee and will also be actively involved in efforts to grow the Orange County Professional Development Group, while San Diego’s Dale Ordas and Hass Sadeghi will be point persons for the San Diego Professional Development Group. Past- President Robyn Weinstein, though 2500 miles away, remains my trusted mentor and adviser, and Executive Director Anne Sawyer is the person who somehow keeps all the balls in the air!
Before I bring my first President’s Message to a close, I would be remiss if I did not take a moment to encourage those of you who have never attended a Professional Development Group meeting to consider doing so in the coming months. It may well be the most significant benefit of membership in SCMA. The opportunity to get together every month or two with colleagues — veterans and newcomers alike — in the comfort of someone’s conference room or living room, to discuss the challenges we face as professional mediators, and the challenges that face our profession, is invaluable. If there is a Professional Development Group that meets near you, you will be welcomed with open arms. And if the closest Professional Development Group is too far away, reach out to Mark Lewis, firstname.lastname@example.org, and he will be happy to help you get one started!
I would also be remiss if I did not trumpet the virtue and value of becoming a Sustaining Member in SCMA. For those of you who are financially able to do so, the virtue of becoming a Sustaining Member is that you will lend greater financial support to SCMA, enabling us to continue presenting quality programs for little or no cost. And the value of becoming a Sustaining Member is that you will be invited to attend every SCMA program — including the Annual Conference — at no additional cost. Finally, one of my commitments this year is to be accessible to each and every member of SCMA.
I invite you to reach out to me at any time — email@example.com / 818-262-5830 — to let me know how we’re doing, what we’re doing right and what we could be doing better.
I hope to see all of you at the Town Hall on March 19th, if not sooner!
Dear Members of the Southern California Mediation Association:
I would like to begin this letter by expressing my gratitude to the members of the SCMA for the great privilege to serve as your president. I am incredibly proud to be a member of this organization – a group that is full of forward-thinking, mindful, and impassioned people.
A technique often emphasized in basic mediation training is to make sure that as the mediator, you are not standing in the way of resolution. If the parties are able to communicate with one another directly, it is an important skill set to know when to step aside. As president of the organization, I found that this skill was a useful one. We have so many brilliant and skilled members that it was often left to me to provide a framework of support – and let the ideas of our members flourish.
One of the greatest achievements of this year is the revitalization of the SCMA Professional Development Groups (PDGs). Thanks to the efforts of Wendy Forrester, Jason Harper, John Irwin, Mark Lewis, Susie North, Dale Ordas, and Floyd Siegal, the SCMA now has PDGs in West Los Angeles, Pasadena/San Gabriel Valley, the San Fernando Valley, Orange County, San Diego, and Santa Barbara. These groups meet regularly, host a wide range of guest speakers, and discuss various issues and challenges related to the practice of mediation. (We are still looking for someone to host a group in Riverside County, so if you’d like to host that group, please let me know!)
Another exciting initiative was the SCMA programming for Mediation Awareness Week. In an effort to raise awareness about our field, the SCMA partnered with the Beverly Hills Bar Association and the International Academy of Mediators to host a Mediation Awareness Week Kickoff Celebration which was attended by city councilmember Paul Koretz and leaders of various bar associations. We also developed a Mediation Awareness Week calendar, created a series of Mediation Awareness Week e-blasts, and conducted an MCLE program entitled, The Anatomy of a Mediation: Issues Before, During, and After Mediation.
Throughout the year, the SCMA hosted several well-attended MCLE programs, including Dollar$ and $ense: Growing Your Practice Through Smart Marketing; Perspectives on Cuba with Ken Cloke; Mediation Confidentiality: Can We Still Rely On It?; Solving Ethical Pickles in Family Law; The SCMA Employment Mediation Institute; Peer Mediation: Bringing Conflict Resolution to Schools; and Secrets of Successful Negotiation and Conflict Resolution.
In addition to substantive programs, the SCMA worked hard to create opportunities for our members to network and forge strong ties with one another. This year the SCMA hosted our annual Summer Networking Mixer in Los Angeles, as well as mixers in Orange County, Santa Barbara, and San Diego and the first annual SCMA Past President’s Breakfast to honor and celebrate the history of our organization.
Another wonderful accomplishment of 2015 is the creation of the SCMA Listserv. The Listserv provides an online forum for our members to connect with one another, solicit advice on issues relating to their mediation practices, provide and request referrals, promote various mediation-related events and trainings, share articles and resources, and post career opportunities. Our communications committee, led by Victoria Gray, also enhanced the SCMA Job Opportunities page, which permits local ADR organizations to post available jobs in conflict resolution.
I am also blown away by the efforts of Maria Simpson and the board of directors of the SCMA Education Foundation who have run a successful fundraising campaign, developed incredible programming for National Conflict Resolution Day, and have made tremendous strides on behalf of the Foundation over the course of the year.
The capstone of this year is our annual conference, which was planned and organized by conference chair Hass Sadeghi. This year’s conference was designed to address the broader ways in which we as peacemakers can contribute to and participate in the many conflicts facing society. As part of the conference, we have the great privilege to honor Charles Chang, Executive Director of the Asian Pacific Dispute Resolution Center, as the recipient of our L. Randolph Lowry award and Forrest Whitaker, CEO and Founder of the Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative, as our Cloke-Millen Peacemaker of the Year.
None of this would have been possible without the hard work and dedication of my friends, the members of the SCMA Board of Directors, all of whom have dedicated countless hours to promoting the organization and dreaming up these incredible endeavors. And thank you to our executive director, Anne Sawyer, whose determination and enthusiasm for her work shines through each and every day.
Floyd Siegal, my president-elect, I can’t wait to see what the next year will bring – you are a powerhouse, and you have one heck of a team behind you.
Later this month the SCMA is co-hosting the SCMAEmployment Institute with the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution on June 30, 2015. The institute begins with a networking dinner followed by two substantive panels. This year we have the great privilege to collaborate with the American Arbitration Association (AAA) to present a panel entitled Emotional Intelligence in Employment Mediations. Speakers Harold Coleman, Esq. Senior VP at the AAA and John English, Vice President at the AAA will discuss emotional intelligence in employment mediations and how to identify and overcome barriers to settlement. The second panel entitled, Workplace Investigations: Resolution or Escalation?,is an interactive session discussing recent trends and developments in conducting workplace investigations in the context of conflict resolution. Speakers include Sheila Sparks, Esq., Vice President and Senior Employment Counsel at Warner Brothers and Julie Yanow, Esq., Workplace Investigator at EquiLaw, and Steven W. Paul, Esq. of Paul Mediation. We are fortunate to have such exceptionally high-level professionals presenting this year, and special thanks are in order to Steve Paul and Stephanie Bell for making this fantastic event happen!
On July 30, 2015, please join us for the Annual SCMA Summer Mixerwhich will once again take place at the Sofitel Hotel in Beverly Hills. This event is always a wonderful opportunity for our members to mix and mingle – while enjoying cocktails and delicious hors d’oeuvres in a fabulous setting.
Lastly, be sure to take note of the SCMA Education Foundation’s first-ever Challenge Grant. For the next 60 days the SCMA will match your contributions dollar for dollar up to $1,000 to support the important work of the Foundation. To learn more click HERE.
I look forward to seeing you at one of these wonderful programs – and wish you a wonderful summer!