Dear SCMA Members:
What a rewarding and busy experience this year has been serving as your President. I am thrilled by all that we have accomplished, and pleased to report to you that we are now over 400 members strong with over 230 in attendance at the amazing 2013 Annual SCMA Conference. SCMA is a thriving, growing organization, meeting the needs of its diverse membership. We have so many hardworking board and committee members, too numerous to individually thank for all they have done for SCMA and the mediation community. Thank you for your contributions and your tireless work. And thank you to Anne Sawyer, our executive director; she has done a truly remarkable job this year!
The year began with the dire news of budget cuts and the closure of the LASC-ADR Department. In response, the SCMA made the bold decision to brainstorm ways in which SCMA could help the court and its members. Our Board formed the Ad Hoc Committee on the Closure of the LASC-ADR Department which jumped in head first by conducting a Town Hall meeting held at the Santa Monica Library. After many months of collaboration and careful planning, the SCMA Select-A-Mediator Directory was born.
While the work of the Ad Hoc Committee was being done, we held numerous study groups all over Southern California, and featured various presenters at our monthly Professional Development Series (PDS) programs and institutes. Kathleen Ronald entertained and informed us with “The Seven Deadly Sins of Networking.” Bill Eddy gave us a fascinating presentation on “High Conflict Mediation,” leaving everyone clamoring for more, and Professor Lela P. Love and her panel amazed us at the half-day Institute, “The Mind of the Mediator.” Both the Real Estate and Employment Institutes in the springtime featured exceptional speakers and were of the highest caliber. In June, the SCMA was proud to co-sponsor the Marina Collaborative Practice Group’s first “Interdisciplinary Collaborative Practice Training.”
The SCMA Outreach Committee organized the Select-A-Mediator Launch Party in July, which drew an unprecedented number of attendees including consumers of mediation services. A follow-up training on the Select-A-Mediator site in August filled a classroom with SCMA members who successfully completed and launched their new Select-A-Mediator profiles.
In September, we again gathered as a community and welcomed former SCMA President Jan Schau as she presented us with real life lessons learned from her year of journaling which culminated in the publication of her book, “View From the Middle of the Road: A Mediator’s Perspective on Life, Conflict and Human Interaction.”
In October, the SCMA Outreach Committee joined forces with the Beverly Hills Bar Association and filled its conference room to capacity with a program entitled, “Resolving Cases Without the Court’s ADR Program. What Lawyers do Now?” Plans are underway to duplicate this program for many other organizations in an effort to educate consumers of mediation on how to find quality, cost-effective dispute resolution solutions and effectively mediate disputes.
Rounding out the year, we learned many lessons at the last PDS of 2013, ”Peer Mediation, Bringing Conflict Resolution to Schools.” about the skills mediators can teach school age children to encourage peaceful conflict resolution in their schools, homes and communities. Take a look at the 2013 on-line Conference Journal to see the amazing year of work completed by the Ad Hoc Committee on Mediation Certification as well as a wealth of other materials from the Annual Conference at: http://www.scmediation.org/2013-scma-annual-fall-conference/2013-scma-online-conference-journal/
Our website continues to provide a wealth of information as we strive to make it the “go-to” place for information regarding trainings, programs, volunteer and job opportunities for our members. Plans are underway for a website redo with even more content and capabilities in 2014.
Finally, we are very excited to let you know that on-line applications are now being accepted for the newly redesigned SCMA Mentorship Program at: http://www.scmediation.org/about/mentorship-program/
In thinking back, I am truly amazed by the amount of work we accomplished and feel tremendous pride in the SCMA community. We welcome your involvement! Take a look at the numerous SCMA committees at: http://www.scmediation.org/about/committees/ and you will surely find a committee that is just right for you. And if you have thoughts regarding any new projects or committees, please feel free to contact me. I encourage you to share your ideas, inspire us and make new connections as we continue to grow and prosper in this supportive SCMA community.
Enjoy the holidays!
All my best,
Wendy W. Kramer