2016 is off to a rousing start!
- 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!