William Ury, co-founder of Harvard’s Program on Negotiation, is one of the world’s leading experts on negotiation and mediation.
He is co-author with Roger Fisher and Bruce Patton of Getting to Yes, a fourteen-million- copy bestseller translated into over thirty-five languages, and the author of Getting Past No, The Power of a Positive No, The Third Side and, most recently, the award-winning Getting to Yes with Yourself.
Over the last 35 years, Dr. Ury has served as a negotiation adviser and mediator in conflicts ranging from labor strikes and boardroom battles to civil wars in the Middle East, Latin America, and the former Soviet Union. During the Cold War, Ury served as a consultant to the Crisis Management Center at the White House, helping to create nuclear risk reduction centers. He has taught negotiation and mediation to tens of thousands of corporate executives, labor leaders, diplomats, and military officers around the world.
Ury is founder of the Abraham Path Initiative, which seeks to bring people together across cultures by opening a long-distance walking route in the Middle East that retraces the footsteps of Abraham and his family. ABC’s Christiane Amanpour calls the Abraham Path “an unprecedented initiative to break down barriers and foster communication in the most divided region of the world.” He has a popular TED talk about the Abraham Path, entitled “The Walk from No to Yes.” He is also co-founder of the Climate Parliament, which unites parliamentarians from around the world with civil society to bring about a transition to renewable energy.
William is the recipient of the Whitney North Seymour Award from the American Arbitration Association and the Distinguished Service Medal from the Russian Parliament. His work has been widely featured in the media, including the The New York Times, the Financial Times, the CNN, and BBC.
Trained as a social anthropologist, Ury has a B.A. from Yale and a Ph.D. from Harvard.
Mark Ridley Thomas
Since he was overwhelmingly elected in 2008, and reelected in 2012 and 2016 to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Mark Ridley-Thomas has distinguished himself as an effective leader for more than two million Second District residents. He presently serves as Chairman of the Board of Supervisors and is a board member of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission and LA Care (the nation’s largest publicly operated health plan).
Prior to his election to the Board of Supervisors, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas served the 26th District in the California State Senate where he chaired the Senate’s Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development. While in the Senate, he served as Chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus in 2008 and led the Caucus in unprecedented levels of cooperation and collaboration with counterparts in the Latino and Asian-Pacific Islander Legislative Caucuses.
Mark Ridley-Thomas was first elected to public office in 1991 and served with distinction on the Los Angeles City Council for nearly a dozen years, departing as Council President pro Tempore. He later served two terms in the California State Assembly, where he chaired the Assembly Democratic Caucus. His legislative work addressed a broad range of issues with implications for economic and workforce development, health care, public safety, education, budget accountability, consumer protection and civic participation.
He is widely regarded as the foremost advocate of neighborhood participation in government decision-making. By virtue of his founding of the Empowerment Congress, arguably the region’s most successful 25-year experiment in neighborhood-based civic engagement. Ridley-Thomas’ political career was preceded by a decade of service as executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Los Angeles (1981-1991).
The Supervisor graduated from Manual Arts High School (Class of 1972) and then earned BA and MA degrees along with secondary and adult education credentials from Immaculate Heart College. Supervisor Ridley-Thomas went on to receive his Ph.D. in Social Ethics from the University of Southern California focusing on Social Criticism and Social Change.
He is married to Avis Ridley-Thomas, Co-Founder and Director of the Institute for Non-Violence in Los Angeles. They are the proud parents of Sinclair and Sebastian, both Morehouse Men. Sinclair recently earned an MBA degree at USC’s Marshall School of Business, works in the investment banking industry, and resides in San Francisco with his wife Shaunicie, an attorney, and newborn son Duke Flynn. Sebastian is a member of the California State Assembly representing the 54th District, which includes Southwest Los Angeles, Culver City, Century City and Westwood. He currently chairs the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee.
Listed in alphabetical order by last name.
Shalayna Alldredge is an Employee Relations representative at Fortune 500 company, Qualcomm. Shalayna has been with Qualcomm for eight years working to positively impact people and culture. This is done through advising and coaching, influencing decisions, and conducting unbiased investigations to mitigate the highest risk issues for Qualcomm and all employees while acting with integrity.
Shalayna became interested in mediation during a college internship mediating at small claims court with the non-profit organization, Creative Mediation, in San Luis Obispo, CA. After graduating California Polytechnic State University with a BS in Psychology and moving to San Diego, she got back into the field, attending the National Conflict Resolution Center’s Mediation Certification. Since that time, she has mediated with the National Conflict Resolution center, eventually becoming a regular on the mediation calendar.
Elahe Amani is an educator and administrator with California State University System. She is a trained mediator and advocate for the role of women in peacemaking and mediation. She has conducted numerous training on conflict resolution, dialogue, and peace building on campus of CSUs and off campus in community and served as facilitator of Days of Dialogue/The Future of Policing in Los Angeles. Elahe works closely with UN Commission on the Status of Women & Mediators Beyond Borders (MBB). She is currently chair of the Global Circles of Women’s Intercultural Network; and a lead trainer of MBB International Training Institute. In 2015, she was one of the eight Jurors of Global Court of Women for Peace and Against Violence in Bangalore, India. In 2017, she was recipient of World Peace Foundation Peace Award.
John L. Armijo, J.D.
John Armijo has been an attorney for 28 years and a mediator since 1992. He is currently the Director/Campus Ombudsperson at the University of California San Diego. He and his team provide conflict resolution and problem-solving services to the students, faculty, and staff at UC San Diego. John was previously an ombuds at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he served as an organizational ombudsman, as well as the Technology Transfer Ombudsman for the Laboratory.
Before transitioning to the ombuds profession, John worked as a full-time mediator with the US Fish & Wildlife Service. In that capacity, he managed a regional dispute resolution office and conducted numerous workplace mediations with the US Fish & Wildlife Service, the Department of Interior, the Federal Executive Board Interagency Shared Neutrals Program, and other federal agencies.
John holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of New Mexico School of Law, is a member of the State Bar of New Mexico, and is a member of the International Ombudsman Association.
Helena Beaven-Goto is an Executive coach and early dispute resolution professional in Los Angeles. Her company HG Consulting works intimately with high level executives in predominately Fortune 500 companies. Navigating leadership development, conflict and communication outcomes.
Helena, has an MBA from USC as well as a Masters in Dispute Resolution from Pepperdine’s Straus Institute. This gives Helena the combined benefit of understanding both how a successful business functions, as well as the human dynamics of what motivates people to work well together.
Helena’s work in conflict solutions speaks to her understanding of how humans think and how emotion impacts business decisions and people skills.
Her mission is to inspire, motivate, and enable individuals and companies with the courage to take the action they need to fulfill their potential.
Lee Jay Berman
Lee Jay Berman began as a full-time mediator over 23 years ago, and has successfully mediated over 2,200 matters. He is a on the American Arbitration Association’s elite Master Mediator panel for employment matters, and is a national panelist on AAA’s commercial and construction panels. He is a Distinguished Fellow with the International Academy of Mediators, and a Charter Diplomat with the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals. He was Mediator of the Year for the US Bankruptcy Court in California, California’s Daily Journal twice named him “Top Neutral”. Also a respected trainer, he founded the American Institute of Mediation, leaving his position as Director of Pepperdine Law School’s Mediating the Litigated Case program after seven years. SCMA awarded him the Randolph Lowry Award for his work in advancing the education in the mediation field and The National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals awarded him ““Distinguished Neutral of the Year – for Excellence in Mediation and ADR Training” for 2017. Lee Jay has trained judges, attorneys and business leaders in India, Australia, and throughout Europe and the Middle East.
Estera Mihaela Borcsa, M.A., LCSW
Estera has been a MBBI member for several years; she is currently the chair of MBBI, Los Angeles chapter and co-chair of the SDG”S Action Group, United Nations WG.
Estera is currently Mental Health Clinical Director supervising mental health clinicians serving diverse and multicultural populations with complex trauma. Estera has been working in the helping field for 10 + years in multiple roles working with school age children and families. Estera is a Certified Trainer in Motivational Interviewing, Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Suicide Prevention, EMDR, Attachment Focused Therapy, Conflict Resolution and Mediation.
Estera Borcsa Earned a MSW degree with a concentration in Policy, Law and Administration from University of Southern California (USC). Estera is a Certified Mediator for Orange County Courts. Estera Currently performs mediations in family law, civil harassment, small claims, law enforcement, employment law and community mediations.
Estera is passionate about peace building on a global level, women empowerment and breaking generational curses in children by complex trauma.
Terri Breer is a graduate of Pepperdine University School of Law and completed Domestic Relations Dispute Resolution training at the Strauss Institute at Pepperdine. She has been practicing in Orange County for thirty-one years focusing primarily on family law mediation, collaborative law, and unbundled legal services. Ms. Breer has mediated hundreds of family law disputes, including divorce, parenting plans, division of marital property, support, pre-marital and post-marital agreements, domestic partnerships, and surrogacy arrangements. She was Chair of the ADR Section of the OCBA in 2014 and currently serves as a Board Member for Southern California Mediation Association (SCMA). The focus of her practice is to assist families in settling their legal disputes out of court.
Kenneth Cloke is Director of the Center for Dispute Resolution and a mediator, arbitrator, attorney, coach, consultant, and trainer, specializing in communication, negotiation, and resolving complex multi-party conflicts, including community, grievance and workplace disputes, collective bargaining negotiations, organizational and school conflicts, sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuits, and public policy disputes, and in designing preventative conflict resolution systems for organizations. He has done work in conflict resolution all over the world, and is a former President and co-founder of Mediators Beyond Borders. He is a nationally recognized speaker and a prolific author of many journal articles and books, including Mediation: Revenge and the Magic of Forgiveness, Mediating Dangerously, The Crossroads of Conflict, and Conflict Revolution. He is co-author with Joan Goldsmith of several books, including Resolving Conflicts at Work, and The Art of Waking People Up.
Brittan N. Cortney, Esq.
Brittan Cortney earned her J.D. in 2014 from Southwestern School of Law after receiving a B.A. in Communication and a minor in Spanish from the University of California, Davis with honors. The American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) selected Ms. Cortney to serve as a fellow for its annual program upon her completion of law school. During this fellowship, she gained a unique and enriching experience working with both defense and plaintiff firms and with the Honorable Judge Michael Stern at the Los Angeles Superior Court.
Brittan Cortney focuses her practice on protecting the rights of consumers and victims of serious personal injuries, financial loss and/or wrongful death. She spends an enormous amount of personal time with her clients. She finds that by experiencing a part of their life with them, she can better understand, and therefore translate their losses to a jury by highlighting the human elements of trial.
Mary B. Culbert is a Clinical Professor and Director of the Loyola Center for Conflict Resolution (CCR) at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. She is a 1984 graduate of Loyola Law School, and a Bilingual Certified Mediator (Los Angeles County Bar Association). In 1993, Ms. Culbert began serving as a community and court mediator and received the “Rookie of the Year Award” from the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Dispute Resolution Services. She returned to Loyola in 1994 as an Adjunct Professor of law and founding Director of the Disability Mediation Center of the Western Law Center for Disability Rights (currently the Disability Rights Legal Center). After practicing law for several years and becoming a Bilingual Certified Mediator (Spanish), she mediated extensively since 1993 in numerous community, government agency and court programs. She served as a resource to local, state and federal agencies regarding the design and implementation of mediation programs. She sat on the California State Bar ADR Committee and Chaired its Ethics Subcommittee since its inception in 1997 until September 2001, and completed more than 20 years as an advisor to that Committee. Ms. Culbert has served on numerous boards, committees and mediation panels over the past 25 years. She has trained and lectured extensively on mediation skills, advanced mediation techniques, disability mediation and legal issues in mediation. She served an appointment to the Judicial Council, Civil and Small Claims Advisory Committee, ADR Subcommittee Working Group on Uniform Procedures for Addressing Complaints about Court-Program Mediators. She was recognized in the “TOP NEUTRALS” Supplement to the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journals and to the Sacramento Recorder, in the section on “Community Mediators: taking it to the streets” in 2007. In 2009, she received the Ester Soriano Peacemaker of the Year Award from Los Angeles County DRPA Program Community Mediators, and in 2010, the Ester Soriano Award for Excellence in Community Mediation from the California Dispute Resolution Council. In 2011, she traveled to Bangladesh with Professor Hiro Aragaki to train Judges and Attorneys in mediation. In 2012 and 2013, she developed a new model and clinic for providing Collaborative Divorce Mediation Services in conjunction with the Los Angeles Collaborative Family Law Association. She was the Award Recipient of the 2013 DRP Case of the Year Award, and the Award Recipient, on behalf of the CCR, of the 2014 DRP Outstanding Program of the Year Award, Collaborative Mediation, from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. She is an Award Recipient of the 2015 Southern California Mediation Association Education Foundation Director’s Award for Contributions to ADR Education. From 2015 through 2016, she worked to create the Loyola Center for Conflict Resolution Dependency Court Mediation Program in conjunction with Los Angeles Dependency Court Judges and Robert Sowell of the Human Relations Commission.
Kim Deck, Esq.
One of the nation’s most experienced and accomplished mediators, Kim Deck, Esq. has devoted two decades to a full-time dispute resolution practice. Kim is a proud member of Judicate West, and was previously on the panel at JAMS. She serves as mediator and neutral fact-finder, and has successfully resolved over 4,500 cases, causing the Los Angeles Daily Journal to name her Top 40 California Neutral. Prior to her neutral work, she worked as a trainer and consultant with Vantage Partners (founded by faculty of the Harvard Program on Negotiation), and she served as Associate General Counsel and Manager of the Employment Dispute Resolution and Training Group at JAMS. After studying abroad in Florence, Italy while attending Gonzaga University, Ms. Deck then received her Business and International Relations degree from St. Mary’s College. She earned her J.D. degree from Whittier College School of Law. After law school, she continued her studies at the Harvard Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.
John R. Denny, Esq.
John R. Denny graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles (B.A., Economics, 1980) and Loyola Law School (J.D., cum laude, 1994). At Loyola Law School, he was a member of the Order of the Coif and St. Thomas More Honor Society. He was a member of the Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review (1992-1994). He was admitted to the California Bar (1994), U.S. District Court, Central District of California (1994), and the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (1995). He has been named a Certified Specialist in Family Law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.
Mr. Denny is a member of the Orange County Bar Association (Member, Family Law Section; ADR Section) and the State Bar of California, Collaborative Divorce Solutions of Orange County (CDSOC), and the International Association of Collaborative Professionals (IACP). Mr. Denny was named a Rising Star in 2004, and a Super Lawyer in 2011 and 2012. He co-authored “Ethical Issues Involving Minor’s Counsel,” published in the O.C. Lawyer (2009), and “Some Benefits of Mediation and Collaborative Law,” O.C. Lawyer (2011). He served on the Board of Trustees of the Los Angeles County Bar Association (2001-2002) and the Lawyers Club of Los Angeles County (President, 1999-2000; Board of Governors, 1995-2002). He served as President of the CDSOC in 2010-2011. Mr. Denny is a Founding Fellow of the Society of Fellows of the Orange County Bar Foundation.
Mr. Denny limits his practice to Family Law Litigation, Mediation and Collaborative Law.
Bill Eddy, J.D, LCSW
Bill Eddy is an attorney, therapist, President of High Conflict Institute and Senior Family Mediator at the National Conflict Resolution Center based in San Diego, California. Mr. Eddy provides training to professionals on the subject of managing and mediating with high-conflict personalities. He has provided seminars to human resource professionals, employee assistance professionals, lawyers, judges, mediators, mental health professionals, hospital administrators, college administrators, government agencies and others. He has presented in over 30 states, several provinces in Canada, England, France, Sweden, Austria, Australia and New Zealand. Bill Eddy is an attorney, therapist, President of High Conflict Institute and Senior Family Mediator at the National Conflict Resolution Center based in San Diego, California. Mr. Eddy provides training to professionals on the subject of managing and mediating with high-conflict personalities. He has provided seminars to human resource professionals, employee assistance professionals, lawyers, judges, mediators, mental health professionals, hospital administrators, college administrators, government agencies and others. He has presented in over 30 states, several provinces in Canada, England, France, Sweden, Austria, Australia and New Zealand.
Mr. Eddy is the author of several books, including:
High Conflict People in Legal Disputes, 2nd Ed.
BIFF: Quick Responses to High-Conflict People
So, What’s Your Proposal: Shifting High-Conflict People from Blaming to Problem-Solving in 30 Seconds
It’s All Your Fault at Work: Managing Narcissists and Other High-Conflict People
He is the developer of the New Ways for Mediation℠ method for resolving disputes with high-conflict people. He is on the part-time faculty at the Pepperdine University School of Law where he teaches the Psychology of Conflict Communication for the past several years, and on the part-time faculty of the National Judicial College. He is a visiting lecturer at Monash University Law Chambers in Melbourne, Australia every September for the past six years.
Alfred (Al) W. Gerisch, Jr., Esq.
Al Gerisch brings more than 40 years of litigation practice to the dispute resolution arena. His practice focused on premises liability, personal auto, trucking and transportation litigation as well as employment disputes. He has tried over 40 cases to verdict and has mediated in excess of 200 cases representing parties to those proceedings. As a litigator for over 40 years his clients included Greyhound Lines, First Group, Lancer Insurance Co., National Interstate Insurance Co., Gardner Trucking, and LAUSD. His trials included defending Keanu Reeves in an assault and battery case to a defense verdict, LAUSD in a wrongful death case to a defense verdict, and Greyhound Lines in a serious injury case to a defense verdict. His other trials included matters involving a variety of personal injury cases as well as employment related matters.
As a mediator and settlement officer for various courts he had a success rate of over 80% in resolving those matters to conclusion.
In the dispute resolution arena, he has been appointed as a settlement officer for the Los Angeles Superior Court, the 4th District Court of Appeals, the First Friday mediation program for the Palm Springs Superior Court, and has been both an arbitrator and mediator on the superior court panel.
He has completed over 60 hours of mediation training through the Strauss Institute at Pepperdine School of Law where he has honed techniques to assist the parties in reaching through facilitation or evaluation a fair and equitable resolution.
Mr. Gerisch attended USC and obtained a BS in Accounting and thereafter attended Loyola Law School. After law school he clerked for a district judge at the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles before joining the La Follette, Johnson, De Haas, Fesler & Ames firm.
He looks forward to working with all parties in reaching a resolution of their needs with the desire to save both sides the time, expense, and costs of lengthy litigation.
Stacie Feldman Hausner, Esq.
Steve began his career as an activist in the civil rights and peace movements of the 1960’s, was a community and labor Stacie Feldman Hausner, Esq. is a mediator of civil disputes with ADR Services, Inc. Prior to her mediation career, she was a lawyer for 20 years, specializing in high stakes litigation for both plaintiffs and defendants. As a lawyer and mediator, Stacie has litigated and mediated business and commercial cases, personal injury cases, construction defect cases, entertainment cases, employment cases, real estate cases, malpractice cases, and insurance coverage cases. She received an LL.M. in Dispute Resolution from the Straus Institute at Pepperdine University and is now an Adjunct Professor teaching “Mediation Theory and Practice” and the “Mediation Clinic” at Straus. She also is currently the Acting Associate Director at Straus. Stacie has mediated hundreds of cases for the Los Angeles Superior Court, the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the Center for Conflict Resolution, and ADR Services, Inc. Stacie is known for effectively settling cases with a calm, friendly, and patient demeanor and a keen understanding of legal issues.
Diane Karpman, Esq.
Diane L. Karpman specializes in legal ethics and professional responsibility. She is ethics counsel to several law firms and has been appointed by the L.A. Superior Court as a consultant in class actions. Her appointments include: ABA/BNA Lawyers’ Manual on Professional Conduct, Editorial Board (2000-2009), Chair (2006); ABA Center for Professional Responsibility, Publications Board (Co-Vice Chair 1997-1998); ABA Lawyers Responsibility for Client Protection (Standing Committee 1996); Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (President 2000); former Chair California State Bar MCLE Committee; former member Judicial Evaluations Commission; former Chair Los Angeles County Bar’s Ethics Committee; Chair, Beverly Hills Bar’s Ethics Committee. Ms. Karpman wrote a column for the California Bar Journal for 15 years that was distributed to all California lawyers monthly called “Ethics Byte.” She is a member of the American Law Institute, and the members’ consultant group for the Restatement of the Law Governing Lawyers. Ms. Karpman is a California State Bar Certified Legal Malpractice Specialist and her firm is AV-Preeminent rated by Martindale-Hubbell. She recently finished serving as the President of the Beverly Hills Bar Association. She has been a delegate to the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates for approximately twenty years.
Jeff Kichaven is an independent mediator with a nationwide practice. Jeff is an Honors Graduate of Harvard Law School (J.D. Cum Laude, 1980) and a Phi Beta Kappa Graduate of the University of California, Berkeley (A.B. Economics, 1977). He has been honored as California Lawyer Attorney of the Year in ADR and has been named to the Daily Journal’s list of California’s Top Neutrals eight times. He is a Member of the American Law Institute. His views on mediation have been cited in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. In 2005, he was president of the Southern California Mediation Association.
Gregory J. Lederman, Esq.
Mr. Lederman is a Certified Specialist in Estate, Trust and Probate by the California Board of Legal Specializations. His practice focuses exclusively on estate, trust and probate matters, with a primary emphasis on assisting personal injury attorneys settle their cases by creating special needs trusts, statutory minor trusts, conservatorships and guardianships. Currently, Mr. Lederman has over 100 cases under the supervision of the court within the state of California.
Mark A. Lemke, Esq., LL.M.
Mark brings a rare combination of experience as plaintiff, defense, and coverage counsel. Having served in each capacity, he is uniquely able to identify litigation risk, value cases, and bring cases to closure. He personally served as mediator in over 1,000 cases to date, with an excellent resolution rate.
Beyond his private mediation practice, Mark serves on mediation panels for the Court of Appeal, Central District Court, Beverly Hills Bar Association, and Los Angeles County Bar Association. He also serves as Adjunct Mediation Clinic Supervisor for Pepperdine’s prestigious Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, guest lecturer at area law schools, arbitrator, and temporary judge. Mark recently earned his LL.M. from the Straus Institute, and holds degrees from USC Law School, and UC Berkeley.
Mark serves on SCMA’s Membership and Outreach committees as well as the Speaker’s Bureau.
Will Lindahl, MBA, CLPF, CPT
Will Lindahl speaks nationally on settlement strategies to protect ongoing eligibility for government benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). He is a member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners. He holds a Masters in Business Administration, Bachelors in Applied Behavioral Sciences and is a Licensed Professional Fiduciary (CLPF). Will has personally established thousands Special Needs Trust accounts over the past eighteen years. He continues to help disabled individuals, settlement planners and attorneys address complex settlement issues for those clients’ that utilize or are eligible for needs based government benefits. On a personal note, Mr. Lindahl is a melanoma of the eye cancer survivor and as a result is visually impaired. He brings an intimate understanding and compassion to his work with the disabled community.
Scott R. Martin
Scott R. Martin is a mediator, social entrepreneur, licensed landscape architect, and a peace provocateur.
He started his first business at age 17 and has successfully pitched an environmentally conscious company on ABC’s Shark Tank. Today, Scott is partner in the mediation firm, Resologics, where he uses his entrepreneurial experience to help organizations and start-ups harness the power of conflict.
A founding member of Mediators Beyond Borders International, Scott has worked lived or travelled to over 60 different countries from designing resorts in Dubai and India to designing trauma-informed mediation trainings in Rwanda or supporting public dialogue in Cambodia. Locally, Martin has served on Board of Directors for Environmental Charter Schools and currently on the Board for the South Bay Business Environmental Coalition.
His passion for serving the community surfaces as community mediator, an advocate of restorative justice programs for youth, and promoting community dialogue facilitation.
Scott was recently recognized as a Rotary International Peace Fellow for 2017 for his efforts.
Kathy Memel, LMFT, Ph.D
Kathy Memel is an experienced, caring & skilled private Child Custody Mediator who specializes in helping parents cooperatively resolve custody issues, and together, they create positive Customized Parenting Plans in divorce settlements. She has a Ph.D in Psychology, is Licensed as a Marriage & Family Therapist, is a former Los Angeles Conciliation Court Family Mediator, a former Psychology Teacher at Beverly Hills High School, a Divorce Co-Parent Educator, and Speaker in these areas. She understands the psychology of high-conflict divorce and offers a supportive, structured, and confidential atmosphere for parents to share their perspectives and work towards resolution. Dr. Memel formerly worked as a Paralegal in Family Law and assisted in handling an average of 40 divorces a month for 5 years.
Dr. Memel often co-mediates with Family Law Attorneys so parents receive the benefit of legal as well as psychological expertise. Independently, she helps couples create workable Parenting Plans at every stage of their separation, divorce and post divorce.
She maintains a private practice in Beverly Hills and has more than 30+ years experience in her field.
Phyllis G. Pollack, Esq. the principal of PGP Mediation
(www.pgpmediation.com), has been a mediator in Los Angeles, California since 2000. She has conducted over 1700 mediations. As an attorney with more than 40 years experience, she utilizes her diverse background to resolve business, commercial, international trade, real estate, employment and lemon law disputes at both the state and federal trial and state appellate court levels.
She is a past chair of State Bar of California’s ADR Committee. She has served on the board of the California Dispute Resolution Council (CDRC) (2012- 2013), is a past president and past treasurer of the SCMA Education Foundation (2011-2013) and a past president (2010) of the Southern California Mediation Association (SCMA).
Ms. Pollack received her BA degree in sociology in 1973 from Newcomb College of Tulane University and her JD degree from Tulane University School of Law in 1977. She is an active member of both the Louisiana and California bars. Pollack believes that it is never too late to mediate a dispute and recommends mediation over litigation as it allows the parties to decide their own solutions.
Steve Rottman is a tireless, spirited mediator who brings a fresh, creative approach to brokering settlements. Steve spent most of his career as a trial lawyer representing both employees and employers in complex work-related disputes. He “gets it.” He understands what drives employment disputes and why they are so hard to resolve without the help of a mediator. Steve has helped countless attorneys and their clients break impasse and reach resolution without the pain, risk and cost of continued litigation. Steve helps parties in conflict find their way to a resolution that makes more sense than continued litigation. His approach varies with each mediation, but it is always predicated on his commitment to being honest with the parties, exploring every avenue of resolution, remaining impartial, maintaining confidentiality, and respecting the views and decisions of counsel and their clients.
David T. Ruegg, Esq.
David is a Southern California native, completing his BS at the University of Southern California and obtaining his law degree from Chapman University, where he obtained a tax emphasis certificate. Within the Family Law context, David exclusively handles the division of employee benefit plans (QDROs). David is a recognized expert in his field and his resume includes published articles, testifying in court as a QDRO expert, and presenting to numerous bar association and related family law organizations on QDRO/retirement benefit issues.
Fern Topas Salka, Esq.
Ms. Salka is a Certified Family Law Specialist, former Chair of the Los Angeles County Bar Association Family Law Section, “SuperLawyer” in Los Angeles magazine from the inception of the program in 2004 through the present and former editor of the LACBA “Family Law News and Review” for seven years. After 30 years of advocacy work (during which time she was honored as a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers), she has for over a decade limited her practice to non-litigation conflict resolution services (mediation, collaborative and unbundled consultation services, case management and drafting collaborative documents for couples marrying or separating). Ms. Salka is a co-founder and current trustee of the Los Angeles Collaborative Family Law Association and served as co-chair of the State Bar Family Law Section Consensual Dispute Resolution(CDR)/ADR Standing Committee(South)for over a decade. She has been extensively published, is a frequent lecturer and adjunct professor/trainer at Loyola and Southwestern Law School and has created and organized a number of high level programs, including the State Bar Family Law Section’s Biennial Pepperdine Advanced Mediation Symposia. Ms. Salka’s proudest professional achievement is the creation of the State Bar CDR Committee Panel of Adult Children of Divorce, which has been presented to the family law judges of Los Angeles County, attorneys, mediators, mental health professionals, teachers, clergy and parents.
Ana Sambold, Esq.
Ana Sambold is an attorney, mediator, arbitrator, trainer and a passionate advocate for ADR. As a mediator, she serves on the San Diego Superior Court Civil Mediation panel, ADR Services, Inc., and the West Coast Resolution Group. She has successfully conducted over 700 mediations of litigated and non-litigated disputes. She is also an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association (AAA) and the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Her extensive subject matter expertise includes a broad spectrum of civil litigation matters, with particular emphasis on business and contract disputes, torts, real estate, employment, insurance bad faith, and family matters.
Ana is the current co-chair of the California State Bar ADR-Civil Litigation Committee which advises the Board of Governors on public policy issues related to mediation and arbitration. In addition, she serves on the Board of Directors of the Southern California Mediation Association, the San Diego County Bar ADR Executive Committee and is the legislative liaison to the California Law Revision Commission (CLRC) on issues related to mediation.
As a trainer in negotiation, conflict resolution, and intercultural diversity for the National Conflict Resolution Center (NCRC), Ana has taught in English and Spanish to diverse groups ranging from community organizations, universities, nonprofits, government agencies and private companies. In addition, she is an adjunct professor at California Western Law School masters of law program for international lawyers. She actively participates in mediation, facilitation and conflict resolution projects locally and internationally with Mediators Beyond Borders (MBBI), the Institute for Nonviolence and Rotary International. Ana is licensed to practice law in California, Federal Court Southern District and Colombia. She received her credentials in dispute resolution from Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation and Pepperdine University School of Law -Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution.
Jan Frankel Schau, Esq
Jan Frankel Schau has successfully mediated over 1500 litigated cases since giving up her litigation practice and becoming a full-time mediator in 2003. She has been a panel member at ADR Services for over a decade and is widely regarded as one of L.A.’s preeminent mediators, being recognized by the Los Angeles Daily Journal as a Top 50 Neutral. A former President of the Southern California Mediation Association, Jan is also a Distinguished Fellow of the International Academy of Mediators and a member of the United States District Court’s Settlement Officers Panel. Jan specializes in mediating employment, business and tort disputes. Jan is the author of numerous scholarly articles and a book, “View from the Middle of the Road: A Mediator’s Perspective to Life, Conflict and Human Interaction”. Jan holds an undergraduate degree in International Relations from Pomona College in Claremont, Ca. and a J.D. from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles. Most recently, she has proudly joined the Straus Institute of Dispute Resolution as Adjunct Faculty, teaching Mediation Skills and Theory.
Susanne Schuler is an experienced business and intercultural facilitator, conflict mediator and coach. Her legal studies, business experience and her work in diversity combine effectively in her mediation and consultancy role. She speaks 5 languages fluently and has worked in more than 20 different countries. Susanne works with international organisations such as EY, KPMG, SAP, BASF, Unilever, Roche, IKEA, Spectris, CitiBank, and international institutions such as the UN, World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development as well as major UK organisations including the BBC and Lloyds Bank. Susanne has trained over 2,000 delegates from more than 30 different nationalities in negotiation techniques, mediation, conflict management, and diversity and inclusion. Susanne leads also a programme focused on resolving board conflicts which she delivers around the world. A qualified lawyer and accredited mediator Susanne has facilitated more than 100 mediation and conflict management cases to a constructive resolution. She has written papers on effective conflict resolution and negotiation in French, German and English. Her most recent publications are the first chapter in “How to master negotiation” (Bloomsbury) and her latest book “Intercultural Mediation at Work” (bookboon).
Born in Namibia, Susanne has lived, studied and worked in Germany, Switzerland, Spain, France, Belgium, and the Americas.
Elizabeth Potter Scully, Esq.
A California native, Elizabeth received her A.B. in Classics (Latin) magna cum laude from Harvard, and her J.D. from the University of California Hastings College of Law in 1996. Her practice is devoted to Family Law, and includes litigation, pre- and post-marital agreements, mediation and minor’s counsel work. Elizabeth is certified as a Specialist in Family Law by The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. Los Angeles Magazine recognized her as a Super Lawyers Rising Star for 2006 – 2007 and 2009 – 2012 and a Super Lawyer for 2013. She has represented over 100 children in contested custody matters in Probate and Family Court.
Prior to becoming a founding member of Jacobson Scully Shebby LLP, Elizabeth practiced first at Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps LLP, then as a partner at Kaufman, Young, Spiegel, Robinson & Kenerson LLP in Beverly Hills, and most recently as a solo practitioner. Elizabeth has trained extensively in the areas of Family Law Mediation and Collaborative Law. She has also taught legal writing and professional responsibility at Whittier College of Law.
Elizabeth serves on the Family Law Executive Committee of the Beverly Hills Bar Association and on the Board of Levitt & Quinn Family Law Center, a nonprofit law firm serving the working poor. She also volunteers as a Pro Bono Attorney for the Harriet Buhai Center for Family Law. In addition, she is an Adjunct Professor at UCLA School of Law.
Elizabeth is known for her reassuring demeanor, the high quality of her written and oral communications, and her de-escalating, insightful and solution-oriented approach to Family Law matters.
Maria Simpson, Ph.D.
Maria Simpson, Ph.D. has been an organizational conflict consultant for over 20 years. She has worked with executives to develop their leadership skills and with leadership teams to develop more effective decision-making processes. Among her clients are Bank of America, Toyota Financial Services, and Easter Seals Southern California, as well as city agencies and universities. Her executive experience at the NY Academy of Sciences, The Conference Board, and the New School for Social Research has given her an in-depth understanding of how organizations work.
Maria currently serves on the Boards of Empathia Pacific, a national EAP, and the SCMA Education Foundation, which she has chaired since 2013. She has served on a variety of other boards and was an officer of the SCMA, from which she received the SCMA President’s Award in 2012.
Maria has taught in the graduate program on Negotiation, Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding at CSU Dominguez Hills for over 12 years, and was a mediator for the LA County Superior Court for over 15 years. Since 2003 Maria has written a weekly column on management communications collected in her book, “Leading Unstoppable Teams!” Her articles have appeared on mediate.com and in ACResolution.
Teddy Snyder, WCMediator.com, conducts Workers Compensation mediations throughout California. An attorney for 40 years, she has concentrated on settlement since 1993 as a litigation management consultant, corporate litigation trouble-shooter, settlement consultant, and mediator. She has written and spoken extensively throughout the country about litigation management and settlements.
Rande S. Sotomayor
Rande S. Sotomayor is a Los Angeles-based mediator, conflict resolution consultant, attorney, and arbitrator with over 30 years of commercial litigation and business dispute resolution experience. She specializes in mediating business disputes involving commercial contracts, insurance, real property, personal injury, employment, consumer, and bad faith. Rande serves as a mediator for the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California; the Community Associations Institute, Greater Los Angeles Chapter; and the California Association of Realtors, Mediation Center for Consumers. She also was selected to serve as a professional mediator/judge for the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Commercial Mediation Competition in Paris, France in 2016 and 2017. Rande was recently selected to serve as a mediator and fee arbitrator with the Los Angeles County Bar Association Attorney-Client Mediation and Arbitration Services program. A spirited practitioner above all, as well as a speaker and author, Rande was selected to the 2017 Southern California Super Lawyers list, was recognized as a 2015 and 2016 Top Attorney in ADR in Pasadena Magazine, and is a current Board Member of the Pasadena Senior Center. Rande holds an undergraduate degree in Comparative Area Studies from Duke University, and a law degree from Washington University in St. Louis, where she was Notes and Comments Editor for the Washington University Law Quarterly.
Ivan K. Stevenson, Esq.
Mr. Stevenson has been a trial attorney for 43 years. He has tried cases in a variety of disciplines from either a plaintiff or a defense counsel perspective. He has tried cases in California, as well as in overseas jurisdictions including Guam and Morocco. Although he has tried numerous criminal cases in his early career, he has been trying civil cases almost continuously since 1974. Mr. Stevenson has participated in a great number of arbitrations and mediation as a trial counsel. Since 1980 he has conducted more than 250 arbitrations, as the sole arbitrator or as the head arbitrator in three panel arbitrations. Since 1997 he has conducted more than 2000 mediations as a mediator across a wide range of matters, including Legal Malpractice, Medical Malpractice, Professional Malpractice, Personal Injury (Auto, Motorcycle, Boating, Sporting and Trip & Falls) Products Liability, Airplane and Maritime Matters, Governmental Agency Matters, Labor and Employment, as well as Civil Rights actions including Police and Jail matters and Contract, Business and Real Estate matters. Mr. Stevenson has been a trial attorney for 43 years. He has tried cases in a variety of disciplines from either a plaintiff or a defense counsel perspective. He has tried cases in California, as well as in overseas jurisdictions including Guam and Morocco. Although he has tried numerous criminal cases in his early career, he has been trying civil cases almost continuously since 1974. Mr. Stevenson has participated in a great number of arbitrations and mediation as a trial counsel. Since 1980 he has conducted more than 250 arbitrations, as the sole arbitrator or as the head arbitrator in three panel arbitrations. Since 1997 he has conducted more than 2000 mediations as a mediator across a wide range of matters, including Legal Malpractice, Medical Malpractice, Professional Malpractice, Personal Injury (Auto, Motorcycle, Boating, Sporting and Trip & Falls) Products Liability, Airplane and Maritime Matters, Governmental Agency Matters, Labor and Employment, as well as Civil Rights actions including Police and Jail matters and Contract, Business and Real Estate matters.
Mr. Stevenson was on the front lines of mediation confidentiality issues, having been the victim of a violation of that confidentiality in the Foxgate v. Bramalea (2001) 26 Cal. 4th 1, the seminal Supreme Court case on confidentiality. He subsequently was an amicus curiae in the Supreme Court cases of Rojas v. Superior Court (2004) 33 Cal. 4th 407 and Simmons v. Ghaderi (2008) 44 Cal. 4th 570 and in the Court of Appeals case of Wimsatt v Superior Court (2007) 152 Cal. App. 4th 137 (also known as Wimsatt I). He was also contacted to become involved in both the Cassel and Wynter matters, but had to forego getting involved as an amicus curiae.
Mr. Stevenson has lectured on the subject matter of mediation, mediator conduct, confidentiality and the use of experts in mediation on behalf of the American Bar Association, the CDRC, the SCMA and the Center for International Legal Studies (CILS) both here in the United States and in Austria.
In addition to having taught Family Law at the University of Southern California School of Law, Ron is a frequent presenter at the California Bar Convention, and various other professional associations. Ron has given a number of workshops on Mediation, Collaborative Law, & Unbundled Legal Services to the California State Bar. He has presented numerous Workshops for the Southern California Mediation Association, the Orange County Mediation Association, & The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. He presented two Workshops at the Mediator’s Beyond Borders conference in Italy. He is a frequent Presenter for, the Employee Assistance Professionals and is the Author of the Employee Assistance Professionals Divorce Tool Kit. He also filmed four webinars for The Holman Group about divorce, child custody, and important family law issues concerning process. He is presently working on presenting a workshop for Mediators Beyond Borders that will prepare mediators for employment in the community assisting & facilitating Community Dialogue.
Heidi Tuffias, Esq.
Heidi S. Tuffias graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California, Davis and in 1990 she graduated from the University of Southern California Law Center, receiving the National Association of Women Lawyers’ Outstanding Woman Law Student Award.
Ms. Tuffias has been a Certified Family Law Specialist since 1995. She served on the Board of the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, chairing the family law section, from 1993 – 1999, the Board of the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists (ACFLS) from 2001 – 2006 and was been a member of the Family Law Executive Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association from 2007 to 2015. Ms. Tuffias is currently a board member of the Harriet Buhai Center for Family Law. She served on the Los Angeles Superior Court ADR Committee from 2009-2013 and currently volunteers for the Los Angeles Superior Court as a Daily Settlement Officer in the Central District, Compton and Santa Monica courts. Ms. Tuffias was honored by the Los Angeles Superior Court Alternative Dispute Resolution Program for her outstanding volunteer contributions in 2008 and 2011.
Ms. Tuffias currently has her own dispute resolution practice focusing on mediation, consulting to mediation and collaborative matters and prenuptial agreements in West Los Angeles. To enhance her understanding of the psychology of conflict resolution, she is pursuing her Master’s Degree in psychology at Antioch University, Los Angeles and expects to graduate by the end of 2018. Ms. Tuffias speaks and writes frequently regarding family law, mediation and collaborative law.
Dr. Michele A. L. Villagran
Dr. Michele A. L. Villagran is based in the Los Angeles area and serves as a President and CEO of CulturalCo focusing in areas of cultural competency, competitive intelligence, conflict resolution, and emotional intelligence. Additionally, Dr. Villagran is a Lecturer with University of North Texas, and LIS Coordinator for the University of North Texas Master of Library & Information Science programs. She is a certified cultural intelligence and unconscious bias facilitator through the Cultural Intelligence Center. Dr. Villagran has more than 20 years of experience including work in both the public and private sectors. She earned her undergraduate degree in Management and International Business from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, her M.L.S. degree in Legal Informatics from the University of North Texas, and her M.B.A. in Strategic Management from the University of North Texas. At Pepperdine University, she completed a Certificate in Dispute Resolution, her Masters of Dispute Resolution and her Doctorate of Education in Organizational Leadership with her dissertation focusing on cultural intelligence at Pepperdine University.
Duane Michael Zea-Ringler
Mike began his career at Ringler Associates in 1996. He holds the industry’s highest professional designation from Notre Dame University as a certified Masters Structured Settlement Specialist, and is the managing owner/broker of the Costa Mesa office of Ringler with more than 30 years of experience in Structured Settlements, claim s and risk management. Mike specializes in settling Worker’s Compensation, Products Liability, General Liability, Wrongful Death/Survivor, Mass Tort, Elder Abuse, Employment Discrimination, Maritime/Longshore Liability and Medical Malpractice personal injury matters.
Mike has also completed advanced studies relating to Medicare Secondary Payer statutory provisions. Ringler is the nation’s largest and oldest structured settlement firm with over 70 offices nationwide.