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This year's annual conference will feature over 30 sessions. Please read the descriptions below, listed alphabetically by title. CLE credit courses indicated in parentheses.

The Art of Working with Taking Things Personally
Have you ever wished you had the tools and awareness to help you not take things so personally? Or the tools and awareness to help others not take things so painfully personally? Feeling hurt is a common struggle that many people face. Our human biology plays a vital role in whether we take something personally or not. Our awareness of this makes the difference between inner turmoil and inner peace. Through a series of guided exercises we can become aware that it is possible to find relief and also develop some tools for not taking things so personally in the future. These experiences can be the doorway into some powerful learning about ourselves, our deeper needs and the deeper needs of others. The goal is to find relief, understanding and compassion in these situations and move through them with freedom and choice to meaningful connection and joy. Presenter: Christiana Wall, MSW

3rd-Party Neutrals as Fact-Finders and Bridge Builders: Civilians & Law Enforcement
A presentation about how the Center for Dispute Settlement's (CDS) process of civilian oversight of law enforcement began and the evolution to its current state. This process uses 3rd party neutrals, certified through CDS, as review panelists, which makes our program unique in the country. A small panel would provide insight and answer questions about how they review and make recommended findings based on the allegations presented in a review. Our outreach efforts to the community will also be discussed as we work to continue building bridges and enhancing community police relations. Presenters: Sherry Walker-Cowart, Cheryl Hayward, and Frank Liberti
A Pleasant Assault on the Senses: A Mediation Training-for-Trainers
In this highly interactive workshop, Brad will share a range of training tools he uses to teach mediators how to break impasse and generate movement throughout the mediation proces. The workshop is predicated on the idea that different people learn differently -- and we need to find creative ways to appeal to all learning styles in our teaching and training. Brad will use visual, pop-culture, auditory, experiential, kinesthetic, musical, and theater-based elements in this workshop, which participants can adapt to their own practices. He will take us through a real-life training segment he conducts for fledgling mediators, and take us behind the curtain to reveal best practices (and some mistakes he's made) for applying it to your training. Brad also subscribes to the idea that laughing brains are more absorbent – so he aims to make our time together as fun as possible. Presenter: Brad Heckman
Change Management is Pain Management: The Opportunities for Mediators to Make a Difference as Part of an Organizational Change Management Strategy
Join Senior HR Practitioner Deb Best, SPHR, Owner and Principal of Deb Best Practices as she shares her experience, strength and hope on the vital role that Mediation Professionals can play to proactively manage change while training, facilitation and mentoring during times of organizational contraction and expansion. Change management is often addressed as a process which doesn’t provide focus on the variable needs of individual employees as people with independent thoughts and reactions. This session will help provide participants with the skills to address resistance and fear related to change. Presenter: Debra J. M. Best, SPHR, SHRM-SCP 
Collaborative Law - The Role of Counsel as Problem Solvers (CLE)
Attorneys in every field need to offer their clients less expensive and more certain alternatives to litigating disputes. Attendees will learn about Collaborative Law, a structured interest-based negotiation process that works towards “win-win” solutions, and how this growing area of legal practice can resolve a wide variety of domestic and international disputes using legal and non-legal professionals. The presentation will involve a discussion about the ethical implications and challenges for attorneys, an interactive role play illustrating an interdisciplinary approach to dispute resolution, and the role of counsel as problem solvers. Presenter: Marc Sheridan, Esq.
Cultural Humility and ADR: An Introduction
Both parties and neutrals are influenced by culture in their thoughts, words, and actions. As such, culture affects not only how parties communicate with each other and with neutrals but every aspect of how neutrals engage in the session. Many approaches to diversity or cultural competence training focus on providing new information about certain groups or social structures. Participants increase their knowledge but experience no growth in the skills or attitudes necessary to change how they engage as human beings and as ADR professionals. Jasmin, Rob, and Rebecca have developed an educational approach that participants have found transformational in both their personal and professional lives. This session will introduce participants to that approach and the concept of cultural humility through modeling and facilitated dialogue. Participants will have the opportunity to explore how a dedicated practice of cultural humility can enhance an ADR professional’s mindfulness and ability to attend to the parties and their conversation. Presenters: Jasmin Brandow, Rob Conlon, and Rebecca Koch
Facilitating Effective Participation in the Heated Public Meeting
A presentation and discussion on the two-fold approach to facilitating effective participation in the heated public meeting, or any public meeting. Topics include: understanding the nature of Conflict in the public processes; amplification tools to prevent and/or shift the conflict dynamic; focused listening; reflective feedback; strategic summary; and identifying/offering-back decision making opportunities. Presenter: Jeffery Shepardson
Tidying Up the New Mediators Toolbox: A Workshop for Mediation Trainers

Whether training new mediators or corporate clients in conflict management, trainers in the ADR field tout the ability to teach participants new skills.  Often these skills are bundled together to build a metaphorical conflict management “toolbox.”  Sometimes the toolboxes we share with trainees become cluttered with too many tools or tools that are rarely used.  Based on the New York State Unified Court System’s years of experience mentoring and certifying mediation trainers, and collectively observing more than 100 mediation trainings by different mediation trainers around the country, this workshop is designed to help new and experienced trainers reflect on the skills toolboxes in their training curriculum and learn the seven stage model of skills training used by the most effective trainers and teachersPresenter: Daniel Kos

Has Coaching Earned its Place on the ADR Continuum?
ADR is a well-established spectrum of processes available to address conflicts. Coaching, primarily Conflict Coaching, is a recent addition to the list of processes to resolve conflicts. With the growth, development and application of coaching as a profession comes the question – Does the practice of coaching “fit” and does it belong within the ADR spectrum? If the answer is “yes”, what is the justification for the inclusion of the process within the spectrum and if the answer is “no”, what is the justification for the exclusion? This interactive session is designed to address these questions based on the experiences and perspective of the session presenter and participants. This session, however, does not come with a guarantee of answers; we may find our way to more questions than answers as a result of our efforts here. But then, didn’t the entire field of ADR begin with a powerful question? Presenter: Michael West
Healthy Boundaries in Mediation and Coaching Situations
It's easy to get caught up in the emotional aspects of conflict, even as a mediator or coach. When dealing with intense interpersonal disputes, how does a mediator effectively address triggers and emerging emotional responses? This workshop presents theory in the area of communication and boundaries, in addition to practical techniques to help conflict resolution experts address these issues effectively. Presenter: Jonathan Elston
How to Make a Living as a Mediator (CLE)
You don’t have to be a lawyer to make a living as a mediator. You just need the right formula. In this interactive session Dan Burns and Cliff Rohde will discuss the skills needed to become a professional mediator. The discussion will include how to market yourself without breaking the bank, how to find office space, how to work with other professionals and, most importantly, how to get paid for your services.  Bring your questions and ideas and prepare to leave the session with the skills you need to make a living as a mediator. Presenters: Daniel Burns, Esq. and Cliff Rohde

In Search for Resolution: Finding Opportunity in Conflict-Related Search Queries from NY and Across the Country 
In Search for Resolution is an exploration of what people search for when in conflict. Whether community, education, family, social, or workplace-related conflicts, people often search for help online long before they engage offline resources such as conflict specialists, legal assistance, or law enforcement. Knowing what people search for can help us understand the specific language which may be most resonant during these early quests for assistance. It can also tell us when, where, and what types of conflicts are occurring based on a number of variables. By analyzing this data, conflict specialists can begin to hone and target their messaging and outreach efforts with a resonance and specificity that has been previously unavailable. With over 50,000 unique conflict-related search terms already identified representing a combined 150 million annual searches parsed on monthly and county-level bases, the emerging picture of "In Search for Resolution" promises to be an insightful exploration of the opportunities awaiting New York ADR practitioners...just a click away! Presenter: Justin Corbett

Isn’t There a Broader Way? Offering a Fresh Perspective to Address ADR Professionals' Dissatisfaction with the Profession by Utilizing ADR Skills beyond Our Work in Conflict Resolution (Part 2) (CLE)

At the 2014 NYSDRA Conference, we offered a framework for ADR professionals to consider a broader way to apply our ADR skills and knowledge beyond the conflict resolution field, in an effort to address dissatisfaction expressed as a result of the perceived limited use of ADR by our courts, businesses and communities. At our last presentation, we discussed examples of the benefits of using ADR skills outside the context of traditional conflict resolution and we explained what might happen if other professionals were equipped with the same ADR skills possessed by ADR professionals. For this presentation, we would like participants to come prepared with examples of ways in which they’ve employed a broader application of ADR skills in their own lives or experiences and seen it applied by non-ADR professionals. In small groups, we’ll explore these examples and discuss how they connect to the broader application of ADR and may lead to a mainstream acceptance of its value. Presenters: Dan Weitz, Esq. and Sheila Sproule, J.D.

Making the Best of Conflict Theories to ADR Processes
Practitioners are usually trained and well versed in mediation techniques; however, “unless mediators understand the underlying theoretical principles that influence and shape their practices, they are merely talented mechanics trying out one tool after another without understanding why a particular tool might be useful and what results are likely to flow. They are skilled mimics, who apply techniques and interventions without fully considering the reasons behind the approaches.” (Michael Lang, The Making of a Mediator). This session provides a series of theories, and their application to real life cases that will better inform a dispute resolution practitioner. Presenter: Michael West
Mediator Assessment: Challenges, Proposals, and Results From a Pilot Program at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (CLE)
In this session we will present a pilot program on mediator assessment that took place at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. This pilot was developed through a collaboration between the Court’s mediation program and a sub-committee of the New York City Bar Association’s ADR Committee. We will discuss several aspects of the pilot including the process for designing the assessment and training tools, the feedback we received from mediators and observers/evaluators who participated in the pilot, challenges (both expected and unexpected), and conclusions and recommendations. Presenters: Rebecca Price, Esq. and Judge Kathleen A. Roberts (Ret.)
Neuroscience and Its Application to Conflict and Dispute Resolution (CLE)
Perception, cognition and emotion are critical factors that mediate how we make sense of our physical world and our social interactions.  Some of these processes operate on our conscious level.  Most don’t.  Regardless, they shape what we believe we need, what we desire, how we view others and how we deal with conflict.  Recent work in neuroscience, aside from being extraordinarily interesting; offers insights into how humans are wired, respond to conflict and perceive our world.  This research is quite useful for anyone who deals with conflict or is involved with dispute resolution. Presenter: Scott Wyner, Esq.
Serving Two Masters: Making The Med-Arb Model Work
Mark W. Leuthauser is the Executive Director of The Peacemaker Program. He holds a degree in Human Services with a Counseling focus, and worked in his local Department of Social Services for over nine years. Mark is a mediator with training and certification in over a dozen mediation programs, as well as civil practice arbitration and Lemon Law arbitration. Over the past 8 years, Mark has been a trainer and facilitator for groups ranging from children to local landlords to ADR professionals, from coast to coast. Mark has authored trainings and interactive educational software, including Playing Peacemaker database of experiential learning activities. Mark regular practices as both a mediator and arbitrator in The Peacemaker Program’s Med-Arb system, which has been a great success with local courts for over a decade. Presenter: Mark Leuthauser

Making the Leap From Mediation to Restorative Justice: What You Need to Know as a Facilitator
Mediation and restorative justice are close cousins. We believe mediators possess the core skills necessary to facilitate restorative justice dialogues. In this workshop, we will compare and contrast mediation and RJ philosophy and practice. We’ll focus which skills are easily transferred and what needs to be learned to be a successful RJ facilitator. Presenter: David Karp and Duke Fisher

Transformative Dialogues: How Intergroup Dialogue and Non Violent Communication Can Help Communities Transcend Conflict
Transformative Intergroup Dialogue draws from two well-known and successful models for promoting democratic dialogue, action and civic engagement in the context of diversity: (a) the Michigan Intergroup Relations Model (, a process used by the University of Michigan and universities throughout the United States to promote intergroup dialogue and engagement in higher education and community settings; and (b) Nonviolent Communication (NVC) which strengthens our ability to understand and respond compassionately to others and to ourselves. It guides us to reframe how we express ourselves and hear others by focusing our consciousness on what we are observing, feeling, needing, and requesting. By practicing NVC we can hear our own needs and those of others with a depth of understanding that gives us the ability to transcend conflict. When we focus on needs and values, rather than diagnosing and judging, the world looks different and becomes different. Presenter: Dr. D.A. Graham, Ph.D., M.Div., MHR
Transitioning Your Mediation Skills Into Advocacy Skills
A training session and discussion on how to get the most out of advocacy. Mediators have the basic skill set for advocacy. We will show you how to leverage your communication skills to become a successful advocate in the legislative arena. This interactive presentation will include an overview of the legislative process in NY and tips on how to effectively navigate this process. We will discuss messaging, process and the value of grassroots and third party outreach, along with direct advocacy. Presenter: Christine Tramontano
Understanding and Defusing Workplace Drama (CLE)
Workplace drama manifests itself in many ways, including insubordination, backstabbing, petty arguments, power struggles, inappropriate comments, and passing the buck. It adversely affects employee morale and productivity and can lead to employee claims of harassment or discrimination. In this session, we will discuss the causes and behavior patterns of workplace drama and strategies that can be used by mediators, HR professionals and leaders to counteract and defuse workplace drama. Presenters: Lisa Pomerantz, Esq. and Aoifa O'Donnell, LCSW, SAP
Value-Centered Mediation: Using Meaning and Values as the Vehicle for Effective Conflict Resolution (CLE)
Using the nature of energy, evolution and philosophy to serve as its proof, participants will learn the value of conflict itself as gaining understanding and wisdom. These are the true objectives of effective conflict resolution. Techniques based upon the work of John Haynes and Viktor Frankl will demonstrate how to elicit and reflect the values and meaning behind the objects, actions, relationships and consequences of conflict. These deepen and give texture to understanding between the parties. Reflecting the goals expressed by the parties as values forms the basis of a problem solving approach that promotes wiser decisions. Presenter: Mark Kleiman, Esq.
Views From Vermont: Restorative Practices from Pre-Arrest to Reentry
An overview of the implementation and use of restorative practices across the Vermont criminal justice system. There will be a focus on the benefits and challenges of bringing these initiatives to communities in New York. The following will be discussed: History of Restorative Justice in Vermont – from Reparative Boards to Reentry Circles of Support and Accountability (COSA); Building capacity for delivering community and restorative justice, including: Use of municipal and community-based non-profit service delivery models; and Securing funding; Engaging with stakeholders, including: o Identifying and responding to public interest; Enhancing relationships with law enforcement and corrections partners; Engaging community volunteers to tackle new realms; and Measuring and evaluating program outcomes. Presenter: Laura Zeliger and Derek Miodownik
Yes - It Really is a Disaster!
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, coordinates the delivery of Federal disaster relief to State and local governments when the President of the United States has declared a disaster. Do you know that FEMA has Alternative Dispute Resolution Advisors (ADR Advisors) who go to those disasters? These ADR Advisors support people working at the disaster with coaching, mediation, facilitation, and training. Tag along with Debbie Smith, one of those ADR Advisors, to get a look into what FEMA does, how the ADR Advisors help at a disaster, and how an ADR practitioner can try to find ADR work with the Federal government. Presenter: Debbie Smith
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New York State Dispute Resolution Association, Inc.
4 Pine West Plaza, Suite 411, Albany, NY 12205
P: (518) 687-2240  |  F: (518) 687-2245