President’s Welcome


Hello WMA members!  After two years as the WMA president-elect I am happy to report that on August 11, 2023, the WMA Board approved Board member Kris Torset as our new WMA Treasurer allowing me to become the WMA President. Kris hails from Tokeland, Washington where she is staff at the Dispute Resolution Center of Grays Harbor/Pacific Counties in Aberdeen.  She serves as the DRC’s Community Educator and Mediator, working closely with the local and Tribal communities.  Astrid Aveledo, the Center’s Executive Director, and her staff have been doing innovative outreach to the Native American and Hispanic communities in those counties for many years. We welcome Kris as our new Treasurer!

The Board appreciates the work of Marcus Lang, who continued to serve as the WMA President in the interim.  Now, as WMA’s immediate past president, Marcus will focus on helping Felicia Staub organize WMA’s very popular monthly Mediator’s Café.

In addition to Kris, Marcus, and myself, we have four WMA members currently serving on the Board. These include long time Board member Leslie Ann Grove, who also serves as the ResWA liaison to WMA; Felicia Staub, WMA’s Secretary and the creator/manager of WMA’s Mediators’ Café; Danielle Miercort, WMA’s Certification Committee Chair; Deborah Josephson, who serves on WMA’s Certification Committee. Jennie Lou Shirer, our long-standing WMA Administrator, attends to communications from our members and the public, keeps our books, and manages our day-to-day operations.

Front and center of the Board’s current attention is preparation for our Thursday, October 23, 2023, WMA Annual Fall Conference.  Save that date!  We are creating an exciting day of virtual interactive learning and discussion. Pre-registration for the event will open shortly.

This year’s conference theme is “Alternative or Mainstream:  Mediation and WMA at 40 years.”  The question for discussion is whether, well into its fourth decade, mediation remains an “alternative” form of dispute resolution or has become mainstream.  To answer this question, we have assembled a great panel of morning speakers.  Sue Ann Allen, an early local advocate for mediation, will talk about the early days of the Modern Mediation Movement across the nation and here in Washington in the late 1970’s/early 1980’s. Sue Ann initiated and then managed the King County DRC’s training program for many years.  Sue Miglino and John Rossi, members of the Kitsap DRC, will speak on current projects and programs at their DRC and where they believe the modern mediation movement stands today.  Finally, Schuyler Peters and Joseph Burdine, Seattle University Law School students, and their mentor, Dee Knapp, another longtime local mediation practitioner and SU Law School mediation professor in residence, will discuss their hopes for the future of mediation. At midday, we will have a “bring your own lunch” with a virtual keynote speaker.  In our afternoon “unconference,” we will break out into groups to dive deeper into our morning topics as well as exchange views on current hot topics.

This year’s conference fee is $95 for WMA members, $125 for non-WMA members, $35 for full time students who show school IDs, and $95 per person for groups of three or more non-WMA members who register at the same time.  We will be seeking Washington State Bar Association Continuing Legal Education credits again this year.

May our good works bring peace to our communities,  Michelle Hansen, WMA President