WMA Newsletter September 2021

WMA Newsletter September 2021

Newsletter  September 2021

First Impressions

Welcome to this first edition of the latest iteration of WMA’s newsletter. Our purpose is to give you further insight into the Washington Mediation Association and, at the same time, a bit of information about people, events, and ideas blossoming around the state.

Think of this first issue as an introduction. We’ll talk a little about the organization, give you a brief overview of our Conference (held annually in the autumn) and our Mediator Cafe (held monthly), and we’ll pull back the curtain to reveal our Board of Directors. So, pull up a cuppa and have a quick read. Comments and suggestions are, of course, welcome.

The Organization

Most of you already know a fair amount about the Washington Mediation Association, so I’ll keep the primer information to a minimum.  At the base of our web page <www.washingtonmediation.org> you’ll find our Mission Statement:

   The mission of the Washington Mediation Association is to advance the use of mediation as an effective form of alternative dispute resolution; to foster high standards of mediator conduct, training, and certification; and to be the voice of mediators in Washington State.

Add to this the “About us” information on the web site and you have a pretty decent
picture of the organization:

     WMA is a statewide professional organization of mediators that includes independent mediators, attorneys, volunteers, and organizations. Members advocate for the use of mediation as a powerful conflict resolution tool and support [[each other’s]] efforts to continually improve the quality and usefulness of mediation.

We pursue these goals through our Certification process, our annual Fall Conference, our Mediators’ Café, and our web page. The web page gives us a point of contact with our members and with the general public. Our primary benefit to the public is providing them with a search engine to help them find a mediator that can help them with their current or brewing conflict. Each member is provided a profile section that they can enhance to better define their practice and interests making it easier for the potential clients to find them. We encourage our members to visit their profile page and make suitable additions (including a photo) to assist those who may want to find them.

 The Big News:
2021 Fall Conference is just around the corner!

Before we get into the specifics, reach over and grab your calendar … or pull up your app … or prep a post-it for your fridge. And put a big red circle around Thursday, October 14. No red pen handy? That’s OK. Go check the junk drawer in the kitchen. That red crayon will do. Thursday, October 14.  Thank you. I feel better already. This year’s theme is Geography Unbounded. A small side-effect of the 2020-21 COVID pandemic has been the development and rise of online mediation. Some mediators have become great fans and see it as a welcome tool that is here to stay, regardless of health and safety consider-ations. Others see it as currently necessary, but not something to use any longer than is required. And that is just a pair of views – there are more.

An interesting observation is that with online mediation, physical distance is not an issue. One party can be in Spokane County, another in Whatcom, and the mediator can participate from their home office in Clark County. Which raises questions about the importance of state boundaries or, for that matter, international boundaries. We look forward to fascinating presentations by our speakers (that will be our morning sessions) and, as usual, to lively discussions in our break-out sessions in the afternoon.

This year’s speakers are:

            – Melissa Fuller, In-house Counsel for WAMS (Washington Arbitration and
                                                   Mediation Service)

            – Steve Vasquez, office of the Washington State Attorney General (regarding ways to                                                            enhance your skills as an on-line mediator)

            – Michelle Hansen & Meredith McKell Graff, WMA Board members (regarding issues                                                    that may arise when parties live in different states – Michelle will talk                                                          about general considerations, and Meredith will address matters specifi c                                                      to family disputes.)

Much of the behind-the-scenes work this year is being handled by WMA President Marcus Lang. Other board members Michelle Hansen, Eve Palay, and Meredith McKell Graff have stepped forward to help pull it all across the finish line. We look forward to the opportunity to push them into the spotlight for a bow at some point during the conference. Once again, our timing:

The 2021 WMA Annual Conference Geography Unbounded Thursday, October 14

 Mediators’ Café

A terrific idea. A monthly online meeting space for WMA members to network, discuss important mediation topics, and receive continuing education through in-services, webinars, and roundtable discussions. It originally sprang from the mind of Board Member Felicia Staub in the spring of 2020.

Each month features a specific topic – ranging from ‘Mediation in the Time of Covid’ to ‘Handling Emotional Outbursts,’ from ‘Growing a Successful Mediation Business’ and ‘Mediating in the Shadow of the Law’ to ‘Healing and Reconciliation.’ Participants have joined in from Idaho, Oregon, and Mexico as well as from around our home state. Speakers have presented from Montana, California, Oregon, as well as Washington.

The Café is open the third Wednesday of the month and, to accommodate scheduling issues, alternates between noon (odd months) and 5pm (even months). For example: November 17th (November is the 11th month, therefore odd, so the Café is from 12 to 1:30pm). Members are welcome to attend for free, non-Members may attend for $15.00, look under the SHOP menu in the website for Continuing Education.

An email is sent to our members early each month, announcing the time, date, and topic for the next Café. Those who RSVP before the posted deadline will be emailed the ZOOM links the day before the session, and, thus equipped with your favorite beverage and your far-from-idle curiosity, you are all set.

To further enhance the Café experience, it’s been suggested that we add a subtle ambient soundtrack of soft jazz, occasional whispers, and the rare tink of spoon-on-cup.

Then all we’d need to do is figure out how to serve coffee. We look forward to seeing you


“In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through you.” Mortimer J. Adler

Here we’ll devote a bit more time to enhancing our craft, to improving our practice, to upping our game. This section is inter-active. Please think about a book youve read that has impacted your skills as a mediator. Jot a sentence or two – no more than a paragraph please – and send it (include the title and author, of course) to:  <admin@washingtonmediation.org> ; please be sure to put ‘Newsletter-books’ in the subject line. Thanks. In the meantime, here are a few classics:

Mediating Dangerously, Kenneth Cloke [filled with gems in the form of insights and reminders, lessons new and old. For example, Parties are often blocked by one of four simple, powerful, often unrecognized obstacles (which he lists and describes in his clear and concise manner); and Mediation may progress through four forms of dialogue (what is wrong, what is true, what is possible, and what is going to happen – each of which he describes and develops). And so much more.]

Changing Lenses, Howard Zehr [a wonderful introduction to the realm of Restorative Justice.]

The Art of Possibility, Roz and Benjamin Zander [a treasure trove of wisdom and insight. Try it; you’ll like it.]

Difficult Conversations; Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen [an introduction to and master class in communication.]


Many of us are interested in the goings-on next door and out beyond the next road. In this section, we invite you to tell us about mediation in your neck of the woods. Is there a Restorative Practices project going on in your local high school? Does your community center sponsor or house a neighbor-to-neighbor conflict resolution program? Do you participate in parent-teen team-mediation? Are you aware of a mediation or restorative practice in your area that you think may be of interest to other members of WMA? Let us know – drop us a note by email (with the words ‘Newsletter–Wanderings’ in the subject line) to admin@washingtonmediation.org .



Washington Mediation Association 2021 Board of Directors:

Marcus Lang: President, Fall Conference, Guru Primo
Michelle Hansen: Treasurer, On-deck President, Fall Conference, Can-Do Coordinator
Felicia Staub: Secretary, Innovator/ Coordinator of the Mediator Café
Meredith McKell Graff: Chair of the Cert Committee, Recovering former Secretary
Leslie Ann Grove: ResWa Liaison, Honorary Neil deGrasse Tyson Chair of Reality Testing
Dacia Morrisonbuck: Certification Committee, Marketing Committee, Chief Foreign                                                                         Correspondent
Eve Palay: Marketing Committee, Ursula K. LeGuin Honorary Chair of Future Vistas
Michael Boughton: Fall Conference, Utility Infielder, Bill James Chair of Broad Picture Details
Danielle Miercort: Hey, She’s New so Back-Off
Gary Nacht: Certification Committee, Editor of the re-emerging WMA Newsletter

Special thanks to Jennie Lou Shirer, our illustrious Administrative Coordinator, for all she does and for her help with format design and distribution of this attempt to revive the WMA Newsletter.