TAPM Newsletter

July 2023

TAPM Annual Conference – Mediating Alternatives to Violence

Thank you all who attended our Annual Conference – Mediating Alternatives to Violence. This online event took place on Friday, April 14th. Dr. Bernie Mayer began the day with a presentation on ways that mediators can empower disputants to disrupt conditions that generate conflicts. Attendees described Dr. Mayer’s session as “exceptional,” “inspiring,” and “insightful.” Charles Hill, Linda Seely, and Zena Zumeta introduced the changes to the Rule 31 training requirements for Special Listing in Domestic Violence. They also discussed domestic violence dynamics and elder abuse screening. One attendee particularly noted that they are “grateful for the push for deeper learning” from this panel of experienced practitioners. After lunch, Dianne Williams provided an eye-opening introduction to restorative justice principles and how they can be utilized in family and civil cases. Many attendees noted that this presentation was timely and that they took away a new perspective. Dr. Jeff Thompson closed out the event by reflecting on his twenty years of work in crisis management with the NYPD. As he shared his experiences using conflict resolution strategies in intense situations, he encouraged attendees to draw on empathy, curiosity, self-compassion, and awe. Attendees appreciated his emphasis on building resilience through self-care, and his attention to the second-hand trauma that conflict resolution professionals experience. TAPM members followed up the event with an hour of fellowship, reflections, and ideas for the coming year. 

Congratulations to Lynn Barton:

2023 Grayfred Gray Award Recipient

A highlight of our April Annual Seminar was the presentation of TAPM’s annual Grayfred Gray Public Service in Mediation Award to Lynn Barton. This award is given to people who have made innovative and lasting contributions to ADR in Tennessee, and this year it was presented to Lynn by Grayfred Gray himself. His introductory remarks illuminated Lynn’s groundbreaking work in establishing mediation as a profession in Tennessee. Lynn then shared insights from her 40 years of experiences in shaping the path of mediation in Tennessee. Lynn, the first non-attorney mediator to receive this award, also reflected on the critical role of non-attorney mediators in bringing mediation to this state. 

Lynn was possibly the first trained mediator in Tennessee. She was a co-founder and first board president of the Nashville Area Association of Family Mediators; co-founder and first board president of the Mediation Association of Tennessee; and a founding board member of Tennessee Association of Professional Mediators and of Nashville Conflict Resolution Center. She was also a co-founder of Alive Hospice of Nashville, the first hospice in the Southeast and one of the first in the country, and served as the second president of its Board of Directors. She continues to serve on the Alive Advisory Committee.

She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Board Certified Diplomate in Clinical Social Work. She has received training to be certified as a Rule 31 Divorce Mediator and as an Advanced Practitioner Member of the Association for Conflict Resolution.  She has received additional training to be a Collaborative Facilitator, helping couples divorce using a Collaborative Divorce Process. She is an Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

Lynn has always been interested in the area of grief and helping people work through the process of grief, whether the grief is caused by illness, death, divorce, aging or other losses that have occurred. She has done this in her private therapy practice, by educating people in conferences and community speaking engagements, and through volunteering in various capacities. She has also taught in the area of marriage and couple relationships.

She was honored by NAAFM in 1991 with its Distinguished Service Award, by Jewish Family Service in 2010 with its Chesed (Loving Kindness) Award and, by the Nashville Business Journal, alongside her husband, in 2014 with its Health Care Heroes Lifetime Achievement Award. This year she is being given the Sage Award by Agewell of Middle Tennessee for co-founding Alive and for helping to introduce mediation into Tennessee. 

Lynn Barton is married to David Barton, a psychiatrist. They have three children and seven grandchildren.  

TAPM Welcomes New Board Members

Our TAPM Board is pleased to welcome two new members, Marc Harwell and Cara Gruszecki Smalley! They each bring a wealth of experience and insight to the Board, and we all look forward to working with them in the coming months. 

Marc Harwell:

Marc is a Rule 31 Civil Mediator who received his mediation training in 2014. He was appointed to the Tennessee Supreme Court ADR Commission (2022-2025). Since 2014, served as mediator with 85% success rate (the Tennessee average rate of success for mediators in 2021 was around 58%) in a wide variety of disputes ranging from allegations of child molestation charges against a teacher and school; catastrophic brain injury involving tort injury with over 1 million dollars in medical expenses incurred; construction cases and associated insurance coverage issues involving commercial design and construction involving commercial and residential issues related to retaining walls, roofs, veneers, plumbing, electrical, mold, water, wind, ice, earth movement, vibratory event(s), etc. He is also a Registered Neutral with the Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution as well as an American Arbitration Association National Panel Arbitrator.

He also has decades of complex litigation experience that provides a wealth of insight and knowledge and skill in handling a wide range of complicated legal matters such as catastrophic personal injury litigation involving traumatic brain injury and wrongful death; professional liability issues involving accountants, architects, engineers, lawyers, nurses, surveyors, etc.; employment disputes; commercial motor carrier matters; commercial litigation and transactions; hospitality and premises liability; products liability; and insurance coverage.

Marc received the FDCC President's Award for Community Service (2020). He was President of the Chattanooga Bar Association and received the CBA's Ralph H. Kelly Humanitarian Award (2021). He has been a Fellow of the Tennessee Bar Foundation and the Chattanooga Bar Foundation, and was a Member of the Tennessee Bar Association's House of Delegates (2021). He is a former board member of the American Law Firm Association, International.

Cara Gruszecki Smalley:

Cara is a mediator specializing in civil disputes, and family law disputes, including those involving custody, and domestic violence. She is Rule 31 Supreme Court Listed in Tennessee for Civil and Family Mediations and is Domestic Violence Certified. She is also a Nationally Trained Certified Mediator with with National Association of Certified Mediators (NACM).

Cara has been an attorney/litigator in the field of family law and child welfare law in Tennessee for many years. She received her Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Scranton. Prior to attending law school, Cara was a Parole Agent for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole. Cara earned her Juris Doctor (JD) from Widener University School of Law, Harrisburg, where she was a member of the Trial Advocacy Honor Society.

Cara resides in Nashville, TN, and has been married for 21 years. She and her husband have welcomed two children into their family through adoption, and she is a proud dog mom to two rescued pups. Cara is a dedicated and caring parent and works hard to create a warm and welcoming environment for all members of her family, both human and canine. Despite the challenges that come with raising a family, Cara approaches each day with grace and determination, always striving to be the best mother and spouse she can be. In her spare time, she enjoys crafty projects, going to every activity her kids are involved in, volunteering with dog rescues, and listening to audiobooks. Cara is passionate about advocating for children and families and rescuing animals in need.

TAPM Board Member Roster, 2023-2024

Kimberly Best, President and Chair

[email protected]

Robin Wheeler, Vice-Chair

[email protected]

S. Beth Tarter, Secretary

[email protected]

Karen Phillips, Treasurer

[email protected]

Marc Harwell

[email protected]

Cara Gruszecki Smalley

[email protected]

Regina Newson

[email protected]

Gordon Russell

[email protected]

Jacqueline O. Kittrell, Immediate Past President

[email protected]

TAPM Website Update

Progress on our new website has begun! Once it is ready to launch, we will close down the Wild Apricot address and move to our new domain – TAPMMediators.org. Our new site will have a members-only portal, where we can keep videos from TAPM events and educational resources. In the “for the public” section of the website, parties will be able to search for mediators and see their bios, location, and area(s) of practice. What else would you find helpful on the TAPM website? We welcome your input. Please send any ideas to Kimberly Best at [email protected].

We will keep you informed of progress as the new website comes together.

Upcoming TAPM Speaker Series Events

Online via Zoom

August 7, 2023 (11am-1pm Central, 12pm-2pm Eastern)

Carol Bloom: The Transformative Approach to Working with “FACE” Concerns

First, at 11amCT/12pmET: Our presenter is Carol Bloom, a professional mediator, facilitator trainer and coach working in the field of interpersonal communications and conflict resolution in California, as well as internationally, for twenty-five years. She has expertise in diversity training, cross-cultural and gender-based conflict resolution and international peace building efforts. Carol’s areas of mediation specialization include workplace, cross-cultural issues, sexual harassment, client/consumer disputes, business partnerships, families, estate planning and inheritance, elder care, youth, schools, community groups, and victim-offender reconciliation. Carol has also been a Days of Dialogue facilitator for a number of years, addressing topics of racism, gun violence, community policing, etc.


As mediators, we often notice the concerns parties express, both verbally and nonverbally, that have to do with identity, dignity, reputation, etc. These concerns are directly linked to efforts to cause, protect against, or address “losing face” or “saving face” between the parties, as well as for parties themselves internally. A mediator who works to develop a “FACE Lens”, is more skillful at recognizing and responding to FACE concerns, especially in cases where there is a pronounced difference between the mediator’s lived cultural/socio-economic experience and that of one or more of the parties we are serving. The FACE Lens, applied and practiced with a non-directive, transformative approach, provides a deepening of cultural competencies and cultural humility for mediators working in any setting.

We will seek CLE and CME credit for her presentation.

Then, from 12pmCT/1pmET: TAPM members are welcome to stay online for our monthly member meeting. We will continue our process of introduction and networking. Your input, vision, and talents are greatly valued. 

This event is free to all TAPM members. Register at the following link:


October 2, 2023 (11am-1pm Central, 12pm-2pm Eastern)

Dan Mortimer: Building Your Client Base

TAPM Speaker Series Presents Dan Mortimer of Performance Law and Contact Cultivation System presents on building your client base. Every year TAPM features a speaker on Marketing and Practice Building. Dan gives a new perspective to add to your toolbox. His 1-hour presentation will be followed by our monthly member meeting. Sign up coming soon.

Important Note to Members: 

We are an organization that values the voice and talents of all of our members, and we need your participation. Please reach out with ideas or concerns. 

This year, we are focusing on outreach. We’d like to reach potential new members and the general public to learn more about TAPM and mediation. Let us know of any opportunities for TAPM to be present on behalf of all of us. 

On another note, there are frequent requests for mentoring and practice groups. Finding a time that works for everyone is difficult. Therefore, this year, during some Monthly Speakers Series times, we will substitute a speaker for some practice times to include mock mediation, demonstrated mediation, document sharing and any other practice areas that would be useful to you. Please let us know your thoughts on this.

Thank you for being a member. Together, we are better.

The TAPM Board

Check TAPM on LinkedIn!

Remember to check-in on LinkedIn for TAPM events and information.

Please share any news and opportunities there. Or, if you have something to include in the newsletter, please email us.

To find us, click TAPM’s LinkedIn Page, or https://www.linkedin.com/company/tennessee-association-of-professional-mediators-tapm.

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If you haven't already found us online, check out our Facebook page. We would love to hear from you about your mediation practice or mediation opportunities including training, connections and presentations, so check back regularly!

Many thanks to TAPM’s Sponsor:

ADR Notable

ADR Notable: The only comprehensive mediation software platform designed especially for dispute resolution professionals.

Did you know?

American Bar Association (ABA) ADR Committee meetings and continuing education opportunities are available to you through your TAPM membership at a reduced rate. For each event, TAPM members receive a 50% discount for specific programs. A program code will be provided for registration and the code will be different for each event. For the October event, the code is CEDR2022. Registration is free for ABA DR members, but cooperating entities receive the 50% discount rate of $25.00 (the ABA rate).

Visit our website.

Pay your TAPM dues online.

$100.00 for one year: Professional Member

$50.00 for one year: Nonprofit Mediator/Student Member

Dues are renewable one year from your last renewal.

Some news to share? Upcoming Events that would be of interest to TAPM mediators? Job openings you’d like to promote? Email submissions for upcoming TAPM newsletters to [email protected]