April 2020
We hope you enjoy this edition of  the Texas Mediator. Our goal is to provide members with the latest "news you can use" about mediation. In this issue, you will find:
  • A Message From the President
  • Kay Elkins-Elliott Receives the Susanne C. Adams Award
  • How TAM Members are Adapting to Social Distancing
  • TAM Member Spotlight: Kris Donley
  • Adjusting to Life Financially After Divorce, by Denise French
  • Volunteer Mediator Receives a National Award
  • 6 Ways to Strengthen Your LinkedIn Profile, from TAM's new Social Media Chair
  • Introducing TAM's 2020 Board!
  • Members on the Move
  • Photos from the 2020 Conference
We Are Creators of Possibility
Remarks From the President at the 2020 TAM Conference
When I first moved to Texas from Massachusetts over five years ago, I didn’t know anyone in the state, let alone any people who shared my passion. I just happened to meet a UT professor in the airport who put me in touch with Suzanne Schwartz, Susan Schultz, and Walter Wright. All torchbearers for mediation in this state. They said three letters to me: T-A-M. February. Be there. And I was.

What I found was far more than a conference for mediators. I found my home.

Kay Elkins-Elliott:
Susanne C. Adams Award Recipient
Reflections from Linda Gibson
This year’s award recipient, Kay Elkins-Elliott, has devoted her life to dispute resolution, helping individuals listen to what Abraham Lincoln referred to as the “better angels of our nature” for 40 years through her mediation, teaching, mentoring, coaching, and leadership.

How Members Are Adapting
to Social Distancing

"We can choose how we react to a situation even if we didn’t choose the creation of a situation."

As an EEO Manager/Harassment Prevention Coordinator, seeing people face-to-face at our facility is the most preferred method of communicating; however, since the implementation of the social distancing and stay-at-home orders, we all have to find alternate ways for communicating!
  • Communicating with family – Duo, FaceTime
  • Communicating with co-workers for training, mediation – Skype
  • Communicating with outside organizations/ministries – Zoom
  • Communicating socially – Facebook, text messaging and instant messaging
The bottom line is we can choose how we react to a situation even if we didn’t choose the creation of a situation! 
So don’t stop communicating, but find more effective ways of communicating during this season of your home life, work life and just life overall! 
If all else fails write a letter! That is effective, admired and will probably shock the receiver!

-Rikkita Hughes
Don't Be Afraid to Reach Out!
All this quarantine can feel very isolating. As Membership Chair, Fran wants to make sure everyone knows that she’s available to help any member, in any way she can. Feel free to reach out via her cell at (713) 805-9591.

Thank you, Fran, for being so generous with your time!
TAM Member Spotlight: Kris Donley
Executive Director, Travis County DRC
As a Dispute Resolution Center director, I oversee mediation services and field related training to the public. In direct service, I provide facilitations to work teams, stakeholder groups, faculties, nonprofit boards, and other groups, to assist with productive problem and strategy identification.

As a skill set, I believe any human can benefit from some form of basic mediation training. Life is one negotiation after another, why shouldn’t we be skilled in human interaction and interest based negotiation?

Music, traveling, and painting are how Kris relaxes. This is one of her beautiful surrealistic creations!
Adjusting to Life Financially After Divorce
Denise French
There’s no doubt about it--going through a divorce is an emotionally trying experience. Ironing out a divorce settlement, attending various court hearings, and dealing with competing attorneys can all weigh heavily on the parties involved. 

In addition to the emotional impact a divorce can have, it’s important to be aware of how your financial position will be impacted. Now, more than ever, you need to make sure that your finances are on the right track. You will then be able to put the past behind you and sit in place the building blocks that can be the foundation for your new financial future.

DRC Volunteer Charlsie Moore Recognized for National Award
Dispute Resolution Center of Montgomery County, Inc.
Charlsie’s salt and pepper pixie cut head tilted encouragingly toward the nervous woman. “I know this must be difficult, I can’t imagine having to do it myself, so I want you to know this is going to be fine,” she said softly. Charlsie smiled as she grasped the woman’s hands. The woman nodded, gave a small smile in return, and visibly relaxed. 
Charlsie Moore, a volunteer mediator with the Montgomery County Dispute Resolution Center (“DRC-MC”), has conducted over a thousand Child Protective Services (CPS) mediations for children who may have been abused or neglected. Only a portion of the many thousands of mediations this TMCA Credentialed Distinguished Mediator has done in over two decades as a volunteer, the CPS cases hold a special place in Charlsie’s heart. She’s been the primary advocate for CPS mediations to enable families to develop family plans early in the process so they can begin working collaboratively for the best interests of the child(ren) as soon as possible. Everyone involved applauds her skillful, empathetic handling of these demanding cases.

6 Ways to Strengthen Your LinkedIn Profile
 Sara A. Davis Lorenzi
Are you looking to make your LinkedIn networking more effective? New TAM Board Member, Sara A Davis Lorenzi, has a passion for coaching people on how to put their best foot forward online. Check out some of her tips below!

1) A Good Business Photo. Take a look to compare the photos of others on LinkedIn, and find what looks right. Ask a friend to take your new photo. No family in this business photo, just you! Dress for the career position you are reaching to attain. Solid colors are best. Consider incorporating natural lighting from a side window. And best to stand away from the wall, turn with a swivel to the side, great to add a plant in the background.

2) Add a Background Image in the Header.  Add a Background image to highlight behind your Profile photo. Consider a solid color for your background image. Tip: To upload Background Image, this must be uploaded while on a laptop computer.

Introducing TAM's 2020 Board
Thanks so much to the members serving TAM this year!
Kim Sullivan, President
Kim Sullivan is a Director of Employee Relations and Dispute Resolution at VMware, a publicly traded tech company where she is helping the organization design and implement an alternative dispute resolution system for employees and managers.

Mark Sims, President-Elect
Meg Walker, Treasurer
Melissa Back McAlpine, Immediate Past President
Omar Samji, Secretary
Amber Gong, Conference Committee Co-Chair
Daniel Martinez, Director
Angela Mitakidis, Director
Mary Adams-Moe, Director
Darcy Thompson,
Conference Committee
Danette Ross Watson, Director
Linda Gibson, Historian
Maggie Shahrestani, Newsletter Editor
Melanie Grimes,
TMCA Representative
Fran Brochstein, Membership Chair
Sara A. Davis Lorenzi, Social Media Chair
Farewell and thank you to outgoing board members Diane Harvey and
Celina Shariff , and to outgoing Co-Chair of the Conference
Committee Beth Brown ! Your service is greatly appreciated.

Members on the Move
Barbara Manousso Interviewed by Houston Women's Magazine
Our very own Barbara Manousso and her company, Manousso Mediation and Arbitration, LLC, were featured last month in an article on women-owned businesses. Read the article here!
TAM Newsletter Editor Moves to Private Practice in Austin
Maggie Shahrestani, formerly Associate General Counsel with a mid-size Texas construction company, is moving this month to join her husband at Shahrestani Law. Alex and Maggie's Austin-based firm uses technology and creative billing practices to make legal costs more predictable for startups, small businesses and non-profits. As co-owner, Maggie will offer founder and workplace mediations, compliance check-ups and legal counsel.
Danette Ross Watson to Lead New Mediation Center in West Texas
On March 4, 2020 the Board of Advisors of the newly formed non-profit, West Texas Community Mediation Center, held an informational meeting with community leaders and agencies in Big Spring, Howard County and the surrounding areas to announce Danette Ross Watson (TAM Board Member and Outreach Chair), as the Executive Director and obtain nominations for officers. It will be a collaborative effort that all are excited to bring to fruition.
Photos from the 2020 Annual Conference
"Finding Peace Through Mediation on the Shores of Lake Travis"
Thank You To Our Conference Sponsors!
TAM Membership
If you are not a current member of TAM, please JOIN now or RENEW your TAM Membership for 2020!   
TAM Members...        
  • are listed in a searchable online Membership Directory available to the public with the option to include a bio, photo, and list areas of practice. Only current 2020 Members will be displayed after April 1st.
  • receive discounted fees for the annual conference featuring workshops taught by experts of national and international stature.
  • have access to malpractice insurance designed especially for mediators available through Complete Equity Markets
  • are featured in the TAM newsletters
  • are a statewide network of mediators who support TAM’s mission
  Show your support of TAM by renewing your membership for 2020.
TAM "Keep Calm" Shirts
Now Available!
TAM "Keep Calm" T-Shirts were such a hit when introduced at our 2017 Annual Conference. Now, you can purchase your TAM tee on-line!

$20 Plus $5 S&H

Texas Association of Mediators
P.O. Box 2537
Galveston, TX 77553-2537