August 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 -- Kimberly Sullivan
  • Call for Memories and Photographs of TAFM/TAM!
  • TAM: The Early Years -- Linda Gibson
  • From Support to Personal Action -- Danette Ross Watson with the TAM Outreach Committee
  • How to Build a Successful Practice -- Natalie Armstrong-Motin
  • Personal Opinion Piece: A Conversation Toward Reconciliation -- Danette Ross Watson
  • Mediation Law Update -- Gene Roberts, Jr.
  • Monthly TAM Talks Continue August 27th! -- Danette Ross Watson
  • Covid-19 Resources for Mediators
  • Members on the Move
  • TAM Membership Information
A Message From the President
Kimberly Sullivan

Dear TAM Family,

In a time of so much uncertainty, fear, anger, suffering, and loss, we may at times feel lost ourselves. We may even find ourselves more isolated, not only due to quarantine, social distancing, and other Covid-related rules, but we may feel isolated socially based on ideological differences that were never quite as glaring as they are now.

Memories and Photographs of TAFM/TAM!
It’s TAM’s 35th year! In honor of our anniversary we’re going to have a special TAM Talk celebrating TAM’s history this October. As part of our preparation for the TAM Talk, we’d love to hear from people who have been active in TAFM or TAM through the years, including those of you who may have dropped out in recent years. Please email your memories and your pictures of TAM to
TAM: The Early Years
The Family Mediation Network of Greater Houston
Linda Gibson, TAM Historian
The Texas Association of Mediators began its formal existence as the Texas Association of Family Mediators (TAFM) in a meeting room in a hospital basement in Austin on September 6, 1985, but the true origins of TAM stem from the late 1970s and early ‘80s when a number of people who would later become Texas mediation pioneers were looking for a better way for divorcing couples to end their marriages without destroying their own lives and those of their children.

From Support to Personal Action
Danette Ross Watson, Chair
With Members of TAM Outreach Committee
Within the recent statement from our TAM Board, one comment stuck in my mind, “How we move forward from all this is a question many of us continue to wrestle with every day. We cannot make changes to laws or society overnight, but we can build a professional community where we pledge to support and care for each other while we stand up collectively for what we know to be right and just.” 

How to Build a Successful Practice:
Four Things That Don't Work and 14 Things That Do
Natalie Armstrong-Motin

Building a successful practice takes a lot of effort and a little bit of money. Second only to being a good mediator, having the mindset of an entrepreneur is probably the most important component. Knowing where and how to spend your resources (and just as importantly where not to) will give you an advantage. This list is by no means complete, but it does cover the priorities.

Tune into our next TAM Talk on August 27th at 4:00PM to hear more from Natalie on how to market your mediation practice!
Personal Opinion Piece: A Conversation Toward Reconciliation
Danette Ross Watson, TAM Outreach Chair
Over the past few months, as I listened to the news reports on TV and online and spoke to friends, family and colleagues, it became clear that our country is in need of reconciliation due to the racial and social injustices that have come to light in recent months. The protestors themselves are a diverse group of people, and it seems like that should somehow be a symbol of unity. Yet as we all know, the protests have had a polarizing effect on our already divided country, colliding our past with the present and resolving us all to look to a different future.

Mediation Law Update
Gene Roberts, Jr.

Mediation law exists. At first glance, one may not think that it should exist. After all, the parties to a mediation arrive either at a mutually agreeable settlement or in the unlikely event that the mediation does not settle, the parties proceed to trial. Why would there be any law relating to mediation? 

We have known for several years that the parties who attend a mediation will sometimes come to regret the terms of the settlement agreement, something we could call “buyer’s remorse” or “seller’s remorse” depending upon one’s point of view. In other instances, there are disputes about a person’s capacity at the mediation, or the court’s authority to order parties to mediation. A WestlawNext search of Texas state cases in the last year, only using the search term “mediation,” provided a search result of 122 cases.

TAM Talks: Interactive Learning Discussions
Danette Ross Watson, TAM Outreach Chair
Covid-19 has raised a great deal of challenges for all of us personally and professionally. However, it has also provided opportunities for alternative ways to stay connected to friends, family and colleagues. When the TAM Board first discussed how to reach out to our community of mediators during our March board meeting, Zoom was the first consideration. Many of us heard that the school programs and local agencies were already utilizing this platform, so we decided, why not give it a try?

Coping with the Pandemic: Resources for Mediators

If you're looking for information on remote Zoom mediation, tips and tricks for online mediation, and more, check out the resources available on the State Bar of Texas ADR Section Website.
Members on the Move
Clotilde Eaker has attended three presentations as part of Montgomery Women's Center's Sexual Assault Awareness Month Professional Development Series: Sexual Assault in The African American Community; Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault & Strangulation; and Cultural Competency 101.

Clotilde’s practice, Eaker Mediation, is based in Conroe, Texas and serves the greater Conroe and Willis areas.
What have TAM Members been doing for "socially distanced" fun this summer?
"My family and I rented a cabin in the mountains near Taos New Mexico. We hiked at 10,000 feet and swam in a beautiful mountain river. It was an amazing experience and our normally picky children loved the trip."

--Walter Lanphier
"We had a virtual family reunion on Zoom in June instead of having our annual in-person family reunion in the Tyler Rose Garden. It was good to be able to talk with everyone who attended, and we plan to meet bimonthly via Zoom to plan our next in-person reunion next summer."

--Linda Gibson
If anyone would like information on these day camps and where to go, I am happy to help get them to the right place, just shoot me an email. There are also several safe outdoor restaurants with live music that are very fun.

All the best,
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