Conference Highlights

Dr. King, Nonviolence & Reconciliation

Kazu Haga and Bill Bank

This interactive workshop will provide participants a basic introduction into the philosophy of Kingian Nonviolence conflict reconciliation, a philosophy created out of the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This philosophy has been used in communities around the world to help transform conflict situations. This includes creating cultures of peace in violence-ridden communities, schools, prisons and county jails as well as with social movements such as the Occupy movement.  As a two part series, we will cover topics such as analyzing the nature of conflict, the principles of nonviolent reconciliation and definitions of violence and nonviolence. Those working in conflict mediation, restorative justice, social change work or individuals simply looking to learn to manage their personal conflicts better will all walk away with a new perspective.

Kazu Haga is the founder and coordinator of the East Point Peace Academy, and is a senior Nonviolence Trainer. He has been active in social change work since 1998, and currently trains and presents to incarcerated communities, youth and activists nationwide.

 A retired journalist, Bill Bank is a longtime member of the racial healing group Welcome to the Table, a board member of ADRNC and an occasional free-lance trainer for the American Friends Service Committee. He is also a lover of Vipassana meditation.

 Eligible for 2.0 MCLE/BBS units per session (two sessions total)


Emotional Intelligence: The Foundation for Effective Conflict Resolution

Jeffrey Sloan

Emotional intelligence (EI) has radically altered common understanding of what "being smart" entails. Professor Sloan presents the case for cultivating emotionally intelligent mediators and conflict resolution professionals. Since the actions of the these professionals apparently account for up to 70 percent of our clients' perceptions of the effectiveness and impact of the profession, Sloan emphasizes the importance of developing what is commonly termed "resonant interchange." Focusing on the four domains of emotional intelligence – self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management – he explores what contributes to and detracts from resonant interchange, and how the development of these four EI competencies spawns different conflict resolution styles.

Jeffrey Sloan is the Executive Director of SEEDS Community Resolution Center and former Program Director for Beyond Emancipation, providing services for former foster youth in Alameda County. He holds a MS in Counseling Psychology and a Master of Business Administration, and serves as Assistant Professor of Human Development and Early Child Education at Solano Community College, and Leadership Development at Holy Names University in Oakland.

Eligible for 2.0 MCLE/BBS units


Stories of Conflict: Writing for Insight as a Tool for Mediating

Jennifer J. Wilhoit, PhD

As mediators, we deal with disputes between parties. Often though, these conflicts begin within an individual. People are "disconnected” from the whole when they are in conflict; the "whole" refers to self, relationships, community, and the natural world. Writing can give individuals insight into self and personal motivations, as well as help to navigate a path to clarity in disputes with others. Writing can also offer understandings about one’s notion of "other." Writing helps "defuel" feelings – venting them –thus, better enabling an individual to deal with others. This hands-on presentation/workshop will offer participants an opportunity to explore techniques via storytelling and guided writing practices that can be used within alternative mediation settings. This workshop explores how to use writing as practitioner/mediators to get at the roots of conflict at the individual, interpersonal, groups, systems, and structural levels.

Jennifer Wilhoit earned her PhD in Environmental Studies and an MA in Adult Education. She has been helping people navigate conflict and transition for more than two decades in a myriad of situations including special needs communities, hospice settings, crisis centers, intercultural/environmental contexts abroad, and more recently via mediated conversations services. Jennifer is the founder of TEALarbor stories (

Eligible for 2.0 MCLE/BBS units


Multi-Party Conflict Mediation/Facilitation

Cordell Wesselink, Ann Bers, and Barbara Lipson

Mediation can be challenging enough with the he-said-she-said of just two parties at the table. But how does a mediator effectively handle a conflict involving more than two voices in the room? This panel discussion will allow for a fluid discussion and exploration of issues related to multiparty mediation/facilitation. Through discussion and questioning, session participants will develop a foundational understanding of multiparty mediation/facilitation, expand their knowledge of approaches to this work and potentially increase their awareness, sensitivity and capacities to efficaciously pursue this work.

Cordell Wesselink, Anne Bers, and Barbara Lipson are experienced mediators, facilitators and managers of Community Boards (San Francisco), Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center (San Mateo), and SEEDS Community Resolution Center (Berkeley). Their collective professional experiences include program development, program management, and evaluation. As conflict resolution practitioners and advocates, they bring decades of experience and creative applications of the nuanced skill sets needed to be of service to clients and communities across diverse settings.

Eligible for 1.5 MCLE/BBS units


Celebrating Human Greatness in Peacemaking

John O’Grady

Celebrating Human Greatness in Peacemaking is a group conversation about how the human spirit gets expressed in high conflict situations.  We share stories of times that greatness touched our lives, enriching each other with our memories and re-connecting with our own greatness.  Many of us will tell stories from our rich experience in our work as peacemakers. Get to know your fellow peacemakers while being inspired to live and work fully in the moment.  When have you acted in greatness?  Have you seen others acting in the spirit of greatness?  Bring your stories. Our meeting will be facilitated by John O’Grady.  John guides people to navigate family conflicts about guardianship, aging, death, taxes, inheritance, and property rights while addressing the underlying conflicts, salvaging important relationships, and staying connected and in conversation for a lifetime. This end result is priceless. 

John E. O'Grady is an estate planning lawyer and a mediator of inheritance battles. He has been practicing in San Francisco for more than twenty-five years. He recently served as Chair of The Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Section of The Bar Association of San Francisco.

Eligible for 2.0 MCLE/BBS units


Cultivating Mindful Presence in Mediation

Rev. Deborah “Russ” Russell

Mediators assist parties in conflict by creating a process container of mutual respect, deep listening, and skillful reframing.  Mediators have many great tools with which to help guide a conversation once it’s underway, but it can be difficult to get on the right track when anger and anxiety fill the room.  How can we gently, unobtrusively help the participants begin to establish a more emotionally conducive atmosphere?  Our reptilian brains are finely tuned to perceive others’ intentions, and medical research has proven the reality of limbic and nervous system entrainment.  This means that mental, physical and emotional well-being practices – such as projecting kind thoughts, fully and consciously inhabiting one’s body, and a sustained focus on slow, deep, calming breathing – can have an actual, physical effect on mediation participants.  Thus, the ability to embody a grounded, mindful presence can be a powerful mediation tool. In this workshop, participants will learn how to apply the seven foundational attributes of mindful presence in mediation.  They will be guided through several basic mindfulness practices they can use to ground and center their own physiologies, which in turn helps foster an atmosphere conducive to conscious connection and compassionate communication.

Rev. Deborah "Russ" Russell, a former mediator for the City of Albuquerque, is a Zen priest, interfaith chaplain, integral life coach, and teacher of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. Her community service project, now in its infancy, is the founding of a Community Harmony Center in a multi-racial, low-income neighborhood of Vallejo. The Harmony Center’s vision includes the teaching and practice of applied mindfulness activities such as meditation, personal and community conflict mediation, emotional literacy, anger management, and Kingian Nonviolence.

Eligible for 2.0 MCLE/BBS units


Restorative Justice and Practices in Secondary Schools: A Paradigm Shift from Punitive Discipline to Repairing Harm

NaTisha Hutson

NaTisha Hutson

Erina Kim-Eubanks

Erina Kim-Eubanks

NaTisha Hutson, Erina Kim-Eubanks, and Jose Eduardo Estrada

Punitive discipline in secondary schools has proven to be ineffective with regard to reducing recidivism rates of student misbehavior. In fact, research shows that students who are suspended and expelled from school have a substantially increased chance of becoming incarcerated, which is known as the School-Prison Pipeline. African American and Latino males are not only disproportionally represented in the U.S. prison systems, they are also suspended and expelled at significantly higher rates than their white counterparts. This demonstrates the impact that school discipline has on the community, as a whole, and therefore the need for a communal approach in resolving this issue.  Our presentation will delve further into the history of Restorative Justice, Restorative Practices in schools, and how community building and conflict resolution are the cornerstones of effective implementation.

NaTisha Hutson is currently the Restorative Justice District Coordinator for Hayward Unified School District, working with high schools. She holds a master's degree in Dispute Resolution from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX, and completed her undergraduate education at Cal State University Sacramento in Communication Studies. Her experience in conflict resolution includes serving as a union shop steward, ombudsman, mediator, and mediation case developer.

Erina Kim-Eubanks is currently the Restorative Justice District Coordinator for Berkeley Unified School District, working with middle schools. She is an UC Berkeley and Fuller Theological Seminary graduate, with over 10 years of experience working with nonprofit organizations, including Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth and Berkeley Youth Alternatives.

Eddie Estrada is the Restorative Justice District Coordinator for the Hayward Unified School District, working with middle schools. Eddie earned his Bachelor's Degree in Legal Studies, with a minor in Peace and Conflict Studies and an emphasis on Human Rights, from UC Berkeley. He also holds certification as a community mediator.

Eligible for 2.0 MCLE/BBS units, including 2.0 Elimination of Bias units


Understanding and Incorporating Conflict Coaching in an ADR Practice

Cordell Wesselink and Betsy Zeger

Conflict coaching has been around for years, yet it is less utilized by ADR professionals and even less understood by the public than other forms of ADR like mediation and arbitration.  Recently however, this trend has begun to shift.  This workshop will give an overview of what conflict coaching is as developed by Community Boards, comparing and contrasting it to other one-on-one helping modalities like counseling, therapy, and consulting.  Participants will learn how they can incorporate it into their practice and ways to speak about it to their clients.

Cordell Wesselink works as Community Boards’ ADR Programs Director. In this capacity, he collaborated to create, implement and co-train volunteers for our new Conflict Coaching Program. He leads facilitation trainings, and customizes and delivers trainings on conflict resolution, effective communication, and mediation to a range of clients. Cordell also directs and delivers trainings focused on restorative justice for the San Francisco District Attorney’s Neighborhood Court Program 

Betsy Zeger is a versatile and highly accomplished Conflict Resolution Specialist with long-term experience in helping clients achieve their goals. Betsy had a 25-year career as an agent and personal manager for composers in the music industry; for the past 10 years she is a community mediator/facilitator; and Certified Professional Co-Active Life Coach. She also teaches high school students communication skills, which are used in the Peer Support Center that she helped create. Betsy also is a co-creator and co-trainer for Community Boards' Conflict Coaching Classes. Visit Betsy's website here:

Eligible for 2.0 MCLE/BBS units


Community Courts:  A Route to Equitable and Restorative Justice

Sergeant Russ Norris

Community courts are a voluntary pre-filing diversion program designed to bring a mutually-beneficial, effective, and timely conclusion for public nuisance and quality of life crimes. Particularly for first-time offenders, our formal justice system can be a frightening, confusing, lengthy and ineffective process. At the same time, the overburdened justice system struggles to handle even the most serious crimes, leaving little capacity to appropriately address public nuisance and quality of life matters. Community courts address each of these problems, allowing violators an opportunity to resolve their case through dialogue with a third-party arbitrator long before the case arrives in the formal justice system. Cases are commonly closed by violators completing community service, attending diversion classes, agreeing to restorative actions for the victim, or paying fines that are used to fund community programs.  This workshop will profile the Concord Community Court, which has been operating successfully for nearly two years. Participants will learn the process of the Concord program and explore ideas for future development.

Russ Norris is a 24-year police officer with the City of Concord. Most of his career has been focused on community-based problem solving and juvenile justice matters, including assignments in special enforcement, public schools, gang investigations, and code enforcement. He is a California-certified Master Instructor and has taught locally and internationally on adult learning and training methodologies, crime prevention through environmental design, leadership, critical thinking, and police training. He is currently attending the Doctorate in Educational Leadership program at Saint Mary's College of California.

Eligible for 2.0 MCLE/BBS units


How People Work Together

Rudeen Monte, MS

This workshop applies human development theory to the work environment and how organizational systems and management practices influence productivity and, when they don’t work well, conflict.  There will be a brief presentation and small group discussion of case examples.

Specifically, participants will:

  • Understand the four stages of human development as they apply to quality and productivity
  • Analyze systems that could be causing conflict
  • Identify behaviors of managers in promoting or inhibiting a cooperative and productive work environment
  • Practice leading a discussion about needs for improvement in a workplace among a group of people who work together
  • Use coaching questions to assist a manager in preventing or resolving conflict

Rudeen Monte provides mediation, facilitation, and coaching for organizations and individuals seeking to improve the quality of service they provide the community. She has worked with a variety of government and nonprofit organizations including healthcare, education, social service and law enforcement. Currently, she is also facilitating a planning group among three congressional districts to improve access to healthcare for veterans in rural areas. She has served as a court-appointment mediator in family courts and holds certificates as a mediator with the San Francisco Bar and the State of California, Third Appellate District and as a Professional Certified Coach through the International Coach Federation.

Eligible for 2.0 MCLE/BBS units


Karpman Drama Triangle in Workplaces

Rudeen Monte, MS

The Karpman Triangle involves a relationship among three parties - Victim, Persecutor, and Rescuer.  A brief presentation about the triangle as it appears in workplace, how it feeds an escalating cycle of aggression, definitions of behaviors, and suggestions for interventions will be followed by case studies and practice with conflict coaching techniques.

Specifically, participants will:

  • Identify the behaviors of parties stuck in the three roles
  • Recognize one’s own reaction to the three roles and avoid pitfalls
  • Understand how workplace culture keeps the triangle in place transferring the roles to different players at different times
  • Assess the power relationships and determine the appropriate role for a mediator or consultant to play based on the contract with the organization or the individual
  • Assess the options each party has before intervening
  • Interview each party to determine the real and imagined threats to safety, livelihood or other basic needs, to identify underlying values, and find shared interests
  • Provide conflict coaching using questions and reinforcing comments to help the person move from playing a “role” to taking real action to improve the situation

Eligible for 2.0 MCLE/BBS units


Clear Communications, Rapport and Skill Building to Reach Your Potential

Brian Martens

This session will focus on the skills necessary to resolve conflict by helping people discover the clear and direct communications that are necessary for resolution and transformation which will bring them to the cutting edge of reaching their new potential. Participants will discover how to keep your team, group, community, or family together and on the same page. Learn how protective masks and perceptual filters are used to keep us out of rapport and in conflict with others and ourselves. We will also cover how communicating from a “systems” perspective can broaden the conversations to include unintended consequences and other difficulties that are a result of limited and individual thinking. Participants will become aware of how metaphor, art, storytelling and poetry can revive and reeducate us as to the possibilities of our potential. These topics and more will be offered to boost your communication effectiveness so that you can be successful and reach your true potential.

Brian Martens has a Conflict Resolution Certificate and a Masters in Organization Development from Sonoma State University. He is a volunteer with Recourse Mediation Services in Santa Rosa, CA and facilitates workshops, guardianships, and community mediations. His expertise is in Conflict Alignment, Strategic Change Initiatives, Visioning, Leadership, and Coaching, and is a Certified Master Practitioner of Neurolinguistic Programming.

Eligible for 2.0 MCLE/BBS units


Adult Family Mediation (2 parts)

Katharina Dress, MA

This presentation explores reasons why family dynamics and intergenerational communication barriers can present major road blocks to successful Elder Care and Estate Planning. When confronted with these challenges, many families avoid the conversation until a time of crisis when only attorneys or courts may be able to help. In this workshop we will explore when and how Adult Family Mediation can provide an alternative, or a useful addition to, the legal system in avoiding and resolving Elder Care and Estate Planning disputes, and heal family relationships.  Workshop participants will learn when mediation is appropriate, who should participate and what issues can be discussed.  Capacity considerations will be addressed, as well as best practices before, during and after the mediation process.

  • Part 1: This 2-hours-long session will include a Power Point presentation and participatory exercises and discussions.
  • Part 2: During this 1.5 hours-long session, the participants will apply their learnings from part 1 in a multiparty mediation role play.

Katharina W. Dress has been a mediator for 10 years and a facilitator and trainer for over 30 years. She has a Master’s Degree in Communication from San Francisco State University and extensive mediation training, including in Elder Mediation and Nonviolent Communication. She provides elder conflict resolution and training services as founder of AGING IN HARMONY and serves on the Civil Court Mediation Panel of the Superior Court of Alameda County. Ms. Dress is a member of the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR) and served as Finance Chair of ACR’s Elder Section from 2010 to 2012.

Eligible for 3.5 MCLE/BBS units (two sessions total)


Managing Up - Using Conflict Coaching to Build Effective Work Relationships Between Managers and Staff

Marvell Allen, MA, CLTMC, CCMC; Principal, Millennium Career Advantage

Much has been written about the rewards and challenges of the employee-boss relationship in every field and across all industries. While organizational productivity, employee development, and the overall perception of the products and services are key to the survival for any organization, employees at every level juggle their day-to-day-work with that of managing the relationship with their bosses – whether it be a great relationship, or one that needs attending to. The term “managing up” has come to mean the ability of employees to support their own career success by, among other things, understanding the needs, motivations, concerns, areas of importance of their managers, and how they measure success.  At the same time, conflicts and disputes are a natural component of every relationship, and the professional one with a manager is no different. Even as employees manage up well, conflicts do still arise. We have come to view conflict in the workplace as: personality clashes, breakdowns in working relationships, miscommunications, disputes in groups and teams, and other contrasting situations. However, when the conflicts or disputes include a direct manager, conflict may also comprise issues of power, influence, role perception, and organizational culture. Effective strategies and tools need to be considered and implemented in support of resolving issues and creating a more positively sustainable work environment. Why? Because research has shown that the most frequent reason that employees give for leaving their positions voluntarily is the relationship with their boss – not the company. Thus, effective employee retention programs need to include strategies for managing conflict across levels. One valuable tool that can be used to manage and resolve conflict is coaching, and conflict coaching can provide managers and leaders with a focused structure for enhancing the relationship with their direct reports.

This session will explore the concept of managing up in organizations, as well as how conflict between employees and those who supervise them can be managed/resolved using a coaching model. In this session, Ms. Allen will focus on:

  • Defining and providing an overview of the components of managing and influencing up in the context of the workplace, as well as examples and strategies used to create a more successful relationship between managers and their employees
  • How Emotional Intelligence can foster trust and rapport between managers and employees and reduce conflict
  • Understanding the major causes of workplace conflict, as well as barriers to resolving on-going issues
  • Defining the conflict coaching model and how it can be used as a conflict management tool for managers and leaders

Eligible for 1.5 MCLE/BBS units


Restorative Principles and Practice (2 parts)

Bonnie Wills and Kashka Banjoko

This is a two part presentation on Restorative Justice. Currently, the process of legal and social justice actually deepens societal wounds and conflicts, rather than contributing to healing or peace. Restorative Justice is an attempt to address some of the needs and limitations.  The presentation will introduce Restorative Justice Principles, Practices, and Circle Process.  Through Restorative dialogue participants will experience the beauty and importance of this ancient practice of justice, and the powerful ways it brings to heal the impact of harm in one’s heart. 

Restorative Justice Principles & Practice, Part I:

  • Introduction to RJ and the circle process
  • Followed by a brief participant discussion
  • The story from a person harmed by a violent crime

Restorative Justice Principles, Practice and Circle Process, Part II:

  • Participant debriefing of victim experience
  • The story from a person who has caused harm
  • Participant debriefing of offenders story

Bonnie Wills received her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Ecology at John F. Kennedy University, a Masters in Culture and Spirituality at Holy Names University, and a Masters in Religion and Philosophy at California Institute of Integral Studies. She is a Certified Diversity Facilitator, and a Restorative Justice Facilitator and Trainer. She currently facilitates Restorative Justice Groups at San Quentin Prison, San Francisco Jail, and COSA (Circles of Support and Accountability) groups for formally incarcerated youth. Bonnie is committed to a compassionate, just, and inclusive planet. Through her work, she strives to support the eradication of social injustice within our homes, workplaces, communities, institutions, and the planet.

Kashka Banjoko is a graduate of Theological Union, UC Berkeley, Starr King School for the Ministry, where he was granted a Master of Arts degree. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from San Francisco State University. He currently facilitates Restorative Justice groups at San Quentin Prison and the re-entry pod at the San Francisco Jail. Kashka also works with COSA (Circles of Support and Accountability) with formerly incarcerated youth  through Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth. He seeks to restore wholeness and purpose in the lives of individuals, including his own, one circle at a time.

Eligible for 2.0 MCLE/BBS units (including 2.0 Elimination of Bias units) per session


Mindfulness, Meditation, and Mediation: the Sustainable Mediation Practice

Lark Curtin, JD, Mary Mocine, Jeff Goldfien, JD, LL.M and Julia Ten Eyck, Esq.

The practice of mediation and mindfulness go hand in hand in this panel where we explore the integration of these two practices, particularly using mindfulness and contemplative techniques to enhance and inform the practice of mediation. After panelists share their own backgrounds, experiences, and effective techniques, the audience will be invited to ask the panel questions. Time allowing there will be an opportunity to participate in the practice of mindfulness or contemplation.

Panel moderator Lark Curtin has been mediating for several years and meditating for over 20 years. She currently runs the Community Mediation arm of the three Conflict Resolution Programs at the Center for Human Development in Contra Costa County.


Julia Ten Eyck is a relationship and child welfare attorney, mediator and Zen priest. She has been a practicing attorney and mediator since 1983. In the 1980's, she was a mediator, mediation trainer, and governing board member for Community Boards in San Francisco. She has also had an active spiritual and meditation practice of one form or another for more than three decades.

Jeff Goldfien currently holds the position of HealthCare Ombudsman/Mediator at Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara Medical Center. In that role he is responsible for a program that provides conflict resolution services as well as internal consulting, training, and education for patients and families, physicians and other care providers. He is currently a member the mediation panel of the Federal District Court for the Northern District of California, and for trial courts in 4 counties.

Mary Mocine graduated from Hastings College of the Law in 1977. Her law practice included poverty and plaintiff's personal injury law, and labor law, until 1989. In 1999 she completed her training at the San Francisco Zen Center and opened a small practice center in Vallejo, California, the Vallejo Zen Center. She is interested in helping lawyers find a way to practice law that reflects their human values.

Eligible for 2.0 MCLE/BBS units


Police and Creating Conditions for Peaceful Resolution of Conflict

Brad Burrell, Holly Joshi, and Tim Pruitt

Building on the one-man performance of Cops and Robbers, three law enforcement officers, two Blacks and one White, will engage workshop participants in a further exploration of the tangled history of the relationship between government in the US and Black and other minority communities, as personified in 2015 in the relationship between police and Blacks. Current realities will be described in terms of the shared responsibilities of police and the public to create conditions of mutual respect and understanding that enable police to fulfill their responsibility to protect the public, and Black (and all) communities to appreciate the complex roles of the police in 2015. The panelists will include their personal stories as appropriate to the conversation.  The participants will be invited into dialogue to explore the issues and clarify how we each can encourage peaceful resolution of encounters of police and members of the public, especially members of the Black community.

Bradley Burrell earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice (Summa Cum Laude) and an Undergraduate Certificate in Criminal Behavior from Portland State University. He served in the United States Air Force for 6 years, going to nearly 40 countries on training, humanitarian relief, and combat missions, including deployments in direct support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. He is a law enforcement veteran with than 15 years of experience. Bradley is currently a student at Saint Mary's College of California, where he is pursuing a Master of Arts in Leadership.

Holly Joshi is currently the Chief of Staff at the Oakland Police Department. She joined the Department in 2001. She has been assigned to various specialized duties during her career, including the Crime Reduction Team (a street level narcotics task force) and joint investigations with the DEA, US Secret Service, and the FBI. In 2008, she was assigned as a full time investigator in the Vice and Child Exploitation Unit. In 2012, she was selected to serve on California Attorney General Kamala Harris’ Human Trafficking Task Force. She believes that law enforcement officers are truly public servants and feels privileged to have the opportunity to serve.

Timothy Pruitt is a native of the urban and underserved areas of Cleveland, Ohio. After 5 years of service in the United States Navy, he joined the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). With more than 20 years of service in various capacities at CDCR, he currently works as a Special Agent. Tim is a graduate and faculty of the Saint Mary's College of California's Master of Arts in Leadership Program. He also serves as the Associate Director and faculty of the North Bay Church Leadership Development Center. Tim's life work is to find creative ways to encourage Black men to serve God, their families, and humanity.

Eligible for 1.5 MCLE/BBS units, including 1.5 Elimination of Bias units