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2018 Board Candidates

Below is information on the four individuals interested in serving on the Nebraska Mediation Association Board of Directors. To place your vote, please use the link provided in the email sent to you as the link is specific to you. Links are not identifiable to any person; however, each link is only allowed to be used once.

Voting is open March 1, 2018, through March 31, 2018.


Name: Sheila Cole

Profession: Mediator

City of Residence: Omaha Ne

What skills and experience would you bring to the board?
Some of the skills and experience that I could bring to the board rests in my previous work experiences in working with a team developing business ideas and strategies. In addition to having positive experiences in working with teams of people, I have a strong background in networking, sales and public relations. The reason why these skills would be favorable to bring to the board would be to continue to build on the strong foundation of comradery within the association and develop more relationships with the NMA members statewide, as well as use the networking, sales and public relations skills to generate more awareness of the benefits choosing mediation in the great state of Nebraska.

What is your vision for mediation in Nebraska?
My vision for mediation in the State of Nebraska would be for mediation to become a more utilized resource for resolving conflict. I believe that it is possible for this vision to be accomplished with the right amount of balance between marketing the services as well as providing excellent mediation services. When people are able to have a positive experience in a less than ideal situation they will tell others about the process.... word of mouth and referrals are a businesses strongest ally.

Another vision I would have for mediation in Nebraska is to create more opportunities for employment for mediators. If the first part of the vision is accomplished then part 2 should be fairly easy to achieve. Creating job opportunities would be a benefit not only to the profession, and the people/client but also to the economy and society as a whole. A community that is familiar with and participates in positive conflict resolution will live more peaceably and societies that have more people at peace are societies that are more productive in their homes, families and their places of work.

Nebraska has a rich tradition of mediation experience and perspectives (e.g., geographic, professional background, focus of practice). What would be your strategy to help all voices be heard?
In response to the questions of how to create a strategy that will help all voices be heard is somewhat difficult to answer not knowing if there are any concerns with the current strategies. In researching the history of mediation in Nebraska to better prepare my response, it appears mediation became official in 1965 when Legislature passed the Conciliation Court Act. Since that time many new acts have been passed, 1991, 1993, 2003, 2007 and in 2009 NMA was developed. The passion and strategy behind forming NMA was to form a group that wanted to be accountable to provide certain services and benefits to its members. There was a positive response to the forming of this group and is still strong in 2018. As times and needs change I understand it to be that the NMA board is desiring to have a strategy which will help all voices who practice mediation to be heard. This is an excellent addition to the original objectives for NMA. One strategy that I would consider is to have a quarterly "check-in" with all practicing mediators including private practice mediators to identify what areas are working well and what areas they need assistance. Another strategy would be to develop a forum and have a lead person within NMA working with members on a monthly basis to continue to create energy and a positivity towards the profession and towards fellow colleagues.

In the closing of my response, NMA has a great opportunity to help others grow professionally by offering trainings to enhance a persons current occupation or perhaps the person pursuing mediation as a full time profession. Making available a monthly or quarterly check-in with mediators that are members of NMA would be a first step for a strategy to connect on a more personal note with its members, to show the different demographics that their voices are heard and that they are an important part of the team.


Name: Kelly Gering

Profession: Special Faculty, Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Program, Creighton University

City of Residence: Omaha

What skills and experience would you bring to the board?
I believe that every voice matters. I've learned that equipped with the tools to communicate constructively, conflict is an opportunity for powerful and positive change.

This heart-centered philosophy led me to garner a master's degree in Conflict Resolution from Antioch University. Post my education, I began working as a mediator, facilitator, and trainer at Concord Center, engaging in disputes that ranged from family law to landlord/tenant, workplace and everything in between.

And then, I became a mother. Three children later, I learned that conflict resolution skills are far easier to use with parties at the table, then with parties in my own home. But I digress.

Now, I serve as Special Faculty in the Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Department of Creighton University teaching mediation, facilitation and dynamics of conflict to graduate students. Coming full circle back to academia has kept me current in the research of the field, and made me attuned to the questions, fears, and opportunities that new voices have about the emergence of alternative dispute resolution.

And to that end, I have never been more hopeful for the field and excited to be engaged.

What is your vision for mediation in Nebraska?
My vision for mediation in Nebraska is that it becomes the standard place that people turn, when they've reached impasse in dialogue. Whether in hospitals, families, workplaces, neighborhoods, faith based entities, college campuses, elementary schools--mediation should be an identifiable, safe space where voices can be heard and honored.

Nebraska mediators should be supported with innovative, engaging research, national best practice continuing education, and frequent opportunities to collaborate and deepen the impact of the field, for the benefit of the people we serve.

Nebraska has a rich tradition of mediation experience and perspectives (e.g., geographic, professional background, focus of practice). What would be your strategy to help all voices be heard?
The beauty of our field is that at the core of the work we do, we believe that every voice, inherently has a place at the table. We trust that people come with self determination and the desire to be seen and known. We know that given a forum, a process, and an opportunity, that extraordinary things can happen when we dialogue (maybe for the first time, in a long time).

To that end, we need to engage more diverse (generationally, ethnically, geographically) voices in the field and at the table. The people who come to the table (whether it is to mediate, participate in a town hall forum, a community roundtable) need to see people who they can relate to.

Likewise, we have a responsibility to continue to educate and engage community partners. For example, peer mediation programs in elementary, high schools and college campuses could play an integral role in engaging conflict resolution at a level that could permeate and make a lasting difference.

The opportunities abound. Conflict is an integral part of the human experience. We just have to find continued ways to help others see the power of engaging it constructively.


Name: David Hubbard

Profession: Mediator

City of Residence: Omaha

What skills and experience would you bring to the board?
Past business experience:
As president of a 50 + employee business, I had the opportunity to be a member of Young President’s Organization where the emphasis was on leadership education and I also had the opportunity to go to Harvard’s MBA President’s Program. This has instilled a lifelong passion for learning.

Teaching:
Experience, insights, and skills I learned from experience as an educator at Iowa Western Community College, University of Nebraska College of Law, Creighton Law School with the Werner Institute, University of Nebraska Omaha and the Nebraska Mediation Association.

Job and Board-related:
Opportunities and learning from formerly being the Director of Facilitation and Training at The Mediation Center, serving on the NMA Board of Directors and being the treasurer of NMA.

What is your vision for mediation in Nebraska?
My vision is that all forms, models, and styles of mediation be embraced, encouraged, and supported and that the opportunities and training for mediation begin at an early age (preschool or grade school). My hope is that mediation becomes the norm for dealing with differences of all kinds enriching our social fabric.

Nebraska has a rich tradition of mediation experience and perspectives (e.g., geographic, professional background, focus of practice). What would be your strategy to help all voices be heard?
Make training, continuing mediation education, and connection available for all mediators in Nebraska by having a multitude of options available for mediators to develop and enhance their abilities for self-awareness, accurate self-assessment, self-care, confidence, skills, and, in addition, foster supportive relationships with other mediators.


Name: Mary Rose Richter

Profession: Director of Restorative Justice at Central Mediation Center

City of Residence: Kearney

What skills and experience would you bring to the board?
After receiving my undergraduate degree in psychology, I went on to law school at the University of Nebraska and graduated with a concentration in Alternative Dispute Resolution. I am trained in Basic Mediation, Family Mediation, SADR Training, and Victim Youth Conferencing. I have also recently acquired additional skills that would help train others to mediate. I began mediating at The Mediation Center in Lincoln and then continued mediating through Central Mediation Center after moving to Kearney, Nebraska. Prior to my current role as the Director of Restorative Justice, I was a practicing attorney litigating in the areas of family and juvenile law. I have experience mediating about 100 family cases and have also transitioned into work with restorative justice practices such as Victim-Youth Conferences. I would bring a combination of the skills I’ve gained from my mediation and legal experiences to the NMA board.

What is your vision for mediation in Nebraska?
In Nebraska, I see a continued expansion of mediation as a tool and resource for those in conflict. My vision would be that mediation becomes regular practice for those resolving conflict and that our communities become more familiar with and aware of the benefits of the mediation process. I think more training and outreach provided to communities would help with this goal of making mediation an essential part of the system. I would also emphasize the expansion of training and growth opportunities for both new and experienced mediators in order to continuously improve and enhance the skills of all mediators across the state.

Nebraska has a rich tradition of mediation experience and perspectives (e.g., geographic, professional background, focus of practice). What would be your strategy to help all voices be heard?
I think it's important to include many opinions when determining how to improve mediation across the state because mediation affects people of all backgrounds. I have lived and worked in both large and smaller communities and recognize that every community has different needs. A good strategy would be to create an outreach tool, whether that’s a survey, questionnaire, etc. that could reach those of many backgrounds, professional experience, and communities across the state to determine needs in those communities and then use those responses to determine how NMA can best support those needs.