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2019 Annual Conference

April 4 & 5, 2019
Country Inn & Suites Lincoln North Hotel & Conference Center
5353 N 27th Street, Lincoln NE

Approved for 8.5 General Continuing Mediation Education Hours (Nebraska)

Thursday, April 4 
Session 1 – 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. 
Families in Transition – Aging Issues Mediation
Dan Bechtol

Session Description: Aging parents and life changes. Families in transition create intense changes in family dynamics. Whether it is personal care and living arrangements or financial planning and wealth management, these conversations are challenging and typically occur during a crisis event. But it’s the way we handle conflict that can make all the difference in achieving our goals for the future. This session will provide participants with a deeper appreciation and understanding of the dynamics of family systems and generational conflict involving aging parents and adult siblings and will explore a variety of ways to handle and resolve conflict to repair and build stronger relationships and improve familial stability. Participants will learn the importance of understanding the people involved in the situation, how to control the communication process, and tips for problem-solving to achieve age and situation related conflict resolution.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Observe and identify how quickly relationships can erode over significant and insignificant issues.
  2. Understand collective generational problem solving using interest-based and positional negotiation techniques.
  3. Be able to convene a meeting using mediation practices to address aging-related family issues.

Speaker Biography:
Dan Bechtol serves as the Executive Director of the Concord Mediation Center, a non-profit agency serving people in Douglas and Sarpy counties who are experiencing conflict at home, at work, or in the community. He has extensive experience in mediation, facilitationand training, as well as policy and program development. Dan holds a bachelor’s degree in Law, Politics and Society (LPS) and Sociology from Drake University (IA) and earned his Master’s in Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation from Abilene Christian University (TX). Prior to joining Concord Mediation Center, Dan managed a mediation service agency in southwest Iowa.

Thursday, April 4

Session 2 – 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Equality 101: Gender Identity and Orientation
Pat Tetreault, PhD, MLS

Session Description: This introductory presentation will provide attendees with terminology, tools, and language to become a stronger ally to the LGBTQA+ community. This presentation will also address conscious and unconscious bias and its unintended adverse impact on the mediation process. The first step in improving culture is to become educated about the basics and to create a common language from which more work can be done.

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Provide learners with an in-depth understanding of sexual orientation and gender identity as part of one's identity.
  2. Provide learners with culturally competent language regarding a client's sexual orientation and/or gender identity, including insight from research and anecdotal experiences about the impact of climate and support (or lack thereof) based on gender identity and sexual orientation.
  3. Provide learners with an understanding of the role of conscious and unconscious bias to reduce its adverse effect on the mediation process.

Speaker Biography:
Pat Tetreault, PhD, MLS, is Founding Director of the LGBTQA+ Resource Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Pat is a member of NASPA, ACPA, and the Consortium for LGBT Resource Professionals in Higher Education. Pat has served on numerous committees and working groups including Pride@Nebraska, and is a board member for PFLAG-Lincoln.  Pat has received numerous awards over the years, including ACPA’s Research Recognition Award (2018), Commitment to Social Justice Education Award (LGBTQA+ Center, 2017), and the LGBT Public Service Award (2016); the Chancellor’s Fulfilling the Dream Award (2013); the Chancellor’s Contributions to the Status of Women Award; and Outstanding Contributions to the GLBT Community Award. Recent publications include Perceptions of Campus Climate (2013); the Nebraska section in Proud Heritage: People, Issues, and Documents of the LGBT Experience (2014, Vol. 3); and is first author of a chapter on Religious Freedom Restoration Acts in LGBT Americans at Risk (2018).  Pat is a long time social justice advocate; serves as a consultant; and has presented at regional, national and international conferences.

Friday, April 5

Session 3 – 8:15 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Effective Mediator Skills: Rapport, Trust, Professionalism & the Impact of Non-verbal Communication
Jeff Thompson, Ph.D.

Session Description: What really makes a mediator effective? Are the skills you use as a mediator the same that other people use? Do you try to specifically do certain actions while also avoiding others? Drawing on his doctoral research, Jeff Thompson, Ph.D., addresses the complexity of these questions. Central to his work is understanding the development of rapport, building trust, and the display of professionalism. Each is examined through nonverbal communication. The building blocks of effective mediators are offered through three studies Jeff conducted. First, a survey of almost 400 mediators worldwide provided both quantitative and qualitative data, giving insight into a variety of topics related to nonverbal communication. Second, ethnographic interviews of mediation trainers and professors were conducted to find out how mediators are being taught nonverbal communication, rapport, trust, and professionalism. Third, mediators were observed to understand what they actually do, with specific emphasis on the mediator’s introduction. 

In his presentation, Jeff will discuss the interplay of all this research, and explain not only what actually works in mediation, but also how much of what ADR professionals accomplish is done through nonverbal communication.

During the second part of Jeff’s presentation, he will share how those nonverbal communication skills merge with verbal strategies through the use of utilizing active listening skills. He will share a specific method of how active listening is taught and practiced by crisis intervention experts across the country including: crisis counselors, mediators, negotiators, physicians, and law enforcement officers. The presentation is interactive with opportunities for you to be able to practice these skills and test your abilities. 

Speaker Biography: 
Jeff Thompson, Ph.D., is a professor at Lipscomb University and New York University, researcher, and trainer. He is a law enforcement detective (NYPD) and a former hostage negotiator. His research includes hostage negotiation in terrorist incidents, suicide prevention strategies, and the use of effective communication during crisis incidents. He received his doctorate from Griffith University Law School having researched the development of rapport, building trust, and displaying professionalism during conflict situations.

In his role at the NYPD, Detective Thompson is currently the Mental Health and Wellness Coordinator helping conduct research and outreach on the department’s suicide prevention efforts, reducing the stigma associated with mental illness, and raising awareness of resources available to both police officers and the public.

Dr. Thompson has presented and trained on the topic of conflict, (crisis and hostage) negotiation, suicide prevention and awareness, mental illness, mediation, crisis communication, and nonverbal communication internationally for a variety of audiences including police personnel, government officials, judges, attorneys, physicians, salespeople, business professionals, and both graduate and undergraduate students.  He has also been published in numerous professional and academic publications.

Dr. Thompson is the co-chair of the Association for Conflict Resolution's national Crisis Negotiation Section, a crisis counselor and he is an ad-hoc reviewer for multiple academic journals. He received his MS in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution from the Werner Institute, Creighton University School of Law and is a former Research Fellow at Columbia University.

Hotel & Conference Center Information

Country Inn & Suites Lincoln North Hotel & Conference Center
5353 N 27th Street
Lincoln NE

Easy access – 2 miles south of I-80!

To reserve a room -- call 402-476-5353; ask to book a room within the Nebraska Mediation Association Group Block

Rate – $99/night + taxes
Cutoff Date – 03/21/2019
Check-in Time: 3:00 p.m.
Check-out Time: 12:00 p.m.


  • FREE full hot breakfast; Breakfast Room Hours: Monday-Friday 6:00AM-9:30AM; Weekends & Holidays 7:00AM-10:30AM
  • FREE Parking
  • FREE Wireless Internet
  • FREE Shuttle service to and from the Lincoln Airport