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2020 Board Candidates

Below is information on the five individuals, listed in alphabetical order, 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 4, 2020, through April 2, 2020, at 12:00 p.m. (Noon) CT


NMA’s Mission: The Nebraska Mediation Association promotes creative and constructive engagement through professional development, collaborative partnerships, facilitation, mediation, restorative justice, and conflict engagement training to practitioners, professionals, and others throughout the State of Nebraska.


Name:  Debora Denny
Profession: Semi-retired; lawyer, mediator, community advocate
City of Residence: Cedar Bluffs, NE

What skills and experience would you bring to the board?
I can offer the NMA board my perspectives and experiences from over thirty years of work in alternative dispute resolution practices and programs in Nebraska. I have participated in writing, developing, and delivering training and education in various aspects of ADR, including mediation, facilitation training in basic, family, restorative justice, family group conferencing, and others. I am passionate about providing effective and meaningful education to persons from all levels of practice, ages, diverse cultures and walks of life.

Based on the mission, what is your vision for creative and constructive engagement in Nebraska?
I would encourage active involvement by all members of NMA in being a “third side” (William Ury’s “The Third Side” or “Getting to Peace”) to those involved with conflict or disputes as well as those endeavoring to be engaged in constructive growth and progress in whatever sphere they are involved in. There are many forums in which being a “third side” peacemaker can contribute toward individual and collective growth, including elementary, secondary and collegiate level education, workplace, community groups, organizations, justice system, government, and neighborhoods.

Nebraska has a rich tradition of experience and perspectives such as geographic, professional background, and focus of practice. What would be your strategy to help all voices be heard?
I would reach out to diverse peoples and groups, whether they be cultural, rural or urban, professional or neighborhood, youth or elder spheres to offer “mini-classes,” both in-person as well as web-based, on conflict resolution and constructive engagement, suitably packaged to meet the needs and interests of those diverse groups.


Name: Stewart Giddings
Profession: Operations Directors
City of Residence: Omaha

What skills and experience would you bring to the board?
Communication, Integrity, Accountability, Public Speaking.

Based on the mission, what is your vision for creative and constructive engagement in Nebraska?
The vision I see will be to further collaborate and increase the number of people of color trained in the mediation, facilitation and restorative Justice practices. This will ensure cultural competence for cases mediated as well as a skill for the areas and communities served.

Nebraska has a rich tradition of experience and perspectives such as geographic, professional background, and focus of practice. What would be your strategy to help all voices be heard?
Step 1: Intentionally make an effort to reach all geographic locations.
Step 2: Make the effort to include the voices of the underprivileged and underserved populations.


Name: Clarice Jackson 
Profession: Executive Director of Voice Advocacy Center (Dyslexia (Literacy) Tutoring and Special Education Advocacy Center and Restorative Justice Coordinator/Mediator-Concord Mediation Center
City of Residence: Omaha

What skills and experience would you bring to the board?
I feel I bring a diverse pool of experiences within the mediation, advocacy and educational arena. I have served on a collegiate board, currently reside on the City of Omaha’s Human Rights and Relations Board (Past Chair) and on the committee of the Institute of Special Education Advocacy (as well as a Faculty Member of the Institute) with William and Mary Law School in Williamsburg VA. These associations as well as my exhaustive local connections and city and state officials, strong belief in restoration of harms and the benefits of mediation first had, make me a committed candidate for the mission of the NMA.

Based on the mission, what is your vision for creative and constructive engagement in Nebraska?
I think inclusion, diversity (race and gender inclusivity), lived experiences and a level of expertise on the importance of conflict resolution, the value of approved methods and training for mediators and professional development, collaborative partnerships, restorative justice and others through authentic outreach, community focus of special populations and cultures, reaching the millennial population and hearing their perspectives and the voices of court/system involved youth and adults are ways we can continue to further the mission of the NMA.     

Nebraska has a rich tradition of experience and perspectives such as geographic, professional background, and focus of practice. What would be your strategy to help all voices be heard?
My answer would be the same as the above statement. Retyping for this answer.
I think inclusion, diversity (race and gender inclusivity), lived experiences and a level of expertise on the importance of conflict resolution, the value of approved methods and training for mediators and professional development, collaborative partnerships, restorative justice and others through authentic outreach, community focus of special populations and cultures, reaching the millennial population and hearing their perspectives and the voices of court/system involved youth and adults are ways we can continue to further the mission of the NMA.     


Name:  Beth Mares     
Profession:  Administrative Assistant for the State of Nebraska property courts
City of Residence:  DeWitt

What skills and experience would you bring to the board?
I would bring to the organization the insight and professionalism that I have learned being a mediator over the past eight years.  I currently work within the legal system in my present job.  As an administrative assistant, I help those understand the processes of the property tax courts and write orders. I feel the life skills that I have done in my employment and as a mediator; I could offer insight to move the board forward.

Based on the mission, what is your vision for creative and constructive engagement in Nebraska?
I think that a vision of moving forward for NMA is to create an organization that is willing to be hands on with the Centers across Nebraska.   To do this, one, would have to develop and promote improvements through collaborative efforts from both NMA and their members.

Nebraska has a rich tradition of experience and perspectives such as geographic, professional background, and focus of practice. What would be your strategy to help all voices be heard?
For several years, I was director of tourism for Gage County in Nebraska.  I found that when I did a “Meet and Greet” sponsored by area businesses that were affiliated with tourism, I could bring together professionals, volunteers and others to meet with each other in a relaxed atmosphere.  The approach was everyone, has a story to tell.  The insight and brainstorming opened the gateway for ways for each community with the help of their partners to move forward.   I think that a “Meet and Greet” would be a another way to open doors, not only to the public, but the Centers and others in the judicial system to get to know, what NMA and their members have to offer. 


Name: Eddie Habte Mekasha
Profession: Chaplain Counselor and Mediator
City of Residence: Omaha NE

What skills and experience would you bring to the board?
My skills begin with my personality and life. I am a mix of three major ethnic groups of Africa, Cushitic, Semitic and Omotic that makes me to be more inclusive in human outlook. I did my undergraduate in Supplies management and theology working for government factories, Hilton International and Christian bookstore and media. I used to help conflict mediation in the civil war affected part of East Africa.  I came to USA I did a formal training with master in theology in 2007. While I was student, I did   mediation training at Washington University St Louis MO in 2004 and served as member of Ethnic mediation Council led by my mentor Dr Pam De Voe. until I left St Louis July 2013. I continued same after I moved to Omaha NE and Dr Pam presented two conflict mediation conferences for Lutheran Family staff and for Ethiopian community through my coordination. In 2019 I took Conflict mediation training of Nebraska with a certificate and I continue doing formal conflict mediation for Concord mediation center. As a chaplain back in St Louis and here in Omaha, I am involved in many conflict mediations and the most successfuls  are  settlement of business owners conflict in St Louis MO and couple of marriage conflicts  among Africans and Asians. With Bosnian coworker, I did conflict mediation between Bosnians and Black Americans at St Louis.

Based on the mission, what is your vision for creative and constructive engagement in Nebraska?
I will bring my talent and skills of bringing harmony among diversity people grips of Nebraska.

For the last seven years in Nebraska, I am learning the social set up and engage in many conflict resolution and reconciliation activities with the help of my family my church and my companies.

Nebraska has a rich tradition of experience and perspectives such as geographic, professional background, and focus of practice. What would be your strategy to help all voices be heard?
My strategy would be to promote the principle of conflict mediation at grasses root levels and to make conflict resolution an inclusive daily part of  life among all Nebraska citizens.