Services from our Expert Team
Core team members Aimee Gourlay, Mark McCrea, Susan Mainzer, Katherine Nevins and Ellen Velasco-Thompson each bring more than twenty-five years of professional experience helping people solve problems and manage conflict. For more information about their individual expertise, see Mediation Center's About Page. Team members model the value of collaboration, and partner through Mediation Center to bring you the expertise you need when facing difficult challenges. Call Mediation Center's main line at 612-216-5171,or contact Aimee Gourlay at 612-237-6505 for more information about services and Sunday Harholdt at 612-222-0023 for more information about training.
Mediation and Facilitation Services
- Conflict Assessment. Assessment is the first step to responding to complex organizational and public policy conflicts. The assessment gives deeper understanding of dynamics and relationships, clarifies goals, acknowledges multiple perspectives and promotes reflection. An assessment will explain the conflict, the issues to be addressed, and determine whether or not there is a reasonable possibility of designing a process to manage conflict, build understanding and resolve disputes.
- Public Policy Process Design and Facilitation. Mediation Center’s team specializes in helping organizations and government respond to systemic and large group conflicts. We help address public policy concerns and organizational problems by working with clients to create responses that are tailored to meet the needs of their situation. Team members design and facilitate processes that inform decision making on contentious public issues. The processes, tailored for each issue in consultation with stakeholders, range from facilitating public input meetings to moderating community advisory groups to mediating contract disputes. All are grounded in the team members’ core values of transparency, fair process and respect for all points of view.
- Mediation. Mediation is a process in which an impartial third-party facilitates conversations and/or decision making. Mediation Center team members specialize in mediating organizational issues where maintaining relationships and working across differences are important to the participants.
In-House Training on Negotiation, Conflict Resolution and Problem Solving
Mediation Center core team members will work with your organization to tailor programs for your needs. In addition to being engaging and interactive trainers, they each bring examples and insights from more than twenty-five years’ professional experience. Sample topics include:
Navigating Cultural/Worldview Conflicts: Responding to Bias, Stereotyping and Prejudice
Responding to conflict across deeply different beliefs requires individuals to become aware of their perceptual filters, and shift from unconscious reactions to intentional responses. Dramatization of a workplace worldview conflict will be the springboard for discussion about how conflicting beliefs trigger responses that often escalate conflict, and introduce ways to change that dynamic.
Strategic Negotiation & Problem Solving Skills: Working Through Issues When Working Together
People often enter negotiations armed with emotionally-charged positions - defining what they want and making assumptions about other parties’ motivations and needs. The default approach is for all sides to work hard to stick tight to their own positions. This posturing dynamic fosters adversarial relationships that become difficult to overcome and ultimately hurt a project’s long term success. This course teaches the skills needed to gather information, identify underlying interests, and develop a problem solving strategy that is based on a realistic assessment of what is most important to all sides. Lessons learned in this training transfer to many facets of business and personal life.
This training takes conflict resolving skills to a new level. The mediator is a neutral facilitator who uses the process of mediation to create an environment for parties to communicate effectively, explore their underlying interests and find constructive outcomes. Mediation Center's longer format (three or four days) Mediation Skills training develops capacity and deepens knowledge for effective conflict resolution. This course offers experiential training with a focus on practical skills - it's designed for professionals who want to learn mediate or use the skills for informal workplace mediation. Experienced mediators and trainers introduce a structured, yet flexible, five-step mediation process. Participants will develop their skills at identifying interests, issues and positions, generating options, framing issues, breaking impasse, remaining neutral in difficult mediation sessions, and identifying power imbalances. This course also examines the cause of conflict, and cultural and ethical concerns in mediation. Course Certification under the MN General Rules of Practice for the District Courts, Rule 114 is available.
This training will help mediators, insurance representatives and advocates understand the dynamics at play in commercial mediation, and help them make better strategic use of settlement tools and techniques. Topics include, assessing risk, evaluation, overcoming impasse and the psychology of decision making.
Short Topics (1 to 4 hours)
- The Negotiation Process
- Asking and Listening to Develop Understanding
- Engaging in Difficult Conversations
- Public Stakeholder Involvement
Support for Family ADR Neutrals and Families
The Center collaborates with Minnesota’s experts in family dispute resolution to define “best practices” for the quickly evolving ADR processes that assist families in co-parenting, separation and divorce:
- Convenes experts to create and update the resources for family neutrals, attorneys and the court
- Advanced training on family ADR topics
- Mediation resources for families