Log in
Log in
  • Home
  • 2023 Conference Speaker Bios

The Speed of Need: 22nd Annual Conference: May 30 - June 2, 2023 - Association for Conflict Resolution - Greater New York Chapter


Courtney Chicvak, Esq. is the Director of Alternative Dispute Resolution at Long Island Dispute Resolution Centers (LIDRC), the Community Dispute Resolution Center for Nassau and Suffolk counties. She is also an Instructor at Columbia University, Grand Canyon University, Abilene Christian University, the Indian Institute of Management - Rohtak, a Conflict Resolution coach, and a mediator in private practice.


Seth Izen is Executive Director of MetroWest Mediation Services. He has been active in community mediation in Massachusetts since 2008, completing a practicum with the Cambridge Dispute Settlement Center, mediating on the district court panel of the Middlesex Law Center in Lowell, and serving as the Peer Mediation Coordinator at North Shore Community Mediation Center. Seth completed his Basic Mediation Training at Brown University where he earned a B.A. in Political Science. He earned an M.A. in Peace and Conflict Studies at University of Massachusetts Lowell, where he also taught a graduate-level course on Mediation: Theory and Practice.


Li Morrison is Director of Court Mediation & Conciliation at MetroWest Mediation. She is also the Coordinator of the Housing Mediation Program which provides mediation to landlords and tenants in eviction cases. Li oversees mediation and conciliation services in the District Court, Juvenile Court, and Probate & Family Court. Prior to this role, Li served as a volunteer mediator for Small Claims cases with MWI and MWMS for several years. Li is also trained in divorce, summary process, and permanency mediations. Li earned a BS in Electrical Engineering, a MS in statistics, and a JD. She is a licensed member in the California bar association.


Appointed by President Biden, Jessica Stern serves as the Special Envoy to Advance the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI+) Persons. Special Envoy Stern leads U.S. efforts to protect LGBTQI+ persons globally from violence and discrimination.

Prior to joining the Department of State, Stern led Outright International, a global LGBTQI+ human rights organization, as its Executive Director for ten years. At Outright, Stern helped the organization secure observer status at the United Nations, release human rights reports annually, built the world’s largest COVID LGBTQI+ grant-making program, and quintupled the budget. Before Outright, Stern was a researcher and advocate at Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Stern has a long history of multilateral engagement. She was a founding member of the UN LGBTI Core Group and of its secretariat. Stern successfully campaigned for the first UN General Assembly resolution to include gender identity and for successive Human Rights Council resolutions on sexual orientation and gender identity, leading to the establishment of the Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. Stern provided the first LGBTQI+ rights expert testimony in a UN Security Council Arria. Stern has frequently served as an advisor to UN mechanisms, including as a founding member of the UNWomen LGBTI Reference Group.

Stern is a published author, is frequently cited in the media, and is the recipient of numerous honors, including from Crain’s New York Business, Gay City News, and the Metropolitan Community Church. As an adjunct associate professor, Special Envoy Stern taught the first LGBTQI+ rights course at Columbia University’s School of International & Public Affairs. Special Envoy Stern has lived in Mexico, the United Kingdom, and Uruguay.


For many mediators, it is common to run their practice with limited technology and obsolete systems. As technology expands, so does the ability to track your clients, payments, and practice with ease. This includes the implementation of CRM systems that integrate with payment, calendaring, marketing, and more. This training covers the many options available to the ADR field to expand their practice, making it more efficient and removing administrative actions from the mediator's work load.


Yura Sapi is a visionary leader, creative activist, and interdisciplinary artist who promotes anti-racism and decolonization for our globally just future. As the co-founder and CEO of U.S. nonprofit LiberArte Inc., Yura builds racial, social, and climate justice worldwide through empowering artists and creative activists. One of Yura's most significant contributions is the Building Our Own Tables podcast, which they host and produce. They offer racial, gender, and disability DEI consulting as part of the Melanin Collective and host workshops, discussions, and coaching programs worldwide. Yura's work reflects their deep commitment to promoting collective liberation and advancing the cause of healing as true justice.


Christiamilda Correa is an impact strategist and professional actress with over a decade of experience in event marketing and fundraising for corporate and non-profit sectors. She has promoted over 250 high-profile events in NYC, the Hamptons, and Houston, TX, and has consulted for a virtual prom with a cause in response to COVID-19. Christiamilda is the Board President of LiberArte Inc. and serves in leadership roles for various organizations, including the NYU Latinx Alumni Network and McNair Academic H.S. Alumni Association. She is invested in improving equity, access, and economic mobility for all, particularly the next generation of leaders. Christiamilda received her B.F.A. in Drama from NYU Tisch School of the Arts and was named Prospanica New York Top Latinx Leader of 2020.


Dan Berstein combines his professional expertise as a mediator, his academic background in mental health and public health, and his personal experience living with bipolar disorder to develop innovative online programs that use conflict resolution best practices to prevent discrimination.  Through his company, MH Mediate, Dan has trained thousands of people to talk about mental health, address challenging behaviors, and resolve conflicts.  Clients have included individuals, organizations, and government agencies at the city, state, and federal levels.

Dan is the co-founder of the Dispute Resolution in Mental Health Initiative at the CUNY Dispute Resolution Center, and leads their efforts to develop trauma-informed and bias-resistant resources. He holds a master’s degree in Mental Health from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, a bachelor’s degree from the Wharton School at the University Pennsylvania, and a mediation certification from the New York Peace Institute where he formerly sat on the Mediator Advisory Board.  His book, Mental Health and Conflicts: A Handbook for Empowerment, was published by the American Bar Association in 2022.  Through the Mental Health Safe Project, Dan advocates to help organizations notice, prevent, and address instances of inadvertent discrimination.


Ed Watt started his career in transportation as a front-line worker at NYC Transit Authority. He rose to the position of Financial-Secretary Treasurer of the largest transit local in North America. 

He has worked for the two largest International transit unions, Transport Workers Union and Amalgamated Transit Union. 

He has served on many boards and labor management committees as well as federal, state, local, and international bodies, including the USDOT Transit Advisory Committee for Safety TRACS, the American Public Transportation Association APTA, the Transportation Research Board TRB, the International Transport Workers Federation, ITF,  the International Association of Public Transport UITP, and the International Labor Organization ILO.

Mr. Watt has facilitated research with the TRB, NIOSH, and Cornell University's Institute for Workplace Studies. He is a  Consulting Associate of the Mineta Transportation Institute. He holds a Masters's Degree, MSILR, from Baruch/Cornell. He is currently the Principal of WattADR.


Zaynab Abdi is a MPA-DP candidate who is passionate about social justice and advocacy. Zaynab worked as a Civic Engagement Coordinator with a nonprofit organization called RISE. Zaynab worked on addressing hate crimes against Muslim women and the rise of Islamophobia and served as part of the Hate Crime Coalition in Minnesota. She was able to secure one million from Hennepin county to support victims of hate. As a Leadership Development Coordinator Zaynab worked on offering leadership workshops for Muslim women such as Economic Empowerment workshops, Healing and mental health workshops, and other self-development workshops. Zaynab was also appointed by Governor Tim Walz's office to serve in the Young Women's Cabinet. She is also an Advocate for girls’ education and has been working with Malala the Nobel Peace Prize winner where she spoke at many places including the United Nations to speak about the importance of educating girls in countries where girls are disadvantaged. Zaynab is a Co~author in Green Card Youth Voices: Immigration Stories from a Minneapolis High School and Graphic Novel Anthology book Our Stories Carried Us Here. Zaynab was also featured in Malala’s new book We Are Displaced. Recently she published her first solo book Voice for Refugee. Currently Zaynab works as a Futures & Strategics Fellow with UNDP. She has been using her knowledge in addressing gender, migration and education in crisis and conflict areas.


Borislava Manojlovic is the Assistant Professor at the Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution, George Mason University and Co-Director of the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies Asia. She is an expert in peacebuilding, transitional justice, dealing with the past, peace education, and atrocities prevention. Before joining academia, she worked on minority and reconciliation-related issues with the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in both Croatia and Kosovo for over seven years. The experience of wars in the Balkans in the 1990s and her desire to understand the roots of violent conflicts shaped her life trajectory and dedication to conflict prevention and peacemaking. Her book Education for Sustainable Peace and Conflict Resilient Communities was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2017. She received her master’s degree from Brandeis University and her doctorate from George Mason University’s Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution.


Shai Naides is a multidisciplinary strategist with more than 15 years of experience and a track record in a diverse range of leadership roles, including senior management. He has coordinated global climate campaigns; built and strengthened functional communities; scaled organizational capacity for greater impact; and coached senior leaders to introduce more collaborative approaches to drive innovation and impact. Shai has worked on multiple change initiatives to rewire organizational design and introduce new functions and ways of working – from distributed campaign design at Greenpeace to UNICEF’s global youth volunteers’ function. He has designed and implemented strategies to drive impact and innovation in development and social change - working on a wide spectrum that spans from political activism to public engagement and social behavioral change. Having worked across a diversity of contexts globally, including development and post-conflict settings, Shai currently works at UNICEF Innocenti Global Office of Research and Foresight, where he leads the youth engagement function, which focuses on youth-centered strategies and impact in foresight, research, and convening. Shai holds a master’s in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from the Carter School at George Mason University.


Director of ADR, the Bar Association of San Francisco

Roger Moss became a professional neutral in 2013, following a career in negotiation, strategic planning, and executive leadership in commercial real estate. Known as a creative, connector, and innovator, Roger has served as Chairman of the Association for Dispute Resolution of Northern California, and as vice-chair of the Washington State Bar Association ADR Section executive committee. In 2021 he co-produced the inaugural Northwest Collaborative Futures Conference. In addition to managing ADR programs at the Bar Association of San Francisco, Roger operates Rincon Resolutions LLC, a consultancy that promotes global innovation in conflict engagement.


Executive Director, Project Sentinel

Carole Conn is the Executive Director of Project Sentinel, a housing advocacy and dispute resolution non-profit which has served California since 1971. Project Sentinel supports housing providers, homeowners, and tenants by delivering trainings in fair housing, trauma-informed de-escalation workshops, and mediation of housing disputes.

Carole brings 30 years of experience in non-profit work, project design and innovative thinking to improving the lives of those most vulnerable to housing instability and where the intersection of professional assistance, technology innovation, education empowerment and compassionate interventions, bring about real change.


Director of Strategic Initiatives, Project Sentinel

Esmail Rahimian, PhD is an entrepreneur, peacemaker, educator, and certified Tai Chi instructor. Following a business career, his passion for mathematics and collaboration took him back to the university, where he taught management, marketing, communication, and negotiation.

Esmail serves as Director of Strategic Initiatives for Project Sentinel and as a consultant to Conflict Intervention Service. In these roles, he spearheads implantation of ODR systems and mentors experienced neutrals through master class workshops.

As a reflective practitioner Esmail maintains a commitment to life-long learning, a willingness to learn from experience, and an appreciation of the connection between theory and practice.


Dr. Robyn Short is an organization systems design consultant, peace-building trainer, and mediator with expertise in restorative practices and transformative mediation models. Dr. Short works with individuals, corporations, and nonprofit organizations in discovering the root causes of conflicts, so they may transform their relationships and create new and productive paths forward individually, as teams, and ultimately as an organization. She also works with community leaders and political and governmental leaders to develop initiatives for building sustainable peace in areas of historic conflict. In this capacity, she has been featured in news outlets internationally. 

As the founder of three organizations, Dr. Short understands the challenges founder/CEOs face when operating at the intersection of passion and purpose. She is particularly interested in supporting leaders in creating purpose-driven organizations that are able to harness the benefits of our diverse workplaces by embedding dignity into all aspects of the business. 

Dr. Short is the author of four books and has served as an adjunct professor at Southern Methodist University in the Master of Conflict Management and Dispute Resolution program, the Master of Leadership and Negotiation at Bay Path University, and the College of Innovation and Design at Texas A&M Commerce. She is a frequent guest lecturer at Pepperdine University's Strauss Institute for Dispute Resolution and Creighton University's Master of Conflict and Dispute Resolution program. Dr. Short holds a Doctor of Liberal Studies degree with a focus in peace studies and systems design. She holds a Master of Art in Dispute Resolution from Southern Methodist University and a Master of Liberal Arts from Southern Methodist University with a focus in 15th century European history. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Auburn University.


Dr. Jennifer Wilhoit is a spiritual ecologist, author, certificated mediator, and researcher with a Ph.D. in Environmental Studies. For twenty-five years, Jennifer's work has focused on the inner/outer landscape: the interconnection between creativity and the natural world. She has been helping people navigate conflict and transition in myriad contexts including within special needs communities, hospice settings, crisis centers, ecological settings, intercultural contexts, restorative justice venues, interfaith groups, and wilderness rites of passage circles. Dr. Wilhoit founded TEALarbor stories, through which she offers nature-based mentorship to people in impasse and aspiring creatives. She continuously presents her work internationally, nationally, and regionally.


Kira Nurieli is CEO of the Harmony Strategies Group, a unique collective of conflict management experts and trainers. She serves clients an Organizational Ombuds, mediator, conflict coach, and restorative practices facilitator. She has spent upwards of twenty years helping clients handle conflict and improve communication strategies in workplace, community, family, and school settings and has been a featured speaker at the International Center for Ethnic and Religious Mediation (ICERM) and the New York City Society for Human Resource Management. Kira holds an MA in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University and a BA in Comparative Performance from Barnard College. She especially enjoys helping individuals, teams, and lay-leaders become more impactful and empowered in their work.


ABA Research Fellow

Mnotho is a Lecturer in Law at O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU) in India and a Fellow of the American Bar Association's section on Dispute Resolution. He graduated from the University of Missouri School of Law with a Master of Laws degree in Dispute Resolution, where he achieved an overall GPA of 4.0. Mnotho also holds a Master of Laws degree in Multilevel Government, Law, and Policy from the University of the Western Cape, under the Dullah Omar Institute for Constitutional Law, Governance, and Human Rights, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of South Africa.

Mnotho is a qualified legal practitioner (attorney) of the High Court of South Africa and has over six years of litigation experience. He previously worked as a Candidate Attorney in Durban and later became a director of his private law firm, specializing in Dispute Resolution, Labor and Employment Law, and Health Law. Before joining JGU, he worked as a summer intern at the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR) in New York City.

Mnotho's research interests span a range of topics, including Dispute Resolution and Online Dispute Resolution, Consumer Protection, Public Health Law, and Bioethics.


Gary Doernhoefer has 30 years of experience as an in-house attorney, general counsel and entrepreneur in two successful technology startup companies. His legal experience and subsequent work with the faculty at the Moritz College of Law at the Ohio State University inspired him to apply his entrepreneurial skills to the development of technology for dispute resolution practitioners. He is the founder of ADR Notable - a case and practice management software designed specifically for practitioners, Co-Chair of the ABA Dispute Resolution Technology Committee and a frequent public speaker on technology in the field.


Tricia Jones is a Professor of Communication and Social Influence in the Klein College of Media and Communication in Temple University, Director of the Center for Conflict and Media Impact, and the CEO of Conflict Coaching MattersLLC. She has worked with CDRCs in New York since 2013 to build conflict coaching services, leads the Conflict Coaching Continuing Education Initiative for the State of Maryland, and is supporting the United Nations Ombuds and Mediation Services in their implementation of conflict coaching in the Secretariat. She is Director of the Conflict Resolution Education in Teacher Education program since 2003 and has recently received a $1.7 million grant from the Department of Justice to build integrated conflict management systems involving systems-involved youth and law enforcement in the School District of Philadelphia.


Alexia Georgakopoulos, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Department of Conflict Resolution Studies at Nova Southeastern University and Director of the Institute of Conflict Resolution & Communication (, a mediation and conflict resolution training firm specializing in delivering Florida Supreme Court Mediation Certification training in Circuit, Family, and County Mediation and Continuing Mediation Education to the public. She is the editor of The Mediation Handbook: Theory, Research, and Practice published by Routledge, and has appeared on the Today Show.


Lizyvette Ramos, Ph.D. Candidate, has a unique educational and professional background that brings together a combination of expert skills in conflict analysis and resolution, mediation, psychology, and law. She is an NSU Graduate Assistant. She is Ph.D. Candidate for the Conflict Analysis and Resolution Program at Nova Southeastern University (NSU). She has a Masters in Forensic Psychology, a Law Degree (Foreign), and a Bachelor in Psychology. She is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator. Completed the BRDGES Intercultural Certificate. Bilingual (English & Spanish). Lizyvette Ramos published the book Sexual Assault [Rape]: Moving from Victim to Survivor in English and Spanish.


Dr. Toran Hansen is a dynamic practitioner and scholar in the twin fields of conflict resolution and peace studies. A very active conflict resolution practitioner, particularly with vulnerable, disadvantaged individuals and groups. A restorative justice dialogue facilitator. Published numerous articles in scholarly journals and book chapters. Published topics: peace, restorative justice, transitional justice, research in conflict resolution, facilitating inter-organizational networks, social movements, social capital, and social movements. Some concepts and theories originated by Dr. Hansen include the generalist approach to conflict resolution, the theory of differences in conflict, holistic peace, evidence-based practice in conflict resolution, and critical conflict resolution theory and practice.


ABA Research Fellow

Paula Plaza is a trilingual attorney educated in Canada, Singapore, Philippines, and the US. She recently graduated with a Master of Laws from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor on a full merit scholarship before joining Phillips Lytle LLP as a litigation associate. Her practice involves a broad range of litigation, including antitrust, trademark infringement, data security and privacy, E-Discovery, white collar criminal defense and government investigations. Paula is experienced in international arbitration proceedings before JAMS, International Chamber of Commerce, and Singapore International Arbitration Commission, as advocate and tribunal assistant. Gary Doernhoefer is her mentor as an 2023 ABA Fellowship in Dispute Resolution in ADR.


After two decades as a U.S. Federal Mediator, Josh currently runs FMCS’s Office of Policy & Strategy, the agency’s internal arm for policy analysis, development, and promulgation to ensure FMCS provision of quality and timely conflict management services to the American public, nationwide.

In his prior role as the agency’s Chief Strategy Officer, Josh led a special projects team that was retained by other Federal agencies to facilitate large-scale, high stakes, multi-party negotiation processes such as regulatory negotiation, negotiated rulemaking and public policy negotiation. In this capacity, he recently served as the lead mediator for the multi-year Resource Management Plan public policy negotiations in Washington state for 17 Native American tribes, multiple state agencies, and multiple Federal agencies (2021-2022). In 2018-2020, Josh led the team mediating the Tribal Transportation Self-Governance Program negotiated rulemaking to help negotiators from the Federal government, US Department of Transportation, and a group of Tribal leaders representing all 574 Federally-recognized Native American tribes, develop a landmark consensus-based comprehensive agreement. Josh began his career as a federal mediator in 2001. His responsibilities included mediation of labor disputes, collective bargaining negotiations, grievance mediation, and relationship development and training for the private, non-profit, public, and federal sectors across industries such as manufacturing and production, healthcare, transportation and trucking, telecommunications, entertainment, defense contracting, higher education, and public education.

Josh completed his B.A. in Politics at Brandeis University and went to work in London, England. He returned to America for his graduate work at Harvard Kennedy School, where he focused on negotiation and conflict resolution. Josh is frequently invited to be a guest lecturer at HKS and was on faculty as adjunct lecturer in Management, Leadership and Decision sciences from 2013-2016.

Josh resides with his family in the Berkshires of Massachusetts and travels around the country regularly to deliver FMCS services.


Damian Priamurskiy is a Project Management and Delivery Specialist at Lowenstein Sandler LLP. Outside of his law firm work, Damian also serves as a volunteer mediator with New York Peace Institute and the New York County Lawyers' Association. Damian's mediation experience includes mediating cases for court-annexed programs and coaching NYPD officers in conflict resolution skills, in addition to his active involvement in ADR program initiatives. With his background in mediation and law firm operations, Damian brings a unique combination of knowledge and passion for process improvement to navigating and resolving complex conflicts in both ADR and legal process improvement.


Caroline Ewing is an attorney who practiced mental disability law with the Center for Public Representation in Massachusetts before leaving to raise a family. Looking for a less adversarial way to put her skills to use and make a positive difference in her community, Caroline became a certified mediator with New York Peace Institute (NYPI). She has mediated over a hundred cases since 2019 in community, housing, civil court, special education, and co-parenting mediation programs. She is also trained in Lemon Law arbitration and is a Basic Mediation Training coach at NYPI.


Chris is President of P3 Collaborative LLC (P3C), a infrastructure consulting firm. Chris is a licensed engineer and attorney with over 40 years of experience. He has been a mediator for over 25 years and negotiator for all types of infrastructure project agreements. Chris received a BS from the United States Military Academy and a JD from George Washington University. Prior to receiving his law degree, he served as an officer in the Army Corps of Engineers and worked on flood control projects in the Pacific Northwest of the US. He was a mediator in New Jersey on numerous post-Sandy insurance claims.


Lara is the interim Chief Sustainability Officer and director of the Penn State Sustainability Institute, as well as a professor of teaching at Penn State law. She has served as a mediator and facilitator on numerous water related issues and is working with communities in PA on flood resilience, water quality concerns, and more. She teaches environmental mediation along with other courses. In her sustainability role, she is working to implement a plan to decarbonize Penn State and address the critical challenges- including climate—across Pennsylvania and beyond. 


Joe is an attorney at the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 2 office in New York where he manages the Environmental Collaboration and Conflict Resolution program, serving as a mediator and facilitator on climate change and a wide variety of other environmental matters, and co-chairs the Region’s Climate Change Workgroup. He is also a member of Mediators Beyond Borders’ Climate Change Project and leads the group’s Education Subcommittee. Joe also teaches Environmental Dispute Resolution at Hofstra Law School and Climate Adaptation and the Law at Haub School of Law at Pace University. 


Liliana is a Specialist in Water Resources Management in Watersheds, with a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning focusing on bioregional planning and landscape ecology, Liliana is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the Geography Department of the University of Brasilia. She is a Former Fulbright Hubert Humphrey Fellow attending SPURS/MIT and works as a civil servant at the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change in Brazil. Liliana is an experienced professional and trained mediator interested in transboundary cooperation and conflict prevention over Natural Resources by enhancing governance, decision-making, and public policy processes in Latin America and the Caribbean Region.


Jess Kent, M.A. (she/her) is a Mediation Specialist at the Law Office of Lindy Korn PLLC. She supports traumatized plaintiffs who have experienced workplace discrimination and sexual harassment. With a Masters in Organizational Behavior and a Bachelors in Psychology, Jess’ ADR career began 12 years ago and has spanned topics of inter-faith conflict, housing & multi-party family issues, eldercare, divorce, business, small claims, New York State Supreme Court, as well as Erie County Family Court child custody and visitation concerns. Formerly, a Los Angeles Coro Fellow in Public Affairs and a Boston/DC Segal Citizen Leadership Fellow, Jess also enjoys training for triathlons and eating dessert first. She is elated to be co-presenting with her mother, Liz Kent, about working with language translators & assistive devices for hard-of-hearing parties and mediators. Contact Jess Kent on LinkedIn or at JKENT@LKORN-LAW.COM


Dr. Elizabeth (Liz) S. Kent (she/her) earned a B.A. from the University at Buffalo (UB) and a J.D. certificate in State Local Government Law from the UB School of Law. Currently, Liz serves on the Center for Resolution and Justice’s CDRC Family Court Mediation Team. She also teaches Business Law I & II at Buffalo State University. Liz received a certificate in English as a Second Language through Niagara University and was honored as a Master Teacher in New York State. Liz is hard-of-hearing; she has worn hearing aids for 20+ years, and uses assistive technologies when mediating remotely. Liz enjoys gardening with a wide variety of vegetable seedlings, crocheting blankets for every newborn she knows, and traveling anywhere the wind will take her. 


Yeju “Chloe” Choi is an Assistant Professor of Sociology specializing in Conflict Resolution at John Jay College of Criminal Justice at City University of New York. She completed her doctoral degree in International Conflict Management and a Master's degree in Conflict Management. Her research interest is in organizational conflict, specifically in cross-cultural conflict and communication, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), and virtual team management.


Dawne Mitchell is the Chief Attorney of the Juvenile Rights Practice at the The Legal Aid Society in New York City. Her entire legal career demonstrates her passion for justice and compassion for the most vulnerable in our community. Dawne oversees the Juvenile Rights Practice which provides legal representation for more than 30,000 children in New York City Family Courts in abuse, neglect, juvenile justice, and other proceedings affecting children’s rights and welfare. She leads a multidisciplinary team of more than 300 staff attorneys, social workers, paralegal, investigators, support staff and volunteers. In addition to representing thousands of children in trial and appellate courts, Juvenile Rights Practice pursues impact litigation and other law reform initiatives on behalf of children. 

As an integral leader at The Legal Aid Society, Dawne’s transformational management style has served to empower her staff as well as the clients they serve. Her work has led to fundamental advancements in the practice. Dawne values collaborative approach to problem solving and working closely with leaders to build stronger and more conscientious child-centered policy and best practices. Dawne has received a numerous honors and professional appointments and currently serves as the Chair of NYC Bar, Council on Children, and is the Vice President of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Counsel for Children and member of the Board of Directors of the National Public Defender Association.


Trudy Junkroski is a restorative justice practitioner who began her journey in Florida and now resides in Brooklyn, New York. She is co-founder of Re-Entry 2.0, a support community for returning citizens. A graduate of the International Institute for Restorative Practices, Trudy is the Restorative Justice Supervisor for CLUSTER Community Services/Westchester Rockland Mediation Center based in Yonkers. With a background as an educator, Trudy delights in bringing restorative practices to schools, the criminal justice system, and elsewhere, helping create shifts toward a more restorative world.


Abdul Shakur is a 62 year-old African American Muslim born and raised in New York City. Abandoned by his mother at birth (she was incarcerated) he came through various foster homes and group homes, being subjected to various forms of sexual abuse along the way. Convicted of 2nd Degree Murder at age 22 and sentenced to life, Abdul has emerged from the turmoil of his past and now stands happily married, continuously striving each and every day to maintain the best version of himself.


Ney McCain is 61 years-old and was released on parole in 2020 after spending 38 continuous years in Florida prisons. He comes from a single parent home. He dropped out of school in the 8th grade to go to work and could barely read or write. Ney was incarcerated at the age of 22 and received a life sentence. He earned his High School Diploma in prison and went on to take dozens of courses on various subjects. He started writing and teaching his own self betterment programs in prison and taught these to hundreds of fellow inmates. These can be viewed on Ney’s website: He is also an accomplished artist, printer, IT Administrator, Web developer, and inventor. Ney is currently the COO of a national company and lives with his longtime girlfriend in Texas.


Ryan M. Moser is a formerly incarcerated journalist who served 8 years in the Florida department of corrections for a property crime. A recovering addict, Moser writes about addiction, mental health, the environment, social justice, and more. He has been published widely in the news media and literary journals and is a PEN America award winner. 


TARA FISHLER, Director of Learning and Development for Creative Response to Conflict (CRC), has taught conflict resolution and related skills to thousands of adults and students in schools and organizations. She is a NYS Certified Trainer for the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA), training educators about bullying. Tara is a facilitator, strategic planning expert, and passionate defender of individuals with special needs. As an ADR leader, Tara is a former board member of ACR (Association for Conflict Resolution), ACR-GNY and NYSDRA (New York State Dispute Resolution Association). She authored articles and recently published her memoir, “Up-Rooted: Climbing Through Family Chaos”, through WoodHall Press.


Priscilla Prutzman is co-founder and ED of Creative Response to Conflict. She has taught Conflict Resolution in Education at SUNY New Paltz for several years. On the Fulbright Roster for Peace and Conflict Resolution, Priscilla has written many articles and books on mediation, conflict resolution, bias awareness, bullying prevention and restorative practices. A Founding member and former board member of ACR, she is a co-author of ACR’s Peer Mediation Standards of the Association for Conflict Resolution, recipient ACR’s 1 st Bill Kreidler award, and later ACR’s Diversity and Equity award. She is currently helping several New York City Schools implement whole school approaches to restorative practices.


Michelle Exline Minovi is an attorney mediator with over twelve years experience. Prior to becoming a mediator, Michelle litigated cases on behalf of immigrant survivors of domestic violence. Michelle trained at the Center for Understanding Conflict (CUC) and completed the CUC Teacher Training Program in 2022. Michelle speaks functional Spanish. Michelle is a member of the presumptive mediation panels in New York, Kings, and Queens Supreme Courts, and the NYC Family Court, Custody and Visitation borough-wide panel. Michelle is a volunteer attorney mediator with New York Legal Assistance Group and Bronx Legal Services. Michelle is a board member of the Family and Divorce Mediation Council of New York and a member of the Brooklyn Bar Association. Michelle, as a working member of the domestic violence working group subcommittee under Judge Sunshine, collaborated on creating a screening tool for presumptive mediation parties in New York courts.


Hansa Patel is an attorney, mediator, and trainer. After advocating on behalf of abused and neglected children for fourteen years, Hansa now empowers parties to transform their relationships. She is a certified mindfulness teacher by Judy Cohen at WarriorOne, and she completed the teacher training course taught by Gary Friedman at the Center for Understanding Conflict. Hansa has taught mindful mediation in the USA, including the California Judicial Council Family Court Mediators, Canada, and Africa.


Marsha Hilton, MSc is a Social Psychologist, Life Coach, Speaker, and Career Strategist. She helps individuals achieve their life and career goals by building agility and confidence, increasing their Adaptability Quotient and Emotional Intelligence. Marsha has co-authored the book "It's You...Not Them" and is writing a chapter for an edited volume on "Transformational Leadership Styles." She has spoken at multiple conferences on the subjects of Perfectionism, DEIB, and Imposter Syndrome. Marsha has expertise in career planning, helping university students and women find their purpose, and reframing negative inner dialogue to identify next steps.


Lisa PytlikZillig, Ph.D is a faculty ombuds at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a researcher at the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center where she studies public engagement and trust in institutions. She also is an affiliated mediator at The Mediation Center in Lincoln, NE.


Ashley M. Votruba - Ashley Votruba, J.D., Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Law-Psychology Program at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln and has a Courtesy Appointment at the Nebraska College of Law. Dr. Votruba is the director of the Culture, Conflict, and Law Lab and a mediator with the Mediation Center in Lincoln, NE.


Kristen Blankley, J.D. is the Henry M. Grether Professor of Law at the University of Nebraska College of Law where she teaches and researches in the areas of mediation, arbitration, and legal ethics. Professor Blankley is a practicing mediator, facilitator, and arbitrator.


Dr. Suzzette Harriott, Ph.D., is a renowned Conflictologist, Life & Leadership Strategist, and International DEI Consultant. With years of experience supporting organizations navigating change management and industry shifts, Suzzette is a recognized leader in conflict analysis and resolution. She has authored several books, including "SYNERGY" (DEI) and "It's You... Not Them" (Intrapersonal Conflict and Self-Compassion). Her work has been featured in scholarly publications and she is a frequent contributor to DEI and conflict resolution conferences. Through her career and publications, Suzzette is committed to advancing DEI and conflict resolution practices for audiences of diverse ages and professional backgrounds.


As an Authenticity Coach, Betty works with aspiring leaders to expand how they see themselves and what they are capable of doing so they can become the person they intend to be. 

She believes the world becomes a better place when we are true to who we are, giving us a greater capacity to work across differences.

Betty’s coaching is a powerful combination of reflection and action. Her responsive approach encourages clients and their teams to deeply explore what matters most after they let go of expectations and find the inner courage to inspire clarity, trust, and possibility.

Betty brings her expertise from a long career in project and people management along with her perspective as a first-generation Asian-American leader. 



Helen Winter was until recently a Graduate Research Fellow at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and is currently transitioning into a new role as Assistant Professor of Law and Practice at the Straus Institute of Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine School of Law. Winter is a mediator and founder of the charitable organization R3SOLUTE based in Berlin. R3SOLUTE empowers refugees and locals to manage and prevent conflicts in their communities through dialogue work and peer mediation.

Winter holds a law degree with a focus on International Public Law from Heidelberg University, and an LL.M. with a specialization in Dispute Resolution from Pepperdine University's Straus Institute. She is pursuing a Ph.D. at European University Viadrina in Germany.

In her own mediation practice, Winter mostly deals with intercultural disputes. Previously, Winter has worked as a mediator with the Los Angeles Superior Court and as a consultant with On Deck Mediation, where her expertise included anti-discrimination and labor law. Additionally, she has worked with the United Nations Office of the Ombudsman and Mediation Services (UNOMS), addressing systemic issues.





CUNY Dispute Resolution Center at John Jay College


Association for Conflict Resolution - Greater New York Chapter


Association for Conflict Resolution - Greater New York Chapter


Contact Us

Email us at

ACR-GNY's mission and programming are generously sponsored by:

ADR Notable: Dispute Resolution Management Made Easy 

Discounts on ADR Notable platform available for ACR-GNY members!

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software