24 May MtMA May 2017 Board Meeting: ROAD TRIP!
Recently, the MtMA Board ventured upon a road trip in-person board meeting. Our journey began in Great Falls, MT with the goal of connecting while making our way to Billings for an opportunity to participate in the Roundtable Presentation and Discussion: How Mediation can help alleviate problems in the Judicial System. After picking up a couple of board members in Helena, we chatted our way to Bozeman where we had a fantastic Meal at the Co-Op. We arrived at Chris Hahn’s house to be greeted by a very loving Golden Retriever and his stuffed pal, who he carries in his mouth. Chris and his beautiful wife, Connie, were gracious in providing us wondrous lodging in their lovely home located in one of the most scenic places I have viewed in Montana. I truly appreciate the loving patience Connie showed while we all sat and talked all things mediation until late in the night.
After our sleepover, we awoke to a gorgeous morning with a view that took my breath away. Delicious coffee, the company of a group of non-grumpy morning people, and breakfast provided a great start to our long day and enhanced the experience. Of course, we once again discussed mediation and ways we all envision moving forward in supporting and advocating for MtMA. During the morning session, Linda Gryczan led the group in finalizing the certification of four new members: Greg Dahl (Associate), Judge Russell Fagg (Certified Mediator), Dean Hampton (Certified Mediator), Nancy DesRosiers (Certified Mediator). -See our Member Spot Light page https://mtmediation.org/our-newest-members/- The Board is excited to welcome such experienced, talented and motivated professionals in their respective fields.
On the Road Again:
After a brief frenzy of signing, stamping and mailing the certificates to the newest members of the MtMA, we began the drive to Billings, Montana. Once again, Chris provided a wonderfully comfortable travel experience. It was such a joy to share the views with someone who has made the drive often enough to ensure we were provided a scenic tour.
Conversations and Contemplations:
In between pointing out beautiful vistas and providing local history and points of interest, the group discussed the work being done by Chris Hahn and Linda Gryczan at the state level, LaDawn’s upcoming trainings dealing with Elder Care and End of Life Decision, connection with Clerks of Court, community advocates and other Montanans, and Heidi’s upcoming move. We also discussed how to best support members with information regarding upcoming mediation trainings and restorative justice events. The board members were in agreement regarding the importance of MtMA providing a platform for certified mediators, and other professionals, to show case upcoming training opportunities and events (https://mtmediation.org/training/). Of great concern is the caveat that the MtMA in no way has or plans to evaluate or endorse the training opportunity or event. See Website: “This information is being provided on MtMA website without an evaluation or endorsement by the Montana Mediation Association. Providing our members with relevant and interesting information regarding mediation related events and training opportunities around the state is a valuable service we provide to our members. Please contact the presenters directly for further information, questions or concerns.”
We also discussed the issue of MtMA branding. It is important to the Board that the MtMA membership feel supported and valued as certified mediators and affiliates of MtMA. We agreed that MtMA members should be able to use the MtMA branding in order to indicate that they are members of the MtMA. As well, the use of MtMA branding should not be presented as a form of endorsement of programs or ventures unless authorized by MtMA to do so. When using the logo to indicate certification or affiliation with the MtMA, the entity is required to notify the Board regarding the manner in which the MtMA logo will be used and where.
There was a discussion of the MtMA grievance process, how the process has been implemented in the past, and future concerns if necessary in the future. The board members felt the process and procedures need to be more readily available to members via the website. The board tasked itself with clarifying and crafting a comprehensive reference to the process and procedure.
Increasing Access to Justice (Mediators) for Rural Communities:
The Board continues its work in identifying, cultivating and pursuing access for rural communities in finding certified mediators. Linda Gryczan and LaDawn Whiteside were instrumental in acquiring a grant through Montana Justice Foundation in order to cultivating and improving access to mediation for low income and rural Montana communities. We have worked to enhance and improve a mediator’s ability to mediate while providing training opportunities in an affordable manner. Moving forward, we plan to provide training and opportunity for all members to employ what we have found to be successful in promoting the ability to provide service and access to training to Montana’s rural communities as well as out of state participants.
Certified Mediator Directory:
The MtMA directory has been sent electronically to our membership, court entities and some community members. Please feel free to share the directory with anyone who may benefit from the information. Upon request, the directory is available in hard copy. Our website is another way for one to locate associate members, certified members and those with family designation. It is continuously updated to provide the latest member information.
Meeting and Talking with Clerks of Court:
As well, we are contacting each Clerk of Court in every Montana District Court in order to provide information about MtMA, how we can support that district and a directory of our certified membership. We continue to learn the areas of need for mediation and mediators in their communities, especially sliding scale or pro bono mediator availability and dire need for affordable mediation services. If you are a certified mediator and would be willing to provide payment plan, sliding scale or pro bono mediation services to a community, please let the Board know and we will connect you to the appropriate person.
We decided that we are going to move forward in creating connection with all areas of Montana. We have been moving toward that by visiting areas; such as, Sidney, Glasgow, Malta, Cascade, Billings to name a few. In our next road trip, LaDawn Whiteside and Kayre Chatellier are venturing to Butte. If you would like to connect with us, please contact Kayre at firstname.lastname@example.org in order to schedule a time and place to meet! As well, if you are willing to provide a venue and invite locals interested in mediation in your area, contact me and we will venture to your area. Montana is a big, beautiful state. The Board is eager to meet all of our members as well as those who may be interested in mediation.
The drive to Billings was filled with lively discussion regarding the Montana Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission, Mediation Working Group’s Early Resolution and Mediation Project (E-RAMP). Patty Fain, Chris Hahn, Linda Gryczan, along with a group of motivated committee members have been working diligently on this committee. The purpose and goals of E-RAMP are to provide litigants in parenting disputes a path to mediation for self-determined, early resolution; to facilitate early District Court case management; to produce greater likelihood of compliance with agreements; and to provide pro bono opportunities to volunteer attorneys and mediators. Chris and Linda as members of this group, provided some information on the group’s progress. Patty Fain is passionate about providing access to justice, pro bono attorney representation and mediation to all Montanans.
High Plains Professional Mediation Group (HPPMG) Round Table: : How Mediation can help alleviate problems in the Judicial System:
If you are interested, go to the MEDIATOR SPOTLIGHT!
Back Tracking and Yacking:
The rest of the day, and evening, was spent uneventfully back tracking to our homes. We arrived tired, and filled with renewed determination to continue our mission to promote and facilitate mediation as a viable alternative to litigation. Our commitment to best practices and professional excellence is remains undiminished. We continue to base our goals upon principles of education, networking, and ethical practice, while shaping policy and legislation and promoting the value and relevance of mediation throughout Montana.