Montana Mediation Appoints New President

Montana Mediation Appoints New President

kayre-bio-picPlease welcome Kayre Chatellier as your new President. Kayre is a passionate advocate of mediation, the Montana Mediation Association, and YOU, our Members.

Kayre has been a board member since 2016, and was appointed President earlier this year, when the position was suddenly vacated. She began her passion for mediation while acquiring her Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina. As an undergrad, Kayre was selected to work as an intern with the Cumberland County Dispute Resolution Center. That opportunity completely changed her direction from law school to restorative justice. As a mediator and grad assistant, Kayre found opportunities to strengthen her skills and education in creating connectivity, training, collaboration, and greater understanding through research, outreach, presentation, forum, and media. Much of that work was accomplished as the Community Justice Coordinator for the Center for Community Justice and Service Learning. Being a part of such worthwhile and effective organizations solidified Kayre’s drive to be a positive change agent, and sparked a determination to create opportunity for empowerment, knowledge, understanding, and access to justice for all.

Kayre relocated to Montana about 5 years ago and began volunteering at the Cascade County Law Clinic (CCLC), providing administrative support, and pro bono mediations for low-income applicants. She eventually took on the job of Executive Director of Cascade County Law Clinic, providing leadership and movement toward community collaboration, as well as greater access to justice through referral, educational opportunity, advocacy, and attention to applicant care and service. Kayre recently stepped down as Executive Director of the CCLC in order to fully focus on her mediation practice, as well as promote an increase in restorative and community justice practices in Montana. The Cascade County Law Clinic’s loss is surely our gain, as Kayre, and the Montana Mediation Association are perfectly aligned.

The other members of the Board who are continuing to work diligently in support of MtMA are: Linda Gryczan, Past President; Debra Achatz, Secretary; Chris Hahn, Treasurer; Temple McLean; and LaDawn Whiteside. Heidi Gjefle continues to take care of all of our administrative responsibilities as the MtMA Administrator. We are so appreciative of all the hard work, dedication and expertise Heidi continues to provide our association.

The Montana Mediation Association (MtMA) is working hard in the following areas:

* Providing mediation access to vulnerable populations, including low-income peoples, and rural communities.

We are proud to announce that we were awarded a grant from Montana Justice Foundation (MJF), whose mission is to achieve equal access to justice for all Montanans through effective funding and leadership. MJF invests in organizations that further the mission of achieving access to justice for all. MtMA is utilizing the grant money to increase access to mediation for rural community members and mediators alike. We have found the use of technology can provide real time opportunity to see, hear and speak, as well as share documents, and mediate in a way that provides the participants the ability to work through issues of discord, avenues of greater understanding, and construct agreements that are doable and which may be filed with the court or reviewed and drafted into legal documents by an attorney.

– Your Association is also focused upon connecting vulnerable, low-income people with mediators willing to provide their expertise on a sliding fee scale, or pro bono.

* Improving and distributing our list of qualified mediators to all interested parties, including our Courts.

– We are striving to create greater opportunities for mediators in Montana to be recognized and more easily accessible to those interested in resolving conflict and work together to build and construct solid and sustainable agreement.

* Increasing fund-raising opportunities.

For example, Kayre has increased our opportunity for fundraising, and grant access by signing MtMA up for GrantStation. This will provide the MtMA with greater knowledge of grants available in the United States, while providing training and resources to aid us in obtaining grant funds.

* Strengthening relationship with mediation centers

– We are working hard at strengthening and communicating with all of the wonderful mediation centers in Montana. To that end, Kayre met with the High Plains Professional Mediation Group Montana in Billings to get to know the members. It was a great visit with much sharing and dialog regarding how to strengthen and expand mediation opportunities and training for those who are in need of mediation, mediators as well as organizations who find mediation such a positive alternative to litigation or continued discord! Also, we are so excited to be meeting in person in Billings in May. This will provide us with a car pooling opportunity. We will have greater opportunity to share information and connectivity with the High Plains Professional Mediation Group Montana and other community members.

We have also scheduled an in person meeting in Bozeman and will have the chance of meeting with the Community Mediation Center there. Dr. Chris Hahn has graciously invited us to spend time at his home meeting with members of the CMC. The Board is looking forward another carpooling opportunity in order to spend time discussing the MtMA issues, successes, challenges and concerns. Kayre is presently speaking with the new Executive Director of the Community Dispute Resolution Center of Missoula (CDRC) in order to share common areas of concern and establish increased opportunity to work together in future projects.

* Increasing networking opportunities.

– We are proud members of the Montana Nonprofit Association (MNA), whose mission is to provide leadership for Montana’s nonprofit sector, and partner with charitable nonprofits to promote a sustainable, networked, and influential sector. MNA envisions a future where the nonprofit community in Montana is well connected, supportive of one another, and recognized for sustained collaboration and sharing of resources. We will continue to seek training with them to enhance our knowledge of fundraising and Board related challenges. Aside from the wonderful training opportunities, MNA generates opportunities for connectivity, mentorship, and access to networking. This will strengthen and improve the MtMA, and ensure our continued success in promoting and facilitating mediation as a viable alternative to litigation.

* Increasing our lobbying efforts to promote positive policy and legislation.

Lobbying will become more and more crucial as we move ourselves forward. Linda Gryzcan, a past President of MtMA, has been working diligently behind the scenes in Helena to promote mediation; restorative practices, and continues to lobby for the MtMA members. Recently, the HB399 was struck down due to the efforts of advocates who, like Linda Gryzcan and Dr. Chris Hahn, present Members of MtMA Board, felt HB 399 would encourage costly and lengthy litigation: that it is not a child focused solution; 50/50 parenting time is not appropriate for very young children and can expose children to damaging parental conflict; and with parental alienation, it may be better for the non-alienating parent to have most of the parenting time. As well, HB 399 is unnecessary. Parenting statutes are already gender neutral.

Frankly, we need more lobbyists. We will focus on lobbyist training in the future. We will increase our efforts to actively help shape policy and legislation that promotes the value and relevance of mediation throughout Montana.

* Providing our Members with learning and sharing opportunities.

To that end, we are pleased to announce upcoming opportunities for all members to share information, mentorship, training and collaboration through hour-long “lunch bag” sharing sessions and “Build the Business” trainings. These sessions will provide all members the opportunity to experience the webinar technology we are utilizing in order to reach not only rural Montanans, but those who are nationwide and overseas. This wonderful tool also provides us the chance to provide training to greater numbers at differing costs. If you have any questions, please go to our website.

Also, Dr. Chris Hahn, LaDawn Whiteside and Linda Gryczan have provided training in the areas of negotiation, elder care/health care, family mediation, and fundamental mediation. Opportunities for future trainings offered can be found on our website.

* Improving our Membership Application process.

– For example, prospective members can now apply online, and experience a swifter turn-around time. We are in the process of innovating membership and certification standards. We have implemented protocol to create an ease of application, acceptance and speedy result.

* Improving our website.

– We are committed to continuing to update our website in order to increase greater access to training, promotion, marketing and networking. We strongly believe that Montana Mediation Association members are absolutely behind our mission of promoting and facilitating mediation as a viable alternative to litigation. As well as our principles of education, networking, best practices, and professional ethics. We are discovering more and more opportunity, through technology and our website to meet our mission objectives. Also, creating greater ability to connect via our website and other technology has strengthened the goal we share to help shape policy and legislation while promoting the value and relevance of mediation throughout Montana.

* Improving communication with our Members.

– With a greater energy and forward thinking and Kayre at our helm, we are really working hard at MtMA to improve our service to you, our Members, while at the same time improving our service to all Montanans. We will be keeping you up to date on major changes that will allow more opportunities for reflection, collaboration, connectivity, advertising, promotion, trainings and knowledge sharing. We want our Membership, (you!), to know that we have heard your feedback and concerns, and we are motivated and striving to make the changes to strengthen our Association in order to move us all forward! Your input, support, efforts and accomplishments are the foundational components necessary to ensure continued growth, innovation and the positive movement Montana Mediation Association is striving to provide.

Thank you!