September Newsletter

September Newsletter

The Importance of Mediation
Unfortunately, as humans, we never lack for conflict or the opportunity to resolve it. Mediation is always an important part of the hard work of making our society and our communities better, but its importance is being thrown in stark relief by the events of the past week. There is a lot of trauma to be healed. There is a lot of difference to overcome. There are lots of difficult conversations to have and reconciliation to pursue. Mediation isn’t the only solution to these issues, but it is an essential element of humanity’s efforts to address the conflicts of the past and present.

Thank you to all mediators for the work you do, and for your efforts at improving the world for everyone.
Unknown Artist – Contact for Credit 
======TRAINING & CONTINUING EDUCATIONThere are several great training opportunities coming up in the next few weeks:Billings Mediation Center is hosting its annual Fundamentals of Mediation Training. This is an affordable blended training for the busy professional spanning 12 weeks starting January 2021. Early Bird Registration for $600 through November 2020 – savings of $50. MtMA Members Receive $25 discount. A full description and a calendar detailing the course is available upon request at  Or simply click here for course and registration information.Community Dispute Resolution Center of Missoula has on their website Zoom and DocuSign training available for free to anyone who logs into the website at http://cdrcmissoula.orgTown Hall Series: COVID-19 Won’t Stop Family Mediators
This link is to the page for the Town Hall series conducted (and recorded) earlier this year by the Academy of Professional Family Mediators.  Each of the meetings is available for review at the link referenced above, and MtMA is happy to accept a report of having viewed any or all of the recordings for Continuing Education. The series consists of six free, two-hour Town Hall events, titled “COVID-19 Won’t Stop Family Mediators.  Enjoyable while educational. The MtMA regularly sends out information about mediation-related training through this newsletter, our website and our Facebook page. We are also working on arranging trainings to help members satisfy their continuing education requirements. If you know of any educational opportunities you would like us to share – or you have any requests for specific training – please email Pat at: MtMA MEMBER SPOTLIGHT – RUSS FAGGRuss Fagg has been a member of the MtMA for several years and has enjoyed the MtMA “chats” about pending issues. Russ was a State District Court Judge for over 22 years, handling approximately 25,000 cases.

Since stepping aside from the judgeship to take an unsuccessful swing at statewide politics, Russ has mediated over 200 cases and arbitrated about a dozen cases. Russ is married to a wonderful lady, Karen, and they are blessed with senior in college twins Barclay and Harrison.

Russ enjoys hiking, mountain biking, skiing, reading and playing tennis. 

(Interested in being profiled as a featured mediator? Contact Morgan Peralta at
 LIKE THE MtMA FACEBOOK PAGE!We have been steadily ramping up our social media activity in recent months, so be sure to like the MtMA Facebook page in order to stay in the loop with all of the latest Montana mediation happenings.
 ATTEND THE NEXT MtMA BOARD MEETING!MtMA members and the general public are welcome to attend all MtMA board meetings, which occur via video call monthly, and in person quarterly. We are always happy to meet folks, answer questions, and tell you anything you’d like to know about the MtMA.

If you are interested in attending our next board meeting, please reach out to for details on how to participate.
 HOW CAN WE BE BETTER?We are here to serve mediators and mediation in Montana, so if you have any thoughts, suggestions, questions, needs or feedback about how we can do our work better, we are all ears! You can always reach us via email or over the phone: 406-579-2371MtMA  President Message Wow! From politics, to civil rights, to environmental issues, to COVID 19 this has been a year of conflict, and change.  Mediators in Montana are not immune, personally, or professionally, to these changes.  I have participated in many conversations about video conferencing, safety in mediation meetings, safety from abuse, family stress, economic devastation,  judicial modifications to schedules, and training changes due to COVID 19 concerns.  We have new mediators in training and have lost beloved  historical figures this year.  Montana Mediation Association continues to adapt and display resiliency in the face of these changes.  In June 2020, we elected a new Board of Directors which placed me at the helm of the association.  Thank you for your vote of confidence.  The Bylaws of MtMA provide sustainability for the organization despite changes in our day to day lives. The Board turns over a few Board of Director members each year to ensure that strategic planning and succession planning can be effectuated.  I am grateful to the highly effective previous board who did extensive strategic planning, and most especially, quality assurance of our organization.  I am grateful for the continued involvement of Past President Kayre Chatellier, who has given so much time and enthusiasm to this organization. Thank you to Brooke Corr for her work with us on Emotional  Intelligence, Andrew Callahan Connor for his work with Strategic Planning and Quality Assurance, and  Connie Anderson Herbst for her energy and drive with regards to Social Media and the Chamber of Commerce. This year we will be continuing to implement the strategic plan that the Board set in motion  last year.  The past Board focused heavily on MEMBER BENEFITS.  In June 2021, we will start planning for 2022/2023.  While it seems that the world changed over the past few months, the vision and purpose of MtMA has not changed. We continue to value collaboration, communication, empowerment, knowledge, and flexibility.  We do this while honoring our past and embracing our future. I eagerly look forward to the next two years, and hope to visit with all of you along the way. Please call me at 406-437-2090 or email me at to discuss anything of mediation interest, or to discuss how you may add your unique experience to our ever improving association.  

-LaDawn Whiteside 
Norm Lavery, 10.6.2018 MtMA Historian

In 2002 I (Norm Lavery) was asked to write a history of the Montana Mediation Association. In addition to the 12 founding members, Matt McKinney should be recognized by MtMA as he hosted the initial January 7, 1994 organizational meeting.
Criteria for choosing founding members was focused on contributions made including being an officer, a board member or a committee chair; writing articles for newsletters, being an organizer or presenter at annual conferences, and other contributions such as preparing strategic plans, or compiling membership directories. My MtMA file begins in 1994 and continues through June, 2005. This time period encompasses the formative years of MtMA and documents the contributions of those individuals who were the key players in the formation of the Association.            
I have chosen eight or more contributions as a number to qualify a person for Lifetime Membership. For 2020, these individuals embody the level of commitment and service to the association.  These twelve dedicated individuals:  Nick Bourdeau, Ilene Cohen, Don Gatzke, Jacque Gibson, Margo Kidder, Norm Lavery, Maureen McGinnis, Jim Nybo, Pam Poon, Ben Roberts, Sarah Seiler, and Carson Taylor. Four of the above (Jacquie Gibson, Margo Kidder,  Jim Nybo and Nick Bourdeau) are deceased.  
Statement from the MtMA Board of Directors: Several of these twelve founding members continue to participate in mediation and support Montana Mediation Association.  We are forever grateful to these individuals who paved the way for today’s organization. They, and/or their living family members will receive a letter of appreciation for their contributions to mediation in Montana.  A Bylaw amendment will be submitted to the membership to add an additional membership status of Lifetime Membership for those who apply and qualify.
LaDawn,  Jenny, Temple, Kayre, Patrick, Morgan, Bonnie