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Practitioner Interview

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Meg Schneider

on 3 April 2014

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Transcript of Practitioner Interview

Samantha Levine-Finley
Red Cross Deputy Ombudsman
Turned down an opportunity to serve as a third party when:
Samantha Levine-Finley
Did not feel that there was good faith on the part of one or more parties to participate in mediation/facilitation.
In cases when it was clear that one or both parties were not ready to engage in a productive give-and-take.
There were times when practitioner felt that one or more parties is hoping to co-opt , manipulate the other party.
Gerardine Mobley
George Mason (the Office of Ombudsmen)

Bachelor, Master and Doctor at George Mason

Conflict Analysis and Resolution
Interesting things that I learned:
- Alison wants to focus on teaching rather than working in the field
Works as a mediator at a law firm. Kelly worked as a lawyer before working as a mediator.

Interviewed by Maureen O'Shea
- Alison believes that there is no such thing as impartiality, but instead believes in multi-partiality
Important Skills and Knowledge
1. Active Listening
2. Facilitate Discussion
3. Neutralize Situation

Kelly Smith
-Curiosity is the key
Common themes
-Alison, Kelly, and Geetha's views of impartiality
-Kelly and Samantha- saw potential for failure in mediation because of unwillingness to communicate
-Connie Samson, Geraldine and Samantha- how they legitimize themselves
- She is more comfortable intervening in a situation that involves education, rather than personal conflicts
Traits Required for a
Geetha Ravindra
• Mediator for the International Monetary Fund
• Director of the Department of Dispute Resolution Services for the Supreme Court of Virginia
• Private mediator
• Conflict resolution trainer
• Adjunct professor at William and Mary Law School and the University of Richmond School of Law

What skills, knowledge or characteristics are necessary for this particular job?
“Mediators have to be patient, empathetic, active listeners, have the ability to identify the key issues, needs and interests, be positive, maintain good energy for long periods of discussion, strong communicators, excellent facilitators, and capable of understanding the core needs and interests that are important to the parties.
Geetha Ravindra’s Personal Beliefs About Her Career/Position:

• Peace and fairness are things to definitely believe in and attempt to follow, but in mediated agreements, the parties determine a fair resolution for both sides’ needs and interests. Self determination is key to the success of mediated processes in order to come to what you believe is the most fair conclusion.
• All individuals are good at heart, and if assisted, they have the ability to resolve disputes peacefully. She comes into a mediation process with the trust that parties involved will have fundamentally positive intentions and are willing to engage in good faith discussions in order to leave with better relationships.

Common Themes Continued
- Alison and Geetha's desire to continue educating the public rather than practicing as much in the future
-Alison, Samantha, and Gerardine: What would you like to learn more about?
Samantha Levine-Finley
Red Cross Deputy Ombudsman
Background Information
Samantha Levine-Finley
Practitioner Interviews
Scott, Priya, Maureen, Ausra, Yusuke, Meg
Traits, skills, abilities/knowledge necessary to do well in the field:
How do you legitimize yourself? What information do you give to the parties?
Samantha Levine-Finley
Masters Degree in Conflict Analysis and Resolution Trained as a mediator and facilitator.
Spent 10 years as a professional journalist, (developed skills in interviewing, critical analysis, verbal and written communication, building rapport, and a host of other skills)
Served as an Associate Ombudsman at the National Institutes of Health for 5 years before joining the American Red Cross as the Deputy Ombudsman in December 2013.
Samantha Levine-Finley pointed out that it would be beneficial to have education in Psychology and Counseling
- discretion
- humility
- critical thinker
- ability to process information quickly
- have good judgment
- experience with people from all walks of life
- tact and thoughtfulness
- genuine curiosity about others
- patience
- tolerance for different ideas, perceptions
- mediation, facilitation and training skills
- humor
Explain professional and academic training.
In all cases, she legitimizes herself by presenting herself in a professional, tactful and thoughtful way, listening well, being humble, and adhering closely to the Code of Ethics of the ombudsman profession (neutrality, informality, confidentiality and independence) and the Standards of Practice for organizational ombudsmen.
The sense of satisfaction of helping people better understand themselves and others.
Ability to offer a listening ear to people who may not often have one.
Alison Castel
Professor and Doctoral Candidate of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University
Doctoral Research
: Studying the first community in Colombia to receive governmental reparations
Research Focus
: Narrative in Conflict
Alison Castel
Experience: Has worked as a facilitator in workshops with JobCorps
Alison's role in JobCorps: facilitated complex conversations in order to strengthen communication and bring people together for meaning-making processes
Interviewed by Margaret Schneider
Alison Castel
In the future, Alison wants to start a family and continue teaching at a local university.
Connie Samson
Senior Project Manager: Leidos Corporation

Has worked on numerous environmental projects over the past 25 years at SAIC.

She manages a team of 8-10 people per project.
Interviewed by Scott Doescher
Interesting information that I learned from the interview:
Mediation within the workplace is very important!
Different subsets of conflict within the workplace
Technical Disputes
Personality Disputes
Professional Disputes
Good communication leads to quality relationships which leads to greater opportunities in life, as well as within the professional field.
Introduction to the parties
Rewards of the job:
Full transcript