I grew up in a small town in southwestern Ontario and earned a PhD in philosophy from York University in 2000. As a graduate student, I was assigned as a research assistant to a professor who was interested in the philosophical dimensions of forgiveness and reconciliation. I read up on restorative justice initiatives around the world, including South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Australia’s Stolen Children Project. I thought at the time that, should I ever want a career alternative, I would consider mediation.
After about ten years teaching philosophy (including ethics) to university students in Canada and the U.S. I decided that I did want a career alternative and my thoughts turned back to mediation. I enrolled in the Alternative Dispute Resolution Certificate Program at Atkinson College (York University) and later in their Advanced Certificate Program. Along the way, I took Family Mediation Training (Basic and Advanced) and training in Circle Processes and facilitation. I also began volunteering as a circle facilitator with Peacebuilders Canada, an organization that works with youth in the criminal justice system.
I started my company Principled Dispute Resolution & Consulting in 2010. My work has included mediating private disputes (among business partners, family members, and workplace teams), workplace restoration circles, training, and workplace assessments. I have also mediated civil disputes (condominium, personal injury, employment, and contracts).
Industry Expertise (2)
Areas of Expertise (7)
Chartered Mediator (professional)
Canada's highest designation for dispute resolution professionals.
York University: Ph.D., Philosophy 2000
Atkinson College - York University: Certificate, Alternative Dispute Resolution 2010
Atkinson College - York University: Advanced Certificate, Alternative Dispute Resolution 2012
People are sometimes surprised to learn that non-profit organizations are just as prone to conflict (if not more prone to conflict) than regular businesses. I discuss some reasons why.
The belief that personality differences are a major source of workplace conflict is comforting. If all we need to do to stop conflict is to remove one “bad apple” or ensure that certain people never have to work together, then workplace conflict doesn’t seem like such a hard problem. Yet as a mediator I’ve found that “personality differences” cause conflict less frequently than one might expect.
My work gives me a front-row seat on many different kinds of conflict. All too often, I’m called in for the aftermath of a conflict, when opportunities for a quick resolution are long past, positions are entrenched and everyday banalities have taken on outsize significance. If managers can recognize signs of conflict earlier and respond to them appropriately, they will have the gratitude of their employees and also know that they are protecting their bottom line.