Idaho Mediation Association | Find Mediators Near You
by Jennifer L. Neerman, CPM
Small Claims Mediation Coordinator, 7th Judicial District
The Idaho 7th Judicial District has remarkable people involved with the Small Claims Mediation Program. We have a Judge who has mastered the art of building confidence in the courtroom prior to mediation, spectacular court clerks who expeditiously prepare the mediators, and a group of mediators who have taken their volunteer position to an extraordinary level of excellence.
On the mornings of Small Claims Court, Judge Jason Walker gives an overview of how small claims court functions and why it is important for the litigants and the community to mediate, in good faith, to settle their cases before court. He introduces the mediators, gives a brief bio on each mediator, then sends everyone off to mediation. Judge Walker builds confidence in everyone by doing this. Mediation is very successful in the 7th Judicial District, with very few cases returning to court for noncompliance.
Court clerks in the 7th Judicial District are an integral part of the mediation process. They provide the mediators with the claim, answer, and supporting documents in advance so the mediators have everything they need to facilitate the mediation. Clerks Nicole McGary's and Heather Cronquist's desks are very busy, and they go above and beyond to support the Small Claims Mediation Program and do an excellent job.
Finally, let's look at our current eclectic team of volunteer mediators. Our mediators are outstanding! They come from all walks of life. We have attorneys, professors, public health officials, students, professional mediators, fishermen, probation officers, and artists. They show up to serve our communities and courts, and really make a difference. Here are highlights of who our mediators are:
David Pulsipher has been a professor of history at BYU- Idaho for over two decades. He earned a Ph.D. in American studies from the University of Minnesota and currently specializes in conflict and peace theory. He has also served as a visiting professor and Fulbright scholar in India. He lives in Rexburg, Idaho, and loves to spend time along rivers and mountains. David also serves as a rental dispute mediator for BYU-Idaho student housing.
Scott D. Brand is a conflict resolution specialist and certified professional mediator. Additionally, Scott is a listed mediator for the Idaho Supreme Court and the Nevada Supreme Court. He is a member of the Grand Teton Mediation Association and a board member for the Idaho Mediation Association. Scott loves helping people reach solutions personalized to meet their needs and live a life with less conflict and more peace. Helping people choose outcomes rather than having solutions decided for them by a judge or another third party is what motivates Scott to help those in dealing with conflict. Self-determination is a strong value to Scott and one which he wants to share with others to help them live a better life. A graduate of Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, Scott holds a Bachelor of Arts in business administration. He specializes in mediating child custody, divorce, domestic dispute, eviction, and small claims issues. When he's not mediating conflict and helping clients choose their own solutions, Scott revels in outdoor adventures and is an avid mountain biker, backpacker, river runner, lifelong learner, and adventurer.
J. Michael (Mike) Wheiler graduated from Utah State University in 1981 with a degree in history and English. He taught for one year at Preston Junior High School before attending and graduating from the University of Idaho College of Law. Mike has been a trial attorney for over 30 years and has assisted clients with a wide variety of issues. In his capacity as an attorney, he has participated in hundreds of mediations. He recently attended the Northwest Institute for Dispute Resolution Civil Mediation course at the University of Idaho. Mike works at the law firm of Thomsen Holman Wheiler, PLLC, in Idaho Falls. Mike currently serves as vice president of the Grand Teton Mediation Association.
Melissa Bishop has a Bachelor of Science from Boise State in criminal justice correction. She is a former probation officer and is now a domestic violence direct supervisor. She is an excellent mediator, and we are grateful to have her serve our district all the way from Boise.
Kellye Johnson has 25+ years working in the Environmental Health Division at Eastern Idaho Public Health. She started as an environmental health specialist trainee, working during the summer months in Fremont County (mostly in beautiful Island Park) while earning her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Idaho in industrial technologies with an emphasis in solid waste management. For the last 20 years, she has worked as the environmental Health Administrator. The Mission of Environmental Health is to ensure the public is protected from environmental factors that threaten their surroundings and quality of life. She works hard every day to make the mission of Environmental Health a reality for her family and hopefully for generations to come.
Kelly Faley is a junior at BYU-Idaho and is studying political science with an emphasis In foreign attars and a minor in peace and conflict transformation. She is a trained mediator who is ready to practice and build her career in conflict resolution. She loves music and plays the trumpet in the University Band.
Judge Walker says, "The mediators are the backbone of our success. I love our mediators' commitment to creative problem-solving. They work extremely hard and resolve some really challenging cases. These are cases that would undoubtedly recirculate again and again in the court system but for their efforts. Please continue to express my gratitude to them for the service they provide to the community."
We lost a fair number of our first-generation mediators when COVID struck, and we were forced into video conferencing, but the silver lining was the ability to use utilize mediators from across the state. Now, as we slowly transition back to in-person mediation we are looking forward to positive changes.
We have abounding gratitude for Judge Walker, the court clerks and our volunteer mediators!
by Jennifer Poole, CPM and IMA Director 2021-2022
A 2020 Gallup poll noted around one quarter of working Americans experienced burnout most often or always. We do not need another survey to tell us that burnout has greatly increased during the pandemic. If you have been a mediator for any length of time, you know it can be a challenge to not let the negative energy in the room impact you. One quality that can make or break a mediator’s long-term success is making sure to regularly get self-care. We have a professional obligation to make time for self-care including physical, psychological, emotional, social, spiritual, and leisure well-being to ensure we can focus and meet the expectations of our roles.
As mediators, we knowingly put ourselves in the middle of other people’s stressful situations and conflicts. While juggling different tasks and assisting others with their own problems, we can easily tend to ignore ourselves. Self-care is taken for granted even though it is crucial to our productivity. We need to take care of ourselves so that we may show up to work as our best versions. Ask yourself: What do you do daily for self-care? Have you added additional self-care during the pandemic? What self-care do you do before a mediation session?
Lydia Nussbaum, Associate Professor of Law and Associate Director of the Saltman Center for Conflict Resolution, William S. Boyd School of Law at University of Nevada, Las Vegas, addresses how burnout increases because of the responsibility mediators carry for delivering a quality mediation process. This includes even “little details” like being aware of, and constantly regulating, the mediator’s own outward expressions to parties. A burned-out mediator might not be able to think strategically about which topics to pursue first in mediation or will continue to hammer for options on a dead-end topic instead of realizing the need to park the conversation and switch to another more fruitful topic. This can erode parties' confidence in the process and lead them to feel discouraged about the possibility of reaching resolution. A mediator whose cognitive abilities are com-promised by burn-out may not be able to do their best job of performing these imperative elements of the mediation process, and they could therefore do a disservice to the parties and undermine the parties’ chances of reaching resolution. A burned-out mediator is more likely to run the risk of delivering an ineffective and unfair process.
Sometimes the stressors of being a mediator are even related to how we are thinking in our work. Mediators are human beings. We each grew up in a certain cultural context that imbued us with ways of thinking and evaluating, and invariably we bring these with us when we mediate. It is important to check in with yourself before, during, and after mediation. Mediation is more likely to be successful with the mediator has centered and focused themselves prior to the session. Take a short walk, do a short meditation or even just take a few deep breaths before the parties arrive to help refocus yourself on the parties and their conflicts.
With a little practice, self-care can be done relatively quickly and can even be done during the session while you stay within the flow of the conversation. In just a few short breaths, you can turn inward, become aware of your thoughts, connect with your feelings and needs, and then turn back to focusing on the parties.
Self-care is important for everyone, and mediators need it more than most others so we can emulate a sense of being calm and focused to our parties. Take some time to schedule regular self-care for yourself – it will have a positive impact not only on your but on your mediations and the parties you help.
Welcome to IMA Member Spotlight, where we take a closer look at individual IMA members and why they became a mediator.
Meet our first Spotlight, Scott D. Brand, CPM, and owner of Scott D. Brand Conflict Resolution. A multi-faceted professional based in Salmon, Idaho, Scott also mediates with the Supreme Court of Nevada and nationwide with AEP Meditation & Notary Services. He’s been an IMA member for two years and is a valued member of the IMA Board.
Here are a few questions IMA posed to Scott and his responses:
Q: When and why did you become a mediator?
A: Simply, I really enjoy helping people solve problems. I wanted to help empower others to solve their own conflicts and control their own destinies versus going to court, handing over all self-determination to a stranger, and losing the power to dictate the outcome in their lives. I believe in people making hard choices for themselves instead of sitting on the sidelines and allowing a third party to determine their fate. Watching stress and negativity fade away and being replaced with a sense of calm is rewarding.
Q: What types of mediation do you practice?
A: Child custody, divorce, property, small claims, estate, HOA.
Q: When you’re not working, how do you enjoy spending your time?
A: When I’m not working, you will find me riding my mountain bike, floating on the river, spending time with friends and family, hiking with my dogs, or planning my next adventure.
Q: Please share with us one fun fact about yourself.
A: I have four dogs I rescued from the animal shelter.
Thank you, Scott for participating in our first IMA Member Spotlight!
For more about Scott, visit https://www.scottdbrand.com.
To learn more about becoming a certified professional mediator, click here.
Congratulations to IMA President Carol Barkes, CPM, who is among 50 women recognized by Idaho Business Review as 2022 Women of the Year!
“2022 marks the 17th year the Idaho Business Review has been recognizing incredible women from across the state of Idaho. This year’s list of honorees represents a broad spectrum of industries, and we are privileged to have them among our community,” said Idaho Business Review Publisher Cindy Suffa in the publication’s award story.
Idaho Business Review reported, “This selection committee reviewed the applicants and selected the 50 honorees based on four categories: professional achievement, leadership, mentorship and community service…Each year, the Idaho Business Review announces an overall top winner as the Woman of the Year (based on scores from the judges and Idaho Business Review staff members), who is unveiled at the awards gala and introduced by the former year’s winner. Last year’s Woman of the Year was Odette Bolano of Saint Alphonsus Health System.”
For more information about the award and tickets to the 2022 Women of the Year gala Thurs., Sept. 22 at Boise Centre, click here. For the complete story, click here.
IMA has received a complaint that a candidate for public office is advertising himself as a member of IMA, although he is not currently a member. IMA regrets this misinformation. If you ever have questions about IMA membership, please do not hesitate to contact the IMA Administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Boise, Idaho 83701