I really appreciated receiving this memento of a memorable year as president of the Southern California Mediation Association, at our conference in Malibu. I didn’t achieve everything I wanted to achieve. Some projects are still ongoing. But I really enjoyed my year leading an organization that performs much valuable work helping its members learn more about the field and fulfill their professional goals, and spreading the word to the public about the benefits of mediation.
One of the goals that I and others have sought to instill in the organization has been to maintain a positive, cohesive, open and welcoming atmosphere within the group. I frequently found myself using whatever mediation skills I have in dealing with internal conflicts (every organization has conflicts), one more illustration of my belief that learning about mediation provides value in any occupation in which you might find yourself, as well as in your personal relationships. I am proud that we never had a contested board vote during the year I have served as president of SCMA. I always felt that if we truly believed in the process we are espousing, we should endeavor to obtain consensus in all decisions.
It was satisfying to see the organization grow in size and in the scope of its ambitions. In my last president’s message on the SCMA website, I outlined some of our main accomplishments this year–including expanding our outreach programs, moving forward with an initiative to certify mediators, expanding our geographical reach, improving communications, and advocating on behalf of mediators. I also thanked the people who made all of that possible, too many to list here.