Volunteer Profiles

Alex Tillson

Alex Tillson went to college in Portland and moved back a few years after graduation. Since entering the world of mediation, he has come to recognize that mediation is a really engaging combination of his skills, experience and passions.

Alex has a Master's in Psychology, which gives him the background knowledge he needs to succeed in interest-based mediation. He has worked in a family law firm for 8 years, which has provided him with enormous amounts of hands-on experience dealing with domestic relations disputes.

Alex has been involved in coaching for most of his adult life. He views coaching as an exercise in communication, dispute resolution and teamwork, as well as an opportunity to work with people to make the best out of whatever situation they're in.

All of these bits of background - the coaching, the law firm and the Psychology experience are elements that help him be an effective mediator.

 

Emily Stranz
Emily StranzEmily has more than five years of mediation experience, both as an interpersonal conflict mediator and small group facilitator for conflicts ranging from WA Department of Commerce Foreclosure Mediation and USDA Agricultural disputes to intergovernmental conflict resolution and consensus processes. From 2008 to 2013, Emily worked at Six Rivers as the Mediation Coordinator. Beginning in 2012, Emily started working with DS Consulting, contributing to a number of natural resource public policy facilitation processes, assisting with project planning, strategy, conflict resolution and consensus building, facilitation, communications and documentation. In 2013, Emily graduated from Portland State University with a Masters in Conflict Resolution, focusing on natural resource issues. Through professional and educational experiences, Emily brings a depth of knowledge and understanding about conflict, its effective management, and interest-based problem solving. Additionally, Emily has multiple years of experience working as a Watershed/Resource Technician for various watershed groups and an undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Oregon.

 

Gary Casady BS Wildlife Biology, MDiv. Christian Education
Gary CasadyGary and Linda (his bride of 42 years) met in anatomy lab at Colorado State University in 1969.  They have three adult sons and 6+ grandchildren.  After ten years in youth and camp work, they moved to Kenya in 1982.

They worked in eastern and southern Africa for 18 years.  Gary’s main responsibility as Training Coordinator was to survey extremely remote areas where teams of workers could be placed.  This involved negotiating with tribal leaders for permissions to live among them, learn their language and culture and dialogue regarding appropriate, sustainable development.  Their approach was always holistic including spiritual, physical, educational, agricultural, and medical assistance as dictated by the tribe. 

Teams were multi-ethnic living very simply cross-culturally.  Conflicts were normal under such conditions, resulting in a significant amount of time and energy devoted to conflict resolution.  To better equip himself to serve these teams, Gary received training in interpersonal communication through Interpersonal Communication Programs Inc. and was introduced to Peacemaker Ministries.

When several family crises prevented him returning to Africa, he entered conflict coaching and mediation training through Peacemakers and Six Rivers.  He has volunteered with Six Rivers since 2008 and leads the Peacemaking Team at his church, Gateway Presbyterian of The Dalles.

His most rewarding efforts have been:

•Mediating conflict between African nationals
• Coaching estranged couples back into meaningful relationships
•Teaching conflict resolutions in home groups and public schools

Gary loves Africa, enjoys everything outdoors and reading history and classic literature on spiritual formation.

 

Joyce Ebbert
Joyce EbbertJoyce spent her working life as a teacher at the elementary level and small business owner.  She lived many years in Alaska where she taught in remote village schools and eventually owned a business which her family owned for almost twenty years.  Joyce became interested in mediation and took her initial training from Community Mediation Services in Vancouver in 1997.   She was certified as a mediator by CMS in 1998 and Washington Mediation Association (WMA) in 2004.  Joyce also served on the WMA Board for three years. 

Mrs. Ebbert became interested in mediation as a concept when a divorce in her extended family went very wrong.  She thought there must be a better way than to always hire lawyers and be so adversarial.  Joyce says that she especially enjoys facilitating and working with groups that are having trouble either with interpersonal relationships or structure.

 

Lori Loranger
Lori LorangerLori is trained in community mediation, meeting facilitation, foreclosure mediation, victim offender dialogue, and communication coaching.  She has served on various boards for the library, grocery cooperatives, and homeschooling organizations.  Fostering voluntary cooperation is her passion; creating cooperative structures to fulfill community needs is her goal.  By manifesting cooperation through action, individuals are empowered to satisfy a diversity of needs while building harmonious human relationships.

Lori’s experiences in the community have taught her that how we talk to one another matters.  The biggest challenge of working with groups to create social change is that many people have difficulty communicating effectively.  Lori became a student of Compassionate Communication 12 years ago, and has participated in and hosted NVC (nonviolent communication) practice groups.

Experiencing the destructive results of unresolved conflict in community groups inspired her to become a mediator.  It would be a great joy for Lori to use mediation skills to help cooperative groups accomplish their good works with respect and kindness toward all participants.

 

 

Rebecca Stonestreet JD
Rebecca StonestreetIt was Rebecca’s childhood dream to become a lawyer.  She received her Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Utah in 1987. During her second year of law school, Rebecca had a change in consciousness, a change in consciousness which led her on a path less traveled by her fellow graduates.

Rebecca never practiced law, but instead, started her own business first assisting solo law practitioners in Washington as a part time legal assistant, and then becoming an Oregon Licensed Private Investigator in1992, primarily working for public defenders until 2002.

Struggling through another personal growth period, Rebecca read books on more effective communication, and how to be a better listener. It was during this personal growth period that she happened upon the initial start-up stages of Six Rivers Community Meditation Service.  Her heart sang out that mediation was the next step to take with her path less traveled. So, Rebecca took the Six Rivers basic mediation course in 2003.

Mediation fit Rebecca like a glove. Instead of perpetuating and augmenting conflicts as litigation tends to do, she was now in a system which provided communication, healing and resolution for people. All aspects of mediation resonate with Rebecca.

One of Rebecca’s favorite mediations was between two 11 year old boys who were the best of friends, but had become bitter foes do to unrevealed circumstances.  Rebecca mediated the case alone and therefore had no co-mediator.        Rebecca says that she still thinks about the mediation between those two boys, because “it flowed so naturally, the boys were very mature and respectful to one another and they both had an “ah-ha” about their conflict.  During the mediation, the boys became the best of friends again. Mediating between these two boys goes along with my theme of personal growth and changing consciousness. It was a wonderful experience for all three of us.  I am grateful and honored to be part of such a wonderful public service as Six Rivers Mediation.”

 

Ruth Berkowitz
I am a mediator, lawyer and writer. These three roles center around communication and I strive daily to be a better communicator. I find that mediation can be incredibly rewarding when the parties reach the aha moment and want to work together in resolving their conflict. Litigation can sometimes be appropriate, but there are so many times when it’s better to congregate at a table and come to a resolution. About ten years ago, I was on the side of the Plaintiff in a sexual abuse case and I was deposing the perpetrator. I had to ask intrusive questions with all the parties around. I wished that I could have stopped the deposition and settled the case. It would have made everyone’s life so much better. It was at that moment that I decided I want to be a mediator. I mediate for the court system, Six-Rivers and also privately. Someday, I would like to mediate the Middle East crisis.

 

Susan Julian
Susan JulianThrough her years working in surgery and emergencies rooms, Susan learned that listening to what a person is saying and having compassion goes a long way to promote healing. 

Upon retiring as a physician assistant, Mrs. Julian was seeking a volunteer opportunity  to continue helping people to resolve problems.  One day, she picked up a mediation brochure, took the training, attended workshops and began mediating.

The power of mediation came alive for Susan while mediating between two middle-school students who had gotten into a fight.   Slowly, with starts and stops, the layers of misunderstanding and hurt revealed themselves as they worked through the process.  They were able to hear what the other person was saying and understand their feelings.  Susan says at that point she “had found an endeavor worth pursing that would make a positive difference in our communities".

 

Temira Amelia Lital
Temira Lital

Temira Amelia Lital's passion for mediation comes from a desire to see less conflict and more interpersonal connection in the world. After completing the basic mediation training with Six Rivers in 2013, she took additional trainings on mindfulness in mediation and restorative justice. She has a soft spot for working with teens in mediation, and she loves workplace and neighbor-to-neighbor cases.

In addition to helping clients resolve current misunderstandings, Temira is interested in helping people learn skills to avoid future conflicts. She also enjoys helping clients resolve the communication difficulties and trust issues that underlie so many conflicts.

In addition to having mediation training, Temira is certified in Intentional Peer Support, a peer-based, future-focused system of mental health service. Her passion for the transformative side of mediation led her to the realization that she wants to be a counselor when she grows up. She's entering the Marriage and Family Therapy program at Portland State University as part of the 2015 cohort, and plans to open a counseling private practice in Hood River when she graduates.

 

Mediators Rock!

Six Rivers Mediators:
Adrian Chaton
Andrea Pacheco
Alex Tillson
Bill Lennox
Dale Connell
David Poucher
Emily Stranz
Gary Casady
Gary Linkous
Jensie Bryan
Joan Lovell
Joyce Ebbert
Juan Mendez
Kiku LeRoux
Lori Loranger
Marty McGee
Rebecca Stonestreet
Ruth Berkowitz
Sander Lazar
Sue Pennington
Susan Julian
Temira Amelia Lital
Teunis Wyers

“The wise person doesn’t give the right answers; she or he poses the right questions.”
~Claude Levi

“It is astonishing how elements which seem insoluble become soluble when someone listens.  How confusions which seem irremediable turn into relatively clear flowing streams when one is heard.”
~ Carl Rogers