The work I do
I am a freelance conflict management and collaboration specialist, based in Victoria, on Canada’s west coast.
Typically, the clients I work with are:
BUSINESS OWNERS or WORKPLACE MANAGERS involved in conflict; either as a one-time event or chronic. They want their differences resolved in a collaborative, non-adversarial way. I serve them as a mediator and/or coach, either in-person or online.
ORGANIZATION STAKEHOLDERS working together from a distance, and who see collaboration as central to team and project success. As facilitator and consultant, I enable effective communications, virtual and In Real Life. I bring appropriate collaboration frameworks, strategies and tools to the table.
PROFESSIONAL and COMMUNITY ASSOCIATIONS looking to provide learning opportunities to their members. I deliver training and education sessions, in-person and virtually; workshops, presentations, and webinars; on conflict management and collaboration topics. Much of my current training and presentation work is focused on virtual collaboration.
As a volunteer, I support various local nonprofit organizations, as a facilitator and business mentor, and serve as an adviser with an international NGO.
On this site, you’ll find my blog. It’s mostly focused collaborative practices, conflict management, and thriving in a digital world. It’s also a place where I freely share what makes my neighbourhood a vibrant one, communities I participate in, and other topics that grab my attention.
Why I do it
While working as a business systems consultant, I often observed poor workplace communications and relationships as the big roadblock to success. This led me to the field of conflict management, and becoming a professional mediator, while still retaining my consulting practice. My mediation experience influences all my work.
At the core of my belief is that good things can happen when people come together, feel safe in the process, and have constructive conversations about things that are important to them.
My professional credentials and more
I’ve worked continuously, since 2001, as a professional, certified mediator, mediating disputes in-person and online. I am a member of the BC Mediator Roster, and a mediator and mentor in the British Columbia Court Mediation Program. I also maintain a private mediation practice.
I’ve served as a consultant and mediator on numerous BC Government distance mediation initiatives. Previously, I worked 3 years as an online mediator of eBay disputes.
As a collaboration consultant, I recently co-authored a collaboration prototype and implementation guide for BC non-profits (for the Vancouver Foundation), and served as a consultant to the International Association of Facilitator’s global Board of Directors.
With IdeaConnection, a global open innovation company, I currently facilitate virtual teams of problem-solvers, working on innovation challenges.
Previous careers include 14 years in the high tech sector, in business analysis and project management consulting roles, with Accenture and Sierra Systems.
I think bridging the generations is important. I am a certified Certified Professional Consultant on Aging (CPCA).
As a volunteer, I facilitate a family caregiver support group (for the BC Family Caregivers Network Society), and provide business skills training and mentorship to new immigrants (through the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria). I have served on multiple non-profit boards, including with Restorative Justice Victoria.
With the Canadian Executive Service Organization, a Canadian NGO, I served as a volunteer adviser on e-governance projects in the Philippines (and blogged and videotaped about my experiences, while on assignment in the Philippines).
I created a self-help e-course on virtual collaboration. Read about it and get it here.
I’ve published multiple e-books on collaboration and creative problem-solving; including. Picture Collaboration: An Illustrated Guide for Working Together to Solve Problems (a collaboration with graphic illustrator Tanya Gadsby), Collaborative Maxims : Principles for Working Together, and U Connect: The Art of Making Connections to Resolve Disputes.
I curate an online newspaper, The Canadian Mediators Weekly, which contains great content from my mediator colleagues on Twitter.
Want to know more about my professional background? Visit my LinkedIn profile.
“Ben is very conscientious, always prepared, very friendly, good with people, and I recommend him as a mediator in pretty much any civil/commercial dispute.” Lee Turnbull, Senior Advisor, British Columbia Court Mediation Program
“I hired Ben as a project manager for a high risk, many-faceted project. His attention to detail, realistic approach and consultative manner gave this project the boost it needed. I would hire him again unreservedly.” Pam Wilkins, Manager Technical Communications, British Columbia Ministry of Forests
“Ben worked as an IT Consultant for us at the Distance Mediation Project, an ODR (online dispute resolution) family mediation pilot project of the BC Mediator Roster Society. He was precise in his work, able to see both big and small-picture issues, and brought many valuable ideas to our project.” Susanna Jani, Distance Mediation Project Coordinator
“Ben is a creative thinker and blogger. He pulled off a tricky assignment in the Philippines when he photographed, videotaped and interviewed people for a blog for CESO. His positive messages, actions and collaborative approach demonstrate how to work with others in projects here and abroad.” Alex Gillis, Public Engagement Manager, Canadian Executive Service Organization (CESO)