Between 2002 and 2015, I worked as a court-based mediator, usually a couple of days a month, in the BC Court Mediation Program (CMP).
The program was administered by Mediate BC and funded by the province of British Columbia. As per this recent Mediate BC tweet, the CMP is closing its’ doors.
(In the picture are Lee Turnbull, foreground, whose vision helped give birth to the CMP many years ago, and who was one of my first mentors, as a new mediator, and Janette Cardona, supervisor of the CMP)
I cut my mediation teeth in the CMP.
Over the course of those 13 years, I learned how to mediate, first as a CMP practicum mediator (10 co-mediations with a mentor, an experienced mediator). Then, I mediated about 500 disputes on my own, involving 1500-2000 citizens (estimated), and since 2009, also took on the role of mentor, mentoring 25+ new mediators (who were often already successful professionals, in other fields).
As part of a mediator community-of-practice, I got to know many wonderful colleagues, learn lots, and do fun things. Oh yeah – and help disputants achieve fair, constructive outcomes.
Reflecting on my CMP tenure, here are ten things that come to mind:
- The power of mediation; of facilitating conversations that give participants control over the outcome of their dispute
- Disputes involving contractors, professionals, businessmen, politicians, homemakers, media personalities, government, family members, neighbours, nonprofits, big business, small business… you get the picture – a slice of society
- The support of a well-oiled machine; the CMP administrators and operations staff
- Regular professional and social get-togethers with colleagues
- Discovering the many successful ways to resolve a dispute; including the sophisticated flipping a coin method
- Being pleasantly surprised by the value of co-mediation; power of diversity
- The value of journalling my CMP journey, warts and all
- Appreciating how skills from my previous profession (IT business analyst) served me well, as a mediator
- The opportunity to learn and grow as a mediator and person, and pass on what I learned to new mediators; mentorship
- The feeling of being part of a community; doing good; public good
I am one of hundreds of BC mediators and a gazillion citizens, who have experienced the power of mediation, in-person. There are many stories to be told. I hope someone is catalyzed to capture those stories. They are a legacy worth sharing. We should learn from those who have gone before us.
Why did the CMP end? That’s another story.