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Bridging Divides: What to Do When People Disagree

Angry constituents?  Hot topics like ‘generational conflicts in the workplace’ or ‘buffer strips’ or ‘police-community relations’?  Fellow board members who feel passionately about issues?
Learn what to do when emotions run high and positions are deeply held.  Compromise isn't the only option. In this workshop, you will learn how to de-escalate difficult situations and move from confrontation and conflict to effective solutions to challenging public issues. Participants will practice identifying what other people actually need to move forward even when they aren't saying it; articulating what you need in way that makes difficult people responsive; managing high emotions; and developing solutions that get implemented because they integrate the needs of everyone involved.

Learning Topics

  • De-escalation
  • Managing strong emotions
  • Increasing mutual understanding
  • Building consensus
  • Effective communication techniques for difficult situations

Presenters: Mariah Levison, Manager, and Dave Bartholomay, Program Coordinator, Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services, Office of Collaboration and Dispute Resolution

Mariah Photo - CopyMariah Levison runs the Minnesota State Office for Collaboration and Dispute Resolution.  She has worked for dispute resolution centers in Chicago, New York, and Minneapolis. Her work in dispute resolution includes mediation, facilitation, assessment, collaborative processes, dialogue, restorative justice, and program design. Ms. Levison has been teaching conflict resolution education and social and emotional literacy skills for fifteen years in settings ranging from community trainings to teaching the mediation clinic at the University of Minnesota Law School.  She has a Master’s Degree from Washington University in St. Louis.  

Dave PhotoDave Bartholomay is the Program Coordinator for the Office for Collaboration and Dispute Resolution. He is a qualified neutral under Rule 114 of the Minnesota General Rules of Practice for the District Courts and has previously led a successful community dispute resolution program serving suburban and greater Minnesota. He has a Master’s Degree in Political Science and extensive public sector leadership experience at federal, state and local government levels.

bureauofmediationlogoThe Minnesota State Office for Collaboration and Dispute Resolution, a division of the Bureau of Mediation Services, serves as a statewide catalyst to advance the sustainable resolution of matters of public interest, broad use of community mediation, and effective collaboration and dispute resolution in state and local government. 

Our services include assessment, process design, mediation, facilitation, convening, consensus building, training, and more.  OCDR specializes in working with public sector entities.  Our approach is to uncover the core concerns and goals of the parties underlying the issues in dispute so that they become invested in solving a common public problem by developing creative options to address the concerns and goals of all involved with the ultimate objectives of reaching an actionable, sustainable solution which improves working relationships and the efficiency and effectiveness of government.

Dates & Locations - 2019

Staples, Wednesday, May 8
Sourcewell (formerly NJPA)
202 12th Street NE 

St. Paul, Thursday, May 9
Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust (MCIT)
100 Empire Drive, Suite 100 

Fergus Falls, Wednesday, May 29
Lakes Country Service Cooperative
1001 E. Mount Faith

Mankato, Thursday, May 30
South Central Services Cooperative
2075 Lookout Drive

Registration Details:
Free of charge and registration will open soon.
Check-in window begins at 9:00a.m.
Session time: 9:30 a.m.  – 3:30 p.m.