The Oregon Mediation Association’s 2021 board introduces themselves via ZOOM.
The Oregon Mediation Association Board of Directors shared and still shares in the collective horror and grief felt by our communities in response to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and too many others nationwide and here in Oregon at the hands of police and systemic racism.
Many people of color that were killed in the confrontations with police here in Oregon include the following: Kendra James, Terrell Johnson, Keaton Otis, Andre Gladen, Patrick Kimmons, Quanice Hayes, Jason Washington, James Perez, Byron Hammick, Aaron Campbell, Koben Henrickson, John Elifritz, Christopher Kalonji, and William Patrick Floyd.
Many of us decided it was long overdue for us to reflect on our own biases and privilege and come to terms with how they may impact our capacity to act impartially when mediating. It is a time for us to look at our organization and ask how we can show up to work against systemic racism. How are we helping or hurting the BIPOC communities in our personal and professional lives? How can we improve our relationships and services to better meet the needs of ALL people while promoting anti-racist dialogues?
In response we issued the statement set forth below:
As OMA members, we have an obligation to act impartially when we are mediating and educating/advocating for mediation. That does NOT mean we are “neutral” on issues about racism, injustice and other pervasive social issues. Mediators and other conflict resolution practitioners in our community must promote anti-racism ourselves and avoid “race-neutral” perspectives that allow BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) individuals to be disenfranchised and disempowered. As mediators we are working on our own bias, and learning to meet people where they are in this process, in our personal and professional lives. Please see OMA Core Standards of Mediation Practice, Section III.
During the Fall conference held in November, we included sessions to provide a place for implicit bias, equity, and anti-racism to be discussed. We strived to lift voices of individuals who do some of the most important work with our communities and demonstrate best practices to support BIPOC individuals in their lives.
OMA is striving for anti-racism in our contacts, and are providing resources for our mediators to do so as well. The links to some of our programs from the conference dealing with these issues are here (only available to members). While part of the reason for doing this is to help mediators become more equity-informed so that they will be better able to mediate, the same info is also useful for every one that wants to attempt to understand, as many of us will never truly know, the racial injustices that have long endured. Even in a time when many laws and structures in society are not discriminatory on their face, rather it is in the manner in which they have been selectively enforced.
We would like to remind non-Black folks that educating yourself and your surrounding friends, family and peers is necessary. As many exhausted BIPOC leaders have said, please take the labor off of Black and BIPOC communities and have those difficult conversations with yourself and with others about what it means to be anti-racist and why it is important. With rampant conflict in our lives and across our society, please consider helping educate others on your journey to avoid asking Black folks to educate and inform. It begins with a quick google search: “anti-racism resources.”
We welcome our members to reach out and contact us if you have found other resources helpful. If you are on a parallel journey, or even considering starting one, please read any of them or email us to suggest one for us to add to that list.
The OMA Board of Directors
 Core Standards of Mediation Practice, Or. Mediation Ass’n (Apr. 23, 2005), https://secureservercdn.net/184.108.40.206/b0t.e8b.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/CoreStandardsFina_2005.pdf.
The Oregon Mediation Association (OMA) is committed to the development, support and advocacy of mediation in the State of Oregon.
Board of Director Responsibilities
Each member of the OMA Board of Directors works to help the organization achieve the highest possible standards in accomplishing its mission of working with members to elevate the quality of mediation services and expand the availability of mediation programs and services. As board members, Directors are charged with certain responsibilities:
- Directors are expected to actively participate in the leadership of OMA by regularly attending Board meetings, reading written reports and minutes, contributing their ideas and enthusiasm to the collaborative work and decision-making processes of the Board, and ensuring review of the Executive Director’s performance. Directors should request and receive sufficient information to adequately carry out these responsibilities.
- Directors are expected to be loyal to OMA by: giving and requesting financial support for the organization; making decisions regarding funds; and supporting activities that will promote the organization’s public purpose rather than private interests. All potential conflicts of interest with the organization must be examined carefully and dealt with openly.
- Directors are expected to understand and commit to the organization’s structure, rules and policies. By law, they should read and familiarize themselves with OMA’s governing documents (i.e. the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws) which must be followed in implementing the organization’s mission. Directors should ensure that OMA funds are used for lawful purposes. Directors are expected to read and agree with OMA’s mission and strategic plan [online version outdated; please contact the Nominations Committee at the emails at the end of this document] which guide the work of the organization.
Upon appointment/election to the Board, each Director discusses with the Executive Director and President mutually agreed upon responsibilities for the coming year. S/he works, along with a committee or work group where appropriate, to fulfill those responsibilities. OMA Board members are expected to do their part to contribute to the work of the OMA Board by regular attendance at all Board meetings and by following through on their commitments, including fund raising. Board members are expected to let the President know if their situation changes to the extent that they can no longer fulfill their responsibilities as an OMA Board director.
Board members must have:
- Membership in OMA
- An understanding of the dispute resolution community and how OMA fits into that community
- Confidence in and enthusiasm about OMA
- A willingness and motivation to promote OMA and its activities
- Demonstrated advocacy of mediation in Oregon
- A willingness to raise money to support OMA’s mission and goals
- Comfort with cooperative consensus based decision-making practices.
- All board members are expected to contribute financially to OMA.
- Experience in mediating or facilitating public policy issues or large group consensus-based decision processes, workplace mediation, or community programs.
- Fundraising and financial development skills and experience
- Business and leadership development experience
- Marketing or advocacy background and experience
- Experience in diversity (in practice, location, and/or culture)
- Collaborative group experiences or prior nonprofit board experience
- Those with other areas of expertise are still encouraged to submit their names for nomination.
All applicants must be willing to spend the time necessary to be effective members of the Board. This includes: attending a Board orientation for new Board members held in January; a Board retreat held in February; attending 5 -6 Board meetings per year; completing 10-12 hours of committee work or participating in other projects/meetings each month. In addition, Board members are encouraged (but not required) to participate and attend the OMA Fall Conference held in early November and other key OMA events including the Gala and Spring Training.
Board meetings occur five or six times per year and usually last five to six hours. This schedule may change if the Board deems it necessary. Most board meetings are held in the Portland vicinity, with at least one meeting held elsewhere in the state. Board Members who live in outlying areas of the state may participate at board meetings remotely via teleconference or other media when they are at least 100 miles from the location of the Board meeting. The annual board retreat and two other board meetings per year must be attended in person.
Applicants must be committed to serving the full term for which they are seeking election.
All board members are expected to contribute financially to OMA. The following is a summary of the financial commitment expected of OMA Board members. The complete guidelines are available upon request. Please note that the first three expectations are required. The latter three are optional, based on your interests and preferences. In special circumstances, these financial expectations may be adjusted after consultation with the Executive Director and/or President.
- OMA Membership (required) – Each Board member must maintain an active OMA membership. Membership fees vary according to practitioner status and other factors.
- Personal Board Member Contribution (required) – OMA’s policy is that 100% of board members make a financial contribution to the organization. The expectation is that each board member will contribute at least $250. However, in the event that an individual finds this to be a hardship, s/he may make other arrangements with the Executive Director or current President. A Board member also has the option to purchase a life membership and spread the payments over 3 years. Purchase of a life membership by a Board member may be considered the Board Member’s personal Board contribution, if s/he so chooses.
- Equal Sharing of Board Retreat Costs (required) – Each year aboard retreat is held in a rented facility, the cost of which is reimbursed by board members on an equal share basis. Costs usually involve approximately $125 -$150 for lodging plus shared meal costs. Again, if this is a hardship, arrangements with the Executive Director or the President can be arranged.
- Supporting OMA Events (optional) – During the year there are multiple opportunities for providing financial support for OMA-sponsored events.
- Asking Others to Support OMA (optional) –At various times during their tenure, Board members will be asked to encourage their friends and peers to support OMA events and other activities. This is an optional way to support OMA’s work.
- In-Kind Contributions (optional) – Throughout the year, there are various opportunities to make an in-kind contribution to OMA. Examples of in-kind contributions include donations to a silent auction or professional services rendered. OMA can provide a receipt so you can deduct the value of an in-kind contribution on your tax return should you choose to do so.
Again, in special circumstances, the above required financial expectations may be adjusted after consultation with the Executive Director and/or President.
Election of Board Members
The OMA Nominating Committee will review information received from interested applicants and an election ballot including qualified candidates will be distributed to OMA members via email in December.
Deadline for Nomination Forms For Board Service
Elections are held in November, but you may apply for open positions at any time. To nominate a candidate for the board (yourself or someone else who fits these qualifications, please complete and submit a Nomination Form.
For Additional Information
If you have questions about serving on the OMA Board of Directors, please contact the OMA Office at OMA@ORMediation.org, or (503) 872-9775.
View and download a PDF of the Board Responsibilities and Qualifications HERE.
OMA issued the following Public Service Announcement to Oregonians:
As the pandemic continues to make life difficult around the world, personal and business relationships are being tested. Conflict is a natural result. Left unattended, conflict can adversely affect relationships well beyond the current public health crisis.
Many conflict management professionals across Oregon have adapted their practices to offer their services online or in a safe environment during this period of physical distancing. Confidential mediation, conflict coaching and facilitation services are now available online to assist with issues related to housing, landlord-tenant disputes, family relationships, consumer-merchant conflict, and more. Many of these services are being offered by Community Dispute Resolution Centers at little, or no cost.
A list of service providers in your area can be found at https://ormediation.org/community-dispute-resolution-centers/, or by calling the Oregon Mediation Association at 503-872-9775.
OMA’s Mediator Directory is also listed here: https://ormediation.z2systems.com/np/clients/ormediation/publicaccess/membershipDirectory.do?md=1