2021 Session Block A


Session A1: Tuesday, 23 March  | 10:00 AM – 10:45 AM PST

Networking with Your Ombuddys During Strange and Isolating Times

Summary: Come learn how Ombuds can support one another during isolating and challenging times to create self-care for one another.


  • Share lessons learned from collaborating with fellow ombuds
  • Promote collaboration among ombuds in small organizations who may not realize they do have people who can support them from outside their organization
  • Self-care requires taking time for oneself with the support of others who understand the work we each are undertaking.

Presented by:

Don Greenstein
Ombuds Director, Brandeis Univ/ Ombuds, IOA Member

Don Greenstein has a background in conflict management, law, facilitation of difficult communications, organizational development, and creative dispute management processes. For the past 33 years, he has been working with an array of technical issues and creating conflict resolution processes.  Don's work has involved facilitation, mediation, and ombud services for educational organizations, workplace, family, end of life, community, and interpersonal issues. His passion is helping people with ongoing and long term relationships work through differences.

Don is the director of the Brandeis  Ombuds Office.  The office serves the entire Brandeis community, anyone with a Brandeis concern or issue. He is an affiliate of Boston Law Collaborative, an adjunct Professor with the MA General Hospital Institute for Medical Professionals, and a Senior Affiliate of the MA Office of Public Collaboration (MOPC). Don is a member of a number of local and national mediation panels.

During the pandemic, Don has worked with his colleagues in arranging bi-weekly and monthly online Ombuddy gatherings as resources for self-care and debriefing.

Chinyere Ukabiala
Certified Organizational Ombudsman Practitioner, Grinell College

Bio coming soon.

Session A2: Tuesday, 23 March  | 10:00 AM – 10:45 AM PST

Cultural Humility in Practice: Challenges and Opportunities for Organizational Ombuds

Summary: This workshop will reveal three aspects of cultural humility that align with ombuds work. Areas central to being culturally humble include: lifelong learning and critical self-reflection, to help fix power imbalances, and to partner with those who advocate for others.  Participants will

  • Understand cultural humility and its role in Ombuds work
  • Self-reflect to check our bias by managing stress and being mindful.
  • Explore how OOs influence individuals, groups, and leaders to fix power imbalances
  • Examine the challenges for OOs while helping to foster fair processes
  • Focus on the opportunities and need for multi-layered, multi-influential approaches


  • Learn about the core aspects of cultural humility in ombuds practice with self-evaluation
  • Explore the ways that Ombuds influence individuals, groups, and leader toward more fair and inclusive practices
  • Discuss the challenges and opportunities faced by organizational ombuds

Presented by:

Elisa Enriquez
Senior Associate Ombuds, Los Alamos National Laboratory

Elisa Enriquez is the Senior Associate Ombudsman at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) Ombuds Office. She was a counselor with the Employee Assistance Program before becoming an Ombudsperson and has worked at LANL for over 12 years. Prior to her work at LANL, Elisa was in private practice in northern New Mexico. Upon receiving an MSW from UNC-Chapel Hill, she worked for mental health clinics in the triangle area of North Carolina. She has worked with diverse individuals, as a Latino outreach coordinator, intensive treatment coordinator, case manager, and group facilitator. Elisa is a licensed clinical social worker, mediator, and Certified Organizational Ombudsman Practitioner. Previously chair for the IOA Membership Committee, she continues to volunteer her time as a member. Elisa enjoys hiking, singing, and yoga. She feels blesses to live in a small mountain town with her two teenagers, husband of 25 years, and two adorable rescue dogs from the Santa Fe Animal Shelter.

Session A3: Tuesday, March 23 | 10:00 AM – 10:45 AM PST

Finding Equity & Justice During Conflict in a Diverse Organization

Summary: This workshop is designed to provide practical insight and guidance for Ombuds in identifying root causes and discovering healthy solutions. Instructor direction is provided to develop distinct intervention strategies for five distinct levels or spheres of conflict within diverse organizations. You will be able to: 1) Identify the sources of unhealthy attitudes, environments, and behaviors. 2) Create strategies for effective interventions. 3) Reinforce your organization's core values.


  • Helping Ombuds to broaden the scope of their conflict analysis by identifying five different levels or spheres of organizational conflict.
  • Providing guidance in the development of holistic problem-solving and creating discrete intervention strategies for each of the five levels.
  • Creating new ideas and best practices in the communication and implementation of these concepts and strategies to effect broad scope conflict resolution toward positive cultural change in homogenous as well as in diverse organizations.

Presented by:

S. Michael Hare, Ph.D.
Chaplain/Ombudsman, Compassion International

Dr. S. Michael Hare serves as the Staff Chaplain and Ombudsman for Compassion International, a non-profit child development organization serving 2.1 million children in poverty in 26 developing countries. Compassion employs 1,000 staff in the US and another 3,000 in the countries in which we serve. Michael holds a Ph.D. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL. with a major in organizational conflict resolution. His duties include assisting global staff to resolve interpersonal, inter-group, and systemic conflict.

Session A4: Tuesday, 23 March  | 10:00 AM – 10:45 AM PST

Coping on the Fly: A Series of Discussions Dealing with Workplace Stress during a Pandemic

Summary: Between late May and December 2020, five interactive workshops gave faculty and staff at the University of Texas at San Antonio a place to listen, discuss, vent, and develop takeaways concerning the challenges of working fully online.  Beginning in late spring, the University Ombuds, in collaboration with a professor in the Department of Psychology developed and presented workshops dealing with the "new normal" of working from home during a pandemic.


  • Participants should be able to create a model for collaboration with other experts at their institution or place of business.
  • Participants should be able to demonstrate the benefits of reaching across disciplines and or divisions.
  • Participants should learn simple, but effective strategies to engage large audiences that create an understanding of how disasters impact us psychologically.

Presented by:

Donna Edmondson
University Ombuds, The University of Texas at San Antonio

Donna Edmondson has been with the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) for 25 years. She has served as an Ombuds/Ombudsperson since 2012 when the administration decided to create the position for the Division of Research.  In 2013, the position transferred to the Division of Academic Affairs to serve staff and faculty. Now Donna is the University Ombuds offering conflict resolution services to all UTSA employees.

Prior to serving as the Ombuds, Donna served for 9 years as Associate Director for Academic Publications and Graduation Coordination in the Office of the Registrar (UTSA). Her first years as an employee with UTSA were spent on West Campus at the Center for Archaeological Research serving in various roles from work-study to Research Assistant and Program Coordinator for the Legacy Outreach Program. Her experience as an employee and manager allow her to understand concerns from various perspectives and provide possible resolutions at the lowest level.  Donna is an alumnus of the institution receiving her undergraduate degree in Anthropology and American Studies, as well as her graduate degree in History. She is an alumnus of Leadership UTSA (LUTSA) and the Women's Professional Advancement and Synergy Academy (WPASA), an EPIC Mentor, and a member of the Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT).  Donna has also been a member of the International Ombudsman Association (IOA) since 2012 and most recently, the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging Taskforce (IOA).

Dr. Mary McNaughton-Cassill
Professor, Department of Psychology, The University of Texas at San Antonio

Dr. McNaughton-Cassill is a Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA).  She conducts research on stress and coping and has published in a variety of academic journals.  She is the author of the books Mind The Gap: Managing Stress in the Modern World and Give Way: Coping with Stress in the Connected World, and the editor of Adapt and Overcome: Essays on the Veteran Student Experience.  She is a recipient of the Piper Professor Award, the University of Texas Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award and a fellow of the University of Texas System’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers.  In addition to having a small Clinical practice she volunteers as a disaster mental health specialist with the Green Cross Academy of Traumatology.  She is married to UTSA Biology Professor Aaron Cassill, has twin daughters who have moved out of the house and a number of rescue cats who have moved in.

Session A5: Tuesday, 23 March  | 10:00 AM – 10:45 AM PST

Built to Last: Creating Robust and Durable Ombuds Programs

Summary: We may experience our ombuds offices as strong and resilient, yet they may be more tenuous than we know. Ombuds who tell of failed or distressed offices often had little awareness at the time of what the future would bring. In this interactive session, we will share case stories as a backdrop to identify the dimensions of office resilience and vulnerability, and consider strategies ombuds can use to create "foolproof" ombuds offices that are built to last.


  • Understand the causes and manifestations of distressed ombuds offices
  • Understand the strategies available to address distressed ombuds offices
  • Learn ways to Implement strategies to address distressed ombuds offices

Presented by:

David Michael 
Senior Program Advisor, National Institutes of Health

David Michael is the Senior Program Advisor for the Office of Research Facilities at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.  He previously served as the Deputy Ombudsman at the NIH Office of the Ombudsman from 2011 to 2019.  In that role, David worked with the scientific and administrative community to coach, facilitate conversations, work with groups, and raise systemic issues to promote organizational learning and improvement. Prior to his work with NIH, David served as a Commissioner with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, the Executive Director of the Northern Virginia Mediation Service, the Director of the Multi-Door Dispute Resolution Division of the DC Superior Court, and as a conflict consultant for clients in the U.S. and abroad.  David is a frequent presenter at the International Ombudsman Association (IOA) and the Coalition of Federal Ombudsman (COFO), and serves on the Finance, Mentoring, and Conference Committees, and Chairs the COFO Mentoring Committee.

Ellen Goldstein
Director and Ombuds, University of California, San Francisco

Ellen Goldstein, MA, CO-OP was appointed the Director of the University of California San Francisco Office of the Ombuds on July 1, 2020 after 8 years of providing Ombuds services in the office. Ellen earned her Master’s degree in Social Psychology, trained as a UCSF volunteer mediator in 2007, and is a Certified Organizational Ombuds Practitioner. Ellen’s focus is on expanding options people have in addressing conflict, adding skills to their backpacks, and supporting her talented team of Ombuds at UCSF to do our best work together.

Ronnie Thomson
Independent Consultant

Ronnie Thomson’s LinkedIn profile markets her as The Respectful Workplace Leader, which clearly speaks to her passion. In 2001, Ronnie made a deliberate career choice to become the organizational ombuds for a spin-off of the former corporation with whom she had progressively built a human resources career after their merger with Halliburton. Ronnie led Dresser, Inc’s ombuds office/dispute resolution program until the company sold to GE Oil and Gas in 2012. After a year serving a local hospital leading their patient experience efforts, Ronnie re-joined the well-established Halliburton’s Ombuds Office/Dispute Resolution program continuing her passion of transforming places of work from incivility into respect. Ronnie serves the IOA as a Member of the Board of Directors as well as the Chair of the Mentoring Committee. She received her degree in Sociology from The University of Southern Mississippi. During her human resources career, Ronnie earned the designation of Certified Compensation Professional (CCP) and Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). In addition to continuing education through IOA since 2001, she successfully passed the first-ever certification exam toward becoming a Certified Organizational Ombudsman Practitioner (CO-OP) in November 2009. Ronnie also completed a Conflict Management Specialist Certificate at Dallas College and a three-year intensive program with HeartPaths Spiritual Formation receiving a Certificate in the Art of Spiritual Direction.