2021 Session Block C

Session C1: Wednesday, 24 March  | 8:00 AM – 8:45 AM PST


Drawing Out Ombuds Value and Impact for Silicon Valley’s Safety Net Populations

Summary: In the heart of Silicon Valley, at the Office of Mediation and Ombuds Services (OMOS) in Santa Clara County, we created a holistic, visual story of our services that was accessible and memorable while holding meaning and value for the people and community OMOS supports. Learn more about the creative process, hear responses and reactions from County leaders and staff, and begin to draw out the possibilities for your ombuds program story.


  • Better understand the value of visual tools to tell the story of ombuds services in a way that holds meaning for the people, communities, and organizations we serve.

  • See and hear anecdotes about the impact of this approach based on real-world feedback and conversations with Santa Clara County Agencies, Departments, and Staff a well as community members.

  • Brainstorm ideas and begin to draw out their own ombuds program visual story.

Presented by:

Joshua Berkowitz
Program Manager II, County of Santa Clara, Office of Mediation and Ombuds Services

Joshua Berkowitz is a proven organizational ombuds and mediation program manager for Santa Clara's County Executive Office, working with people at every level of the County organization. Joshua supports various County agencies and departments with a system-focused, data-driven ombuds model that meets people where they are, improves information flow, builds trust and rapport, and helps inform change. For over 15 years, Joshua has empowered various organizations, individuals, and teams in their efforts to navigate towards desired results, using a practice model that includes communication consultation, facilitation and system feedback approaches. As a program innovator, Joshua works collaboratively with leaders to improve operational and people experiences in complex systems. As a neutral service provider, Joshua often manages politically sensitive cases that have little to no precedent and require information gathering, in-depth evaluation, and analysis of variable factors. Joshua is IOA-trained as an organizational ombuds; Straus Institute educated (with a Master's Degree in dispute resolution); licensed to practice law; and imbued with a sense of infinite possibilities due to a few treasures he can take with him anywhere he goes: adaptability, curiosity, and alignment.

Mike Rozinsky
Founder & Principal, RZNSKY LLC

Once upon a strategic program, a client team and their vendors raved about what had been collectively accomplished and Mike’s role in it, so he googled the words they used to describe it and here he is.

As a #conflicthugger, Mike enables constructive change and progression of individuals as well as their teams, collaborators, and organizations. He partners to create impact through a combination of conflict management, organizational development, facilitation, ombuds, mediation, visual illustration and storytelling, communication, coaching, meeting/program design, and change enablement practices and workshops. Together these practices draw out options that seek to empower people to achieve awareness and alignment while realizing personal, team, and organizational goals.

Mike is currently the Founder & Principal of RZNSKY LLC, a contract organizational ombuds as part of the team at Brandeis University, a confidential coach and dialogue facilitator at Bravely, and a Master of Arts Candidate in Conflict Resolution at University of Massachusetts Boston.

In 2020, he was recognized with the Donald Paulson Service Award in Conflict Resolution by the Faculty in the McCormack Graduate School, Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance. This award recognizes outstanding service into the field of conflict resolution, both within the program at University of Massachusetts Boston and to the wider conflict resolution field.

Brohne Lawhorne
Manager, County of Santa Clara, Office of Mediation and Ombuds Services

Brohne began his work as a professional neutral in the year 2000 after graduation from Santa Clara University’s School of Law. Driven by an appreciation that there are far more effective means of helping people to work through difficult interpersonal and systemic dynamics than the practice of law, he has spent a career in mediation, group facilitation, ombudsmanship, and higher education—including lecturing and/or speaking at Stanford Law School’s Gould Center for Conflict Resolution, the Monterey Institute of International Studies, Santa Clara Law, and San Jose State University. In collaboration with the California Superior Court, Brohne pioneered the County’s first day of court mediation programs for small claims, civil harassment, unlawful detainer, and domestic violence cases.
He now serves as the Manager of the County of Santa Clara’s Office of Mediation and Ombuds Services, which provides organizational ombuds services in juvenile dependency, adult custody, child advocacy, and housing systems issues. Brohne’s aim is to broaden the use of, and appreciation for the application of neutral services in governmental operations.

Katja De Groot
Program Manager II, County of Santa Clara, Office of Mediation and Ombuds Services

Katja is a recently retired, former program manager and ombuds for the County of Santa Clara, California, Office of Mediation and Ombuds Services. Reflecting on her organizational ombuds journey, Katja is struck by how grateful she feels for having found a profession that provided her the opportunity to learn, teach, create, and contribute alongside smart and caring colleagues in the pursuit of constructive communication, conflict resolution and system change.
She is looking forward to remaining curious and open to all the world has to offer and she will continue to explore and appreciate life’s complexities and possibilities.
Katja is a certified mediator and was previously an IOA Certified Organizational Ombudsman Practitioner. She holds a Law Degree from Santa Clara University and is certified to practice law in the state of California.

Teresa  Ralicki
Ombuds, University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus

Teresa is currently the Ombuds at the University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Dispute Resolution from the University of Massachusetts Boston, a graduate certificate in Organization Consulting and Change Leadership from Georgetown University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Conflict and Peace Studies from Juniata College.
She has extensive training and experience in mediation, facilitation, Restorative Justice, and conflict coaching and has mediated small claims cases and community disputes in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. Teresa also worked as a Restorative Justice Facilitator through the Center for Community Peacemaking in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Teresa is an active member of the International Ombudsman Association and the Ombuds community.

Session C2: Wednesday, 24 March  | 8:00 AM – 8:45 AM PST

Something Wicked This Way Comes: Corrupt Leadership, the Ombuds, and the Tragedy of MacBeth

Summary: When there is corruption at the highest levels of leadership, an ombuds needs to be thoughtful about how to support adherence to policy, remain neutral, avoid conflicts of interest, and maintain the office's reputation, when contending with reports of serious malfeasance among powerful leaders. In his play, Macbeth, Shakespeare brilliantly portrays the personal and political dynamics that emerge when crimes are committed at the top. In this interactive workshop, we will use Macbeth as a template for examining the challenges an ombuds might experience in organizations with corrupt leadership.


  • Better understand the dynamics of corruption in organizations
  • Be more aware of the political and personal challenges for an ombuds confronting institutional corruption
  • Better understand the range of options for responding as an ombuds to high-level corruption within their institutions

Presented by:

David Rasch
Associate Ombuds, UC Santa Barbara

David Rasch is an Associate Ombuds at UCSB who previously worked as University Ombuds at Stanford University for 14 years. He served for 6 years as a Director on the CO-OP Board of Directors and also served as President of the CO-OP Board.

Session C3: Wednesday, 24 March  | 8:00 AM – 8:45 AM PST

Making the Ombuds Office Accessible with Data Visualization: What Data to Collect, How to Analyze, How to Visualize, How to Create Ombuds Service Data Dashboards, and Engaging in a Data Showcase

Summary: This concurrent session will provide the audience with information related to working with ombuds service data.


  • By participating in this session, participants will gain a new understanding about how Micrsoft Excel can be used as a data collection and visualization tool to communicate ombuds services to members of their organization.

  • By participating in this session, participants will gain a new understanding about how QSR Nvivo can be used as a data collection, analysis, and presentation tool to communicate ombuds services to members of their organization.

  • By participating in this session, participants will gain a new understanding about how Microsoft PowerPoint can be used to create ombuds service dashboards to communicate ombuds services to members of their organization.

Presented by:

Lisa Yamagata-Lynch
University Ombudsperson, University of Tennessee

Dr. Lisa Yamagata-Lynch is the University Ombudsperson for the Office of Ombuds Services at the University of Tennessee (UT), Knoxville and serves faculty, staff, and graduate students. She is a Certified Organizational Ombudsman Practitioner® (CO-OP). She is a certified trainer in VitalSmarts Crucial Conversations and Crucial Accountability. Additionally, she is a Tennessee Rule 31 General Civil Mediator. As a faculty Lisa holds the rank of Professor in the Educational Psychology and Counseling Department. Her academic specialty is in Learning, Design, and Technology, with interests in instructional design, instructional technology, online learning, qualitative research, and organizational change. In 2010 Lisa published a book with the title Activity Systems Analysis: Methods for Understanding Complex Learning Environments. Prior to becoming a full-time Ombudsperson in May 2019, she was the Associate Head and Director of Graduate Studies in the Educational Psychology and Counseling Department at UT. Additionally, she was the Program Coordinator for the Instructional Technology Masters and Learning, Design, and Technology Doctoral programs. Prior to coming to UT Lisa had experiences working as a faculty at the University of Utah from 2001 to 2004 as well as Northern Illinois University from 2004 to 2011.

Session C4: Wednesday, 24 March  | 8:00 AM – 8:45 AM PST


The Usual Suspects: Conflict Resolution Concepts, Ideas, and Tools that You Routinely Share with Visitors

Summary: As a practicing ombuds, are there conflict resolution concepts, ideas, and tools that you routinely share with visitors? I call these our "usual suspects" and in this session, you will hear from a panel of ombuds on their "usual suspects." You will also get to share your own via breakout sessions and add some ideas to your ombuds toolbox.


  • Consider whether they have their own "usual suspect" ideas, concepts, and tools that they share with visitors.

  • Learn new ideas to add to their ombuds toolbox.

  • Share their own usual suspect ideas.

Presented by:

Roy Baroff
Faculty & Staff Ombuds, NC State University

Roy Baroff (he/him) is an experienced conflict engagement / management professional. He is an ombuds, mediator, educator and attorney. In the past, he represented clients in a range of settings, mediated litigated and other workplace cases, and served as an adjunct professor (he knows what its like to be in the classroom). He is a professional mediator with over 1000 mediations within and outside of the legal system. His current focus is serving as the NC State Faculty and Staff ombuds along with some additional mediations outside NC State and education (Roy teaches a Negotiation course once each year at Elon Law School). Roy opened the NC State Faculty Ombuds office in early 2015 and added staff services in 2017. He's now been working with faculty and staff for over 6 years. Roy received ombuds training with the IOA in 2007 and became a CO-OP® (Certified Organizational Ombuds Practitioner) in June 2017.

Amanda Dean
Ombuds for Faculty and Staff, Austin Community College District

Amanda Dean currently serves as the Ombudsperson for Faculty and Staff at Austin Community College in Austin Texas. She is the inaugural ombuds at ACC, starting the office in June 2019. Before moving to Texas Amanda served as the Assistant Ombuds for Students and Postdocs at UC Berkeley. Amanda has a great passion for ombuds work. She is co-founder of the Emerging Ombuds Network (EON) and co-chair of the IOA membership committee.
Originally from Atlanta Amanda spends her non-ombuds time playing with her dog Navia and finding new ways to be outside during covid.

Dawn Osborne-Adams
University Ombuds and Director, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Dawn Osborne-Adams is committed to building the capacity of individuals and organizations to engage in constructive problem solving.
Dawn currently serves as the University Ombuds and Director of the Ombuds Office at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dawn’s ombuds experience also includes serving as a consulting ombuds with Shell Oil Company’s Office of Ombuds Services and as university ombudsman for Binghamton University (SUNY.)
Dawn’s professional experience has focused almost exclusively on problem resolution, as not only an ombuds, but also through roles with the United States Federal Courts, where she directed the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) program for the Central District of California, and completed district court judicial clerkships in the Central District of California and the Eastern District of New York.
Dawn began her professional career as a practicing lawyer in New York City and remains an active member of the New York State bar. She has extensive experience both domestically and internationally as a speaker, trainer and educator, having served as faculty for the HERS Leadership Institutes, the International Ombudsman Association and Binghamton University’s College of Community and Public Affairs.
Dawn holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Georgetown University, a juris doctor from New York University School of Law and a certificate in Dispute Resolution from the Straus Institute at Pepperdine University School of Law.

D. A. Graham
Ombuds, The University of Kansas

Bio coming soon.

Session C5: Wednesday, 24 March  | 8:00 AM – 8:45 AM PST

How the Ombuds Field Can Expand Its Reach and Impact in Africa

Summary: In a context of declining trust in government and rising citizen expectations, governments in Africa are being called upon to open up their policy-making cycles to strengthen transparency and accountability enabled by efficient ombudsman institutions that can influence political trust, policy effectiveness, social responsibility, and consequently the establishment of more vital ombudsman institutions that could serve as the catalyst for development in Africa.


  • Highlighting the relevance of an efficient

  • Ombudsman institutions to good governance, open government, democracy, inclusiveness, and its potential to rebuild public trust, and growth as well as to expanding the ombudsman institution and impact

Presented by:

Ayo Ayoola-Amale
Team Lead / Certified Conflict Resolution Consultant, First Conflict Resolution Services Inc.

Ayo Ayoola-Amale is a Lawyer, and the Lead / Partner, First Conflict Resolution Services, a Certified Conflict Resolution Consultant and Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants with extensive experience in the public sector and communities. She has been working professionally in the field of law, conflict resolution, mediation and peace building and has had experience working as workplace, family, and community mediator. Ayo has also worked in community development and community relations as trainer, certified mediator, facilitator, peacemaker and peace builder mediating, designing curriculum and facilitating training, engaging with executives, academics, teams, young people in schools and youth organizations and community groups. She was a University Senior Law Lecturer for over two decades, and a conflict coach / facilitator helping people understand the process of reaching their potential and preparing for mediation processes. As a skilled conflict resolution practitioner, her services include among others facilitation of workshops, trainings, in conflict resolution, trauma healing, nonviolent conflict transformation, community dialogue, effective communication, intercultural communication and self-awareness.
Ayo uses poetry, art and storytelling for peace building it explains why she sees creativity as the power to act, generate new artistic ideas, evaluate them effectively and apply appropriately to inspire positive social change, for that reason conflict can be handled in a creative, non-violent, empathetic way in post-conflict reconstruction, peace building and reconciliation.
Peace-making and peace building is a lifetime commitment for her and she remains dedicated to speaking out and taking action.

Session C6: Wednesday, 24 March  | 8:00 AM – 8:45 AM PST

Open Discussion with the IOA Board

Summary: It’s our IOA and that includes YOU! Come meet and interact with some of your fellow ombuds who currently serve on the IOA Board of Directors. Pull alongside those working on the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice and/or the strategic planning process intended to ensure our future IOA success. Ask questions, share perspectives and chat about issues including announced initiatives such as the IOA name change and the launch of our new “Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging” Task Force. Feel free to share views, trends, and your own ideas for a better ombuds future! 

Moderated by:

Steve Prevaux, CO-OP®
IOA Vice President

Bio coming soon.