3 April | 4 April | 5 April 

Session Block 3: 4 APRIL | 9:45 AM – 10:45 AM PT

Session 3A | No Prince(ss) is Coming: Specific Techniques for Ombuds-led Culture Change

This skill-building session is designed for Ombuds at all levels of experience and will share simple strategies for assessing organizational culture in teams and across the organization; 3-Step problem solving for the creation of shared expectations; methods for improving the relationships between team members; and strategies for identifying and ending counter-culture behaviors such as bullying, harassment, and general unkindness. This session gives Ombuds specific tools to use and teach to others.

In this session:

  • Facilitate norm-building conversations within teams as part of a broader strategy to build culture.
  • Assess current team and organizational culture effectively and inexpensively.
  • Intervene to identify and reduce counter-culture behaviors.

Dr. Susan Raines is a Professor of Conflict Management, the owner of Collaboration Services, LLC, and the author of more than 60 peer-reviewed publications and 3 texts on Conflict Management.

Target Audience: Established Ombuds*


 Session 3B | Dancing to the Edge of Neutrality

Impartiality includes the ability to make space for other perspectives and beliefs. But what happens when a visitor holds a belief or a world view that is (a) opposite of ours; (b) damaging to our own sense of identity; and/or (c) contrary to widely-accepted facts? This interactive session focuses on how we provide meaningful, ethical assistance without losing our own identities.

In this session:

  • Understand the broad elements of identity
  • Gain awareness of all facets of impartiality, neutrality, and multi-partiality
  • Gain tools for managing ethnically challenging situations

Jenn Mahony is the Boston Children's Hospital Ombuds Office Director. She has 20 years of conflict resolution and conflict resiliency work as an ombuds, mediator, facilitator, and educator. She has specific training in restorative justice and restorative practices. Jenn obtained her J.D. from Emory University School of Law in 2001. She is an IOA board member and a Fellow in Arbitration and on the mediation panel for the Arbitrators and Mediators Institute of New Zealand.

Linda M. Brothers is Senior Associate Ombuds at the National Institutes for Health. Prior to that, she was Director of Equal Opportunity and Ombudsperson at Wellesley College, where she established the college's first ombuds office and served as Co-Director of MERI (Multicultural Education Research Initiative). A conflict analyst and ADR practitioner, she has over 20 years' experience as an ombuds. Her areas of special focus include identity/race/intercultural conflict and systems' change. She is an experienced facilitator, coach, and mediator, and has written and presented on the role of conflict in shaping organizational identity. Linda received her B.A. from Yale University and her J.D. from New York University.

M. Katherine Manderson (Katie) serves as the Director, ADR. Prior to coming to the VA, Katie managed employee relations concerns for WMATA. She has served as an organizational Ombudsman for the Texas Attorney General's office and at the Department of State (DOS). She has experience mediating, facilitating group conflict, coaching, and utilizing a variety of other tools to assist employees to resolve conflict. She has over 20 years of experience as a mediator and is a trained facilitator, trainer, and coach. Ms. Manderson received her M.A. in Conflict Resolution from the University of Denver with a certificate in Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Target Audience: Established Ombuds, and Experienced Ombuds*

Session 3C | Trusted Navigation and Career Support: The Career Counseling Ombuds

Is it possible to practice as both Ombuds and Career Counselor? Can the popular Designing Your Life principles be used by visitors to the Ombuds Office? Learn how visitors to a university ombuds office are turning conflict and career anxiety into positive new jobs and assignments.

In this session:

  • Participants will be reminded of the career impact our work has on visitors.
  • Participants will get ideas about how to improve/develop career counseling skills and approaches
  • Participants will gain a wider perspective on the flexibility of our work within the framework of IOA principles.

Don Lubach is an Associate Ombuds at UC Santa Barbara. He previously served as an Associate Dean of Students, Lecturer in Education, and a member of the Student Affairs leadership team. Lubach holds a Ph.D. in Education, led more than 20 courses at the local community college, and organized one of the first senior-citizen-focused job fairs in the Western US. He is passionate about family, friends, and adventuring by bicycle.

Target Audience: Established Ombuds and Experienced Ombuds*

Session 3D | Creating Change When the Sun Doesn't Shine in Your Institution

Ombudsing can be quite different that ombudsing in private and public educational institutions. While not evident on the surface, they can be startling and extremely challenging to cope with. This panel will lead an interactive and humorous discussion regarding differences between public and private organizations and tips for managing differences while empowering visitors and creating cultural change.

In this session:

  • Understand the fundamental differences between public and private institutions, and how they affect ombuds' work.
  • Understand strategies for ombuds to be effective change-makers in both public and private institutions.

Sarah Klaper, JD, is the university ombudsperson at Northwestern University. She has been an ombuds for 10 years, previously at Northern Illinois University. Her background is in law, specifically open government and education law. Sarah is a member of the IOA Board and the co-chair of the Advocacy Committee.

Katherine Greenwood, JD, Ph.D., is the University Ombuds for the UPC Campus. Kathie is a Certified Organizational Ombudsman Practitioner. Prior to stepping into the ombuds role, Kathie practiced maritime law domestically, in state and federal courts, and internationally. Previously, she served as the Director of the Ombuds Office at the UC Davis and UC Davis Health Sacramento campuses and as the Ombuds at the University of Colorado Denver.

Jessica Kuchta-Miller, JD, was recently named the first full-time university ombudsperson at Duke University. Prior to her position at Duke, she was the inaugural staff ombuds at Washington University St. Louis, the associate university ombuds at the University of Colorado Boulder, and an adjunct clinical professor and project administrator for the Hamline University School of Law Dispute Resolution Institute. Jessica is recently served on the IOA Board of Directors, was co-chair of the Government and Policy committee, and was a member of the Standards of Practice Task Force. She currently serves as IOA's primary representative to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Action Collaborative on Preventing Sexual Harassment in Higher Education.

Target Audience: Emerging Ombuds, Established Ombuds, and Experienced Ombuds*

Session 3E | Divided We Fall: Tackling Polarization in the Workplace

The United States has become an increasingly polarized nation. What is contributing to this divide and how do we conquer it in the workplace? Participants will discuss how polarization affects the workplace and undergo an abbreviated version of the City of Seattle Office of the Employee Ombud's anti-polarization training.

In this session:

  • Discuss how polarization affects workplace relationships and contributes to conflict
  • Undergo an abbreviated version of the training currently offered to City of Seattle staff by the City of Seattle Ombudsman's office

Rachel Nicholson, CO-OP®, is the Assistant Ombud for Capacity-Building at the City of Seattle Office of the Employee Ombud. Rachel has previous Ombuds experience in higher education. She holds a Master's in Conflict Resolution from the University of Oregon.

Christopher Artis' career began with a focus on strategic planning, program development, and organizational capacity-building efforts to remove the personal and professional barriers faced by people living in poverty. He then spent 10 years in a non-secular environment developing leaders, managing creative teams, and coaching individuals through their most challenging seasons of life. Christopher is spearheading projects related to the Hate Crimes Executive Order, including our office's "Divided We Fall" anti-polarization training program.

Target Audience: Emerging Ombuds, Established Ombuds, and Experienced Ombuds*

*Emerging Ombuds (0-3 years of practice and/or knowledge in topical area)

*Established Ombuds (3-9 years of practice and/or knowledge in topical area)

*Experienced Ombuds (More than 10 years of practice and/or knowledge in topical area)

3 April | 4 April | 5 April