conflict inspiration

In your line of work, where does your inspiration come from?

Is it family, friends, leaders, poets, artists, famous or infamous names from the past?

For me, it’s all of those and more, and I wanted to share with you some of the unparalleled souls whose words and work have ripped me from a life in adversarial law and into a deeper understanding about what’s really going on in the beating heart of conflict. Without them, this site and pocketconflictcoach would never have become a reality, and I can’t thank them enough for getting me over the line!


Tammy Lenski

tammy lenski

Dr. Tammy Lenski helps organizations, leaders, mediators, and coaches improve their conflict resolution effectiveness. Since founding her U.S. conflict resolution firm in 1997, she’s guided thousands of organisations and individuals worldwide as a master mediator, executive coach, speaker, educator, and author.Her work today centres on “hacking” conflict resolution – tapping leading edge practices, the latest research, and her many years of experience as a mediator and coach to help people better navigate and manage conflict.

She was the very first mediator in the world accepted into the Association for Conflict Resolution’s Academy of Advanced Practitioners.In 2012 the Association recognised her achievements with the prestigious Mary Parker Follett Award for innovative and pioneering work in the conflict resolution field. In 2015, the New England Association for Conflict Resolution recognised Tammy with the Pioneer Award for significant contributions to the conflict resolution community, and passionate commitment to the profession’s growth and development.

Tammy is the author of The Conflict Pivot, released in 2014, and the award-winning Making Mediation Your Day Job, now in its third edition. She’s been blogging about conflict resolution and ADR private practice since 2002. Tammy began her career in higher education, serving as a dean and VP, then later as a founding faculty member of the world’s first master’s degree in mediation, now housed at Champlain College. In addition to her full-time conflict resolution work, she still teaches graduate courses in conflict resolution and negotiation for Marlboro Graduate School and for the Institute for Conflict Management at Lipscomb University.

Thank you so much Tammy for your outstanding contribution not only to my own work, but to the field of conflict engagement & resolution the world over!


Ken Cloke

Ken Cloke

Kenneth Cloke is Director of the Centre for Dispute Resolution and a mediator, arbitrator, attorney, coach, consultant, and trainer, specialising in communication, negotiation, and resolving complex multi-party disputes, including marital, divorce, family, community, grievance and workplace disputes, collective bargaining negotiations, organisational and school conflicts, sexual harassment, discrimination, and public policy disputes; and designing preventative conflict resolution systems.

He is a nationally recognized speaker and author of Mediation: Revenge and the Magic of Forgiveness; Mediating Dangerously: The Frontiers of Conflict Resolution; The Crossroads of Conflict: A Journey into the Heart of Dispute Resolution; ; Conflict Revolution: Mediating Evil, War, Injustice, and Terrorism; and The Dance of Opposites: Explorations in Mediation, Dialogue and Conflict Resolution Systems Design. He is co-author with Joan Goldsmith of Thank God It’s Monday! 14 Values We Need to Humanize the Way We Work; Resolving Personal and Organizational Conflict; The End of Management and the Rise of Organizational Democracy; The Art of Waking People Up: Cultivating Awareness and Authenticity at Work; and Resolving Conflicts At Work: Ten Strategies For Everyone On The Job (1st-3rd Ed.s).

His coaching, consulting, facilitation, and training practice includes work with leaders of public, private and non-profit organisations on effective communications, dialogue, collaborative negotiation, relationship and team building, conflict resolution, leadership development, strategic planning, designing systems, and organisational change.

His university teaching includes mediation, law, history, political science, conflict studies, urban studies, and other social sciences at a number of colleges and universities including Southwestern University School of Law, Antioch University, Occidental College, USC and UCLA. He is or has recently been an Adjunct Professor at Pepperdine University School of Law; Southern Methodist University; Global Negotiation Insight Institute at Harvard Law School and Omega Institute; Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Cape Cod Institute; University of Amsterdam ADR Institute; Saybrook University; Massey University (New Zealand).

He has done conflict resolution work in Austria, Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, China, Cuba, Denmark, England, Georgia, Greece, India, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Puerto Rico, Scotland, Slovenia, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, USSR, and Zimbabwe. He is founder and first President of Mediators Beyond Borders.

He served as an Administrative Law Judge for the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board and the Public Employment Relations Board, a Factfinder for the Public Employment Relations Board, and a Judge Pro Tem for the Superior Court of Los Angeles. He has been an Arbitrator and Mediator for over thirty three years in labor management disputes, and is a member of a number of arbitration panels.

Ken’s work, perhaps more than most, has helped open my eyes to what’s beneath conflict. Because of him I now meditate and pay that forward to others, particularly given its benefits to your control of your brain in conflict. His breathtaking talks and interviews, including one I attended while he was in Scotland, will be forever ingrained in my memory.

I can’t thank you enough Ken, and hope your powerhouse of work just keeps on pumping!


Bill Eddy

Bill Eddy

Bill Eddy is a lawyer, therapist, mediator and the co-founder and Training Director of High Conflict Institute. He developed the “High Conflict Personality” theory (HCP Theory) and has become an international expert on managing disputes involving high conflict personalities and personality disorders. He provides training on this subject to lawyers, judges, mediators, managers, human resource professionals, businesspersons, healthcare administrators, college administrators, homeowners’ association managers, ombudspersons, law enforcement, therapists and others. He has been a speaker and trainer in over 25 states, several provinces in Canada, Australia, France and Sweden.

As an attorney, Bill is a Certified Family Law Specialist in California and the Senior Family Mediator at the National Conflict Resolution Center in San Diego. Prior to becoming an attorney in 1992, he was a Licensed Clinical Social worker with twelve years’ experience providing therapy to children, adults, couples and families in psychiatric hospitals and outpatient clinics. He has taught Negotiation and Mediation at the University of San Diego School of Law for six years and he is on the part-time faculty of the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at the Pepperdine University School of Law and the National Judicial College. He is the author of numerous articles and several books, including:High Conflict People in Legal Disputes

It’s All YOUR Fault! 12 Tips for Managing People Who Blame Others for Everything
SPLITTING: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder
BIFF: Quick Responses to High Conflict People, Their Personal Attacks, Hostile Email and Social Media MeltdownsHe is also the developer of the “New Ways for Families” method of managing potentially high conflict families in and out of family court. He is currently developing a method for managing potentially high conflict employees titled “New Ways for Work.”

I had the privilege of interviewing Bill a few years back, and it’s safe to say that without Bill’s pioneering work on the brain in conflict, my path would’ve led me nowhere near where I’ve reached today, so thank you Bill and keep up the amazing work!


Charlie Irvine

Charlie Irvine

Charlie Irvine is a Senior Teaching Fellow at Strathclyde University Law School, Glasgow, where he leads the LLM/MSc in Mediation and Conflict Resolution. He is also a PhD candidate at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, freelance mediator, qualified lawyer & former professional musician, and has written extensively on mediation, conflict and the law.

His chilled-out, self-deprecating but authoritative approach to the field has inspired me so much in my work, and not merely because of our Scots connection. Reading even only one of his wonderful articles on the Kluwer Mediation pages should be enough to convince you to clear your diary and explore what he has to say on conflict.


Brad Heckman

Brad Heckman

Professor Brad Heckman, of New York University’s Centre for Global Affairs, was the founding CEO of the New York Peace Institute, one of the world’s largest conflict response agencies committed to building peace in NY and beyond. He was also a founding trustee of the New York Peace Museum.

Brad has trained labor unions, the NYPD, NASA, community organisations, United Nations programs, emerging women leaders in the Persian Gulf, and corporations in more than twenty-five countries. His trainings are known for their incorporation of his own illustrations, pop culture, humour and theatre, as can be seen in his TEDx Talk, Mindfully Getting in the Middle.

Brad’s interest in promoting peaceful dialogue began while he was teaching at a University in Poland in 1989, witnessing the transition from Soviet rule to democracy through round-table negotiations. Brad was previously a Vice President of Safe Horizon, a leading victims services and violence prevention agency, where he oversaw their Mediation, Families of Homicide Victims, Legal Services, Anti-Trafficking, Batterers Intervention, and Anti-Stalking Programs. He also served as International Director of Partners for Democratic Change, where he helped develop the first mediation centres in Eastern Europe, the Balkans, the former Soviet Union and Latin America. His work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, TimeOut New York, NASH Radio, Telemundo, Univision and other media outlets.

As if all of this wasn’t inspiring enough, he is also an illustrator, whose work has been exhibited throughout the United States and internationally. His daily illustrations kept me inspired and motivated as I was writing pocketconflictcoach, so thank you Brad for all your efforts!


Bernie Mayer

Bernie Mayer

Dr. Mayer is an icon in the world of conflict resolution. With over a quarter century of experience in the field, he was a founding partner at CDR Associates, the internationally recognised mediation and conflict resolution organisation, and originally trained as a psychotherapist. He has worked across the globe as a mediator, facilitator, teacher, trainer, dispute systems designer, and program administrator. A true scholar as well as leading practitioner in the field, He earned his Ph.D. in Social Work with an emphasis on conflict resolution.

His pioneering work includes The Conflict Paradox, which I can’t recommend enough for those looking to  improve their conflict resolution and engagement understanding.

Thank you so much Bernie for keeping me grounded in the field, for helping me maintain a stronger connection between theory and practice.


Colin Rule

Colin Rule

Colin Rule works at the intersection of conflict resolution and technology. He is VP of Online Dispute Resolution at Tyler Technologiesm and was formerly COO of, an Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) provider based in Silicon Valley.

From 2003 to 2011 he was Director of Online Dispute Resolution for eBay and PayPal. He has worked in the dispute resolution field for more than a decade as a mediator, trainer, and consultant. He is currently Co-Chair of the Advisory Board of the National Centre for Technology and Dispute Resolution at UMass-Amherst and a Non-Resident Fellow at the Centre for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School.

Colin co-founded Online Resolution, one of the very first ODR providers, in 1999 and served as its CEO (2000) and President. In 2002 Colin co-founded the Online Public Disputes Project (now which applies ODR to multiparty, public disputes. Previously, Colin was General Manager of, the largest online resource for the dispute resolution field. Colin also worked for several years with the National Institute for Dispute Resolution (now ACR) in Washington, D.C. and the Consensus Building Institute in Cambridge, MA.

Colin has presented and trained throughout Europe and North America for organisations including the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, the Department of State, the International Chamber of Commerce, and the CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution. He has also lectured and taught at UMass-Amherst, Stanford, MIT, Creighton University, Southern Methodist University, the University of Ottawa, and Brandeis University.

Colin is the author of Online Dispute Resolution for Business, published by Jossey-Bass in September 2002. He has contributed more than 50 articles to prestigious ADR publications such as Consensus, The Fourth R, ACResolution Magazine, and Peace Review. He currently blogs at, and serves on the boards of RESOLVE and the Peninsula Conflict Resolution Centre. He holds a Master’s degree from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in conflict resolution and technology, a graduate certificate in dispute resolution from UMass-Boston, a B.A. from Haverford College, and he served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Eritrea from 1995-1997.

Colin, your work is so inspirational to me. Our online chat a few years back still echos in my memory, and helped lay the groundwork for what’s become Mediation In Your Pocket.


…and more and more and more

I could go on.  Ewan Malcolm and Anne Dick who trained me as a mediator and totally rocked my view of conflict resolution. Karen Bonnell, who taught me that everyone deserves the opportunity to engage constructively in conflict no matter their past sins or issues. Nadine Burke Harris, who introduced me to the connection between adverse childhood experiences and the behaviour and health we go on to exhibit.

And more and more and so many more. I can’t thank them all enough for their contribution to my internal revolution.

So who inspires you to change?

Scott Docherty

I run this site and will do my best to mediate your conflict.