Otis Jarvis (Chesterfield)
Otis is currently a PhD candidate in Conflict Analysis and Resolution in the school of Graduate Studies and Humanities, at Nova Southeastern University and Owner of The Jarvis Group a conflict resolution services organization. In (2014) he was inducted into the Leadership Metro Richmond class (LMR), a premier community leadership development program. Otis served as an intern and researcher with the Virginia General Assembly (2013). Otis received master’s degree in business (MBA), with concentration in management at the Huizenga School of Business at Nova Southeastern University, and his Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in management from Averett University. He holds a certificate from the Preparing Future Faculty Program at Virginia Commonwealth University and several Commonwealth of Virginia professional license and certifications. Otis lectures on Conflict Management, Small Business Management, Strategic Management, International business, Organizational Behavior, and Real Estate. Otis also has international experience conducting conflict analysis fieldwork in Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands, the USVI and the Virginia General Assembly. Otis possesses a superior business acumen, interdisciplinary training in conflict analysis, mediation, negotiations, arbitration, interpersonal conflicts, organizational leadership.
Karen Richards (Virginia Beach)
Immediate Past President
Karen Richards has worked as a mediator and conflict resolution and communication trainer since 1993. A Virginia Supreme Court Certified general and family mediator (all levels), mentor, and trainer, she has trained more than 1,500 people from across the country and the world in conflict resolution and communication skills. She also has provided more than 1,400 hours of mediation and facilitation services to hundreds of individuals, families, and organizations. Recently she was appointed as a Workplace Mediator for the Virginia Department of Human Resource Management Office of Employment Dispute Resolution’s statewide workplace mediation program. Karen served the Hampton Roads community for many years as a staff member, trainer and volunteer for the former Virginia Conflict Resolution Center where she was honored in 2011 for “Advancing the Profession of Mediation”. She received a B.S. in Journalism from the University of Maryland - College Park, and an M.A. in Transpersonal Studies from Atlantic University where she is a member of the faculty.
Walter "Skip" Mertz (Fort Valley)
Membership Committee, Finance Committee, Audit Committee
Skip has been mediating civil, family, and workplace cases for over 20 years following a career in Human Resources in technology, manufacturing and financial corporations. He is also a certified mentor and mediation instructor. Although retired from the corporate world and having co-owned a mediation center for seven years, Skip continues to mediate for the courts in four northwestern counties. Skip has a BS in Economics and Business Administration from Park University in Missouri. He currently serves on the Board’s task force reviewing Mediator Compensation.
Theresa Merkel (Winchester)
By Laws Committee Chair
Theresa has undergraduate degrees in Mathematics and English with a minor in French. Her master’s degree is in Higher Education Counseling. An avid traveler, Theresa has visited all seven continents, including Antarctica. .
In her spare time, Theresa loves to read and cook. Her greatest joy is being with her four granddaughters.
Betty Russo (Virginia Beach)
Secretary & Legislative Committee Co-Chair
Betty is a Member at Betty Russo Law, P.C. which includes a Mediation Division. She is a Virginia Certified Mediator in General District Court and J&DR Court. She served as Committee Clerk for Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee in the Virginia House of Delegates for the 2012 session.
Betty is a former teacher, realtor, and currently volunteers for CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocate) with Portsmouth Friends of the Court. She received her Juris Doctorate from Regent University School of Law, her Master’s in Education from the College of William & Mary and a Bachelor of Administration in Political Science from Virginia Tech.
Susan Klimek Buckley (Loudoun County)
Education and Training Committee, 2018 Conference Committee Co- Chair
Susan Buckley is the owner of Center Mark Mediation, LLC, a mediation firm in Loudoun County. She is certified by the Virginia Supreme Court to mediate cases in General District Court, Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court and Circuit Court /Family. In addition to her own practice, Susan mediates for non-profit and for profit mediation organizations in northern Virginia and regularly mediates in Loudoun County Courts.
Susan obtained her B.B.A. and J.D. degrees from the University of Texas/Austin and is licensed to practice law in Virginia and the District of Columbia. Prior to establishing her mediation firm, Susan practiced law with the firm of Hunton & Williams and the Office of the Fairfax County Attorney, and she served on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors. She lives in Loudoun County with her husband and two sons.
Charis Sherman (Fairfax County)
Education and Training Committee
Charis graduated from George Mason University with a Bachelors of Science degree in Conflict Resolution and Human Resources. She is currently volunteering with Northern Virginia Mediation Services' (NVMS) Night Forum (MNF) monthly events while completing her mediation certification.
She has a passion for photography, training and non-profit work. She currently works as a Senior Billing Analyst for a non-profit in Herndon, VA.
Robert "Bob" Carpenter (Frederick County / Winchester City)
Bob is the principal of Vantage Mediation, LLC, which he formed in 2008 after retiring as the chief executive officer with a local Farm Credit System cooperative association. Bob is certified in J & DR, General District and Circuit Court Family Mediation by the Supreme Court of Virginia. He has served as the coordinator for the Frederick County/Winchester City General District Court. He regularly accepts court referrals and conducts private mediation for couples as well as corporate clients. Bob has facilitated strategic planning sessions for non-profits, cooperatives and corporate clients.
Bob is a graduate of Virginia Tech and operated the family farm which he and his wife purchased in 1981. The farm has been in his family since 1925 and was operated as a cattle and hay farm until 2016.
Beth Roper (Chesterfield)
Communications Committee, Membership Committee
Beth Roper has worked as a mediator in the Richmond metropolitan area since 2003. She has held Virginia Supreme Court certifications for general district cases and currently focuses her conflict resolution services in the family area (all levels). Beth provides mediation services in affiliation with CMG-Foundation, a non-profit community mediation center. She also mentors mediators in training and regularly facilitates parent education seminars. As mid-life career enrichment, Beth completed her MSW and serves as trauma-focused therapist for Greater Richmond SCAN’s Child Advocacy Center and Circle Preschool Program. Beth is a graduate of the UVA College of Arts and Sciences and the VCU School of Social Work.
Brenda Booth Lowry (Chesterfield)
Brenda is the Executive Director of the CMG Foundation in Richmond, Virginia, and a Certified Mediator. Prior to becoming the appointment Executive Director of CMG, Brenda was a consultant to CMG Foundation providing strategic advice regarding organizational design, process analytics, and board development to set the stage for future growth. She is very interested in developing collaborative partnerships and relationships that can further enhance the visibility and good works of mediation.
Brenda has experience in both the private and nonprofit sectors, working for over thirty years in the financial services industry with Fortune 500 companies. She served as a manager and internal consultant to senior executives in the securities industry where her counsel centered around two key areas—maximize existing operations and, secondly, to help develop the roadmap for future growth. She also has strong experience in the development and execution of strategic initiatives. Brenda has been active in the nonprofit sector, receiving the Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2009, and has served on the Board of Directors of Offender Aid & Restoration of Richmond since 2011.
Daniel Hand (Richmond)
Dan is a Mediator and Facilitator who’s provided many years of service to resolve conflict arising in the areas of work site disagreements and business dispute cases. Dan is currently a court certified mediator with the Commonwealth of Virginia. He has been a member of Virginia Mediation Network for several years and presented at the Annual Fall conference. As a Trainer/Designer and Facilitator, Dan recently retired from the National Education Association, where he developed and trained a number of learning modules including a Basic (20hr) Mediation package, served as Coach and Consultant for Affiliate Leaders and Management, and developed facilitation and advocacy training modules for International Affiliates.
Dan served two years as an Arbitrator for the City of Richmond’s Better Business Bureau, two years as a Court Appointed Mediator for Prince William County Mediation Services and three years as a Mediator for the Virginia Alternative Dispute Resolution agency.
Dan earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in English Language and Literature from Eastern Michigan University. In 2003 Dan received his Organizational Development certificate from the National Training Laboratory.
Dan established his own mediation practice in Richmond - Dan and Associates Mediation and Learning Services, LLC.
Dan is married, has two daughters and resides in Richmond, VA.
Vickie Williams (Hampton Roads)
Vickie R. Wms- Cullins is the Executive Director of OPN-Door Communications, LLC. She holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Elizabeth City State University, Master’s in Public Administration from Old Dominion University, and four certifications in Mediation with the Virginia Supreme Court.
Vickie’s business, OPN- Door Communications was founded to meet the communication needs of families, private businesses and the public sector. Vickie meets these needs by providing training, facilitation, investigative, conflict coaching and dispute resolution services. Vickie’s vision is for OPN-Door Communications to be your global choice to resolve your communication challenges and strengthen relationships.
She is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and subscribes heavily to their belief that we must all give back to the community. Vickie accomplished this with her many years of volunteer service with the city of Hampton, as an alumnae member of the celebrated Thomas C. Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership Fellowship program, Member of the Virginia Mediation Network Board of Directors, member of the City of Newport News Reentry Council, Gubernatorial Appointee with the Small Business Commission, the Hampton Mayor’s Business Roundtable and serving as a member Delta Sigma Theta Sorority , Inc’s South Atlantic Regional Social Action committee. Vickie is also a 9 year Breast Cancer survivor and is proof positive that early detection is the key to claiming victory over this dreaded disease.
Vickie has been recognized by such esteemed organizations as the Hampton Newport News Pan Hellenic Council and the Virginia Inclusive Communities as one of their 2014 Humanitarians of the Year for her work with returning citizens.
To learn more about how OPN-Door Communications can serve you, we invite you to visit us at our website: www.opndoor.com
In her spare time, Vickie enjoys spending time with her husband Terry and their miniature schnauzer, Bootsy.
Getting involved does not have to be time consuming. You can decide how much time you have to dedicate to YOUR organization!
The Conference Planning Committee plans and provides intellectually stimulating and practice-based educational and networking programs to exchange information on a broad spectrum of mediation and ADR issues and related topics.
The Membership Committee focuses on increasing VMN membership and ensuring the satisfaction of current members with VMN’s services and identifies product and service discounts exclusively for members. The Committee will find ways for VMN members to leverage the “VMN” brand name in marketing their practices.
The Communications Committee provides frequent communications from committees and the board to membership and among members.
The Legislative Committee will track Virginia legislative developments, and keep the membership regularly informed of new laws relating to mediation. Specifically, the Committee will track newly proposed bills as they make their way through the Virginia General Assembly, and will report to VMN members on the status of such legislation.
Standards of Practice Committee:
The Standards of Practice Committee will focus on three areas: skill-building, quality, and standards of ethical practice. The Committee will facilitate the dialogue of what constitutes “quality”, “quality assurance” and “best practices”.
Virginia Bar Liaison Committee:
The Virginia Bar Liaison Committee objectives are to (1) get more VMN members, including members of the bar to participate in the work of VMN; (2) to provide ideas and programs suggestions which might appeal to attorneys who are also mediators, as a function of membership development, and (3) to interact with the Virginia Bar Joint ADR Committee and other ADR organizations to develop partner-ships for joint programs, of interest to attorney and non- attorney mediators.
The Nominations Committee will nominate candidates for vacant board positions.
The Sponsorship Committee will focus on seeking corporate sponsors and underwriters to provide financial payment to further VMN's mission and assist in meeting VMN's revenue needs.