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, Sugafoot.
Walter "Skip" Mertz (Fort Valley)
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 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.
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)
Conference Committee Chair
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.
Dale Robinson (Glen Allen)
Membership Committee Chair, Conference Committee
Dale Robinson is a seasoned conflict resolution practitioner. He is a Virginia Certified mediator. He was instrumental in establishing mediation programs at several universities, as well as the Tennessee Human Rights Commission.
Working with several colleagues, in 1993, he established a workplace mediation program at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. In 1998, at the Tennessee Human Rights Commission he established the mediation program to address both employment discrimination and fair housing complaints filed with the Commission. He joined Virginia Tech in 2007 where he developed the workplace mediation program, established a conflict management coaching program and offered conflict resolution workshops to members of the university community. He was also actively involved in providing workshops on equal employment opportunity and compliance with Title IX.
Dale retired from the Office for Equity and Accessibility at Virginia Tech in 2017 and relocated to Glen Allen Virginia. Recently, he joined Virginia Commonwealth University on a part-time basis where conflict resolution and mediation involving civil rights concerns is once again a focal point of his role.
Dale began his professional career as a VISTA Volunteer with the Richmond Community Action Program. In addition to his extensive history with conflict resolution activities, he has significant experience in human resources management and civil rights compliance and complaint investigation. He has a long history of volunteer activities at the national, local and state level, including the Virginia Department of Human Resources Management mediation program.
Dale graduated from Northeastern University in Boston and is completing a Master of Public Administration degree through Virginia Tech.
Pamela Struss, Ph.D. (Northern Neck)
Communications Committee Chair
Pamela K. Struss, PhD, is a scholar practitioner and her expertise is in development (housing, poverty & growth) judicial mediation, community engagement, local governance and religious organizations. She is an MS Alumna of S-CAR and received her Doctoral Degree in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from NOVA Southeastern University, Ft. Lauderdale FL. She practices domestically and internationally and has worked with the governments in Ecuador and Suriname, Prince William, Lancaster, Northumberland, and Westmoreland Counties, VA and is a certified Mediator for the Virginia Association of Realtors, Prince William Association of Realtors, a Virginia Supreme Court certified mediator and liaison to Prince William County General District Court’s mediation program.
Pam enjoys a full academic life, she teaches a variety of undergraduate and graduate practice based courses for several universities, has taught the Basics of Conflict Resolution to churches in the U.S., Ecuador’s and Suriname’s government leaders, and Development NGO’s leadership. She has conducted research on mediation’s success in the judicial setting and presented her findings at the VMN Fall 16 conference.
Her professional associations and positions include the Association of Conflict Resolution-Liaison to the Stone Soup Program Dispute Resolution at the University of Missouri Law School and Education, Research and Training Section-Diversity Officer; American Bar Association-Dispute Resolution, International Group’s Membership Committee Liaison and Review Committee Model Standards for Mediators; Joint Civilian Military Institute Member; International Association of Conflict Management; Society of International Development; Mediators Beyond Borders; and Virginia Mediation Network Board Member.
Pam lives with her husband Rick of 37.5 years with their Great Dane Merlin in the Northern Neck on the Chesapeake Bay. They have two daughters Nicolle and Adrienne, and one granddaughter Nourah. They enjoy sailing, cooking in their outdoor kitchen and connecting with family in Florida and Texas. Pam is an avid quilter and needlework enthusiast in her infrequent spare time and relaxing in her garden.
Michael Schnurman (Henrico)
C. Michael (Mike) Schnurman, Jr. is the Legislative Liaison for the County of Henrico in central Virginia. He develops and coordinates Henrico's annual legislative program and represents its interests at both the state and federal level. A decorated United States Marine Corps veteran of the Persian Gulf War, Mike has previously served as Legislative Assistant to the Virginia Senate Majority Leader and as Special Assistant to the Director for Government Relations at the National White Collar Crime Center.
Mike earned a Bachelor of Applied Studies degree from the University of Richmond and received a Masters of Public Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University . He is a 2011 graduate of Leadership Metro Richmond, and a 2012 graduate of the International Business Certificate Program at VCU.
Mike became a certified mediator by the Virginia Supreme Court, with focuses on family matters. He also assists the mediation community with government relations. Additionally, he serves on the Board of Directors of the Jamestown 4-H Educational Center and the CMG Foundation, and is a member of the Resolution Virginia Advisory Council.
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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.
The Nominations Committee will nominate candidates for vacant board positions.