Susan Mazer & Dallas Smith
Mary and John McDougall
Marsha Lang, MS, JD
Facilitator, mediator, healthcare professional, attorney; believes that a healthy life and productive workplace is not accidental. It is designable.
Founder and principal of Lang & Associates, Marsha incorporated her experience in the fields of research science, applied technology, health care and management systems, event coordination, medical malpractice defense law, risk management, and mediation into an integrated system, Healthy by Design. This all-encompassing enrichment approach to life and business is deeply rooted in the science, behavior and dynamics of how humans interact and evolve.
Specializing in custom strategies and programs for individuals, communities, business, government, and organizations, since 1992, Marsha oversees a diverse and accomplished pool of consultants in order to provide a wide variety of services and training directed toward the efficiency and vitality of any organization. Her active involvement as an officer and board member of non-profit organizations promoting health and wellness have both inspired and informed her personal and professional life journey. As a bridge-builder linking together people, concepts and disciplines to improve quality of life, Marsha continues to dedicate herself to the enhancement of graciousness in our collective human experience.
Lora Barrett, MA
Facilitator, mediator, conflict coach, and trainer; interweaves principles of alternative dispute resolution and restorative justice practices as a construct for healing.
Lora holds a master’s degree in Negotiation and Conflict Management, and has led mediation programs at University of California Davis, Sacramento Superior Court - Civil Harassment Division, Siskiyou County Family and Dependency Courts, and Yolo Conflict Resolution Center. She has created and delivered multiple trainings for a variety of organizations and is inspired by those who go on to use new techniques and innovative methods to address conflict.
A mediator for over twenty-five years, Lora shares her experience, natural calm, and thoughtful focus with individuals in difficult co-working environments, co-housing and co-parenting situations, as well as families working through issues related to an aging parent or family reunification conflicts. Further, she has mediated multiple- party disputes involving, for instance, non-profit board members, inter-departmental employees, citizen groups and neighborhoods. She has also facilitated public meetings to discuss contentious topics such as police accountability. Committed to principles of restorative justice, Lora has volunteered in youth diversion mediation programs and currently teaches a foreign language class. She especially enjoys cooking with friends and all the excitement that comes with raising two sons.
Benisa Berry PhD, JD, MSW
Facilitator, mediator, trainer, attorney and strategist; brings passion and vision to the transformative power of human potential and true engagement.
As a seasoned trainer in a variety of disciplines, including Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Benisa helps individuals, organizations and communities to think and work together creatively and productively for individual and collective success. She brings a multidisciplinary approach to aligning strategy, leadership and healthy organization cultures that are ethical, inclusive and innovative. In that capacity she has developed leaders and trained staff in cultural diversity, sexual harassment prevention, EEO non-discrimination policies and ethics to improve performance, workplace culture and compliance for clients such as IBM, Prism International, Anderson-Davis, BNP Paribas Bank, Chevron, US Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration, and US Department of Agriculture Forest Service.
Benisa’s expertise as a conflict resolution specialist includes having mediated civil rights disputes and negotiated settlement agreements, including affirmative relief, resolve formal complaints of discrimination (racial, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity), and harassment and retaliation in employment and housing. She has also participated on mediator panels for Alameda and Contra Costa County Superior Courts, served in Title IX and DEI Officer roles, and provided regional and statewide leadership for compliance, ethics and integrity at Kaiser Permanente.
Facilitator, trainer, executive coach, mentor, conference and retreat planner, and author; believes strong and trusting relationships plus the ability to have productive conversations are essential to a thriving society.
For twelve years as the Executive Director of the Sacramento chapter of the American Leadership Forum, Doni designed an evolving curriculum to create the trust, skills and relationships needed to bring members together to address pressing community issues. Her extensive experience in Leadership Program Development and Management showcases her skills as an innovator, change-maker, and thoughtful boundary-crosser. As a network builder with a wealth of experience and connections, Doni has organized local, state and national conferences and workshops related to public policy, governance reform, community development, volunteer management and other topics.
Author of The Community Collaboration Manual and Community Organizing for Prevention, Doni has a deep understanding of how to bring people together for shared purpose. Among her most impressive accomplishments is having been the director of a national initiative to address community youth issues. That effort resulted in 350 town meetings across the nation. Additionally, she has founded several organizations including the Coalition for a Drug Free Mobile County (Mobile, AL), the Contra Costa/Solano Food Bank, and five successful leadership programs.
Facilitator, mediator, trainer, and author; advances innovative perspectives that support building the capacity to communicate and evolve cultural norms.
Founder and former program manager for the Sacramento Mediation Center’s Multiple Party Dispute Resolution Program, Jackie’s appreciation for diverse perspectives, needs and expectations is well-reflected in nearly three decades of work with, for instance, private businesses, non-profit organizations, community groups, and a variety of city, county, state and federal agencies. With a keen eye for detail, Jackie’s lifelong philosophy embraces the notion that difficult things take time but impossible things just take a little longer.
Among many rewarding accomplishment for Jackie is “PeaceMoves,” an innovation program she co-designed with colleague Jeanette Sartain to provide dispute resolution training to county prosecutors and was later adapted as workshop for re-entry prison inmates to improve non-violent communication skills. In partnership with Carol Wright, they have facilitated numerous stakeholder dialogues, including the 2016 Sacramento Public Safety Best Practices Forums and the pioneering Lang & Associates' Can We CHAT series dedicated to supporting conversations about race. Jackie’s history of both living in and assisting with under-served communities brings an important perspective to her work as a current member of the Los Rios College District Administration of Justice Program Advisory Committee.
Diane Bush RN, MPH
Medical professional, facilitator, educator, trainer, and researcher; provides guidance in the strategic development of environments designed to maximize individual and organizational potential.
Multi-faceted in talent, experience, and what she can share with others, Diane believes personal and group health springs from processes that support inner growth as well as the thoughtful integration of people with technology. Her relaxed and informal consulting and teaching style is solidly reinforced by years of experience in Organizational and Community Development, Environmental Design, Integrated Health and Wellness, and Health Care Management.
As a sought-after consultant, Diane provides guidance in the thoughtful design environments that support health, balance, and productivity. More specifically, that work encompasses strategic/futures planning for small businesses and community groups, as well as health and wellness program development, and seminars in education, leadership, creativity, marketing, and operational effectiveness. From an organizational perspective, she has decades of experience assessing systemic issues and client relationships to inform how to develop a process for implementing change. Intrinsic to the work that has taken Diane around the world, is her dedication to the principles of wholeness, connection, and intention to create healthy work environments that blend science, art, culture, and technology.
Saori Choulos, MBA
Facilitator, speaker, mentor, strategist, leadership development consultant, and executive coach; believes the awareness of our own cultures and how we navigate effectively through differences brings us together.
A purpose-driven leader, Saori has worked over 25 years supporting management and leadership efficiency in both the corporate and non-profit sectors. During that time, she has been involved with a wide variety of dynamic teams and enterprise-wide initiatives in the areas of strategic partnerships, relationship management, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Certified as a Senior Professional Career Coach (SPCC) and a Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MTBI) practitioner, Saori is also a Senior Fellow of the Nehemiah Emerging Leaders Program (NELP) and the American Leadership Forum (ALF).
Drawing upon her personal and professional experience across Asian and US Western cultures, Saori uses dialogue between people with diverse cultural perspectives to build bridges toward a shared purpose. She has touched over 150 young professionals as an advisor and facilitator for Sacramento's Mentoring Asian American Professionals (MAAP) program. With a keen eye on cultivating cultural humility, Saori has served on several non-profit boards, including the position of board president for Asian Resources, Inc.
Dann DeMund, JD
Attorney, mediator, and trainer; creates collaborative resolutions for seemingly intractable disputes in and out of court.
Since being admitted to the State Bar of California in 1989, Dann has been involved in a challenging and enriching array of legal experiences. He has served as lead counsel on numerous jury trials and as Judge Pro Tem in multiple California counties. With a strong collaborative nature, he has negotiated settlements in criminal hearings, construction, personal injury, product liability, and insurance cases, and has been admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court.
With success in the legal arena that includes multi-million dollar cases, Dann finds comparable satisfaction guiding neighborhood disputes to resolution. As a mediator, he is quick to evaluate the nuances and complexities of even the most complicated disputes, helping more than 50 parties successfully reach agreement. Additionally, he has led the Civil Harassment Mediation Court Program in Sacramento and counseled the unhoused at the Francis House Center. Dann's extensive career in alternative dispute resolution practices reflects his steadfast belief that the people involved in a conflict, if provided a supportive process, are generally the best equipped to develop a lasting solution.
Vinh Do, MS
Facilitator, mediator, conflict and change consultant; inspired by discovering what happens when conflict, change, and culture come together in dialogue.
Vinh immigrated to America from Vietnam in his youth. The experience of adopting a new language and new culture continues to shape who he is. As an adult, a formative experience involved working as a village health worker in the Republic of Mali with the Peace Corps. In Mali, a family of Muslim faith hosted and welcomed him and showed him that poverty is not the same thing as misery and that graciousness comes in many forms.
He holds a Master of Science in Human Resources Management from the Milano School of Policy, Management, and Environment, a graduate school at The New School. His additional training includes social justice mediation and organization development (through NTL Institute). As a mediator, he works with individuals to build cooperation when there is conflict. As an organization development consultant, he helps clients make better informed decisions and build participation in organizational change efforts. He is licensed to administer the IDI Intercultural Development Inventory, an assessment offered to clients to develop intercultural competence. Vinh owns Brave Change Works, LLC, a consultancy offering conflict management services, organization development, and executive coaching.
Tina Dyer, MA
Facilitator, leadership coach, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategist, organizational development consultant, and public speaker; excels in bringing people together for innovation, connection, and belonging.
With over three decades of experience in the financial services sector and a leader in areas of global racial equity, diversity, and inclusion, Tina is exceptionally adept at equipping leaders to engage in crucial conversations geared toward increasing employee engagement and productivity. As a coach and a designer of a wide number of strategies and programs, she is certified to administer the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) and Inclusion Skills Measurement (ISM) assessments, both designed to raise awareness and support intercultural competence development.
Tina is a natural storyteller and exemplifies the value of connecting personal stories and data through narrative that resonate with lived experiences. Among her highest objectives is to strike the right balance between informing teaching, facilitation and personal sharing. Centered in her belief that the human dignity of each person is to be honored in the pursuit of transformation, Tina has designed and implemented listening circles which provide a forum for employee groups to increase their capacity to engage in courageous conversations about race.
Leann Ferry, MPA, PCC
Executive, Leadership and Communication Coach, Trainer, Facilitator, Entrepreneur; places emphasis on human courage because the best path is often the one that is the most frightening.
As a cancer survivor, Leann brings a unique perspective to her work, often asking clients: “What would you do if you had all the courage you needed?" She helps people create balance, fulfillment and success through self-awareness, stronger mindsets, personal presence and more direct, compassionate and powerful communication. Her aptitude for motivating and guiding individuals served as the basis for developing a special program for business leaders and managers in 2015: Courageous Mindset ® Leadership.
Leann sees courage as a muscle and with a little determination, focus and practice, courageous fitness can be achieved. Confident in the transformational power of goal-setting, she has worked with a vast range of clients including leaders in U.S. government agencies, universities, energy, telecommunications, healthcare, banking and bio-pharmaceuticals. Prominent clients include Stanford University, Comcast, Chevron Corporation, Beijing Foreign Studies University, Beijing United Family Healthcare, China Construction Bank and Women in Cable Telecommunications. Always a reminder to Leann of the value of reaching beyond what may seem impossible is doing her first technical mountain climb and summiting Mount Shasta six months after the end of her cancer surgeries.
Larry Geller, JD
Author, educator, trainer, former Presiding Administrative Law Judge; confronts prejudice and bias in the justice system and everyday life.
Informed by a judicial career and an intimate look at the justice system’s strengths and weaknesses, Larry’s expertise in the practice of law and his dedication to social justice has elevated his capacity to not only explain tough issues but skillfully explore possible solutions. His lifework remains devoted to helping individuals of all ages improve their work-life balance by developing realistic strategies for maximum results.
A frequent keynote speaker in his field, Larry has developed and conducted training for local and state agencies related to, for instance, the hearing process, arbitration, discrimination and diversity. His commitment to empowering jurors to function in a fair and deliberate way was the focus of a book he co-authored with Peter Hemenway, titled, Last Chance for Justice: The Juror’s Lonely Quest. For five years he hosted a Cable Access program on matters related to public safety and police-community relations. In recent years, Larry has especially enjoyed going to camp, but not just any camp. As an instructor at Camp Fiver in Poolville, NY, he spends every summer working with youth to improve their communications skills and teaching them how to swim.
Facilitator, mediator, trainer, author, researcher and jazz musician; engages vision and purpose as a consultant for developing innovative approaches to dispute resolution.
Kenneth Hawkins is widely recognized as an innovator in conflict resolution, organizational development, diversity management, and team building. For over 30 years, he has worked with hundreds of governmental entities and businesses to help them achieve maximum effectiveness, including mediating discrimination cases for the U.S. Postal Service, the Department of Agriculture, and the Forest Service. Ken has provided training and consultation to establish more than 350 conflict resolution programs throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe.
Always a student of his craft, Ken has conducted studies on cultural assumptions underlying the North American mediation model, and his articles, training materials, and assessment instruments have been included in various multicultural and mediation publications. In 1999, Ken was honored by the Northern California Mediation Association for his outstanding contributions in the field of mediation and has continued to develop literary resources and training curriculum focused on, for instance, intercultural conflict resolution, preventing sexual harassment, and team building. another notable achievement was an assessment report he authored for the City of Chicago that became a model document for promoting desired organizational change.
Kris Lea, PsyD, MS
Facilitator, trainer, and coach; views the adult learning process as a critical contributor to individual and organizational success.
Kris brings years of experience and expertise to her work in a variety of industries and settings. Her specialties include Organization Development, Organizational Change Management, Training & Development, and Project Management. Central to her professional ethics and guiding philosophy is Kris’ commitment to helping clients’ organizations to be “more efficient, productive, and happier places to be!” That perspective serves as the foundation upon which she has designed numerous custom courses and webinars on leadership and change design for local, state-wide and global clients.
In addition to her direct client support and freelance training events, Kris works as adjunct faculty with both CPS HR and California State University of Sacramento, College of Continuing Education. Her guidance extends to a variety of leadership and professional development programs. Her doctoral dissertation, “An Applied Research Study Establishing the Working Definition of a Healthy Organization Through the Design and Delivery of a Two-Day Course,” explored the term “healthy organization” and the measurable factors that contribute to that term. Reflections of Kris’ personal journey on finding her father can be found in the book, “Coffee & Conversation Warm Cups of Love, Adventure and Positivity, Volume 2.”
Susan Mazer & Dallas Smith
Internationally known educators, musicians, authors and composers; advocate that the sound environment exerts a tangible influence over health and wellness.
Susan and Dallas pioneered the intentional use of music in institutional and healthcare environments. Acknowledging that the impacts of sound are the most oppressive, the most invasive, and the most relentless components of the institutional experience, Susan and Dallas, wife and husband, have developed accredited educational programs and implementation strategies to “treat” the healthcare setting.
Performing together since 1985, Susan and Dallas founded Healing Healthcare Systems in 1992 and now provide C.A.R.E. Channel programming in more than 1,000 hospitals, clinics, medical and residential care facilities in the U.S. and abroad. Their music and expertise have been featured in numerous mainstream publications and by broadcast media such as PBS, NPR, NOVA and the Discovery Channel. The essence of their talented work seeks to bring together nature and music to transform the patient’s experience of time and space during their illness. This experience can provide a powerful context for the healing and recovery process.
Jean Smithson-Bell, MPS
Facilitator, strategic planner, leadership coach, and organizational development trainer; motivates the strength and drive of individuals to work more productively as a team while also achieving critical personal satisfaction.
Vast experience in team building and management development, and certification in tools such as Meyers Briggs Personality Indicator (MBPI) support Jean's thoughtful identification of a group's needs. She subsequently works closely with clients to offer and implement the best tools and practices to meet operational and performance targets.
An astute listener, she has conducted over 50 leadership and change management workshops to business units for more than 20 years. Her work has impacted strategies for organizational initiatives, staffing objectives, and company mandates to support directives, goals and outcomes.
Jean has led training programs for the City of Oakland, counties of Alameda and Santa Clara, Fireman's Fund Insurance Company, Peoplesoft, Oakland Unified School District, Stanford University, Stanford University Hospital, and Mount Zion Baptist Church. These projects have addressed workplace situations related to fairness and equity, violence and sexual harassment prevention, team effectiveness, difficult conversations and facilitative leadership. Her training expertise includes customized train-the-trainer services.
Mary and John McDougall, MD
Pioneers in empowering individuals to take charge of their well-being with proven principles of nutrition in the prevention and management of disease. As researchers, authors of nationally best-selling books, educators, media personalities, and founders of the McDougall Program and Dr. McDougall’s Right Foods; the McDougalls believe that people should feel great for a lifetime.
John, a board-certified internist, is a graduate of Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine and performed his medical internship and residency at Queen’s Medical Center and the University of Hawaii. It was during those first years as a physician in Hawaii that John made the connection between diet and good health that formed the basis for The McDougall Program. Thousands of patients and five decades later, this program not only promotes a broad range of dramatic and lasting health benefits, it can also reverse serious illnesses including high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and others, all without the use of drugs.
Mary, in addition to her formal training as a nurse, not only makes the McDougall Program possible, but also a pleasure by translating scientific information into delicious, practical, real-world recipes and meal tips that support health and healthy families.
Mary and John have touched and improved the lives of people around the world, and continue to do so.
Facilitator, mediator, trainer, and conflict coach; draws upon her Native American heritage to support respectful productive discussion.
Jeanette has long been dedicated to assisting people toward improving their quality of life through dialogue and discovering tools they can use to achieve their own positive outcomes. She deeply believes in the power of careful listening—whether to the travails of disputing parties or the pressing needs of a client—as critical to respecting different viewpoints and mapping a workable way forward. As a former program manager for the Sacramento Mediation Center, Jeanette is skilled in mediation models including Community, Facilitative, Multiple Party, Transformative, Interest-based, and Victim/Offender.
With an extensive background in assisting people with interpersonal communication, Jeanette has functioned as a counselor, victim advocate, educator and trainer, and served as head of the nation’s largest Tribal task Force dedicated to addressing violence prevention. Key clients include United States Department of the Interior, United States Department of Commerce, California Department of Housing & Economic Development, Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, Sacramento District Attorney’s office, and the City of Sacramento. In her work with Cal/Environmental Protection Agency she facilitated large group meetings with many state and federal agencies, trained EPA employees in managing conflict and moving forward, and facilitated auditorium-sized "Green Chemistry" meetings.