“Tell the universe your plans and watch them laugh”
Becci Crane graduated from the University of North Dakota with a BA in English and a minor in Cultural Anthropology. Upon graduation, “people told me I’d never get a job with an Anthropology degree, but ironically every job I’ve had has been working with family dynamics and youth culture” she laughs. Becci is fascinated with people, in what “brings us together and what things are sacred to us and need to be respected”. Her original plan was to work for a publishing company in Oregon, but Becci found herself soon working with children at a preschool in what began as her “20-year trajectory in working with families and children”. She then became a Youth Advisor at the Mid-Columbia Medical Center where she brought teenagers from four different rural counties together to create an ad hoc think tank to disseminate messages to the community. “They were the ambassadors of teen health prevention for the community”, she explains
Continuing down her child-centered path, Becci became a foster care recruiter, trainer, and then supervisor at The Next Door of the Columbia Gorge. She learned the systematic problems that existed within the sector and provided a voice for the children, “raising the light to the justice and problems that occur”. After ten years in that role, she worked as a Wraparound Care Coordinator at Mid-Columbia Center for Living, a mental health and addiction treatment center, where she integrated the 10 principles of the Wraparound process: family voice and choice, team-based, natural supports, collaboration, community-based, culturally competent, individualized, strengths-based, persistence, and outcome-based. In summary, it is a voluntary, collaborative process so that the family and outside entities could be brought together to create solutions that are likely to have a positive outcome.
“What I told the universe would happen”
After Becci’s vast experience in social care, she thought she would go back and get a master’s degree in social work. But, “that didn’t happen. What ended up happening was getting a master’s at Pepperdine University Law School in legal studies”.
The ah-ha moment for Becci was on a rainy Oregon night in 2017 as she was sitting in a parking lot in her friend’s car. She told her friend about her conflicting desires, explaining, “I was so burnt out, I love people but not bureaucracy”. After mentioning to her friend that she would pursue a master’s in social work her friend turned to her and said, “You hate that idea. What do you really want to do?”. It then dawned on her, law. Becci exclaims “all the stepping stones in my career came together and it made all the sense in the world”. Becci went on to complete a dual degree program in Alternative Dispute Resolution and Legal Studies, graduating Cum laude from Pepperdine University Law School.
Universal neutrality in mediation
Although mediation has always been a crucial part of Becci’s career, she now mediates at Six Rivers Dispute Resolution Center in Oregon. She is currently on a team that does the Oregon USDA Certified Agricultural Mediation Program (OCAMP) mediations, which looks into community, labor, and agricultural disputes. “The hardest disputes are where the parties are just unwilling, but, the beautiful thing about mediation is that you never know where it’s going to go”. Becci explains that mediation’s unpredictability is a good sign because it can show you the parties’ willingness to cooperate and rebuild fractured bridges. She explains that mediators must elicit the universal behavior of remaining neutral and if this is achieved, then the mediation will transpire “enabling that facilitative and open dialogue”.
Mediators from the sky
Becci came to know MBBI through a class she attended taught by Ken Cloke and Joan Goldsmith, both founders of MBBI. “The class was just so amazing and inspiring”, she says, “I listened to them and their stories and realized what made them tick also made me tick”. In one of Ken’s speeches, he reflected an experience where he saw, on the news, bombs explode in the Middle East and imagined ‘what if instead of sending bombs, we can send thousands of peacebuilders in parachutes?’. Becci fell in love with this idea of sending a sky full of mediators in parachutes, a peaceful means to end the violent devastation. Becci is now involved in DPACE, but admits she is still in the investigatory phase of discovering all that the organization has to offer. She would like to see MBBI experience a global expansion coupled with an increased awareness of the organization itself.
When asked what advice Becci would give to future peacebuilders she excitingly proclaims, “take the first step”. Each of us has different gifts and skills that we bring to the table and if one feels the urge to become a peacebuilder then there will be a place for you. “Just parachute in with your skills” Becci laughs. She ends with a message to all, “it is an extraordinary time to be alive, rich with the opportunity to be of service as a peacemaker/changemaker. If readers are feeling drawn to that calling, now is an excellent time to join MBBI”.
Article by Emily Shultis, MBBI Writer