“I made a conscious decision to come back, full circle, to mediation because I truly believe in the power of mediation to solve conflicts.”
Teletha McJunkin is a Rule 31 Mediator with 20+ years of professional experience at a local and global level. She has worked remotely and internationally for the past five years with people from many different contexts, cultures, and countries. However, she began her career in the 1990s as a social worker working in local group homes, and at the Hamilton County Juvenile Court, where she developed an early interest in mediation. She stated, “it made so much sense to me as a way to resolve a conflict that I took my first 40-hour course on General/Civil mediation and considered starting a juvenile victim-offender program.” However, her career path led her through a variety of roles in small to large nonprofits, community-based organizations, community colleges, and international NGOs where she had the opportunity to work on her mediation skills through small and large group facilitation.
TELETHA’S PHILOSOPHY ON MEDIATION:
Teletha has a very diverse background in the field of mediation. Her training centers on the facilitative style of mediation; however, the more she learns about mediation, the more she is turning towards transformative mediation. Her mission in life is “helping people learn how to solve their future conflicts as I am in helping them solve their present conflict.” Therefore, with this in mind, after her professional training, she searched for an organization with a focus on mediation and came across MBBI. She was thrilled this type of organization existed. Her work experience in Asia for the past three years and work with a global interdisciplinary team for the past two years around mediation issues motivated her to plug into an international mediation network, like MBBI, right away. She stated, “I wanted to find volunteer opportunities that tapped my existing professional experience in the context of mediation so I volunteered with the International Peacebuilding Institute and volunteered to co-lead the Children & Youth ADR Working Group.”
Teletha is currently working with the Children & Youth ADR Working Group. They recently conducted a survey of their members and will use the results to plan future activities. She also works with a group of volunteers helping the International Peacebuilding Institute transition their in-person workshops towards a virtual space so they can continue to offer workshops during these uncertain times. Furthermore, on a local level, she is hoping to start a Juvenile Victim-Offender program in Tennessee and in partnership with the Nashville Conflict Resolution Center.
MEDIATION AND THE PANDEMIC:
Teletha recognizes the impact COVID-19 had has on the world, especially in communities she has been able to work with in the past. However, not much has changed for her considering she has been working remotely for the past couple of years. However, due to so many more people working from home now, she states, “I have had unforeseen opportunities to help mediators and organizations transition to the virtual world. That has been very rewarding because I love to help people.”
Article by Elizabeth Gamarra, MBBI Writer