Unforeseen path: strategist turned ethicist
So how does a market and business strategist turn ethicist and a certified mediator?
Well, as Rose-Anne Moore, Secretary of MBBI and Board Liaison to MBBI’s Climate Change Project, explains, after years of involvement in strategic planning with consulting firms, advertising, and clients, it was time for a change. She thought, “I’ve done the client-side, I’ve done the agency side, I’ve done the consulting side. What do I want to do next?”
Already holding an MBA in Marketing and Management Policy from Northwestern University, she decided to pursue a second Masters; this time, in Ethics at Yale University’s Divinity School in 2004.
She expressed her uncertainty about going back to school after many years and what would lie ahead; “About a third of my class, like me, came in going ‘I don’t really know what I want to do, but I need to be here’”.
She added, “I think the real power of a liberal arts education is not preparing you for a career, it’s preparing you to think”.
Unexpected road to mediation
At the time of Rose-Anne’s graduation from Yale, the world slipped into a global recession. Thinking her extensive background in both business and ethics could be beneficial in discussing a new approach during the 2008 financial crisis, she stumbled into mediation. She had heard about mediation training in corporate environments and thought it would be important to learn how to “listen actively” and “negotiate with people”. Therefore, she attended a breakfast for The Association for Conflict Resolution Greater New York Chapter, where she hoped to learn about others working in the conflict and dispute resolution field.
It just so happened that an MBBI Board Member was at the ACR meeting and held a session afterward to discuss the opportunity of opening up a New York Chapter. With expressed interest, her journey to MBBI had begun. Rose-Anne was drawn to MBBI as it represented “a place where you can get as involved as you want” and an organization that “will encourage you to keep saying yes”
Unwavering yes to involvement
Rose-Anne joined the MBBI Board in 2012 and has been Secretary for the last two years. As Secretary, she explains, “my primary responsibility is to record the minutes of our board meetings, after making sure that we have a quorum before we start the meeting! For a not-for-profit like MBBI, transparency and accuracy of records are critically important: our donors/members need to know what we are doing and how we do it” Not only did Rose-Anne say yes to Secretary of MBBI, but she also said yes to being the Board Liaison for the Climate Change Project after she jokingly admitted that she “did not say no fast enough”.
Board members serve on each MBBI project not just to ensure the peace organization’s mission, but to facilitate communication between the group and the board; “So no one is operating in a vacuum”.
Rose-Anne explains that there will always be opportunities for conflict and cooperation within an organization, but “by having a board liaison on every team or project, you try to maximize the cooperation and minimize the negative conflict” MBBI’s Climate Change project maximizes its cooperation through building relationships with those who hold member positions to the UN, in order to inflict sustainable change. “We have pushed all along to build a relationship to get other people to … say “we need to put in some writing in the Paris Accord which encourages the use of alternative methods to dispute resolution first’. Not if conflicts occur; when conflicts occur, we will use dispute resolution first”.
Universal Applicability: Mediation in Editing
Being a trained mediator, Rose-Anne did not predict her mediation to also be a tremendous asset to her role as a developmental editor at PoleStar Partners. As she provides editing services for authors, she discloses that while amending their work, “you have to say that in such a way that the person does not just hang up on you. And for that, mediation training is really helpful”. Rose-Anne recalls using her mediation abilities while working with a co-author which “required active listening, and reframing of situations”. A seemingly unlikely coalition, her mediation skills, strengthened by her role as MBBI Secretary, have expanded their applicability across sectors, strongly supporting her editing career.
Unfaltering Response to Future Peacebuilders: ‘Just Do It’
When asked what Rose-Anne would advise prospective peacebuilders, she quite simply, yet boldly exclaims, “just do it!” She clarifies, “everybody has got a different set of skills and talents; the only way to get involved is, get involved! If you believe in our mission, of building a more peace ‘able’ world, you should just join! Whether you’re a mediator or not, you should just support the mission, because we start from those individuals”.
She concludes with her favorite part of MBBI, the people. “Some of the most wonderful people I’ve ever known in my life are involved with this organization, and one of the ways they show it is by, ‘you have a question?’, ‘you want some information?’, ‘you want to bounce an idea off?’ Just do it”.
Article by Emily Shultis, MBBI Writer