Trust Your Instincts. Member Spotlight: Kathie Murtey

Even though Kathie is not a mediator by profession, she still considers herself a natural mediator by life choice and by circumstance, “in many ways it was a natural thing for me to do”. Being the middle child in her family, Kathie naturally found herself mediating between family members.

Early in her career, Kathie was an elementary school teacher. However, in those days, because of school district policies she was required to resign from teaching when she began the fifth month of pregnancy. After her daughter was born, she became a stay-at-home mom for ten years.  She spent many of those years teaching parent education. She eventually became a social justice activist and began working locally with a Mental Health Advisory Board, and an international group called The Hunger Project. Kathie says her mother served as a great peacebuilding role model as she too worked for the betterment of her community and the world. 

Listening Attentively

Between the 1970s and 2000s, Kathie started several non-profit organizations in her local community in Southern California. She was a founding member of a parent participation Child Care Center, an alcohol detox center, and a drug rehabilitation center. She also launched the Micro Lending Program of Orange County. During her years in Southern California, Kathie was active in church, working at the local, conference, and national levels.

Kathie is a great helper and advocate for women and has been very active in women’s groups since the 1970s. She founded a battered women’s shelter and was also an attendee of the Fourth UN Conference on Women in Beijing, China, in 1995. She is a member of the Arizona Council of Grandmothers, and Gather the Women Global Matrix. She hosted women’s groups in her home for 40 years.

The ability to listen to another individual’s perspective attentively, and without bias or judgment, is crucial for interpersonal relationships, but especially when conflicts arise. Kathie points out that this is a remarkable skill to cultivate and is worth a lifetime of practice. 

Finding Your Purpose and Power

According to Kathie, some people experience their personal power by being against something, and others, by being for something. However, she finds that actively working towards advancing a cause is more rewarding for her. “I’ve experienced my personal power in working collectively with people to make something happen.”

When seeking direction “Trust your instincts.” Our inner compass is a lot more accurate than we usually give it credit for. This is something that Kathie heavily emphasizes, as she believes that we can carve out our life paths by following our interests and intuition.

Introduction to MBBI

“I got interested in MBBI because I love their mission.” She was introduced to the organization by a friend working with MBBI in Kenya. Since her induction, she has been on the Membership and Engagement Team. Kathie received training in mediation from Dianne Musho Hamilton. Training people at the local level and creating mediators at all levels of society ‘that’s what makes MBBI very attractive to me.She identifies herself as a peacebuilder and points out that peacebuilding consequently comes with the need for mediation.   

A Lifetime of Learning and Rest

While heavily involved in peacebuilding and social justice, Kathie does not just limit herself and has found herself always gravitating towards people with great ideas. “I wanted to be right there with them as they kept unfolding those ideas. I don’t have a specific interest, I consider myself a generalist.” These interests span from the planet, ending world hunger, and self-improvement. In fact, she just graduated from a three-year program studying with a spiritual mystic, learning how to facilitate in those spaces.

And as important as activism is, Kathie also stresses the importance of rest. She highlights the importance of occasionally taking the back seat, and not having to be the “worker bee” all the time. Taking care of oneself, making mistakes, and changing our minds, are all parts of the journey, and must be honored.

Article by Jainaba Gaye, MBBI Writer