Our Trainers

Catherine Conner

Catherine Conner has been a mediation and collaborative practice trainer since 2004. She is a frequent presenter at collaborative conferences and family law workshops. She authored Collaborative Practice Materials with Steven Neustadter and Margaret Anderson. Catherine Conner’s private practice focuses on family law alternate dispute resolution, including mediation, collaborative practice, and private judging. She graduated from the University of California, Boalt Hall in 1982 and is a founding partner of Conner, Lawrence, Rodney, Olhiser & Barrett, LLP. In 1992, Catherine became a Certified Family Law Specialist and has since been honored as the recipient of the Rex Sater Award for Excellence in Family Law.  She was on the Board of Directors of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals from 2007-2014 and served as the President in 2013.

Learn more about Catherine Conner  View Catherine’s CV

Norman Fischer

Norman FischerNorman Fischer is a poet, author, Zen Buddhist priest and former abbot of the San Francisco Zen Center. As founder of the Everyday Zen Foundation (www.everydayzen.org), his work with meditation practice has taken him into many corners of contemporary American life including the arts, education, hospice training, education, and lawyering as a spiritual path. Recently, he began offering meditation training to engineers at Google. Norman has worked with the Center for Understanding in Conflict on inquiries that focus on bringing the calmness and insight of meditation practice directly into conflict situations. His latest book is Sailing Home: Using the Wisdom of the Odyssey to Navigate Life’s Perils and Pitfalls (from Simon and Schuster, June 2008).

Chris Fortin

chris-fortin-head-shotChris Fortin is a Soto Zen teacher and a licensed MFT psychotherapist and Spiritual Counselor. She began practicing Buddhism in 1976 while living at the San Francisco Zen Center. After many years of practice she received Dharma Transmission from Zoketsu Norman Fischer of Everyday Zen, in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. She began her private counseling practice in 1985, integrating psychotherapy and spirituality.

Chris established Dharma Heart Zen to share the path of wholehearted living and awakening with others (www.dharmaheartzen.com). She leads the Dharma Heart Zen Sangha in Cotati and the Woman’s Lotus Sangha in Sebastopol. She practices and teaches in the Everyday Zen community. She is guiding teacher of Sky Island Zen in Tuscon Arizona, and leads retreats and workshops throughout the country. She is the co- founder of Veterans PATH (formerly Honoring the Path of the Warrior), offering retreats and meditation and mindfulness practices for returning veterans.

Gary J. Friedman

Gary Friedman Gary J. Friedman has been practicing law as a mediator with Mediation Law Offices in Mill Valley, California since 1976, integrating mediative principles into the practice of law and the resolution of legal disputes. Co-founder of the Center for Understanding in Conflict (formerly the Center for Mediation in Law), he has been teaching mediation since 1980.Prior to his work as a mediator, he practiced law as a trial lawyer with Friedman and Friedman in Bridgeport, Connecticut. After several years as an advocate, he sought a new approach to resolving disputes through increasing the participation of the parties in the resolution of their differences. At that time, he and his colleague, Jack Himmelstein, began to develop the Understanding-based model that is now practiced extensively in the United States and Europe. As one of the first lawyer mediators and a primary force in the current mediation movement, he has used this model to complete over one thousand mediations in the last two decades, including numerous two-party and multi-party disputes in the commercial and non-profit realms, in the area of intellectual property, real estate, corporate, personnel, partnership formations and dissolutions, and family law.

Learn more about Gary Friedman  View Gary’s CV

 Jack Himmelstein

Jack Himmelstein
Jack Himmelstein is co-founder of the Center for Understanding in Conflict, a national non-profit educational institute which trains lawyers and other professionals in the Understanding-based model of conflict resolution, based in New York and California.For the past 30 years, Jack has conducted introductory and advanced trainings in this approach to resolving conflict throughout the United States, as well as in Europe and Israel for lawyers, psychologists, teachers and other professionals who work with conflict and teach in the field. For the last several years, the trainings have implemented this approach into the teaching of collaborative practice, focusing on the work of lawyers, psychologists (coaches), child specialists, and financial professionals. He also practices mediation in business, family, non-profit and other contexts.


Learn more about Jack Himmelstein  View Jack’s CV

Katherine Eisold Miller

Katherine Eisold Miller is an attorney practicing mediation and collaborative practice in Westchester County, NY. She has been practicing family law since 1987, first as a litigator and now exclusively outside the court system. She has taught family law at the White Institute and NYU as well as with the Center and lectures regularly on mediation and collaborative practice. She is a Board member of the New York Association of Collaborative Professionals.


Learn More about Katherine Eisold Miller  View Katherine’s CV

Stacey Shuster

Stacey Shuster, Ph.D. is a psychologist-mediator in full-time private practice in San Francisco. Trained as a couple, family and child therapist, she has worked at the AIDS Family Project in San Francisco and taught Family Therapy at a number of local graduate programs, including the Department of Psychiatry at California Pacific Medical Center. She is a trained mediator and collaborative coach, and helps separating and divorcing families as a co-parent counselor. Most recently, she has enjoyed working together with attorneys in co-mediation.

Stacey has presented at a number of national professional conferences on issues related to same-sex divorce and co-parenting challenges, as well as on Integrative Mediation.

Sequoia Stalder

sequoia-stalder-smallSequoia Stalder is a mediator and attorney with over a decade of experience mediating complex and high-conflict cases.  Having mediated over a thousand cases, he has dedicated his career to the non-adversarial resolution of conflict and is a recognized expert in the mediation and conflict management field.  Sequoia’s approach focuses on the interpersonal dimensions of conflict and the key role that communication dynamics and ongoing relationships play in mitigating and resolving disputes.

Lacey Wilson

Lacey Wilson is the Programs Coordinator at SEEDS Community Resolution Center. She worked for seven years as an educator then transitioned to the legal profession in legal support positions at Camille King Collaborative Law & Mediation and Disability Rights California, respectively. She believes at the core of change is solid relationship building and has a serious passion for restorative practices, particularly within marginalized communities, education, and law. In addition to her work at SEEDS, Lacey serves as a Board Member and as one of six team members developing an intensive racial and cultural conflict training program with CUC.

Born and raised in the Austin, Texas area, Lacey made her way to the Bay in August 2015. She’s a published author and spends her free time working on creative writing and DIY projects or in the company of friends over coffee, boba tea, good food, or a hike in the redwoods! Lacey studied Special Education at Texas State University and received her mediation certifications at SEEDS and the Center for Understanding in Conflict in 2016.  As a lifelong learner, she is continuously seeking out communities willing to have courageous conversations around cultural awareness and social change.