Banff Conference Program

2019 Spring Conference Program

Exploring how the unconscious mind sets traps for the unwary mediator

Program sessions and times are subject to change

Pre-Conference – Wednesday, May 29

3:00 – 6:00 PM   Board of Governors Meeting

Thursday – May 30

9:30 – 1:30         Spouse/Guest Companion Activities

Discover Banff Wildlife Tour/Banff Wildlife Tour with Gondola Ride/Johnston Canyon Hike

8:00 – 9:00        Breakfast for All Attendees – Special welcome for New Attendees, Mentees and Ambassadors

9:00 – 10:40      Priming for Success in Mediation

with Professor John Bargh, Founder and Director of the ACME (Automaticity in Cognition, Motivation, and Evaluation) lab, and Professor of Psychology and Management at Yale University

Yale Professor John Bargh, the world’s leading expert on the unconscious mind, its impact on conscious thought and behavior, and its role in decision making, will help us understand how ordinary sights, sounds, words, smells, and even our thoughts, can have a material impact on the decisions we – and our clients and parties – make.  We will then explore how we as mediators can use this understanding to create more successful mediation experiences for ourselves and the parties while avoiding unintended pitfalls.

*Free copy of Dr. Bargh’s groundbreaking book, BEFORE YOU KNOW IT: The Unconscious Reasons We Do What We Do for all attendees!

10:40-11:00        BREAK

11:00-12:15         Junto Session 1

12:15-1:45           Lunch

1:45-3:00            Interdisciplinary Approach To Overcoming Barriers

with moderator Jon Fidler(IAM Distinguished Fellow and IAM Vice President) and panelists Dr. Mark Goulston (former UCLA professor of psychiatry, FBI hostage negotiation trainer and leading authority on deep listening); Rabbi Shaul Osadchey (senior rabbi of Beth Tzedec Congregation, Calgary, co-founder Calgary Jewish-Muslim Council); and Ben Cunningham (Founding partner of Lakeside Mediation Center, former Harris County Sheriff’s Department hostage/crisis negotiator)

We do not have a monopoly on conflict resolution, or conflict resolution techniques.  There is much for us to learn as mediators of legal disputes about how to engage with individuals experiencing honest, and often painfully personal disputes.  With the help of experts in psychology (Dr. Mark Goulston), law enforcement (Ben Cunningham), and spirituality (Rabbi Shaul Osadchey), we will look at how other experts who are similarly faced with individual and group conflicts, bring their own background, training, and experiences to bear.  By understanding how other disciplines approach conflict and seek to overcome barriers to agreement, we can pick up tools and techniques we can incorporate into our own mediations.

3:00-3:40           Surprise PEPP Talk

3:40 – 5:30         Free Time

5:30-6:30           Cocktail Party: Guests Welcome

7:00                      Sign and Dine

Friday – May 31

9:30 – 1/2 PM  Guests/Spouses/Family Companion Tour Buses Depart

Discover Kananaskis Hike · Discover Kootenay Hike

8:00 – 9:00      Breakfast for all attendeesOptional Specialty Breakfast on Diversity in The Mediation Profession

On Friday and Saturday mornings, we will be holding specialty breakfast discussions on topics fundamental to the practice of mediation as a profession.  These discussions are open to all members and are designed to inspire, challenge, and engage our imaginations.

It goes without saying that the mediation profession – particularly with respect to high-paying mediations of complex commercial legal disputes – is embarrassingly bereft of diversity.  One could probably count on one hand the number of African American women mediating complex litigated cases in the entire state of California.  And maybe have some fingers left over.  This lack of diversity – be that with respect to race, age, gender, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, or any other meaningful criteria – hurts mediation as a profession.  But is also deprives some parties of mediators who may be better able to relate to them or their circumstances, and hence be better able to mediate their dispute.  This breakfast discussion will focus on the implications of today’s state of the mediation profession, and then look to what we as mediators can do personally to address this situation.

9:00 – 10:30    Understanding Fast and Slow Thinking and Unconscious Emotional Decision Making

With Professor Cendri Hutcherson, director of the Decision Neuroscience Laboratory,   and Professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto

Professor Cendri Hutcherson, the director of the Decision Neuroscience Laboratory and Professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto, and leading expert on the hidden influences on decision-making, will help us understand the basic principles of Fast and Slow thinking as described in Daniel Kahneman’s seminal book.  From that foundation, Professor Hutcherson will explore how this dichotomy impacts decision-making, how it plays out in mediation, and what we can do with this understanding to help parties make better decisions.  Among other topics, Professor Hutcherson will look at the circumstances mediators often face of engaging with parties who are stuck in an emotional decision-making state, and explore ways of addressing it.

10:30-11:00     BREAK

11:00-11:15       PEPP Talk 2 Talking to Crazy: How to Deal with the Irrational and Impossible People in Your Life with Dr. Mark Goulston

Dr. Mark Goulston presents Talking to Crazy: How to Deal with the Irrational and Impossible People in Your Life. How do you talk to someone who’s out of control?  What can you do with a boss who bullies, a spouse who yells, or a friend who frequently bursts into tears?  How do you negotiate with crazy?  Dr. Goulston will share his formula for getting through to the resistant people in our lives and mediations.

11:15-12:30      Junto Sessions

12:30-1:30       Lunch

2:00-3:00       Grieving over Settlement with Dwight Golan, IAM Scholar in Residence

IAM Scholar In Residence and Suffolk University law professor Dwight Golann will explore the relationship between mediation and the parties’ sense of loss.  For instance, why are parties’ perceptions of loss in settlement so common and so strong?  How do these feelings of loss create obstacles to resolution?  And perhaps most importantly, how can mediators lessen the parties’ perceptions of loss and the feelings they generate, work with lawyers who may welcome or reject mediator “therapizing”, and deal with the dysfunctional bargaining behaviors created by the sense of loss to guide disputants to settlement.

3:10-4:30        Mediator Self-Awareness and Unconscious Cultural Biases

With Stephanie Blondell, Professor of Law and Associate Director of Pepperdine’s Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution; Sukhsimranjit Singh, Managing Director of Pepperdine’s Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, Director LLM Program, Professor of Law and Practice; Steve Rottman, IAM Distinguished Fellow.

Mediators regularly face the challenge of staying neutral in the face of difficult dynamics that often challenge our neutrality.  Sometimes these challenges are obvious – mediating with offensive people or parties whose very world view or business is antithetical to our own.  Yes, neo-Nazi white supremacists, unapologetic misogynists, and just your average a-holes get into legal disputes and come to mediation seeking our help.  With the help of Straus Institute Professor Stephanie Blondell, Straus Managing Director and Professor Sukhsimranjit Singh, and Straus adjunct professor and IAM Distinguished Fellow Steve Rottman, we will examine the explicit and implicit forces that can challenge our neutrality. We will look at how we can check in with ourselves as we mediate to ensure we are maintaining neutrality during contentious sessions, and we will develop strategies for maintaining a sense of balance and fairness when our biases are being triggered.

4:30-6:00       Free time

6:00-9:00       Cocktails and Banquet

Because we are in the relaxed mountain atmosphere of Banff, this year’s dress code for our banquet will be Smart Casual, meaning coats, ties, jackets are not required.  In addition, this evening will mark a surprise in musical entertainment from IAM’s new house band The New Trolls.

Saturday – June 1

8:00 – 9:00   Breakfast for all attendees – Optional Specialty Breakfast on the State of Mediation…And Its Future

As has been discussed from time to time on the IAM listserv, there is a growing dissatisfaction with the direction our mediation process has moved over the years as attorneys become more familiar with – and seek to control – the process.  This is not just a California phenomenon, though it is certainly prominent in that state.  From the disappearance of joint sessions to the slowly eroding participation of parties themselves, to the expectation that mediators will simply help lawyers negotiate rather than actually mediate, our profession is changing, and some may say under attack.  This specialty breakfast will look at how the mediation process is evolving, why it is happening, and what if anything can be done about it.

9:00 – 1:00    Bus trip for Attendees and Guests to Lake Louise (must be pre-registered)

Enjoy a relaxed morning bus drive to Lake Louise where you will have time for a walk around the hotel and the lake. Take in the breath-taking views of incredible scenery. A delicious BBQ lunch will be served at 11:30. After lunch, enjoy more free time to discover this special place with outdoor pursuits: hike, rent a canoe or try horseback riding! If you prefer, the Château Lake Louise has various shops, lounges, restaurants and fabulous architecture that will impress you for hours.

A selection of transport options will be available for those who would want to go straight back to Banff or alternatively take a quick stop via Moraine Lake, one of the most iconic and photographed lakes in Banff National Park.

1:00                  Conference Concludes