By:  Rob Daisley, IAM Distinguished Fellow & Membership Chair


Members of the International Academy of Mediators feel privileged to be peers with many of the most knowledgeable, experienced and dedicated mediators in the world.  Many of us, though, may not be sure of the process for becoming an IAM member.  What exactly is the process for joining?  And what are the minimum requirements for membership?

Bringing qualified new members into the Academy is important to encourage diversity, long-term sustainability of the organization, and to rejuvenate our collective spirit.  We all appreciate having been recruited to join.  We now hope to pay that forward in a way that will enable IAM to continue to thrive for decades to come.

Thanks in large part to the tremendous work of the Membership Task Force led by Eric Galton and Marvin Johnson, we are now pleased to announce several changes implemented by the Board aimed at clarifying the path to IAM membership.

As always, the Academy is an invitation-only organization, consisting solely of professional commercial mediators who are well-established and recognized in their local or regional communities as leading mediators in the field.  We are dedicated to inclusiveness and diversity across a wide spectrum.  Recruiting new members to IAM is a member-driven process.  The Membership Committee, which Rob Daisley chairs, and our new Recruiting Committee, led by Jeff Hand, serve to assist members in identifying mediators who meet the criteria for an invitation by the Board of Governors to join as Fellows or Distinguished Fellows.

To assist members in better understanding our membership criteria, please click here.  Those criteria reveal our high standards for becoming a part of the Academy, focusing on the mediation experience of potential new members.  The posted criteria reflect only the minimum levels of experience for consideration.  In addition, potential new members (Nominees) must be sponsored by two Distinguished Fellows (Sponsors) who have been members of IAM for at least two years or attendees at a minimum of four conferences.

Before the Board may invite a new member to join, the Sponsors submit a Nomination form that includes a brief summary of the Nominee’s experience and qualifications, and importantly, the Sponsors’ substantive attestation that the Nominee meets the criteria for becoming a Fellow or Distinguished Fellow of IAM.  Although the Nominee will assist the Sponsors in completing the form, only Sponsors may submit a Nomination form.  This reflects a procedural change designed to clarify the leading role of sponsors in identifying and vetting potential new members.  In submitting a Nomination, Sponsors vouch that their Nominee is a leading mediator who can be expected both to make meaningful contributions to the Academy and to benefit from the collegiality and exchange of ideas that we enjoy at conferences and throughout the year.

In fact, the process for becoming a new member begins long before Sponsors submit a Nomination form.  As always, attendance at a conference is a prerequisite for someone to be nominated for membership.  All members are encouraged to invite guests to attend conferences, as Delegates.  If a Delegate is a potential new member, i.e., a recruit, please coordinate with the Recruiting Chair Jeff Hand ( before extending an invitation.  We want to make sure that those mediators who are invited to conferences as recruits are indeed qualified to begin the path to membership.  We also, of course, want to keep track of where we stand in recruiting potential new members, especially with respect to our geographic, gender and cultural diversity efforts.

We also encourage members to continue to invite Delegates who might not be on a path toward membership to attend conferences.  We have had many Delegates over the years who were not professional commercial mediators but shared a serious interest in the field and brought interesting perspectives to the conference.

Ambassadors will continue to be assigned to all non-member attendees, readily identified by their “Delegate” badges at conferences.  The Recruiting and Membership Committees will work closely with Ambassadors who are assigned to those Delegates who are recruits.  All members, of course, will continue to provide a warm welcome to all Delegates.

What about mediators interested in IAM who do not know any current members?  Typically, they reach out to the Executive Director with an inquiry about membership.  The Executive Director will let the inquirer know the basics about our membership process and encourage the prospect to identify an IAM member in his or her local area who can provide information about IAM, coordinate with the Recruiting Chair, and if appropriate, invite that mediator to attend a conference as a recruit.  This is our IAM; we all serve as ambassadors for the Academy whether formally designated as such or not.

What about people who are just starting out as mediators, as with those who move into the mediation field from another professional career?  We want to encourage those with the potential to become qualified members to consider the Mentorship Program.  The Mentorship Program, chaired by Wendy Kramer, is also member-driven.  If you are aware of someone who might be a good candidate, please let Wendy know (  The Mentorship Program can provide a pathway to membership, for after mentees gain the requisite experience as mediators, they may be sponsored to become Fellows or Distinguished Fellows under the same nomination process outlined above.

If members have questions or would like more information on how you can help with IAM’s membership efforts, please contact our Membership Chair, Rob Daisley, at