President's Message

March 18, 2015

Member of ACR-GNY:

As my tenure as president of ACR-GNY comes to a close, I wanted to write and reflect on the organization and how far we have come in the last many years.  I joined the board in 2007 - eight months pregnant with my son Isaac.  How funny now to think that I would think to join a board when I was eight months pregnant!  I remember waddling into my first meeting well and the friendly faces of fellow colleagues and welcoming board members whom I now call friends. 

I have learned a great deal and grown from these individuals many of you and the many experiences I have had at ACR-GNY.  The membership has grown considerably since I joined, up about 200%.  And the atmosphere was different, or maybe I was just younger. The roundtable breakfasts were actually at a round table, back then!    

The Association for Conflict Resolution of Greater New York stands out in my mind as the organization for professionals that does what mediators do. We accept everyone, were omni-partial and we are genuinely curious about the different ways in which the field is expanding. I find the flexibility of our organization to be inspiring: if you feel passionate about something, then we would like to see you present on it. If you have something to say, well then we want to hear about it were professional listeners after all! Our John Jay breakfast collaboration reaches far and wide into this field, and to me, boasts most diverse speakers around.  (Thank you Maria Volpe and Julie Denny!)

Our Annual Conference , a collaboration with Cardozo Law School (June 18th - dont miss it!), is my favorite conference that I attend all year.  This local conference has an international reach: it has begun to draw more and more people from out of town who are coming to see what the New Yorkers are putting together. I love to see so many arbitrators, mediators, facilitators, trainers, lawyers, social works, psychologists, community folks - all coming together with the same passion for working on conflict in the world. 

My mediation community has come to revolve around ACR-GNY as it has grown into a rich resource of professional and personal connections. As president, and also as a member, I hope that this is true for everyone who joins our organization. I feel humbled and honored to have served as Membership Chair (2005 - 2011), as Conference Co-Chair (2013) with Jeff Thompson, as Incoming President (2011-2013) where I worked to support our president Shiela Sproule through many board changes, and as President (2013-2015).  I look forward to supporting Denise Shaw, our next president, as she leads the way forward. 

The board has changed in many ways over the past years, and as I sit in the meetings, watching everyone working to put together interesting ideas and programs I feel blessed to have been a part of it. 

Thank you ACR-GNY. 


Elizabeth Clemants

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