Keisha Stoute is a mediator and Conflict Management Consultant at Stoute Mediation. Stoute believes in managing conflict with confidence. She conducts mediation for custody and divorce cases, business disputes, workplace grievances and facilitates conflict management training.

(Photo Courtesy of Keisha Stoute)

(Photo Courtesy of Keisha Stoute)

Stoute holds a Custody & Divorce Mediation Certificate & Mediation Training Certificate from Center for Conflict Resolution, Chicago, Illinois (CCR),  a master’s degree in professional counseling from Illinois School for Professional Psychology, Argosy University, Chicago and a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina.

What are the scope and responsibilities of your current role?

“Mediators establish rapport with clients, assess needs and concerns, develop a course of action, facilitate mediation sessions, assist parties in reaching a settlement and compose agreements. Duties also include collaborating and maintaining relationships with attorneys, judges and other professionals.”

“Successful mediators must have patience, a passion for helping others, organizational skills and veteran mentorship. They also need to possess excellent negotiation, creative problem solving and effective communication skills to deal with diverse issues and difficult personalities. Additionally, mediators have some legal knowledge to better understand individual cases and how the law applies.”

“Mediating can be challenging because oftentimes parties have difficulty compromising. When facing resistance from one or both parties, mediators can provide a reality check for clients while offering guidance and perspective. Issues that do not get resolved usually go to trial, which cost clients more money, and the outcome may not be favorable. As a conflict management consultant, I assist clients in resolving and reducing conflict and facilitate conflict management training by educating participants on effective strategies and techniques.”

What is your favorite part of your daily duties?

“I love seeing clients reach an agreement and resolve disputes, especially in challenging cases when it is clear my services helped to make a difference. The feeling is very satisfying and rewarding.”

Do you feel your education prepared you for your current role?

“To be a mediator, mediation certifications and proper experience are required. I believe that my advanced degree helps me to handle challenging cases that possess sensitive issues and dysfunctional behavior. The mediation certifications coupled with direct mediation experience in court have prepared me for this career.”

Do you have any advice for people who desire to pursue a similar career?

“Non-attorney mediators will face some challenges to break into a field that is dominated by attorneys and retired judges. The key to making a name for yourself in mediation is to network, develop credibility by establishing a proven track record of your work and to obtain recommendations. Creating a referral source is vital to the growth of your practice.”

Michelle Guilbeau is a writer, reviewer, teacher and business owner. She also has experience in school administration, literacy coaching and is proud founder of CraftKitsForKids.com and MichelleGuilbeau.com Michelle enjoys sharing her knowledge of cities, food, travel, education and parenting issues with her readers. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.