I vividly remember the first dispute that I mediated. I was 10 years old. My parents were engaged in a spirited discussion that was probably very common in middle class families during the recession-drenched 1980s. The fact that my parents were participating in this “mediation” with neither their consent nor knowledge did little to dampen my enthusiasm. As my parents meandered through a variety of (heated) talking points, I did what what any conflict-averse 10-year old would do in this situation. I surreptitiously recorded their argument on my Panasonic tape recorder in an attempt to give them an objective look at the conflict at hand.
After presenting my parents with my recording, several significant events occurred. First and foremost, I realized it was not a good idea to clandestinely tape record your parents if you wished to have a working Panasonic tape reorder past your 11th birthday. Secondly, in the weeks and months following my intervention, my parents ultimately resolved their conflict. While many may claim that the Reagan era tax cuts had a great deal to do with this new found familial harmony, I am a firm believer that my conflict resolution skills played a significant role.
Semantics aside, I learned a very valuable lesson (actually, two valuable lessons if you count the tape recorder). It became apparent to me that a third-party neutral can play a integral role in the process of conflict resolution, no matter how complicated, personal and/or far-reaching that the issues may feel to those enveloped in the conflict.
Approximately 30 years have passed between this realization and the founding of the George Milton Group, but in between these two seminal moments my education, professional development, and personal experiences have done nothing but reinforced this belief.
After graduating Cum Laude from Syracuse University with a bachelors degree in Psychology, with a concentration in Developmental/Educational Psych., I attended the Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law, where I geared my studies toward contracts, negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and agency. In 1999, I spent a year as a visiting scholar at Suffolk University in Boston, before returning to Washington, D.C. to earn my Juris Doctor from Catholic. In 2015, I received my Rule 1:40 training in both civil and family mediation through the New Jersey Association of Professional Mediators.
As an NJAPM-trained mediator, I have received over 40 hours of training in in both Civil and Family Mediation in compliance with New Jersey Court Rule 1:40, which governs the mediation process in the state of New Jersey. In addition to my training, my professional development in the area of mediation and conflict resolution enables me to facilitate conflict resolution strategies both at the courthouse and in private practice. As member of the New Jersey Superior Court – Monmouth County Vicinage mediation team, I routinely put my skills to practical use in the Special Civil Division, mediating cases that range from complex contract actions to personal disputes. As a member of George Milton Group’s mediation team, I am able to expand the practical application of my conflict resolution skills by not only helping clients work through traditional legal conflict, but also helping communities and families utilize professional mediation to work through quality of life issues and interpersonal conflict.
Prior to the formation of the George Milton Group, I spent a decade as a senior executive in the sports and entertainment industry focusing on contract negotiation and risk management strategies. As Senior Vice President at Admit One, a $75M live event ticket company based in New York City, I was responsible for the implementation of the company’s risk management strategies, as well as the creation of their fraud prevention protocols. Prior to that, I served as the Managing Director of the Caribbean-based Breakaway Corporation, a $250M development company that produced casino and sports gaming software and products. At Breakaway, I was responsible for managing the business operations and risk management strategies, as well as representing the Executive Board in all communication with local government and foreign administrative agencies. I also had the opportunity to serve on the negotiation team and function as the chief liaison with the AIM-listed London-based corporation which purchased the company in 2006.
In addition to serving as an executive level strategist, I worked in the education industry, with a focus on both external and internal relations. At the Northeast Conference, an NCAA Division I athletic conference, I was the Director of External Relations, where I negotiated, drafted, and executed contracts and vendor agreements on behalf of the league and member institutions. Additionally, I served as an instructor, advisor, and ombudsman at Gibbs College, a two-year college located in northern New Jersey.