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JAMS ADR Insights

JAMS Pathways Neutral Spotlights & Profiles Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

JAMS Pathways Profile: Focus on Chris Kwok

Learn more about JAMS Pathways Neutral Chris Kwok, his motivation for doing Pathways work and how his experience coming to America as an immigrant has shaped his approach to conflict resolution.
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How does your background lend itself to doing JAMS Pathways work?

Coming to America as an immigrant has given me an outsider's perspective on issues. I have found this to be a useful experience and one that I tap into often as I come up with creative solutions to solve problems.

What is your motivation for doing JAMS Pathways work?

Expanding conflict resolution to larger sets of society feels like the next frontier in the ongoing development of dispute resolution. The opportunity to bring conflict resolution skills outside of the mediation box and to implement themin new spaces is highly motivating.

What are the values that resonate most with you?

Good things happen by talking through differences, understanding where divergent views come from and compromising in the spirit of cooperation. I’ve stuck by that philosophy in life, and it’s been largely successful.

What are your (Pathways-related) areas of focus?

With over 15 years of experience at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), I specialize in complex labor and employment disputes within the JAMS Pathways framework. I have a deep understanding of employment law, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. This experience helps me craft innovative solutions in guiding organizations toward resolving conflicts. This is especially important as we have entered into a new era in interpreting civil rights law.

How would you describe your training style?

I’m a big believer in meeting the individuals in the group where they are. It involves getting to know what the group knows and needs to know, and then adjusting the training so that it’s custom-fit to the situation in such a way that we discuss, listen and share rather than talk at each other and wait to talk again.

When did you realize that you would devote your life to helping people overcome conflict and similar challenges?

Early in my career as a volunteer mediator, I settled a case by simply asking the parties what they needed in order to resolve the conflict and move on. The look of surprise on their faces and the resolution that followed shortly thereafter convinced me of the power of reflection and self determination. I felt that working from those principles in my career would be personally fulfilling, and I knew I had found a calling.

What is the best piece of advice you have received?

Gather your skills as you go, like adding arrows to your quiver. Take each opportunity that comes, building one on top of the other, as you make your way to your destination.

Learn more about JAMS Pathways here.

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