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JAMS Pathways Profile: Focus on Genesis Fisher

Learn more about JAMS Pathways Neutral Genesis Fisher, her work values and the moment she knew she would spend her life resolving conflict
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How does your background lend itself to doing JAMS Pathways work?

I've been motivated to do this work for decades. When I was growing up, my mother worked in a toxic work environment. So much so that when she got home, she needed an hour to herself to recharge. We missed her during that time. I know the very real toll that a tense workplace takes on an organization, a team, an individual and the people in their lives. Second, my work experience—as an attorney, a union representative, a business owner, and a professor—helps me understand a range of perspectives and see a bounty of options.

What is your motivation for doing JAMS Pathways work?

That “aha!” moment when parties can see a way to sync their values with their position. I love mediating because, no matter the result, the participants are usually better for having participated in the process.

What are the values that resonate most with you?

Whether it’s about an employee’s rights or an owner protecting a hard-earned reputation and business, supporting advocacy and change through meaningful and inclusive conversations is important to me.

What are your Pathways-related areas of focus?

Most of my Pathways areas of focus are in workplace dispute resolution. My experience resonates most with nonprofits/NGOs and the government.

How would you describe your training style?

Patient, curious, thorough and creative. People need to feel heard and understood before we can delve into the strengths and weaknesses of their positions and look for possible solutions. Where mediators excel is in the ability to hold opposing stories as true and explain points in ways that meet the parties where they are.

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

I have a very unusual ADR origin story. The short version: On my walk home one day, I saw some people arguing and felt compelled to intervene. I talked them through their issues and helped craft a solution where they could enjoy the rest of their night. The whole conversation couldn’t have been more than 10 minutes. It was the spark that led to my ADR career.

What professional accomplishments are you most proud of?

Three accomplishments in particular stand out to me: one, becoming the director of New York Law School’s Mediation Clinic; two, joining JAMS and JAMS Pathways; and three, my term as president of the board of directors for the Association for Conflict Resolution, Greater New York Chapter [ACR-GNY]. When I first became interested in mediation, I went to an ACR-GNY event and felt so welcomed by the community. To be able to join the board and then eventually become president felt like things had come full circle.

What is the best piece of advice you have received?

You can’t grab an opportunity after it walks past you. Say yes and figure it out later.

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