Kristina Taylor (President)

Kristina has a background in psychology and conflict resolution and currently works as a professor, counselor, and conflict coach. She is interested in using neuropsychology principles to enhance ADR practices. She received her Ph.D in conflict resolution from Nova Southeastern University 

Rick Ruffing (Treasurer)

Mr. Ruffing graduated from Loyola University Chicago with his Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Science in Accountancy.  Mr. Ruffing is a Manager at Stout Risius Ross, Inc.  He focuses on financial analysis, forensic accounting, economic damages determination, and financial investigations.

Whitney Trumble (Secretary)

Whitney Trumble has been with the Center for Conflict Resolution (CCR) for more than 5 years, serving first with Cook County Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program and now as CCR’s Finance and Operations Director. She has a background in international development, women’s human rights and Spanish. Before CCR, Whitney  completed her Master’s program from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs in 2009 and returned to her home state of Illinois to work for Resolution Systems Institute on their online resource center ( Whitney also serves as Lead Volunteer for Outreach & Grants for the American Red Cross Restoring Family Links program. 

Board Members

Robert W. Berliner

Robert W. Berliner, Jr., is a practicing mediator and an accomplished attorney, and has been a principal in many real estate and other business ventures. As an attorney, he has represented businesses of all types and sizes, including manufacturers, distribution companies, real estate developers and investors, contractors, financial institutions, and retailers. With more than 30 years of legal and business experience, he brings an exceptional array of skills and insights to the mediation process, his law clients and the real estate marketplace. His areas of particular mediation expertise are business, real estate, construction, estates and bankruptcy.

Ian Bucciarelli

Ian Bucciarelli has taught Negotiation and Mediation courses at The John Marshall Law School and the University of Strathclyde in Scotland. He has also instructed American Bar Association Alternative Dispute Resolution competition teams at John Marshall and Chicago Kent Law School to national recognition. He works is in the animal advocacy nonprofit sector. He has experience in litigation, finance, and automobile sales.  He received his J.D. from The John Marshall Law School and B.S. in Human Resource Management and Finance from Loyola University (Chicago).

Joe Dillon, MBA

As a child of divorce, Joe witnessed first-hand the damage a litigated divorce can do. He combined his personal experiences with divorce and his 20+ years in law and finance to open Equitable Mediation Services which provides divorce mediation services to clients in Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Colorado and California.Joe holds a Master’s degree in Finance, and has completed formal training in negotiation and mediation from Harvard University, MIT, Northwestern University, the New Jersey Association of Professional Mediators, and the Institute for Continuing Legal Education.Joe may be reached via e-mail.

Shafiq Hemani

Shafiq is a pro bono mediator with the Aga Khan Conciliation and Arbitration Board (CAB).  He served as a Board Member of CAB for the Midwest United States from 2009–2015.  Currently, Shafiq continues to support CAB’s work mediating commercial and matrimonial disputes involving members of the Ismaili Muslim community.  Professionally, Shafiq is a Technology Manager for the Bank of Montreal.  He holds an MBA from DePaul University and BBA from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Kent Lawrence

For forty five years Kent Lawrence has been in the private practice of law.  He is experienced in construction, commercial, and securities matters but has also represented clients in a number of other fields, both in dispute resolution and documentation of transactions. He has served as an arbitrator in over 60 cases since 1974.  Since 1996 he has served as a mediator in over 150 matters.  These included cases in the Circuit Court in DuPage and Cook County (Law and Chancery): 77% resulted in full or partial settlement (86% Circuit Court cases; 88% securities cases). See,;

Corinne “Cookie” Levitz, J.D.

Cookie has been involved in the mediation field since 1978.  She is employed as a supervisor and family mediator of parenting disputes for the Circuit Court of Cook County. Cookie has been an adjunct faculty member at several area law schools since 1987, including Chicago-Kent and Loyola where she teaches Mediation and Child & Family Law Mediation. Cookie has had an on-going involvement with the Center for Conflict Resolution in Chicago since 1978 where she serves as a mediation and conflict resolution trainer, and volunteer mediator and facilitator.

Mark Mayer (Past President)

Mark Mayer works in dispute resolution as a litigator, mediator and arbitrator. As a litigator, he handles a wide variety of matters in personal injury, commercial and other areas. Having trained and certified as a mediator at Northwestern University and the Center for Conflict Resolution, he mediates with private parties and at the Center for Conflict Resolution. He is on the roster for the Cook County Law Division Court-Annexed Civil Mediation program, Resolute Systems and He serves on Cook County Mandatory Arbitration panels and arbitrates for insurance companies and private parties. He received his J.D. from IIT/Chicago-Kent College of Law and B.A. (Magna Cum Laude) from Loyola University Chicago.

Patty Stiles  (Immediate Past President)

Patty Stiles is the recent past-president of ACR-Chicago, and a 2015 Tri-Chair of the ACR-National Workplace Section. She is an ADR practitioner, utilizing Conflict Management Coaching, Relationship Coaching, Mediation, Peace/Talking Circles, and is training as a Consulting Ombuds.  She is also trained and experienced in the Collaborative Law model, and is a former litigation attorney and long-time arbitrator. Her additional background and experience is in Teaching, Psychology, Business and Ministry. Patty has served on the ACR-Chicago Board of Directors since 2013; and on the Programming Committee since 2010, creating monthly educational programs for the Chicago ADR community 

Past Presidents

Ross Edwards 

Ross Edwards is a civil litigator with the law firm Merlo Kanofsky Gregg & Machalinski, Ltd. As a litigator, Ross has seen first hand how lawsuits can be costly and ineffective for people and businesses embroiled in conflict, especially when an ongoing relationship is on the line. Wanting to add value and save his clients time and money, Ross sought and received mediation training from the Center for Conflict Resolution in Chicago. Ross has handled many meditations on behalf of his clients as an advocate. However, he is now expanding his practice to serve as a mediator and to provide other forms of alternative conflict resolution services to the public. Ross received his J.D., cum laude, from IIT/Chicago-Kent College of Law, and his B.S. in Public Affairs from Indiana University.

Mac Steele

Mac Steele is the Volunteer Director and Associate Development Director at the Center for Conflict Resolution. He receiped a Master of Public Administration degree from University of Illinois at Chicago in 2013. Mac is a mediator, trainer, presenter, coach and facilitator with experience in a number of practice areas of conflict resolution, including mediation in civil matters, family mediation, schools-based mediation, lemon law arbitration, foreclosure mediation, TBLG issues, and restorative justice. Mac has non-profit administration experience in volunteer management, case management, program development, event planning, project management and fundraising. Before moving to Chicago in 2010, Mac worked at the Safe Horizon Mediation Program (now known as the New York Peace Institute)  where he coordinated mediation, conflict resolution, and communication skills trainings. Mac attended Western Michigan University where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Arts Administration. 

Mark Mayer

See above for biography.

Sally Drucker
As founder and principal of Drucker Mediation Services, LLC, Sally Drucker practices mediation, facilitation and conflict coaching specializing in small business/partnerships, family, elder care and estate planning matters. In addition, she is a volunteer mediator for the Cook County Foreclosure mediation program. She joined the board of ACR, Chicago in 2008 and has served as Program Chair and Membership Chair. She received her conflict resolution training at Northwestern University’s School of Continuing Studies, the Center for Conflict Resolution and advanced training in divorce, elder and conflict coaching. She received her B.A. from Pomona College.

Audrey J. Lee  

Audrey J. Lee is the Principal of Perspectiva LLC and specializes in the design and implementation of corporate education programs in communication, negotiation, diversity, and professionalism. Through her consulting practice, Audrey has facilitated workshops for groups such as the Harvard Negotiation Institute, Jenner & Block, Deutsche Bank, the University of Chicago, the Commission on Professionalism of the Illinois Supreme Court, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Audrey teaches negotiation skills and strategies to law students as an Adjunct Professor at Northwestern University School of Law and DePaul University College of Law. She has been certified as a mediator through the Harvard Mediation Program and the Center for Conflict Resolution and mediates a variety of cases. Prior to her consulting work, Audrey practiced law as an intellectual property and litigation attorney at Winston & Strawn in Chicago and Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York. Audrey is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law

Mary Ellen LaCien 
Mary Ellen LaCien is a mediator, facilitator and trainer. For over 20 years she has worked in the labor and employment field as a neutral. She has been a mediator for 14 years, including nine years as a Federal Mediator with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. She has mediated over 500 collective bargaining and employment disputes in the private, public and federal sector. She has also designed programs and trained parties in improving their labor management relationship. 
Currently she is co-director of Constructive Conflict Associates, a mediation and training practice which focuses on labor and employment issues in the private, public and federal sector. She has been a lecturer at the Institute for Human Resources and Industrial Relations, School of Business Administration, Loyola University and an instructor at the Office of Personnel Management Eastern Region. Mary Ellen received her MSIR from Loyola University.
Elizabeth Vastine 
Since 1994, Elizabeth has practiced and trained in the field of conflict resolution. Elizabeth’s current firm, The Stone Vastine Group, focuses on helping individuals, couples, families, organizations, and communities in resolving conflict, building consensus, enhancing communication, and healing, through mediation and restorative processes. Elizabeth designs curriculum and provides training in conflict resolution and restorative practices in a variety of settings, including volunteer and community organizations, social service agencies, treatment facilities, group homes, academic institutions, law enforcement agencies, and the juvenile justice system. For several years, Elizabeth served as Executive Director of the Neighborhood Restorative Justice Institute, Inc., which developed and managed the Cook County Victim Offender Conferencing Project and other restorative programs throughout Cook County, Illinois. Elizabeth is active in the conflict resolution community through her service and participation on boards, as a trainer, and as a frequent speaker at national and international conferences. She is also an adjunct professor at DePaul University School for New Learning where she co-instructs a restorative peacemaking course and a juvenile justice class. Her memberships include the Association for Conflict Resolution, Chicago Area Chapter; Mediation Council of Illinois; Wisconsin Association of Mediators; Victim Offender Mediation Association; and the Chicago Bar Association. Elizabeth received her law degree from the Dickinson School of Law, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and graduated with honors from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Elizabeth Simon
Elizabeth Simon has worked as a mediator and arbitrator since 2001, primarily in labor and employment matters. She is Assistant Director of ADR for the Center for Advocacy and Dispute Resolution at The John Marshall Law School, where she teaches ADR, mediation, and mediation advocacy. She serves as an arbitrator for FMCS (labor panel), FINRA, and the Cook County Circuit Court. She is also a contract mediator for the EEOC and mediates for the Federal Executive Board. Prior to joining the law school, Elizabeth designed and operated a dispute resolution program at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). As the FAA’s ADR Program Manager, she handled over 150 EEO cases, almost two-thirds of which were resolved through some form of ADR process. 
Before becoming a full-time neutral, Elizabeth represented plaintiffs and defendants for over 16 years in a variety of EEO-related litigation and other employment-related transactional matters. For 10 years, she handled employment and labor matters for FMC Corporation, a Fortune 150 Company with diversified manufacturing, chemicals and defense businesses. 
She has also represented clients in the public sector, the airline industry and in health care. 
Elizabeth is a past president of the Chicago Chapter of the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR) and currently serves on their Board of Directors. She is a mediator, trainer and peer reviewer for the Center for Conflict Resolution and a member of the Labor & Employment Law Section and ADR Sections of the ABA, CBA and ISBA. Elizabeth received her law degree from Loyola University School of Law and her undergraduate degree from Vassar College.
Lorna Lucken Steuer
Lorna Lucken Steuer joined the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2001 as a Mediator in the Chicago District Office. In 2006 she was recognized as one of the top mediators in the EEOC nationwide and received a gold medal for that achievement. Prior to joining the EEOC, Ms. Steuer had a neutral practice in which she served as a mediator, arbitrator and consultant for various governmental agencies, organizations and small businesses including the EEOC, Chicago District Office, the Illinois Department of Human Rights, the Circuit Court of Cook County, the Center for Conflict Resolution, the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD), the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), and the Better Business Bureau for Chicago and Northern Illinois. To date, Ms. Steuer has conducted over 600 mediations as well as numerous arbitrations and undergone and given over 400 hours of training and coaching in mediation techniques, dispute resolution design and arbitration. Prior to developing her neutral practice, Ms. Steuer worked in the private sector at small and large law firms as well as in the public sector at the Circuit Court of Cook County. Ms. Steuer has been a speaker on mediation at EEOC Training and Technical Assistance Programs, a panelist on a TV program entitled “Resolving Workplace Disputes,” and a guest lecturer, trainer, and coach in mediation techniques and advocacy for numerous undergraduate and graduate institutions including Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Chicago-Kent College of Law, Northwestern University School of Law, Arizona State University College of Law, DePaul Kellstadt Graduate School of Business, as well as Chicago’s Center for Conflict Resolution (CCR). She is President of the Chicago Chapter of the Association for Conflict Resolution and is a former Co-Chair of the Chicago Bar Association’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee. Ms. Steuer received a J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of Law and is a graduate of Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Danielle Loevy 
As a co-founder of Stone and Loevy, LLC, Danielle mediates disputes, facilitates group problem solving, designs and conducts organizational trainings, and consults on issues related to conflict. Danielle’s broad professional background in law, mediation, training, and diversity facilitation uniquely qualify her to assist clients in productively addressing conflict. Danielle is the current President of the Association for Conflict Resolution Chicago-area Chapter (ACR Chicago). From 2003 until 2005, she served as Vice-President of the Mediation Council of Illinois (MCI). In 2004, Danielle was awarded the honor of “Trainer of the Year” by the Center for Conflict Resolution in Chicago, an organization in which she remains actively involved as a mediator, lecturer, and trainer. Danielle also works with The Kaleidoscope Group, where she serves as a diversity facilitator and is currently the Director of the Legal Practice, bringing the diversity journey to law firms and legal organizations. As a lawyer, Danielle practiced in the areas of employment law, domestic relations, and civil rights, and participated as trial counsel for several trials which have resulted in multi-million dollar jury verdicts. Danielle received her undergraduate degree in Telecommunications with honors from Indiana University (BA, 1992) and her law degree with honors from Chicago-Kent College of Law in 1995. In 1999, she received her certificate in Mediation Training from the Center for Conflict Resolution, and in 2001 was awarded a certificate after completing the Divorce and Custody Mediation Training Workshop by the Mediation Skills & Consultation Institute.
Faustin (Frosty) A. Pipal, Jr.
Mr. Pipal is a litigator, and alternative dispute resolution expert, with 24 years of experience. As a litigator, he represents both plaintiffs and defendants in employment, sexual harassment, products liability, personal injury, and insurance cases. Since 1993 he has mediated numerous cases involving business disputes, employment law, and tort cases, and over 90% of these cases settled. He has served as faculty in seminars on employment mediation, a.d.r. systems, mandatory arbitration, products liability and disaster relief legal services. He has taught alternative dispute resolution to judges and specially selected attorneys in Lake and McHenry County, Illinois. In 2001, Mr. Pipal served on the Chicago Bar Association/Cook County Circuit Court Special Committee on Mediation. He now serves on a Special Cook County Law Division Committee which is implementing a court-approved Mediation Program. He has written extensively, including an article on civil procedure used by the Administrative Office of the Illinois Supreme Court in the training of new judges. He currently serves as both an arbitrator and mediator for Mediation and Arbitration Professionals (MAP) and Resolute, Inc. He is President-Elect of the Chicago Chapter of the nation’s leading alternative dispute resolution group: the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR) (formerly “SPIDR”). Mr. Pipal was a founding board member and officer of the Coordinated Advice and Referral Program for (Pro Bono) Legal Services (CARPLS), and is actively engaged in the National Center for the Laity as its Vice President. He is also a past member of the following Boards: the Board of Directors of the Center for Conflict Resolution, the Board of Managers of the Chicago Bar Association, and the Board of Directors of Chicago Bar Foundation, among others. 
Education: Northwestern University, Bachelor and Masters Degrees in Communication Studies, School of Speech, 1977; Northwestern University, Juris Doctor, School of Law, 1980; Basic ADR Training, United States Arbitration and Mediation, 1993; Advanced ADR Training, USA&M, 1997. 
William Clark
As Assistant Director of Dispute Resolution for the Better Business Bureau of Chicago, William Clark is involved in the administration of local and national programs and services involving the resolution of consumer/business disputes through mediation and arbitration. He also assists companies in the development of conflict resolution processes. Additionally, he is an arbitration panel member of the National Futures Association and is a mediator for the U.S. Postal Services REDRESS Program. His past experience also includes mediating adoption, guardianship and other disputes involving family issues. Since 1993, he has served as an advisor to the YMCA’s Local Economic and Employment Council Entrepreneurship Development Program. He has been a guest speaker for the U.S. Internal Revenue Service Small Business Tax Workshop and has served on the judging panel of the American Bar Association’s Regional Law School Negotiation Competition. Bill has served for many years as a mediator for the Center for Conflict Resolution concentrating in employment cases. He also has 13 years of corporate business experience, prior to his involvement in the area of ADR.
John W. (Jack) Cooley (Deceased)
John W. (Jack) Cooley is a former U.S. Magistrate in Chicago. He is a founding member of Judicial Dispute Resolution, Inc. (JDR) in Chicago, an Adjunct Professor of Law at Northwestern University School of Law, where he teaches a course in negotiation and mediation. He is a past Secretary of the International Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution (now called the Association for Conflict Resolution). His practice includes service as an arbitrator and mediator of complex commercial and insurance disputes, and employment, construction, and international disputes; as a trainer in dispute resolution; and as a consultant in dispute resolution system design. He is the author of four ADR publications of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy: Mediation Advocacy (1996)(2d Edition scheduled for release in the Spring, 2002); Arbitration Advocacy (co-author with Prof. Steven Lubet, 1997) (published in both English and Portuguese); The Arbitrator’s Handbook (1998); The Mediator’s Handbook (2000). He is also the principal designer of the first cybercourse on Mediation Advocacy, which is currently being offered by the American Bar Associaiton. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and the University of Notre Dame Law School, receiving a year of his legal training at the School’s Centre for Legal Studies in London, England. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators in London, of he International Academy of Mediators, and of the American Bar Foundation. 
Lynn A. Gaffigan
Lynn Gaffigan has been a communications trainer and a practicing attorney. She now works exclusively as a mediator and facilitator, focusing primarily on employment, community and family issues. Her practice includes discrimination, harassment and wrongful termination claims, as well as employer/employee relationship and teamwork issues, divorce, guardianship and family business disputes. Lynn serves on the mediator panel of Judicial Dispute Resolution, Inc. and is a volunteer mediator, mediation trainer and peer reviewer for the Center for Conflict Resolution in Chicago, as well as a member of its Adult Care Mediation Program Advisory Panel. She is Co-Chair of the Chicago Bar Association Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee, a Director of the Mediation Council of Illinois and a former faculty member of the Negotiation and Mediation Program of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA). She is also a Practitioner Member of the Academy of Family Mediators. Lynn began her legal career at King & Spalding in Atlanta. Prior to practicing law, she was a communications and training consultant to financial institutions throughout the United States.
Thomas Gibbons
Thomas F. Gibbons is the dean of Northwestern University’s School of Continuing Studies, and a senior lecturer with Northwestern’s School of Law. Tom, who is a mediator and arbitrator with expertise in labor, employment and commercial issues, sits on ADR panels for the American Arbitration Association, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, the Illinois Labor Department and the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office of Conciliation. He is also a mediator for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the U.S. Postal Service. Additionally, Tom is the former executive director of DePaul College of Law’s Center for Dispute Resolution, where he also served as a lecturer and taught courses in mediation, labor and commercial arbitration, and collective bargaining. Tom has also conducted hundreds of hours of ADR training for lawyers, judges, union and business leaders, and other professionals. A graduate of Yale Law School and DePaul University College of Law, Tom previously practiced employment and labor law with a Chicago law firm. He is also the co-chair of the Chicago Bar Association’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee.
Robert W. (Rocky) Perkovich
Robert Perkovich, a member of the National Academy of Arbitrators, has been an arbitrator and mediator of labor and employment disputes since 1987. He is member of the labor arbitration panels of the American Arbitration Association and the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service and serves on the permanent arbitration panels for various unions and employers including the Chicago Transit Authority, Pace Suburban Bus Lines, American Eagle Airlines, the State of Illinois and others. As a mediator he has served for the Center for Employment Dispute Resolution, the Center for Conflict Resolution (of which he is a member of the Board of Directors), the Indiana Education Employment Relations Board, and United Airlines as well as an appointed mediator by disputants. In so doing he has mediated collective bargaining negotiations and employment discrimination disputes. Mr. Perkovich has also served as a trainer and facilitator of interest based bargaining in a number of disputes.
Mr. Perkovich is also a Visiting Professor of Conflict Management Studies at the Kellstadt Graduate School of Business of DePaul University where he teaches negotiation skills and conflict resolution skills, as well as human resource management, employment law, collective bargaining and business law. His publications on arbitration and mediation have appeared in the Temple University Journal of Comparative and International Law, the Hofstra Labor Law Journal, the Stetson law Journal, and the Willamette University Law Journal. His current research includes women’s rights in Cuba and the conflict handling predispositions of mediators when involved in personal disputes.
Anita M. Rowe
Anita M. Rowe, a labor and employment attorney, now works exclusively as a mediator and arbitrator, primarily in the area of labor and employment disputes. She has served on two national mediation panels, the Merrill Lynch Claims Resolution Process,and the Smith Barney Dispute Resolution Program, both for class action employment discrimination claims in the financial services industry. She currently serves as a mediator for the Mediation Research and Education Project, Inc., the Cook County Law Division Mediation Program, and the Center for Conflict Resolution in Chicago, where she is also a volunteer mediation trainer, a member of the peer review committee, and a Board member. Since 1995, she has mediated employment discrimination and harassment disputes at several government agencies including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Postal Service, the Illinois Human Rights Commission and the Illinois Department of Human Rights. 
Ms. Rowe serves as an arbitrator on the following rosters: the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, the U.S. Postal Service/National Association of Letter Carriers Great Lakes Expedited Arbitration Panel, the Chicago Transit Authority and Amalgamated Transit Union panel, NASD Dispute Resolution, Inc.(for both employment and securities cases), the Cook County Mandatory Arbitration Program and the Better Business Bureau. A 1984 graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, Ms. Rowe is also a member of the American Bar Association, the Illinois Bar Association, and the Chicago Bar Association.