About Us

Our Approach

MCRC, Inc. is a nonprofit organization assuring access to conflict resolution services at the community level with control and responsibility for alternative dispute resolution maintained throughout Howard County. MCRC, Inc. strives to:

  • Train community members to serve as volunteer mediators and facilitators to provide mediation, youth restorative services, school-based services, and conflict management education. Our volunteer recruitment process is selective, seeking to build and maintain a volunteer roster that is representative of the community’s diversity with regard to age, race, gender, ethnicity, income, and education;
  • Provide conflict resolution services at no cost or on a sliding scale
  • Provide flexible scheduling to accommodate clients work and school schedules;
  • Encourage early use of mediation, youth restorative practices, and school-based community building and conflict resolution services to prevent violence and to reduce the need for court intervention, as well as provide these services at any stage in a dispute;
  • Mediate community-based disputes that come from referral sources including self-referrals, police, courts, community organizations, civic groups, religious institutions, government agencies, and others;
  • Educate community members about conflict resolution, mediation, and youth restorative practices;
  • Maintain high-quality volunteer mediators and facilitators by providing intensive, skills-based training, apprenticeships, continuing education, and ongoing evaluation of volunteers;
  • Work with the community in governing the conflict resolution programs in a manner that is based on collaborative community program support and collaborative problem solving among staff, volunteers, and community members;
  • Provide conflict resolution services and education, to community members who reflect the community’s diversity with regard to age, race, gender, ethnicity, income, education, and geographical location.

[adapted from 10 points of Community Mediation]

Board of Directors

Derek Robertson

Derek Robertson

Board President

Derek Robertson, along with his wife Shantá, is co-founder of the Maryland Sickle Cell Disease Association (MSCDA). Derek and Shantá have three sons, two of whom have sickle cell disease (SCD).  As President of MSCDA, Derek oversees the overall direction of the organization and has served on various SCD related committees.

Professionally, he is a healthcare attorney/consultant with a particular specialty in the Public Health Service Section 340B Drug Pricing Discount Program (the “340B Program”). Derek has worked extensively with hospitals and universities on federal grants management and program income calculation and reporting.  He presents nationally at conferences on government pricing programs, specialty pharmacy trends and conflicts of interest in healthcare.

Derek also holds an MBA from City University of New York – Baruch College and his Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Houston Law Center. He is licensed to practice law in both Texas (currently inactive) and Washington, DC and is certified in Health Care Compliance by the Health Care Compliance Association.

Derek has been a volunteer mediator, group facilitator and staunch advocate of MCRC since its days at Howard Community College and in 2019 agreed to serve on the MCRC Board of Directors, offering extensive education, training and professional experience, as well as his love and support of Howard County.

Cindy Johnson

Cindy Johnson

Board Vice President

Cindy Johnson is a native Nebraskan who has been a Howard County resident since 1991. Cindy transitioned to Maryland in 1983 to attend the University of Maryland, College Park. She obtained a B.S. in Journalism with a Public Relations concentration, a Liberal Arts and Business certificate and a General Honors citation in 1987. She was an academic advisor at Prince George’s Community College, before attending the University of Maryland, School of Law. At Maryland she served on the law school’s Moot Court Board and Dean’s Advisory Council. She obtained her J.D. and was admitted to the Maryland Bar in 1992. She served as a law clerk for the Honorable Dennis M. Sweeney before beginning her career with the Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office in 1993. She has prosecuted in all divisions of the office and currently concentrates in the area of Juvenile Law and is assigned to the Drug/DUI Court. Through the State’s Attorney’s Office, Cindy presents bi-yearly Guiding Good Choices seminars for parents of children 9-14 years of age. She has also been trained as a Family Resiliency facilitator;  a mediator and Restorative Practices facilitator. She currently volunteers for MCRC and CALM as a mediator. She also volunteers for Neighbor Ride and is President of her local HOA.

Annet Hinkel

Annette Hinkle

Secretary/Treasurer

Annette Hinkle has worked throughout Maryland for the past several decades. She also has years of experience as a board member for various non-profit organizations, such as her most recent work with The Arc of Howard County. The extensive list of services Annette has provided for the community includes auditing, budgeting, bookkeeping, chief financial officer support, strategic planning, tax planning, and analysis. She founded Charity Financial and Organization (CFO) Services in 2018. CFO Services provides financial and strategic planning services to religious and social service organizations needing guidance.

Rob Duru

Rob Duru

Board Member

Rob Duru is a Senior Business Banking Relationship Manager focusing on supporting small business clients and a member of the Talent Acquisition Ambassador (TAA) program. Additionally, I have supported several initiatives within the bank including the Mutual Mentorship program, Mission Maryland and a former graduate of the Relationship Manager Sales development program.  I am currently a member of AARG, IGEN and the RM Roundtable, he also served on several projects within Business Banking ProfitLink and Janus to name a few.

He Graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in Kinesiology and held leadership roles for New York Life, Target and TekSystems before joining the Relationship Manager Sales Program in 2015. Rob is passionate about learning, sports and servant leadership. He plans to support the bank mission in creating new opportunities for all communities within the bank. He lives in Highland, MD with his wife, two sons Jeremiah and Jacob and new baby girl on the way in December 2020.

Dennis Gilbert

Dennis Gilbert

Board Member

Dennis Gilbert is an advocate for peaceful resolution of conflict. Dennis has proudly engaged in MCRC’s evolution and expansion in his community for over 25 years. As MCRC’s early Steering Committee and later Advisory Board member; Program Coordinator; and volunteer mediator, he has a unique long-time, insider perspective. Dennis’s experiences include a tour as an army officer, education in business (BBA in economics; MBA in computer methodology), and 35 years’ work in private and public sectors as a computer scientist, analyst, IT consultant, and member of the team administering the Malcolm Baldrige Quality Award Program. Concurrently, he co-founded a national organization that explored the impact of sexism and sex-role stereotyping on men and women; and was an Alternative to Violence Program trainer. For nearly five decades Dennis has found expression as a nature and art photographer. He exhibits and sells his photographs, teaches digital photography, and serves on the Advisory Committee of the Columbia Art Center. Forty-plus year residents of Columbia, he and his wife, a Chinese medicine practitioner and educator, share five children, and delight in keeping track of their 16 grandchildren.

Trent Day Hall

Trent Day Hall

Board Member

Trent Day Hall helps organizations address equity and inclusion through his masterful facilitation services related to empathy, communication, and conflict-management.  For the past decade, Trent has developed as a master facilitator and facilitator trainer, centered in the realm of identity, with a focus on race, culture, and gender dynamics. Trent has guided the transformation of a wide-range of organizations, including preK-12 schools, institutions of higher education, and international entities that promote democratic values.  While on staff at Penn State University (PSU), Hall served as a dialogue instructor, facilitator, and coach, and he helped develop the foundation of the Global/Virtual Dialogue Platform. He provided services for a variety of groups including graduate and undergraduate students, local school systems, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) cadets preparing to work in conflict areas in numerous countries. In 2017, Trent brought his skills to the level of local government, taking on the role of Special Assistant, Community Outreach and Constituent Service in the Department of Community Resources and Services with the Howard County Executive Office (Maryland). There, he championed #OneHoward, an initiative designed to promote community dialogue and reinforce the county’s goals of diversity and inclusiveness. Through #OneHoward, Trent  led educational events and community conversations that advance the shared values of residents while addressing concerns of racism, intolerance, and bigotry; Trent also understood the importance of concretizing these events/conversations within the structures of county government to insure that shifts in administration wouldn’t hinder the overall mission/vision/purpose of honoring the humanity of all citizens. Regardless of the platform, Trent’s facilitation always support meaningful and worthwhile dialogue that address inclusion and equity by helping people critically explore things that are often felt and experienced but rarely spoken. In the summer of 2019 Trent was promoted into the role of community outreach supervisor for the Office of Humans Rights & Equity to expand and support the counties devotion to honoring the dignity of all its citizens.

Leah Littlefield

Leah Littlefield

Board Member

Leah Littlefield, a native of Columbus, Ohio, has been working in law enforcement in Columbia, Maryland since 2009. She also has been mediating conflicts within schools throughout Columbia, as well as an active volunteer firefighter/emergency medical technician in Baltimore County for over twenty years. Leah holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Morgan State University, a Masters degree from the University of Baltimore County, and Leah is completing her PhD in Emergency Management at Capella University. She is currently an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland University College. Leah has served in the United States Army and was honorably discharged as a Second Lieutenant.

Roger Meade

Roger Meade

Board Member

Roger Meade is a labor arbitrator and mediator. He received his BA from Dartmouth College, with distinction, and his law degree from William and Mary, where he served on the Law Review. With over 40 years experience as a labor and employment lawyer, Roger has held positions as a trial lawyer with the National Labor Relations Board; many years as a partner with Littler Mendelson, the nation’s largest labor and employment law firm, with over 750 lawyers, and as in-house labor counsel for a large, multinational corporation. In addition to his service as a volunteer with MCRC, he serves as a mediator with the Howard County District and Circuit Courts. Roger also served on the Board of Directors of Florence Crittenton Services, a residential home for unwed mothers. Roger proudly served as an officer with the U.S. Navy’s Underwater Demolition and SEAL teams. He is married with four children and two grandchildren, and has lived in Columbia for over 40 years.

Roxie Tossie, Board Member

Roxie Tossie

Board Member

Roxie Tossie, after a life of living in Germany, Central American Panama and Hawaii, has been a resident of Howard County, Maryland since 1994. She has experience as Chapter President of the American Business Women Association- Central America Panama, as well as Central Texas Junior College instructor in Central America. While living in Hawaii she worked in the Governor’s Office of Children and Youth and volunteered with The Junior League. She became a volunteer in 2001 with the Howard Community College Mediation & Conflict Resolution Center as a trained Community and Victim Offender Mediator. She holds a Master’s of Science Administration Degree from Central Michigan University-Hawaii Campus and Bachelor’s in Political Science from Cameron University in Lawton Oklahoma and an AA in Business and Life Coaching from Howard Community College. Roxie also works as a full-time Security Specialist for Xcelerate Solutions.

Elizabeth Chazottes

Elizabeth Chazottes

Board Member

Elizabeth Chazottes has 30+ years of experience in the international education and exchange field. Until her retirement in 2011, she was the President and CEO of The Association for International Practical Training (AIPT), a leading international trainee and intern exchange organization based in Columbia, Maryland. Prior to this she was in international human resources in Paris, France for 7 years.  Looking for ways to continue her passion for nonprofit work and giving back to her community, she became an active volunteer as a Community Mediator, and additionally trained in Restorative Practices and in Community and School Circles at IIRP in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Circles. She has a BS in Education from Miami University and a MS in Personnel and Training from SCSU.  She is fluent in French. She has been a resident of Howard County for over 30 years and currently lives in Ellicott City and is married with 2 children and 3 grandchildren.

Susan Bottomley

Susan Bottomley

Board Member

Susan Bottomley grew up in New York. She went to Duke University and completed a degree in Biomedical Engineering and then went on to a PhD in cardiac physiology. After working in research, Susan and her family moved to Howard County in 1994. In Howard County, Susan and her husband, Paul raised four children. All four of their children graduated from Howard County public schools. Susan decided to join MCRC in 2010. She has been trained and is currently an active MCRC volunteer providing services, such as re-entry mediation, restorative practices, school circles, group facilitation and community mediation.

Julie Nelson

Julie Nelson

Board Member

Julie Nelson has a degree from North Carolina State University in Communications & Marketing, and is a Certified Life Coach and NLP Practitioner. She has 20 years of industry experience, working on both the corporate side and as a consultant. Over the past four years, she worked with Goldfish Swim School to achieve both profitability and to bring quality swim lessons to children. This mission is critical as drowning is the number one cause of accidental death in children ages one to four. Recently, she returned to her attention to her own consulting business to work with exciting new clients and their challenges. In addition, Julie donates her time and talents to multiple non-profit organizations as a volunteer and/or through board positions.

Staff

Kate Cullen

Executive Director

Kate Cullen is no stranger to the field of mediation in Maryland. She served as the Executive Director of CALM, Inc., the Frederick County Mediation and Conflict Resolution Center for 10 years and as a consultant/executive director for the Anne Arundel Conflict Resolution Center and was previously a consultant and volunteer for MCRC, Inc. Kate is a certified Maryland Council for Dispute Resolution (MCDR) mediator and currently serves as the chair of the MCDR Certification Committee. She is an appointed Family Mediator for Anne Arundel and Frederick County Circuit Courts plus Baltimore City Circuit Court and is a CINA/TRP mediator for Frederick County. Kate served on the Maryland Mediators Convention for many years and is a member of the Maryland Program for Mediator Excellence. 

In addition, Kate is a faculty associate at Mount Saint Mary’s University and was an adjunct at the University of Baltimore and Frederick Community College. She is an officer of the National Center for Mediation Education, Inc. and has conducted training for CALM, The Upper Shore Community Mediation Center, Ft. Detrick, the Frederick and Washington County Public Schools, Mount St. Mary’s University, the University of Baltimore, MOSAIC at Sheppard Pratt, the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights, the MOSS Conference, Virginia Family Mediators Conference, the Family Section of ACR and the Academy of Professional Family Mediators. Kate traveled to the Ukraine in 2009 to present at the international conference on Mediation, Family and Children and was a co-trainer for the 40-hour divorce mediation training for mediators from the Ukraine, Poland and Germany. Currently, she maintains a private mediation practice in Maryland. Kate received her Master’s in Community Organization, Social Administration and Policy from UMB Graduate School of Social Work and her Bachelor’s in Social Work from Salisbury State. She is a native Marylander from the Eastern Shore and has enjoyed a 40+ year career working with small non-profit organizations. 

Kate lives in Mt Airy with her husband, Martin Kranitz. She was blessed with three sons and has three grandchildren. Kate enjoys spending time with her family, walking the dogs, swimming, reading, puzzles, gardening, and planning creative parties and events.

Ryan Jacobs

Ryan Jacobs

Deputy Executive Director

Ryan Jacobs, a non-traditional and first-generation college student, received his BA in Political Science (minor in Law) and MA in Conflict Management and Resolution from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington (UNCW) in 2015. He completed his work-study programming in the New Hanover County district court, community mediation center, and public-school system throughout North Carolina.

Prior to his current career with MCRC, Inc., working with the International Centre of Ethno-Religious Mediation (ICERM) as Program Officer, Ryan established ICERM Radio, an interview and lecture series from conflict resolution experts around the world, such as Arun Gandhi, Dr. Beth Fisher-Yoshida, Brad Heckman, the Inter-Faith Amigos, and Dr. Peter Coleman.

Ryan has been an active volunteer community mediator in Howard and Baltimore County, Maryland since 2018. Previously the Restorative Practices Program Manager at MCRC, Inc. he was trained as a facilitator in Restorative Practices and Community and School Circles via IIRP in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He also has expertise as a consultant in regard to the implementation of restorative justice principles to create a Culture of Care in the classroom, within a school and across school districts, and at home or in the field. He received his specialized training in restorative justice with Dr. Tom Cavanaugh @ Restorative Justice Education in Fort Collins, Colorado.

In his spare time, he enjoys reading classical literature, roller-skating with his daughters, birding, bicycling, and staying active by working outdoors on construction and landscaping projects around the community. Ryan is the joyful father of five children and currently resides in Reisterstown, Maryland with his family.

Makaio Goods

Makaio Goods

AmeriCorps Member serving as
Re-entry Mediation Specialist

Makaio Goods is an AmeriCorps Reentry Mediation Specialist serving at MCRC. As part of Makaio’s undergraduate studies, he worked to gain strong experiences and background in order to pursue a career improving the lives of others. Through working at organizations such as the ACLU, the Columbia University Justice Lab, and the Minnesota Senate under then Senate Minority Leader Thomas Bakk, he started to realize the ways in which well-placed legislation and the law could alleviate some of the harm caused by disparities within the Minneapolis-St. Paul area and across the United States. Sustained mentorship roles with Brotha-to-Brotha, Men as Peacemakers, and the Boys & Girls Club have allowed him to advocate for a path “out” provided by education and create plans for success based on individuals’ learning needs.

After serving as an English Teaching Assistant at a developing school in Tanzania during summer 2019, he founded a twelve-person advisory board for the school (now Hearts Open Primary Education) which recently obtained U.S. non-profit certification status. Makaio was a Visiting Student at the University of Oxford and a UC Berkeley Public Policy & International Affairs Fellow in 2020. Makaio holds a B.A. in English with minors in Philosophy and Geography from the University of St. Thomas, MN.

Our Partners

Department of Juvenile Services

DJS is a primary referral partner for MCRC, Inc.’s restorative youth restorative services. Youth offenders meeting certain criteria are referred by DJS to MCRC, Inc. to acknowledge and reflect upon their actions and have a conversation with two professionally trained facilitators, the youth’s parent(s)/guardian(s) and possibly other people involved in or effected by the situation resulting in the youth’s referral to MCRC. Outcomes often involve the youth writing an action plan about how to plan ahead to assure the same behavior and/or action is not repeated. This process serves to encourage accountability in the youth, to provide an opportunity for learning through the prior incident, and to reduce the flow of youth entering the school to prison pipeline.

Howard County Public Schools

The MCRC, Inc. partnership with HCPSS provides the school system with school circles teams, led by highly trained MCRC, Inc. volunteers who act as liaisons in numerous schools throughout the county. Circles are held throughout the year focusing on two primary areas: community building circles to broaden understanding and acceptance of all occupants of the school – students, staff and faculty; and restorative circles, which are utilized when there has been an incident that has caused or may cause tension within the school community as a whole, within smaller groups or between individuals. In addition to circles, MCRC, Inc. also provides restorative dialogues and restorative reflections when a wrong has been committed by a student to promote accountability for the student’s actions and to provide a plan for the student to return to the school community.

Howard County Detention Center

Through this partnership with HCDC, select teams of MCRC, Inc. volunteers make presentations to insiders about re-entry mediation services and conduct intake and screening conversations with insiders who wish to utilize services. Once approved, outsiders and insiders can be brought together with two neutral, professionally trained mediators in a private meeting space within HCDC to discuss topics pertaining to their lives when they are released from the detention center. Insiders are encouraged to use this time to make plans for their return into the community with people they feel are important to their success. Research has proven that insiders who participate in the re-entry mediation process before release have a lower recidivism rate than those who do not participate.

State’s Attorneys Office

The SAO refers youth offenders to MCRC, Inc. for youth restorative services led by two professionally trained MCRC, Inc. volunteer facilitators. These services are recommended by the SAO when they believe the youth offender and type of violation would be better served by an opportunity to fully examine their actions and identify and consider those effected by their actions through alternative methods in lieu of a more formal court process. Outcomes most often involve the youth writing an action plan about how to assure the same behavior and action is not repeated. This process serves to encourage accountability in the youth, to provide an opportunity for learning through the incident and to reduce the flow of youth entering the school to prison pipeline.

District Court

MCRC, Inc., through its partnership with the District Court, is referred pre-trial cases that the Court believes may be better served by an opportunity to find mutual resolution through the process of mediation in lieu of a more formal court process. MCRC, Inc. mediation is a voluntary process utilizing highly trained volunteer mediators from the community. It can save time and money for the parties to a potential court case. Mediation of district court cases through MCRC, Inc. is offered at no cost and can typically be scheduled in much less time than awaiting court scheduling.

HCPD’s Youth Services

MCRC Inc. and HCPD’s Youth Services partnership is crucial to the Youth Restorative Services. HCPD’s Youth Services refer cases to MCRC for Restorative Dialogues and Restorative Reflections. Through these processes, first-time offenders are offered an informal, alternative dispute resolution approach to handling their case without the formality of the court system. Instead of placing blame, punishment, or taking sides and criminalizing the youth, our Youth Restorative Practices program with HCPD’s Youth Services focuses on the behavior and actions in order to prevent repeated offenses in the community.

MCRC, Inc. appreciates generous funding by Howard County Government, The Maryland Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office, The Children’s Board of Howard County, and Individual Contributions.