Keynote Speaker

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Sharon Ellison
Powerful Non-Defensive Communication
Sharon Strand Ellison is an international communication consultant, award-winning speaker, the author of Taking the War Out of Our Words, and co-author with her daughter, Ami Atkinson Combs, of the audio-book, Taking Power Struggle Out of Parenting, winner of a Benjamin Franklin Award. The Powerful Non-Defensive Communication™ (PNDC ) model she has developed is highly effective in defusing defensiveness, often instantly, even in high conflict situations. Sharon has been a scholar-in-residence at Saint John’s University. As an invited participant in an international violence prevention symposium at Columbia University, she was asked to be on the international board for Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies. As the speaker for the 11th annual Lawrence W. Kaplan Dispute Resolution Lecture Series in Pittsburg, she received an honorary award as a communication pioneer. In the field of Collaborative Family Law, Sharon has been a speaker for the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP) annual conferences, as well as for state and regional conferences in both the US and Canada. She also provides training programs for collaborative practice groups across the US, including in: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Pittsburg, Taos, Dallas, Tulsa Maryland, New Jersey, Connecticut, New York; as well as Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Ontario, Quebec, Victoria, and Vancouver B.C. Sharon has also been a keynote speaker for conferences such as the US Navy, International Mediation Conference; the Georgia Bar Association; Law Societies of Canada, Family Law Conference; the Canadian and American Bar Associations, Women Lawyers Forums; and the Centre for Dispute Resolution, 10th Anniversary Conference in London, England. Clients in other professions include Hewlett Packard; Nokia; Lockheed Martin; Nordstrom Diversity Managers; Kaiser Permanente; Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute; Quinnipiac University Law School; University; the Women’s Global Health Imperative; The Smithsonian; City of Charlottesville, VA; CA Association of School Administrators in Student Services; “I have a Dream” Foundation; United Way. Sharon is dedicated to enhancing performance, creating leadership with integrity, and building community in every environment.

IACP President

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Suzan Barrie Aiken, JD
International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, IACP
Suzan Barrie Aiken is a Collaborative family law attorney and mediator with twenty-five years of experience successfully negotiating and mediating family law settlements.  She is committed to facilitating respectful negotiation and creative settlements.  Suzan has been a Collaborative practitioner since 1998.  Her practice is devoted exclusively to consensual dispute resolution.  Suzan is the president of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and a past president of Collaborative Practice California.  Suzan served on the board of her local practice group for many years after more than five years of service as their first board president.  Suzan chaired the 2012 Collaborative Practice California annual statewide and was a chair of the 2011 and 2008 CP Cal annual statewide conferences.  She was honored with the Collaborative Practice California Eureka Award in 2010.  Suzan regularly presents on Collaborative Practice and consensual dispute resolution topics to statewide, international and local organizations.  She has offices in Sausalito and San Francisco, California.  

General Session Speaker

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Gregory Firestone, Ph.D.
My Florida Mediator
Gregory Firestone, Ph.D. is President of My Florida Mediator and previously served as Director of the University of South Florida Conflict Resolution Collaborative (aka USF Mediation Institute) for more than twenty years. He has played an instrumental role in shaping alternative dispute resolution (ADR) law, rules and policy at the state and national level through his continuous service on standing alternative dispute resolution committees of the Florida Supreme Court for more than two decades (including seven years as Vice Chair of the Court’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Rules and Policy Committee),service as Official Observer (on behalf of the Association for Conflict Resolution and the Academy of Family Mediators) to the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (aka Uniform Law Commission) Uniform Mediation Act Drafting Committee, active leadership in various ADR professional organizations, consultation and mediation training throughout the U.S and internationally, etc.

Greg currently serves on the Editorial Board of Family Court Review and has received numerous awards including the 2012 Florida Supreme Court Excellence in Alternative Dispute Resolution Award, 2012 Association of Family and Conciliation Courts Presidential Award and the 2011 Florida Academy of Professional Mediators Merit Award. He is a mediator, mediation trainer, licensed psychologist (PY3033), and has maintained a private mediation practice since 1984. He is a practicing 1) Florida Supreme Court certified Appellate, Circuit Court, County Court, Dependency, and Family Mediator, 2) Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR) Advanced Practitioner, and 3) Diplomate Member of the Florida Academy of Professional Mediators.

Dr. Firestone has lectured and published widely in the field of mediation and is coauthor of Mediation Works: Make it Work for You, a family mediation orientation video produced by the Florida Supreme Court Dispute Resolution Center. In addition, Greg has been performing comedy improv for the past three years including an improv troupe performance at the Upright Citizen Brigade Theatre in New York City during the 2015 Del Close Marathon.

Pre-Conference Trainers

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Anne Lucas, MA LMHC
Owner and Clinical Director
The Evergreen Clinic
Nationally Recognized

Anne Lucas MA LMHC is a mediator, coach, therapist, teacher/trainer. In her therapy practice she specializes in couple relationships – premarital, marital, divorce, remarriage and partnerships. She is the owner and clinical director of The Evergreen Clinic – a group of 19 mental health professionals in Kirkland, Washington providing mental health services to the area for the last 25 years. She works as a Divorce Coach in Collaborative Practice assisting couples in creating healthy divorce options and post-divorce relationships and as a mediator helping resolve disputes with creative solutions. As a teacher/trainer, Anne is a co-founder of the Seattle Collaborative Law Training Group and has been training and speaking to attorneys, mental health and financial professionals in Collaborative Practice since 2009 locally and across the country. She is a frequent presenter at the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and along with Nancy Cameron, developed and taught the IACP Leadership Academy in 2013. She has been a faculty member of Saybrook University, the Seattle campus since 2010. Anne currently serves on the Board of Directors for the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, is the past President of King County Collaborative Law and Collaborative Professionals of Washington.
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Donna Smalldon, MBA, CFP, CDFA
Applied Divorce Solutions
Nationally Recognized
Donna Smalldon is a well-versed financial planning professional who specializes in the financial implications of divorce. In her three decades in practice, Donna Smalldon has acquired both Certified Financial Planner™ and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst designations. She earned her Bachelors in Social Ecology and her Masters in Business Administration from the University of California, Irvine, and is trained in divorce mediation.


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Deborah O. Day, Psy.D.
Certified Family Mediator
Psychologic Alaffiliates
Deborah Day is a Licensed Psychologist, Qualified Parenting Coordinator and a Certified Family Mediator. She brings those skills along with 30 years of experience and training to her work as a neutral facilitator in the collaborative process. Deborah is in private practice with Psychological Affiliates, Inc., of Winter Park, Florida, with a wide range of practice specialties. She has testified regarding numerous psychological issues and presents professional workshops and seminars throughout the country. She is the author of Child Custody Evaluations are Essential, published in the Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice, and co-editor Munchausen By Proxy Syndrome: Misunderstood Child Abuse. She is active in the Florida Bar's Family Law Section, and, in 2010, received the Family Law Section "Making a Difference" award. She spent two terms as a founding board member of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts. She is a past President of the Florida Psychological Association, Central Florida Chapter and current Ethics Chair. She is a founding board member of the Central Florida Collaborative Law Group. Deborah is the current President of the Florida Academy of Collaborative Professionals.
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Alice Boullosa, LMFT
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Private Practice
Alice Boullosa is a licensed Marriage and Family therapist who has practiced for over 30 years. She maintains a private practice, is a parent coordinator, a trained mediator, and has been a leader in Collaborative Divorce since 2006. She has served as the collaborative facilitator in over 130 cases to date. Alice has served as the Mental Health Chair for the Tampa Bay Academy of Collaborative Professionals, is past Co-Chair of TBACP practice group and is presently a board member in that organization. She is a member of the Florida Academy of Collaborative Professionals and is chair of the 2017 State Conference proposal committee. She was the recipient of TBACP’s highest team member award in 2016. Alice’s passion lies in helping other and extending the “peacemaking work” to families going through divorce.



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Marta Alfonso, CPA*/CFF, CIRA, JD
MBAF Certified Public Accountants and Advisors
Marta Alfonso, a principal at MBAF who is an experienced financial professional, including a collaborative process professional in a financial netural role. She is a former President of the Collaborative Family Law Institute in Miami. She is a CPA and a JD and Certified in Financial Forensics. Allison Hockman and Bette Quiat will be co-speaking with me on the panel.
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Lisette Beraja, LMFT
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Lisette Beraja, LMFT
Lisette N. Beraja, LMFT Lisette Beraja is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with over 18 years of experience. As founder of Beraja Counseling Center, she has provided individual counseling to children, adults, families and couples. She has appeared in our local Media both in Spanish and English as an expert in her field. For 10 years she has been a contributing writer for two local magazines, having published over 80 articles on topics related to Family, Marriage, Children and Divorce. As a Parenting Coordinator, Florida Supreme Court Family Mediator, Guardian Ad Litem, Consultant as well as a Collaborative Family Law Practitioner, Mrs. Beraja has been court appointed numerous times on matters related to Relocation, Paternity and Time-Sharing. In the last five year she has been involved in several successful Collaborative Divorce Cases. Mrs. Beraja has been an active Board Member for the Collaborative Family Law Institute, since 2011. Presently she is an active Board Member for the Florida Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, holding responsibilities in numerous committees. She has also been involved in the Professional Development Committee for the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP).During her free time she enjoys exercising, traveling, spending time with her family and giving back to the community through outreach programs. Lisette is happily married and blessed with four beautiful children.


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Sue Cook
Family TLC
Brian Galbraith and Sue Cook have presented workshops at the IACP Forums in Chicago, San Antonio, Vancouver and Washington DC. They have been teaching Collaborative Team practice courses since 2005 including workshops at the local levels and internationally. Sue Cook is a qualified dynamic coach, counsellor and trainer who possess the skills, knowledge, experience, and accreditation needed to effectively navigate people through separation and divorce. Sue has been a family therapist working with children, youth, adults, couples, and families since 1985. Sue is owner of Family TLC which is "the trusted place Canadians go" for therapy and counselling services. Sue has four therapist working at Family TLC. Credentials and experience:


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Adam Cordover, Esq.
Collaborative Attorney & Mediator
Family Diplomacy: A Collaborative Law Firm
Adam B. Cordover, J.D., M.A., is a collaborative attorney, trainer, and Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Law Mediator who practices exclusively in private dispute resolution in Tampa, Florida. Adam is a Former President of Next Generation Divorce, growing it to become one of North America's largest collaborative practice groups, and a graduate of the Leadership Academy of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. Adam is co-author with Forrest (Woody) Mosten of an upcoming American Bar Association Book on "Building A Successful Collaborative Law Practice." Adam is a trainer with Tampa Bay Collaborative Trainers.


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Kim Costello, Psy.D., LMHC, FAPA, DAPA, BCPC
The Costello Center
Kim E. Costello has over twenty years of experience as a therapist and counselor. In that time, she has helped hundreds of individuals, couples, and families through major changes in their lives. Dr. Costello's experience and training led her to help found The Costello Center in 2006 where she works as a licensed therapist alongside a wide variety other professionals who help to provide a holistic approach to counseling in situations like divorce and academic struggles. Dr. Costello is highly trained in family mediation and collaborative law and serves as neutral mental health facilitator, parent coordinator, child specialist and/or mediator for families in need and is a sought out speaker and practice leader in the collaborative community.


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Kristin DiMeo, CPA/ABV
Neutral Financial Professional
Litigation Support Advisors, PLC
Kristin E. DiMeo, CPA, ABV, has served as the Financial Neutral in over 90 collaborative family law matters in the Tampa Bay area. She is the immediate past Co-Chair of the Tampa Bay Academy of Collaborative Professionals, the Co-Chair of the Collaborative Law Section of the Hillsborough County Bar Association and is a member of Next Generation Divorce. Kristin is a member of the Tampa Bay Collaborative Trainers. Kristin is a trainer with Tampa Bay Collaborative Trainers.


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Teresa Drake, Esq.
Director: Intimate Partner Violence Assistance, Clinical Skills Professor
University of Florida College of Law
Teresa Drake is co-founder and Director of the Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Clinic (IPVAC) at the University of Florida Levin College of Law. This first-of-its-kind domestic violence clinic is collaboration between the U.F.’s College of Law, College of Medicine, Shands Teaching Hospital and the local non-profit Peaceful Paths Domestic Abuse Network. The multidisciplinary/interdisciplinary, trauma-responsive IPVAC team consists of law students, a licensed clinical social worker and an outreach counselor who provide wrap-around holistic legal, medical, mental health and case management services to low income survivors of domestic violence and their families. Teresa also instructs all first year law students and second year medical students about the dynamics of domestic violence and how to screen and refer client/patients.

Teresa, as part of the Center on Children and Families at the Levin College of Law is a co-creator of Peace4Gaineville, along with the River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding. Peace4Gainesville is a trauma-responsive community initiative.

Prior to IPVAC, Teresa worked for Florida’s Eight Judicial Circuit Office of the State Attorney for 13 years: first as a Child Welfare Attorney; then as a domestic violence prosecutor; and finally as the Division Chief of County Court. Teresa is a nationally recognized expert in intimate partner violence. As such she has provided training for the National District Attorneys Association, the Battered Women’s Justice Project, US Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women and Aequitas.
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Craig Fabrikant, PhD, ABPS
Clinical and Forensic Psychologist
Craig Fabrikant, PhD, ABPS
Craig S. Fabrikant, PhD (shrink106@aol.com / www. Craigfabrikantphd.com) is a licensed psychologist in Florida, as well as in New Jersey and New York. He received his doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the Florida Institute of Technology and has been in private practice for over 30 years. His practice experience has been with children, adolescents, and adults. He also provides marital/relationship therapy, as well as being a Collaborative Divorce Facilitator/Mental Health Professional and Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator. Dr. Fabrikant has written numerous professional articles. He also has made many international, national, state, and local presentations. Over the past 25 years Dr. Fabrikant has been a featured guest on national and local television and radios shows. These have included Good Morning America, The Today Show, American HQ (Fox News), Out of the Lines (ESPN), ABC National News, CBS National News and others. He has also been referred to and quoted in many newspapers, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Post, and Daily News, in addition to hundreds of other national and international newspapers.


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Sheldon (Shelly) Finman, Esq.
Sheldon E. Finman, P.A.
AV Martindale-Hubbell ratingFlorida Board Certified in Marital and Family Law (since charter class 1983)Past President, The Florida Chapter, AFCCMediator since 1983Co creator of Cooperative Law model during 1990's and other protocols, focusing on streamlining the process and resolving conflict Current President,The Family Resource Center Board of Directors (Lee County court approved parent supervision agencyCurrent Chair, Lee County FLAG, from inception in 2003Supreme Court Family Law Steering Committee in early 2000s during development of the Unified Family CourtNumerous professional work in various organizations promoting advancement of family law practice and proceduresRecipient of various awards in acknowledgment of past contributions Presenter and trainer in various family law topics which focus on enhancement of professional skills


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Rebecca H. Fischer, JD
Collaborative Attorney
My Collaborative Team LLC
Ms. Fischer has over 32 years of experience representing clients in family, probate, estate planning, guardianship, and corporate and banking matters. She served as in-house counsel for two national banks and bank holding companies before opening her own practice. Ms. Fischer is a Florida Supreme Court-certified family law mediator and a member of the Collaborative Family Law Institute, the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. She mediates insurance matters for the Florida Department of Financial Services and family matters with the Family Law Cooperative. Ms. Fischer is rated AV by Martindale-Hubbell and was chosen as a 2014 and 2015 Florida Super Lawyer.


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Jeremy Gaies, Psy.D
Collaborative Facilitator
Jeremy S. Gaies, Psy.D., is a licensed psychologist and certified mediator who specializes in helping divorcing families pursue peaceful solutions. Dr. Gaies has played a leadership role in advancing the collaborative movement at the local, state, and national level, and is a member of the Tampa Bay Academy of Collaborative Professionals and Next Generation Divorce. Dr. Gaies is also the co-author of "Mindful Co-Parenting: A Child-Friendly Path Through Divorce" and a national speaker on divorce-related parenting matters. Dr. Gaies is a trainer with Tampa Bay Collaborative Trainers.


Brian Galbraith, B.A., LL.B, LL. M
Galbraith Family Law Professional Corporation
Brian Galbraith and Sue Cook have presented workshops at the IACP Forums in Chicago, San Antonio, Vancouver, Washington DC and most recently at the Las Vegas Forum. They have been teaching Collaborative Team practice courses since 2005 including workshops at the local levels and internationally. Brian Galbraith is a family law lawyer and mediator. He is a founding owner of the Mediation Centre of Simcoe County and has mediated hundreds of cases. As a lawyer, he has assisted hundreds of families resolving all types of issues including those related to property division, support and parenting issues through court, Collaborative Practice and negotiations. Brian is the owner of Galbraith Family Law Professional Corporation, an eleven lawyer law firm with offices in two cities.


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Raleigh “Lee” Greene, JD
Greene & Greene Attorneys at Law
Over the last two decades, Mr. Greene's practice has been significantly concentrated in the area of Florida family law, both as a trial attorney and as a mediator. Among other areas of recognition, Mr. Greene was selected as one of the Best Lawyers in America, by Woodward & White, in both the areas of family law (representation) and family law mediation. Additionally, Mr. Greene has been recognized as possessing the highest professional standards, as an AV lawyer for many years, in The Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers (published by Martindale/Hubbell) and by his inclusion within Law and Leading Attorneys of Florida. Mr. Greene has mediated in excess of 3500 cases and has substantial experience as an arbitrator in civil disputes. He is a Federal Court certified mediator for the Middle District of Florida and is court certified as both a family and circuit civil mediator in the State of Florida. He is also certified as an arbitrator for the Sixth Judicial Circuit of Florida. Mr. Greene is a frequent lecturer for continuing education courses as well as a periodic guest lecturer at Stetson University's Law School on mediation, trial practice, negotiation, and family law.


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Kristin Grossman
Valencia College Peace and Justice Institute
First and foremost, Kristin "Kiki" Grossman regards herself as a perennial student of life. Twenty-two years ago, her quest to understand herself and learn tools for developing peace led to an ongoing love affair with yoga and meditation. Having received her yoga teacher certification from Kripalu Center in Stockbridge, Massachusetts in 1999, she continues to explore, learn, and experiment with this rich field of study. Prior to this pivotal event in her life, she obtained her B.A. in Art from the University of Central Florida. And later on, Kiki went on to attend law school at Florida Coastal School of Law. She then attended Pepperdine School of Law, Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution and received her LL.M. (Master of Laws). Kiki is published in the field of cross-cultural dispute resolution in India and Alabama as a result of the fascinating work she did while at Straus. After practicing family law for four years, she decided to leave the practice in order to foster her passion for creating peace and transforming disputes. She is currently consulting for Valencia College Peace and Justice Institute and working with the great people there to create peacemaking curriculum for lawyers, paralegals, and judges. Most important to Kiki are the people in her life. She is blessed to be making this journey with her husband, A.J., her supportive and loving family, and her magnificent friends. 

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David Harper, CPA, ABV, PFS, CFF, CBA, CVA
Harper Forensic CPAs
David Harper holds a Master's degree in Accounting from the University of Virginia and Bachelor's from Auburn University. He is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV), Personal Financial Specialist (PFS), Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF), Certified Business Appraiser (CBA), and a Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA). Mr. Harper is current and past board member of Tampa Bay Academy of Collaborative Professionals and Next Generation Divorce - the two professional practice groups in Tampa Bay. He is contributing author of Joryn Jenkin's upcoming book: "Champions of Collaborative Practice" and Adam Cordover's and Forrest (Woody) Mosten's upcoming book "Building a Successful Collaborative Law Practice." He has extensive experience serving as financial neutral in collaborative divorce matters as well as joint expert in other family law cases and has presented on a wide range of financial topics including collaborative law, family law financial procedures, and business valuation. Mr. Harper is a trainer with Tampa Bay Collaborative Trainers.


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Randy Heller, Ph.D., LMFT, LMHC
Psychotherapist, Collaborative Facilitator, Mediator, Parenting Coordinator
The Family Network
Dr. Randy Heller received her doctorate in Family Therapy from Nova Southeastern University. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Certified Supreme Court Family Mediator, Qualified Parenting Coordinator, Certified Hypnotherapist, and Founder of The Family Network, Collaborative Counseling Center for Positive Growth and Change, established in 1994. Additionally, Dr. Heller serves as a board member for numerous national and international organizations focused on an interdisciplinary approach to working with families transitioning through divorce. Dr. Heller published her doctoral dissertation on Competency and the Role of the Mental Health Professional in Collaborative Family Law. She has also published an article about her research results in the Collaborative Review: Research Edition, two book chapters on the mental health professional working in divorce, a chapter in the Handbook of Mediation on Systems Theory and Family Law, and has written the syllabus and taught the first course in Florida on Collaborative Divorce for graduate students at Nova Southeastern University's Department of Family Therapy, now in its third year.


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Allison Hockman, Esq.
The Law Office of Allison Hockman
Allison is a trained Collaborative Family Lawyer and a Certified Supreme Court Family Mediator. As an Appellate practitioner for over 20 years, she have seen the positive outcomes from the Collaborative Divorce Process, and truly believe in its method. She also became a Certified Supreme Court Mediator in 2000.


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Barbara Kelly, Ph.D
Collaborative Facilitator
Dr. Kelly is a licensed psychologist and certified family mediator who has been working in the collaborative model for the past ten years. She brings her experience with the international collaborative community and working with interdisciplinary collaborative teams to her training of other collaborative practitioners. She has provided introductory and advanced collaborative trainings locally, nationally, and internationally. Dr. Kelly is a trainer with Tampa Bay Collaborative Trainers.


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Ky Koch
Koch, Hoffman & Kaszuba, P.A.
As an advocate for Collaborative Law, Mr. Koch is a founder and current co-chair of the Tampa Bay Collaborative Divorce Group (www.tampabaycollaborative.com) and is recognized as a leader and innovator in the integration of Collaborative Law for Family Law matters. Throughout his years of experience, Mr. Koch has realized that settling cases out of court rather than battling in court, proves to be more effective and cost-efficient for the parties. He is an attorney committed to doing what is best for his clients and he works hard to get them the best results possible without the extraordinary cost of an expensive court battle.


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Brenda London, Esq.
The Aikin Family Law Group
Brenda has practiced law for over 28 years. She works as a collaborative lawyer, a mediator and a Guardian ad Litem. Her GAL work with children and families inspired her to become a proponent of the Collaborative Law Process. Brenda has been a collaborative law trainer since 2011. She was instrumental in creating and developing the Collaborative Family Law Clinic at Barry University Law School, which is a Pro Bono program designed to help underserved families in need of representation for divorce and paternity actions. She continues to take time out of her practice to serve as the Director of the Collaborative Family Law Clinic, and is an Adjunct Law Professor teaching collaborative law and other family law courses.


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Carolann Mazza
Collaborative Attorney
My Collaborative Team LLC
Carolann Mazza, P.A. is a non-litigation family law firm committed to helping you restructure your family through divorce and/or assisting you with your family conflict in a healthier, less destructive manner. I focus my practice on clients who choose to resolve their conflicts out of court. I utilize Collaborative Divorce, mediation and out-of-court settlement negotiations to help families handle their divorce or other family related matter. I also provide unbundled legal services. I will help you complete the do-it-yourself Family Law Forms, write and/or review your pre-nuptial agreement, post-nuptial agreement, and marital settlement agreement, as well as other services. I am an experienced family lawyer, collaborative family lawyer and Supreme Court of Florida certified family law mediator and I have been practicing in Florida since 2001. I am licensed in both Florida and Texas, and I actively participate as a member of the Florida Bar Family Law Section and I am an active member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, the Collaborative Family Professionals of South Florida, the Collaborative Family Law Institute and the South Palm Beach County Collaborative Law Group. In my free time, I enjoy running, paddle boarding, kayaking and cooking. I am determined to learn to speak Italian.


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Robert J. Merlin, Esq.
Collaborative Family Attorney
Robert J. Merlin, P.A.
Bob is a partner in the Law Offices of Robert J. Merlin, P.A. in Coral Gables, Florida specializing in Marital and Family Law, especially Collaborative Family Law. Bob is Florida Bar Board Certified in Marital and Family Law and is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator. He is a member of The Florida Bar, the American Bar Association, the Dade County Bar, the Coral Gables Bar, the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, the Florida Academy of Collaborative Professionals, the Collaborative Family Law Institute, the Collaborative Family Lawyers of South Florida and the South Palm Beach Collaborative Law Group, the last five organizations being dedicated to the promotion of the practice of Collaborative Family Law as a means of amicably dissolving marriages and resolving family disputes. Bob has been on the Board of the Florida Academy of Collaborative Professionals since its inception and he is now on the Board of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. Bob lectures regularly on Collaborative Family Law at the University of Florida Levin College of Law and to various organizations of lawyers and other professionals and he is an IACP Qualified Collaborative Trainer. He is a Past President of the Collaborative Family Law Institute and the Florida Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts. Bob is the current Vice Chair of The Florida Bar Family Law Rules Committee. Bob has been intimately involved in the creation and passage of the Florida Collaborative Law Process Act and the rules of procedure and conduct that will accompany the statute.Bob graduated with honors from the University of Florida Levin College of Law with a Juris Doctor in 1978, where he also was an associate editor of the Law Review, and he also attended Cambridge University, Cambridge, England, The Institute of Law-Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, Poland and the Walter F. George School of Law, Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. Bob received his undergraduate degree from the University of Florida in 1976 with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting.


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Leisa Morrill-Wintz, M.S., Esq.
President and Senior Partner
Family Matters Law Group, P.A.
I received a Bachelor’s Degree from the College of Charleston in Psychology in 2000 and immediately took my first public interest job as a case manager for a family homeless shelter. It was here that I first had the opportunity to advocate for my clients and speak on their behalf. In 2003, I began law school at the University of Miami and interned during my 1st year at the 11th Circuit, Domestic Violence Division. I found that much of my work didn’t have the connection to client I had previously had at the shelter. I began to question my legal career and requested a leave of absence so I could take a few months to explore other career alternatives. During this time, I discovered Marriage and Family Therapy and was fascinated by this new, holistic and systemic approach to helping families in crisis, so I began and completed a Master’s in Family (Systems) Therapy. I became the Director of Parenting and Juvenile Programs for a local forensic counseling agency. In this position, I worked extensively within the family, dependency and domestic violence court systems as an expert witness, court appointed evaluator and court appointed group and individual therapist. While working in this capacity, I returned to and completed law school. Since that time I have worked exclusively as a family law attorney focusing not only on divorce and custody issues but also continuing my work in dependency and domestic violence. I worked for Legal Aid for several years and got enough legal experience to feel comfortable on my own. I left and began my own firm in 2010. I have undergone some great successes and challenges owning my own firm and grown as a lawyer, therapist and woman immensely through the experience. In 2012, I became a Supreme Court Certified Family Law Mediator and began working a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) in 2002. I find that GAL and mediation is my where I feel most valuable as a professional and a perfect combination of my knowledge and expertise in the legal system and family therapy. In 2017 I teamed my now partner Nazarena Hauser, an ex-prosecutor, who brings a wealth of litigation and trial experience to the table and adds a new point of view to our practice. I have enjoyed much success in private practice and attribute that success to providing clear client guidance, individualized services, client focus and an office staff who feels valued and provides excellent customer service.


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Judge Dawn D. Nichols, JD
Seventh Judicial Circuit in Florida
Dawn D. Nichols is a judge for the Seventh Judicial Circuit in Florida. Dawn earned an undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Florida in 1987 and a J.D. from the University of Florida in 1991. Prior to her 2014 appointment to the bench, Dawn was a private practitioner specializing in the area of marital and family law. She is trained in the collaborative process, and has successfully handled cases collaboratively as a former family law practitioner. She has been board certified in marital and family law since 2002 and currently presides over one of the family divisions in the Seventh Judicial Circuit.


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Jerome Poliacoff, Ph.D., P.A.
Collaborative Mental Health Professional
My Collaborative Team LLC
Dr. Jerome Poliacoff is a child, adolescent and adult psychologist licensed in the state of Florida since 1984. A transplanted New Yorker he earned his Masters and Doctoral degrees from the University of Miami. His clinical training included pre and post doctoral internships at the Children’s Psychiatric Centers in Miami, Florida.


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Bette Quiat
Law Offices of Bette Ellen Quiat
With more than 35 years of experience in complex family litigation, I have seen the destruction that the court system can do to a family. It is our firm’s goal to assist families in resolving their differences in a collaborative manner and solving the problems which arise in divorce and other family matters though alternative means other than litigation, whenever possible. With individual attention and a trained staff our firm seeks to inform and advise our clients as to the options available to them in family matters and then work with them to reach a resolution of their issues.
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Edward Sachs, CPA/ABV CFF
Collaborative Financial Professional
My Collaborative Team LLC
Edward Sachs is a Certified Public Accountant, Accredited in Business Valuation and Certified in Financial Forensics by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.After 25 years of representing spouses in litigated divorces Mr. Sachs recently left his position as Director of Litigation and Valuation Services for a large local firm and opened his own accounting practice dedicated to the Collaborative Process and other alternatives to litigation in settling financial issues in divorce and business.Ed currently serves as Vice President of the Florida Academy of Collaborative Professionals and serves on the Board of Directors of the Miami and Broward collaborative practice groups.


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Pamela A. Schneider, Esq.
Collaborative Lawyer, Mediator
Wershow and Schneider, P. A.
Pam A. Schneider is a partner in the law firm of Wershow and Schneider, P. A. and a resident mediator at the Resolution Center in Gainesville, FL. Pam is a founding member of Family Mediation Solutions, an integrative mediation practice in Gainesville. She is a Diplomat of the Florida Association of Professional Mediators, certified by the Florida Supreme Court as a family law mediator. Pam was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1980, after receiving her J.D. from the University of Florida College of Law, with honors, in August, 1979. She co-authored, with Julian Juergensmeyer, Landlord and Tenant-Residential Leases -The Law in Florida, published by the Harrison Company in 1981 and published an article on Collaborative Law in her local bar association newsletter in 2012. Pam is AV rated by Martindale Hubble.From 2008-2012, Pam was an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law teaching Collaborative Law. She previously served as an Adjunct Instructor in Agricultural Law at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. She was a Legal Writing Instructor at the University of Florida College of Law and has presented many lectures on mediation, collaborative law and family law at the law school as well as to professional audiences. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Family Academy of Collaborative Professionals as well as a member of the Board of Directors of FLAFCC, a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, the Collaborative Divorce Professionals of Gainesville (Former President), the Florida Academy of Professional Mediators (Diplomat), the Academy of Professional Family Mediators (Advanced Mediator Member), the Eighth Judicial Circuit Bar Association, the Family Law Sections of the Florida Bar, and the Family Law Committee of the Eighth Judicial Circuit Bar Association. Pam was previously chair of the Florida Bar subcommittee charged with formalizing training and certification for collaborative practitioners. Other past affiliations include membership in the Florida Child Welfare Training and Standards Council and the James Atkins Inns of Court. She has served as the attorney for the Eighth Judicial Circuit Guardian Ad Litem Program and participated extensively in volunteer activities in the Gainesville community for many years, currently serving on the Advisory Board of the local Ronald McDonald House.
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Josh Shilts, CPA
Managing Partner
Villela & Shilts, LLC
My career is built on applying innovative solutions to a wide range of issues. Some of my experiences include working with a Big 4 Accounting Firm's advisory wing in NYC to unravel a multi-million dollar fraud within the financial services industry, providing anti-fraud and compliance services to a Fortune 500 cruise line located in Miami, providing SOX 404 consulting to a large electric wholesale retailer in NYC, assisting counsel with economic damage calculations on an international arbitration while working with a top 50 accounting firm located in Miami, and providing counsel and a federal receiver with asset identification and disposal services related to a multi-million dollar medical industry fraud.


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Deborah Silver
Silver Psychology


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Lana M. Stern, Ph.D.
LANA M. STERN, PH.D is a Licensed Psychologist, Marriage and Family Therapist, Parent Coordinator, and Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediator. Dr. Stern has been in private practice in the Coral Gables, Florida area for the past 30 years. She is a member of the American, Florida and Dade County Psychological Associations, International and Florida Association of Family and Conciliation Courts and the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, and serves on the IACP Trainers Network and Development Committee. She has been an active member of the Collaborative Family Law Institute of Miami, is a past Vice President and serves on the CFLI Board, Membership, Education, and Mentoring committees. She is a member of the Florida Academy of Collaborative Professionals, serving as a Board member, delegate, chair of the training and webinar committees and and co-chair of the annual Collaborative Conference. Dr. Stern has lectured extensively on the role of the neutral mental health professional in the Collaborative Law Process. She was an Adjunct Professor at Florida International University for 6 years, supervising Master’s level, Mental Health and School Counselors during their Practicum and Internship and co-taught the first Collaborative Law Workshop at the University of Miami School of Law in the Spring of 2012. She has presented multiple basic and advanced trainings to attorneys, mental health professionals and financial professionals in Miami, Tampa, Gainesville, Boca Raton, Jacksonville, Panama City, Florida and New Hampshire. She has worked extensively in Collaborative family law cases as the MHP/Facilitator. She co-authored the chapter on “Collaborative Law” in The Florida Bar CLE book Dissolution of Marriage. Dr. Stern co-founded “Florida Collaborative Trainers” an interdisciplinary training group and presented at the IACP Forum in Texas in 2013 and again in Vancouver, BC in 2014. Dr. Stern can be reached at lmsternphd@aol.com, www.drlanamstern.com and www.floridacollaborativetrainers.com.


Melissa Sulkowski, R.N., M.A., LPC
Nurturinse Counseling & Wellness
Melissa Sulkowski is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Pennsylvania who has been working with children and families for over 23 years. She holds her certification with the National Board of Certified Counselors. She has been in private practice for the last 16 years and is the owner of Nurturinse Counseling & Wellness, a holistic space that provides treatment for the body and mind. Melissa spends her days as a full time Peacemaker providing alternative dispute resolution services within her practice. Melissa earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Master of Arts in Counseling from Edinboro University. She keeps her registered nursing license current. Prior to opening her own practice she worked at a Residential Treatment Facilities for children. She held positions from that of child care worker at Sarah A. Reed Children's Center in 1994 to Program Director at Cornell Abraxas.Melissa has received specialized training in Collaborative Practice and is a founding member of the Collaborative Professionals of Northwest PA (CPNWPA). She functions as a divorce coach and a child specialist on collaborative teams, supporting the emotional needs of the family. This method allows her to accomplish successful resolutions for families going through a divorce without having to go into a courtroom. Melissa became the President of CPNWPA in May 2014.Melissa presented at the 2013, 2014 and 2015 IACP forums and will present again in 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Her Forum impressions have been published in the The Trend: A Newsletter of the PA Bar Association's Collaborative Law Committee. In addition, Melissa was elected by the IACP for their first "Leadership Academy", a program designed to create collaborative leaders with a mission to continue the momentum of the collaborative movement internationally. Melissa has also been trained in Family Mediation. In July of 2016, Melissa was selected as one of fifteen Peacemaking Professionals between the United States and Canada. She is now an Associate Trainer of Forrest "Woody" Mosten's. In 2017, Melissa will be published by the American Bar Association as a contributing author to a book that will provide collaboratively trained attorneys and other professionals the real-world tools to succeed in collaborative practice.
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Richard D. West
West Family Law Group
Mr. West is a frequent lecturer for Florida Bar Association, Orange County Bar Association and various professional seminar organizations. He is a founding member and past board member of the Collaborative Law Group of Central Florida and is committed to the integration of Collaborative Law for family law matters. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and Past president of the Florida Chapter.