CollabFest Midwest was founded in 2020 as an online conference by Iowa Collaborative Divorce as a way to bring collaborative professionals together from across the Midwest and across the country to share and learn from each other. We are glad you are here to join the conversation.
Watch for our 2024 agenda later this year. Below is 2023's speakers to give you a flavor of what CollabFest is about
As a Collaborative Attorney and Mediator, I believe that “if you cannot save the marriage, save the divorce.”
After practicing litigation for over a decade, both in matrimonial and complex commercial arenas, I came to recognize the judicial system’s shortcomings in delivering meaningful and satisfying resolutions to conflicts. This is particularly true in family law. So I reinvented my legal career to be more consistent with my values and goals: I now focus exclusively on collaborative law and mediation in Westchester and the Metro New York area.
My background and experience is perfectly suited for Collaborative Practice. Having previous experience as a Certified Public Accountant, I am very familiar with all financial issues. As a litigator for more than 10 years, I am also familiar with all family law issues. Being a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family and Circuit Civil Mediator as well as a State Qualified Arbitrator is extremely complimentary to the dispute resolution process entailed in Collaborative Law.
Jacinta Gallant is a respected Canadian collaborative lawyer, conflict trainer, mediator, and innovator in her field. She is recognized internationally for her insightful and experiential approach to teaching and managing conflict, and has been welcomed as a trainer throughout Canada, the United States, Europe, Australia, and Southeast Asia.
“Never cut what can be untied” is the inspiration for Jacinta’s work. Leaving behind many years as a successful litigation lawyer, Jacinta now works exclusively as a settlement advocate – using her skill and wisdom to help people untangle the knots of conflict while attending to relationships.
Nicolle was a practicing family law lawyer and mediator for 25 years (South Africa and Canada) and now advocates for Mental health by providing programming that enhances skills and delivers balance and peacemaking processes to individuals who are keen on finding balance in their lives.
Nicolle is a passionate advocate for Trauma Awareness and Responsiveness being recognized as an integral part of any system where emotion arises. Nicolle is a certified Mindfulness Instructor and author who presents workshops and training on Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence both locally and internationally.
Dr. Karassik is a Family Specialist/Divorce Coach and Child Specialist in the Collaborative Practice of Divorce and a trained mediator who often co-mediates separations/divorces with other professionals. In her Divorce and Separation practice, she brings a deep appreciation, based on personal experience, of the impact of divorce on families and couples. Her expertise as a neuropsychologist gives her insight into how emotions like loss, uncertainty, and fear affect thinking and decision-making during difficult times like divorce. Her own divorce and experience of co-parenting deepened her understanding of the challenges involved in this transitional time for families. As a clinical psychologist trained in Discernment Counseling, Mediation, and Collaborative Divorce she works with people at all stages of contemplating or entering into the divorce/separation process.
I am a dedicated family lawyer and business owner. I am known for helping good people through tough times, such as divorce and parenting matters. As a child of an amicable divorce, I know how hard divorce can be on children, even in the best of situations. With a focus on working together for the interests of the family, I strive to give my clients the tools they need for a successful future.
I have a strong reputation of giving back to the New Hampshire community that I grew up in and support my team to do the same. I genuinely care about my team, clients and community and look forward to continuing to grow my practice in the Nashua area.
Alan became involved in the Collaborative Practice movement in the early 1990's, limiting his casework to Mediation and Collaboration in 1999. He retired from active practice in 2017 and has since worked primarily as a trainer. He also authored a novel chronicling a case through the litigation process, “The Girl in the Halo.”
Alan has trained attorneys, judges, therapists and financial professionals in Mediation and Collaborative Practice, has presented for the Santa Clara County Bar Association, the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists, the State Bar of California and the State Bar of Idaho as well as Collaborative organizations throughout California.
Alan was the recipient of the “Eureka Award” for his contributions in founding Collaborative Practice in California. He became a Certified Family Law Specialist in 1980 and has been named to Super Lawyers (Northern California).
For more information about Alan, please visit www.nobler.com.
Nancy is a founding member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, a member of Collaborative Practice California, (where she is a recipient of the California Collaborative Practice Eureka award for practice excellence) and serves as an executive board member for Collaborative Practice Silicon Valley. She is also a co-creater of the Interdisciplinary Collaborative Divorce model. Currently she seeks to bring the same goals of creating healthier family relationships, to the Collaborative Trusts and Estates arena, where she has created and led four Interdisciplinary Collaborative Trusts and Estates introductory trainings and developed protocols for the Collaborative Trusts and Estates Interdisciplinary Process. She also chairs the Trusts and Estates “Think Tank of Collaborative Practice, Silicon Valley,” and along with her colleagues, helped develop the on-line Trusts and Estates Options program for the general public.
My goal is always to help people find their way through to a better future. Whether happily planning their lives together and in need of a well-crafted prenuptial agreement and Estate Plan, or sadly, contemplating ending their marriage and in need of an experienced professional to help negotiate and navigate a new future, Van Kooy Law & Mediation offers a compassionate approach to these services.
Over the years, it has become clear to me that mediation, Collaborative Law, and other “Alternative Dispute Resolution” approaches should not be the alternatives but rather the norm when it comes to negotiating family law matters. In 2019, I chose to devote my time and energy exclusively to out-of-court approaches to conflict resolution. My focus is to assist clients in finding the appropriate tools and approach that will work best under their circumstances. Every case and every individual is different and is treated as such.
Annie von Gillern is a therapist and attorney who serves as a child specialist, collaborative facilitator, and advocate for children. She is a licensed independent social worker (LISW) focused on the needs for children. She is a Des Moines native and mom to four small people of her own. She graduated from Iowa State University a BS in Psychology and a music minor and received her Masters of Social Work (MSW) from the University of Missouri-Columbia and her JD from Drake University just before her second child was born. Her training and professional work focuses on domestic violence, child welfare, and trauma including seven years at the Middleton Center for Children’s Rights in the Drake Legal Clinic when she first started practicing.
Louise Zito, JD, has mediated family and related matters for 25 years and draws heavily on her mediation experience in her collaborative work. She trains attorneys, family specialists and financial specialists in basic and advanced family mediation and is a senior fellow to the Quinnipiac School of Law Center on Dispute Resolution, serving as a liaison between the Center and CCND (CT Council for Non-Adversarial Divorce - Connecticut's state organization for mediators and collaborative professionals). She is an APFM Certified Advanced Practitioner. Louise co-founded the Divorce Solutions of Connecticut professional organization and the Connecticut Family Mediation Training Group. She is a member of the Collaborative Divorce Team of Connecticut, Connecticut Summit of Collaborative Professionals, and IACP. Louise is also on the Steering Committee for the Task Force on Reimagining Family Dispute Resolution, a joint project of CCND and The Center on Dispute Resolution. Louise received CCND's Howard Krieger Beacon Lifetime Achievement Award in 2021. She is a current Board member and Past President of CCND.