I live in Washtenaw County with my husband of 44 years and we have two adult sons and 7 grandchildren. I spent many years working in healthcare as a registered nurse including community health as a public health nurse with the Washtenaw County Health Department in the 1990’s. I transitioned to Wayne State University’s Community Health Department as a program manager for the Nicholas J Hood Comprehensive Diabetes Program that partnered with faith based institutions in the Detroit Metropolitan areas to deliver diabetes education in the community setting.
After retiring in 2017 I returned to doing what I actively love to do; serving others in my community. This is strongly supported by my church home, Community Church of God in Ypsilanti, MII. I have volunteered with Hope Clinic, Washtenaw County Jail Ministry (Empowering Services Inc.), A Brighter Way and now with the Dispute Resolution Center as a facilitator.
Today I am involved with several community and grassroots organizations and I am a member of the Executive Board for Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice (ICPJ).
LaSonia Forté is Associate Director of State Outreach in the Office of Government Relations at the University of Michigan. In this role, she builds strategic partnerships in the business, institutional, government, education and non-profit sectors throughout the east side of Michigan. She holds an AAS in Computer Information Systems, a BS in Psychology (Communication minor), and a Master's in Public Administration/Affairs (MPA). LaSonia joined the Dispute Resolution Center's Board of Directors because she believes in constructive dispute resolution and restorative justice for young adults. Her commitment to education, mentorship and building character is reflected in her collaborative nature and informs her community service and civic engagement. Her favorite statement on social justice is by Artika R. Tyner: "Seek justice: Make a commitment to serve the needs of the ‘least of these’ and give voice to the voiceless."
LaSonia also serves on the Community Board of Ele's Place, the Board of Directors of Girls Group and is the co-creator and co-sponsor of the annual Frank J. Forté Laptop Scholarship along with her husband, Prof. Michael Awkward. She has been engaged in community outreach for more than ten years in Metro Detroit and the greater Ann Arbor area.
Michael Fried has been a mediator with the Dispute Resolution Center since 2002, primarily mediating divorce and special education cases, and considers volunteering at the Center as part of his effort of tikkun olam. Michael Fried retired from the Wayne County Prosecuting Attorneys Office in 2001 where he was Chief of Administration. He served on the State of Michigan Criminal Justice Information System Policy Council; and founded and led the Wayne County Justice Information System.
Judith (Judy) Hallas is a Senior Organizational Effectiveness Consultant with 30+ years of experience at the University of Michigan Health. She is currently working on several large scale change projects that benefit patients, families and staff.
Judy has served the Dispute Resolution Center of Washtenaw and Livingston Counties as a Committee member and Board member for 8 years and is committed to the mission of the DRC.
Judy is celebrating 25 years of meeting monthly with her Book Club, loves yoga and traveling
Cherisa Allen is a proud native of Ypsilanti, Michigan. She is a proud graduate of Eastern Michigan University, completing both her Bachelor and Master’s Degree. She is also a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Cherisa’s career of over twenty-five years in Social Work has given her the opportunity to touch many lives in a positive way. She has worked on several committees throughout her life, in her church, community, and in her career. Cherisa is the President/Founder of Women and Men Working for Change, a non profit organization, serving the Ypsilanti Community and Washtenaw County as a whole .
Cherisa is a member of the Community Action Board, and is also an Ypsilanti Parks Commissioner.
Cherisa works in her community on a daily basis promoting positive change.
Cherisa’s commitment to women is not just limited to her career as a Social Worker. She is devoted to making changes and transforming the lives of women everywhere. She is the Owner/Operator of Do You See What I See, LLC? She is a Motivational Speaker and a Transformational Life Coach. Cherisa tackles tough issues that inhibit women from living productive and healthy lives. She is committed to educating them on how to become strong, independent, and loving women; the primary objective being…Breaking historical cycles of self-destructive behaviors, while encouraging a sense of purpose, belonging and pride.
In 2018, Cherisa was awarded the Blazing Star Award “ In Appreciation for your efforts to Blaze and Inspire others.”- AA-National Association of Negro Business Professional Women’s Club.
In 2020, Cherisa was awarded the African American Achievement Award “For your dedication to the Mentorship of students and your aid in sustaining Mental Health awareness”- Communities In Schools and Ypsilanti Community Schools.
If Cherisa could be known for anything desires to see all people living their best lives!
Curtner is at home in a courtroom. A widely-recognized advocate, Curtner has tried complex cases involving antitrust, business transactions, defamation, intellectual property, securities, and sports law. As much as Greg thrives on trying cases, his primary mission and passion is understanding and helping to solve his clients’ business challenges.
At RSHC, he leads the antitrust and competition practice. He is also an active member of the firm’s class actions and commercial litigation groups. He is committed to providing effective and creative counsel to support the strategic goals of his clients. His understanding of, and experience in, economics, accounting, marketing, distribution, and finance help him to team effectively with clients. Greg will frame, present, and try a case when that’s the best solution or craft creative settlements when that option is the wiser course. In Greg’s view, solving problems born in the past is only part of his job. He aims to offer advice and strategy that his clients can use and rely upon as they do business in the future. Through four decades of representing athletic associations, manufacturers, trade associations, and academic institutions, Greg has cultivated an unparalleled depth of knowledge about antitrust, sports, entertainment, and education. He has successfully represented many high-profile defendants, including the National Collegiate Athletic Association, in precedent-setting cases.
Greg frequently serves as lead counsel in nationwide antitrust disputes and class actions for clients in a wide range of industries and has appeared in numerous state and federal courts. He is a former chairman of the Antitrust Section of the State Bar of Michigan, and was the primary drafter of the Michigan Antitrust Reform Act.
Elliott Legal Services PLLC
Bio coming soon!
Laurie White, a native of Flint, MI who moved to Ann Arbor in the mid-1980s, is a documentary film maker, family therapist and Dialogue facilitator, as well as a certified mediator. She has been connected with the Dispute Resolution Center in various capacities for almost 10 years, and loves connecting with others who share her passionate belief that it is possible and necessary to find solutions to conflict.
Deputy Executive Director, Michigan Department of Civil Rights
Kimberly Woolridge has held the position of Deputy Executive Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights since August of
2021. She began her nearly 23-year career with the Michigan Civil Rights Commission and the Michigan Department of Civil Rights in
1999, serving as Assistant Commission Counsel, Staff Attorney and ADA Title II Appeals Coordinator. Concurrently, from 2002 to 2006,
she served as Special Assistant Attorney General, litigating cases on behalf of MDCR in state circuit courts.
In 2018, Woolridge was named the State ADA Coordinator and ADA Compliance Director, a position housed within the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. As head of ADA Compliance for the state, Woolridge provided counsel to the Governor, MDCR Executive Director and executive branch departments on state and federal disability laws; advised state offices on complying with disability statutes; and oversaw the training of ADA Coordinators in every department of state government. In March of 2021, she added oversight of MDCR’s newly created Statewide Training Division to her duties, changing her title to ADA Compliance and Statewide Training Director. In August of 2021, MDCR Director John E. Johnson, Jr. named Woolridge Deputy Executive Director of the Department of Civil Rights. In that position, she oversees the ADA Compliance Division; the Community Engagement Division; the Education Division; the Enforcement Division; the office of Professional Standards; and the Division on Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing. Prior to joining MDCR, Woolridge was a staff attorney at the Misdemeanor Defender’s Office for Indigents, Inc. in Detroit, and in 1997, established her own private law practice. Woolridge earned her Juris Doctorate degree from the Michigan State University College of Law and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Marketing and Advertising from Wayne State University.
Belinda Dulin began her employment with The Dispute Resolution Center 2003 as the Mediation Services Coordinator and assisted in launching the Small Claims Mediation Program and the Domestic Relations Motion Day Program. In 2006, she became the director of mediation services and was responsible for the development and administration of various civil and family mediation programs as well as facilitating workshops to community organizations. In 2007, Belinda accepted the position of Executive Director and continues to expand the DRC’s services. Under her leadership, she has expanded the small claims mediation program, where mediation is the first step for problem solving in the 14A, 14B and 15th District Courts; and, developed and implemented school-based conflict programs serving students, families and school staff in identifying and resolving barriers and issues that affect students. Specific services include attendance mediation to identify the barriers consistent school attendance and create solutions that break the pattern of poor attendance, support the family structure and, academic improvement. Also, the DRC implemented the restorative practices services to address student-student and student-teacher conflict in a non-punitive, supportive manner that allows relationships to be restored, problems to be resolved and support services to be identified to support positive behavior and academic improvement. In 2013, also under Belinda’s leadership, the DRC partnered with the Peacemaking Court, providing restorative justice model to families in the child protection and delinquency systems The Dispute Resolution Center serves Washtenaw and Livingston Counties.
She has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a Master of Arts degree in Dispute Resolution, both from Wayne State University. Prior to becoming involved in community mediation, she worked in the corporate setting assisting with employment disputes -- preserving the working relationships between co-workers and employees and management.
Germaine joined the Dispute Resolution Center in April 2018 as the Administrative Assistant with an emphasis in fundraising and development. Prior to joining the DRC team, Germaine has been deeply involved in non-profit mission driven work originating at Growing Hope and immersed herself in programmatic development around food sovereignty and healthy food access. In that time, she developed her skills in policy advocacy and campaign development work in sustainable agriculture through the Washtenaw County Food Policy Council, Bee Safe Neighborhoods, Bee City Ann Arbor, and the Agricultural Land Area Preservation Advisory Committee of Washtenaw County. She transferred these skills to another local non-profit, the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, helping to build and strengthen capacity for the organization. There she gained a lot of experience in organizational development, particularly in fundraising and donor cultivation strategies and approaches, outreach and social media planning and coordination, event planning, trained in non-violent communication practices, and helped develop the Bystander Intervention Training Program. Germaine currently serves as the Chair for the Community Advisory Board for Law Enforcement (CABLE) of the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office and the 21st Century Policing Commission - Policy and Oversight Committee. In her spare time, Germaine enjoys beekeeping and growing food. She received a Bachelor's of Arts and Sciences in Literature from Michigan State University and is currently working toward her Master's in Ecojustice Education at Eastern Michigan University.
Germaine coordinates Domestic Relations/Family mediations.
Anika recently joined the Dispute Resolution Center in 2023, bringing a passion for, and a commitment to restorative justice, as Administrator of the Center’s Restorative Justice Project.
Anika offers a combination of experience in legal advocacy, higher education administration, and alternative dispute resolution, that reinforces her commitment to address and respond to conflict that respects the dignity and equality of each person, and that builds understanding and promotes social justice through the healing of all members of communities.
A Washtenaw County native, Anika received her B.A. in Political Science and in Anthropology, from the University of Michigan in 1992. She later attended and graduated with a J.D. from Hofstra School of Law. In her pursuit to contribute to the restoration of harm within communities through the discipline of mediation, Anika received her LL.M in International law and Alternative Dispute Resolution from Loyola School of Law in 2014.
Gail Einhaus joined the DRC staff in August 2021 and has served as a DRC volunteer mediator since 2017. Mediating at the DRC has been an impactful experience for Gail. She has gained insight into her personal strengths and weaknesses, and her love and respect for the differences in people and her understanding of the roots of and resolution to conflict has deepened.
In her past life, Gail had a rewarding career in health administration. This included serving as a health educator on the Navajo Nation, a health care analyst for General Motors, and a Compliance Director for Trinity Health System. A reoccurring theme through all these experiences has been the importance of listening, being curious, then listening more to strive to solve problems in a positive and creative manner.
Free time is spent with Gail’s beloved family, dogs, and friends and volunteering with the Interfaith Hospitality Network/Alpha House and Special Olympics. Gail earned her Bachelor of Health Science from the University of Kentucky and Master of Public Health from the University of Michigan.
Gail coordinates Small Claims Mediations for the Washtenaw County 14A-1, 14A-4 and 14B District Courts.
Stephanie Myers joined the DRC staff in 2020. Stephanie is passionate about mediation, adaptable conflict resolution, and restorative justice practices. Stephanie enjoys mediating civil disputes. Stephanie understands how mediation and restorative justice practices can shape not just the dialogue around conflict but also how we as a society respond and move forward from conflict.
Stephanie earned her Bachelors of Arts in Political Science and Criminal Justice from the University of Michigan - Dearborn before earning her Juris Doctorate from Western Michigan University Cooley Law School. She is a member of the Michigan State Bar Association and Washtenaw County Bar Association.
Stephanie coordinates Small Claims Mediations for Washtenaw County’s 15th District Court, General Civil Mediations for Livingston County’s 53rd District Court, Probate and Special Education Mediations for both counties, and she manages the MI-Resolve Online State Mediation Platform.
Kevin Werner is a multi-talented artist, activist, and creator. As a singer, writer, and actor, Kevin has always been passionate about storytelling and the arts. Now, as a professional activist, with the Dispute Resolution Center and Fellowship with Michigan Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Network, he is using his talents to create meaningful change in the world.
His project, Stonewall The Musical, is a testament to his commitment to social justice and equality. The musical features real-life characters from the history of the LGBTQ+ uprising, and is a powerful tribute to the brave individuals who fought for their rights. In addition to his work on Stonewall The Musical, Kevin has co-created a podcast called Talking Musical History with Chris Anderson. TMH explores the intersection of music and history with a fascinating look at the stories behind some of the world's most iconic shows.
Kevin is also a frequent guest on the Trans Narrative Podcast, where he shares his insights and experiences as a member of the LGBTQ+community. Leading with fabulous faith, Kevin can be found performing with the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor, with the Chalice Singers, and as a Lay Leader. He recently became a Leader with Transgender Michigan in the Transman Outreach position, helping others in the trans masculine community.
For those who want to see more of Kevin's work, he invites you to check out his website, skyerainbow.com, and subscribe to his YouTube channel, Skye Rainbow Productions. There, you can catch a glimpse of Kevin's drag personality, Skye Spectrum, who is slowly
emerging as a new facet of his creative identity.
Kyoko has been volunteering with the DRC as a mediator and peace making circle facilitator since 2012.
Born and raised in Hiroshima Japan, she believes that the ability to see the humanity in others and restoring interconnectedness are keys to bringing people together. She believes that we all have a deep caring for others inside of us, and is passionate about supporting people tapping into that part of themselves. In doing so we can fully live our purpose to create a world that works for all. Her dream is to live in a world where we know our lives are enriched because of our differences, not despite them.
She has been studying Nonviolent Communication and on the path to being a certified trainer. Her hope is to make a little contribution for people to experience the value of interdependence in the community she serves.
Her other passion is dogs, and is a former foster mom with the rescue “Refurbished Pets of Southern Michigan”. One of her dogs was trained in the correctional facility by inmate trainers.