2017 June 6th North LA County Meeting

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017 5:30 pm - 7:45 pm
University Center at the College of the Canyons, Santa Clarita
Speaker: Maria Simpson, Ph.D.
Topic: The 18th Camel: Using Project Management Approaches for Conflict Resolution in Teams

Maria Simpson

In a recent survey, members of your group identified the most frequent sources of conflict and the skills needed to address them. This presentation is based on those responses.

The process of mediation is much like the project management process, so we’ll look at the similarities in processes and then work on the communications skills identified by the group as being most needed to address these conflicts. Attendees will have time to practice some of the skills, and handouts will provide additional information. And a copy of “Leading Unstoppable Teams!” will be raffled.


Responses to the questionnaire sent to members were specific in identifying what caused conflict and what skills were needed to address it. The wide-range of issues included:

  • lack of clear goals
  • clashing agendas
  • unclear scope of the project
  • difficult behaviors including lack of listening skills and accusing,
  • managing the discussions, and
  • reaching resolution collaboratively.

Based on those responses, the presentation will focus on the underlying reasons for typical conflicts and difficult behaviors, and skills such as listening, language skills for managing discussions, and collaborative decision making for reaching resolution.

Both theory and application will be included. While specific communications techniques will be discussed, and practiced, knowing the underlying rationale for the techniques, such as what generates the most common difficult behaviors, will help in choosing effective responses when we are surprised by an odd behavior.


Speaker Bio:

Maria Simpson, Ph.D. has been an organizational conflict consultant for over 20 years, focusing on executive and leadership coaching, and team development. She has worked with C-Suite executives to develop their leadership and communications skills, and with leadership teams to develop more effective collaborative decision-making. Her long experience as senior staff member, such as Director of the International Conference Program at the New York Academy of Sciences, has given her an in-depth understanding of how organizations work.  

Maria has also been a mediator for almost 20 years, and served as a mediator for the Los Angeles County Superior Court for over 12 years. She now serves on the Boards of Directors of Empathia Pacific, a national EAP provider,

and since 2013 has been Board Chair of the Southern California Mediation Association (SCMA) Education Foundation, which focuses on bringing peer mediation programs to middle and high schools. She has also served on the boards of the International Society for Performance Improvement (LA Chapter) and the South Bay Center for Dispute Resolution, and was an officer of the SCMA. Maria has taught in the graduate program on Negotiation, Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding at California State University Dominguez Hills for almost 15 years.

Since 2003 Maria has written a weekly email on management communications and conflict resolution called “Two Minute Training,” and published a collection called “Leading Unstoppable Teams!” In addition, her white paper titled “Is This a Good Fit? The Connection Between Organizational Culture and Communications Style” is used in university classes. Her articles have been featured on mediate.com, in ACResolution, and in the SCMA newsletter.

Maria is honored to have received the SCMA President’s Award in 2012 “in recognition and appreciation for extraordinary service and unfaltering dedication to the Southern California Mediation Association.” She was also recognized for her “dedicated service as Editor of the SCMA Newsletter” in 1999.

Maria received her Ph.D. in Communications from New York University, studying with social critic Neil Postman.

Maria can be reached at info@mariasimpson.com, and the TMT Library can be found at www.mariasimpson.net.


Cost for this Event:

$15 - PMI-LA Members and Non-Members

(Registration fee is to cover the cost of the meal)

Meeting Agenda:
5:30 PM - 6:00 PM Registration and Networking
6:00 PM - 6:15 PM Light Meal
6:15 PM - 7:30 PM Featured Speaker
7:30 PM – 7:45 PM Meeting Adjourned with Closing Statement

PDU Credit:
PMP's will receive 1 PDU in the Leadership category for attending this event.

University Center at the College of the Canyons
Santa Clarita Worksource
26455 Rockwell Canyon Road, 2nd Floor
Santa Clarita, CA 91355
Download a map of the meeting site.


Questions or Comments:
Contact North LA County Meeting Director



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