Chris Sheesley, President

Chris puts derailed workplace relationships back on track. Senior managers and HR professionals hire Chris when they recognize the need for an experienced, objective facilitator to transform high-stakes or seemingly unresolvable internal disputes into cooperation and employee efficiency.

With over three decades of full-time experience, a client roster that includes hundreds of notable organizations, and a track record of over 1,750 cases, Chris is among the most seasoned conflict management professionals on the West Coast. He has also amassed over 5,000 hours of experience teaching dispute resolution and related skills grounded in his real-world experience.

In one instructive case, a despairing CEO sought Chris to address a conflict between two high-level executives. The CEO feared productivity would continue to degrade, morale would implode, and the feud might become public if the relationship further deteriorated. With so much at risk, Chris applied his five-step process to bring both managers together. He helped them craft an agreement to enhance their interactions and, more significantly, improve how they viewed each other. The grateful CEO stopped worrying about the collapse of her executive team.

Chris holds an MA in Organizational Communication from Marylhurst University, and his thesis explores employee resistance to conflict resolution opportunities. He also holds a BA in Conflict Resolution from American University.

Chris lives in a 1908 farmhouse on seven Clackamas County acres with his wife, two elementary-aged sons, dogs, horses, chickens and other critters. When he’s not fussing around on the property, he’s cycling, gawking at Oregon’s fascinating birds, sailing Escapade on the Columbia River, or gazing through a telescope at the vastness of space.

Mariann Hyland, J.D., M.S.W. (She/Her)

Mariann brings her extensive experience as a mediator, leadership coach, executive leader, and consultant to In-Accord. She excels in facilitating the resolution of workplace conflict, using a strength-based, trauma-informed approach. Given her bi-racial background, African American heritage, and her deep knowledge as a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practitioner, Mariann facilitates cross-cultural communication and supports parties in addressing intent and impact while enhancing working relationships. Ultimately, her restorative approach to conflict promotes healing, trust, and empathy.

Mariann has over 25 years of experience in operations and administration of large and complex organizations (universities, a college, the Oregon State Bar and one of the nation’s largest community foundations). Over the course of her career, she has provided leadership for human resources, public safety, risk management, civil rights compliance, and DEI. Mariann is a holistic, systems thinker, who is skilled in providing policy and strategic direction for advancing DEI. She is skilled at helping organizations maximize human capital, develop inclusive, innovative cultures, and manage risk in ways that promote growth and resilience.

As a life-long learner, Mariann earned a J.D. from the University of Oregon School of law, an M.S.W. from Portland State University, and a B.S. from the University of Oregon. She also completed a two-year interprofessional ethics fellowship program at Oregon Health and Sciences University, and she is enrolled in an International Coach Federation accredited program through the College of Executive Coaching.

Suzanne Pickgrobe, JD.

Sue began her focus on workplace disputes in 1998. As District Counsel for the United States Small Business Administration, she was the agency’s sole representative mediating disputes in the Oregon Federal Executive Board’s Shared Neutrals program from 1998 until her retirement in 2016. She has continued her focus on workplace conflict resolution through her work with In-Accord. Her entrance to the field of mediation began in 1988 with the Neighbor-to-Neighbor program (Salem, OR) and the Multnomah County Victim Offender Reconciliation Program (Portland, OR) and continued with Community Mediation Services (Vancouver, WA), and Resolutions Northwest (Portland, OR). She mediated dozens of community disputes, small claims court cases, as well as and foreclosure cases in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.

As an engaged mediation professional, Sue served as a director and officer of the Oregon Mediation Association. Suzanne finds the workplace to be an especially rewarding venue because the conflict resolution process can restore trust and lead to dramatically improved communications, job satisfaction, and higher productivity.

Suzanne finds joy in harmony singing and performing in choirs and musical theatre. She also enjoys hiking and biking and attending live theatre. Suzanne’s meditation (yes, meditation) and yoga practices help her find grounding and calm to connect with and support people in the midst of conflict.

Mark Danley, Consultant

Mark Danley served in the federal sector for 31 years, the last 16 of which were focused on workplace conflict resolution at the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). In this role, he founded and managed the first agency-wide workplace mediation program.  Mark has continued this work by specializing in interpersonal workplace conflict management. He helped establish the Oregon Federal Executive Board’s Shared Neutrals program and served as its first Chair. Through his involvement in this program, he facilitated agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, Indian Health Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Additionally, Mark served for five years as a dispute resolution ombudsman at BPA, where he also managed the resolution of complaints under Federal Equal Employment Opportunity laws. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Oregon Mediation Association (including a term as its President), and he has presented conflict management topics to both supervisors and employees.  Mark has also trained mediators at Portland State University, Portland Community College, and other venues.

Mark believes that conflict comes from a variety of places (interpersonal, structural, organizational, etc.). Therefore, he takes a systems approach to each conflict, looking beyond or beneath the presenting problems to identify and address its sources.  He respects the integrity of all parties to collaborate in solving problems in ways that work for them.

When Mark is not mediating, he’s researching his family tree, entertaining his three grandchildren, or traveling to parts known and otherwise. He’s also working on building an orphanage in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Nancy Pionk, Consultant

Prior to joining In-Accord, Nancy Pionk served as the Executive Director of Community Mediation Services, a non-profit located in Vancouver, Washington, that provides conflict resolution services and related training to the community. She is a certified mediator and approved practicum supervisor with the Washington Mediation Association. She also has over ten years’ experience providing professional mediation training and has mentored hundreds of mediators.

Nancy has been a mediator since 1996 and has mediated a variety of cases, including workplace, neighbor-to-neighbor, landlord-tenant, victim-offender, foreclosure, and police-citizen matters. She is a large group facilitator and has facilitated numerous internal workgroups, retreats, and public meetings. In addition, Nancy designs and presents mediator, conflict resolution, decision-making, and communication training. She is also an adjunct instructor and teaches Negotiations in the Carson School of Business at Washington State University Vancouver.

In addition to her mediation work, Nancy is a certified Hudson Institute coach who provides leadership, executive, transition, and conflict coaching. As a coach, she guides clients through the creative process of change, helping them achieve their professional and personal development goals. She coached individuals in executive and team leadership roles across the private, public, and non-profit sectors. She has also worked with small business owners and individuals seeking to make career or personal life transitions. In addition, she is a licensed facilitator for the Immunity to Change Process. Through this facilitated process, Nancy helps individuals, teams, and organizations map their desired changes, uncover blocks impeding the changes, and identify practices and actions that can help them overcome these blocks and to attain their goals.

Nancy earned a BA in Public Law and Government from Eastern Michigan University and a JD from Loyola University of Chicago School of Law.

When not working, Nancy loves hiking and biking in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, and is currently exploring as much of Eastern Oregon and the Wallowa region as she can. She also enjoys meeting up with her 11 brothers and sisters who reside throughout the U.S. and in Italy. When she is not traveling, she indulges in Portland’s many cultural offerings such as Thorns soccer matches, Wordstock, Portland Literary Arts and OPB’s Live Wire shows.

Anthony Jackson, Mediator

Anthony Jackson joined In-Accord as a professional mediator and facilitator who has worked on more than 2,000 cases throughout his career. In addition to his work with In-Accord, he is an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Specialist and Conflict Management and Prevention Center (CMPC) Manager for the U.S. Forest Service. He excels at providing mediation, facilitation, training, and one-on-one conflict coaching to corporations, managers, and employees nationwide. Anthony’s philosophy is to empower people in conflict so they can have their needs met and develop hope for the future by improving communication, increasing understanding, and developing better relationships.

Throughout his career, Anthony has collaborated with high-level managers, corporate human resource departments, unions, Civil Rights and Equal Employment Opportunity practitioners, and others to resolve workplace challenges and deliver related training topics. Among his many professional designations are Certified Workplace Mediator and Trainer, Certified Crucial Conversations Trainer, Certified Civil Treatment Trainer, and Oregon Federal Executive Board Shared Neutrals Mediator/Facilitator.

Anthony has traveled the world and now lives in the Portland area with his wife of nearly forty years. Together, they have a beautiful daughter. He spends his free time volunteering for Race Talks, an organization that promotes interracial and cross-cultural communication. He is also a sports enthusiast who owns shares in the Green Bay Packers football team and is a Portland Timbers season ticket holder.

Sandra Jackson, Mediator

Sandra Jackson specializes in mediation, facilitation, and related training skills. She has a passion for helping people have open, honest, and productive conversations to gain clarity, create understanding, and generate forward-thinking. Her mediation experience includes workplace, business, contractual, residential, and community cases. In addition to her work with In-Accord, she mediates for the Multnomah County Court system where she has been a trainer since 2014. Sandra also serves as a trainer for East County Resolutions’ mediation program dating from 2016. Sandra was the recipient of the Oregon Mediation Association Shannon Steward Award of Excellence in 2014.

During her tenure as an organization development consultant, Jackie focused on conflict management, change management, and improving team dynamics. She continues to develop and facilitate conflict management trainings and workshops topics such as “Managing Difficult Conversations” and an eight-week series, “Managing Interpersonal and Team Conflict.” As a change management consultant, Jackie places an emphasis on the psychological and behavioral aspects of managing transitions.

As an Ombudsman, Jackie assists employees and leaders with problem-clarification and assessing options to address their concerns in a confidential, neutral setting. Interventions such as mediation, coaching, and informal inquiry are provided, as well as upward feedback to executive level management of systemic issues in order to facilitate organizational change and to proactively manage issues. Jackie uses Empowerment and Systems Theory as foundational models when coaching managers and executives who are attempting to resolve difficult team dynamics or improve their own Emotional Intelligence skill set.

Jackie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology, a Master’s degree in Education, and a Master’s degree in Couples, Marriage and Family Therapy. She is certified in a wide range of assessment instruments.

Jackie Shelpman Woolery, Consultant

Jackie helps organizations manage complex issues. Over the last 30 years, she has provided organizational consulting, mediation, coaching and counseling services to teams and leaders and brings this expertise to her with In-Accord. Jackie began her career as a case manager, and then as a mediator and trainer for social service agencies in Arizona. She moved to Oregon to work in organization development and training prior to becoming an Ombudsman at a large company.

Sandra’s facilitation experience consists of retreats, board meetings, team-building sessions, and community-input events. She has led strategic planning initiatives for the private sector, government agencies, and non-profits. In addition, Sandra facilitates foreclosure avoidance conferences as well as Department of Human Services (DHS) family decision meetings. Beyond her direct service work, Sandra provides training in communication, conflict management, and facilitation skills.

In one case an organization reached out for assistance with an issue between an employee and an upper-level manager. The issue and strained relationship between the employee and manager were beginning to impact an entire team. Sandra applied her mediation skills and proven process steps to create a safe space for these individuals to have a productive conversation and avoid causing further harm. The dialogue involved discussion around issues of race, as well as the impacts of decisions and work practices. They left with new understandings and a clear path to move forward, including commitments to have more open communication and implement concrete steps to make meaningful changes in both their work and relationship.

Sandra enjoys going for walks in the sunshine, “puttering” around her house, and most of all spending time with her family.

Zachary Metz, Ph.D.

Zachary Metz, Ph.D., helps transform relationships in conflict, through collaboration, negotiation, problem-solving, and dialogue. For more than twenty-five years, he has worked with people and groups embroiled in some of the toughest conflicts, from workplaces to families, to war zones. He is an empathetic and skilled mediator, drawing on a range of powerful tools to help people craft sustainable solutions.

He has mediated hundreds of cases and trained thousands of professionals from a wide range of industries and functions in negotiation, communication, and mediation skills. In his work with In-Accord clients, he is both supportive and challenging, engaging disputants to wrestle with hard truths and find truly durable and realistic solutions.

In addition to his extensive work addressing conflict in the private and public sectors, he has worked in over a dozen war-affected regions, from Northern Ireland to northern Iraq, as a trainer and consultant to national governments, United Nations agencies, and international civil society organizations. He also teaches graduate-level courses on peacebuilding and negotiation at Columbia University.

In a case that illustrates Zachary’s approach, he was asked by a senior leader of a Big Four accounting firm to tackle a conflict between two managers that had been dragging on for years. The conflict had spread beyond the two leaders and was creating rifts between teams. The firm had tried using internal resources, but the conflict persisted and worsened. Zachary used mediation and coaching approaches with the two managers, supporting them in having new conversations about old problems. With new perspectives regarding others and the history, and with a commitment to collaborative problem solving, they agreed to get back to work together and to leave the history of conflict behind.

A Midwesterner at heart, Zachary also lived in the Pacific Northwest, before coming back to his ancestral homeland in New York and New Jersey. He loves tackling elaborate recipes, from blueberry pie to babka. Reading keeps him thinking about the world, and all the ways we are connected.

Mary Rowe, MS

Mary Rowe, MS has been a mediator since 1990. She started her career as an employee and labor relations analyst in a public sector Human Resources department. She quickly saw the value of mediation skills for this line of work and completed a mediation course and has worked in both mediation and human resources since. Mary has a deep understanding of EEO law and workplace dynamics and how the workplace systems and culture can either enhance resolution or help contribute to conflict.

Mary is an experienced trainer and facilitator. She works both with individuals in conflict and intact teams who are trying to improve their relationships and effectiveness. Her goal is to not only facilitate parties as they reach resolution in the current situation, but also to assist them in gaining communication and conflict resolution skills which they can apply to future situations. Beyond her role with In-Accord, Mary serves on multiple mediation panels for workplace mediation, as well as Special Education mediation and consumer complaints. She is a long-standing member of the Oregon Mediation Association and previously served on the board of the Shared Neutrals mediation program. Mary is a roleplay coach for mediation training programs throughout the region.

Mary holds an MS in Industrial and Labor Relations from the University of Oregon and a BA in Economics from Reed College. She was the President of the International Public Managers Association for Human Resources and is a recipient of the Muriel M. Morse award – the highest distinction bestowed on a public sector human resources professional in the Western Region of IPMA-HR.

When not working (some who know her might ask when isn’t she working), Mary enjoys hikes in our beautiful forests in the Pacific Northwest, trips to the coast, spending time with family and friends, volunteering, and reading.

Erin Ruff, Lead Trainer

Erin brings with her a deep career in conflict management. She is passionate about effective, interest-based problem-solving. She also works with Clackamas County Resolution Services, where she mediates workplace cases, teaches and mentors volunteer mediators, and resolves small claims, community, and parent-teen cases. Additionally, she facilitates victim-offender dialogue and foreclosure interventions.

Erin began her career as a mediator in 1996 and worked for the Oregon Judicial Department as a mediator and dispute resolution policy advisor for 12 years.  She has facilitated dozens of groups, including State and County collaborative policy and rule-making groups. In addition, she teaches conflict management theory and technique to students aged 10 to 99.  Erin has also developed and delivered specialized courses for attorneys, judges, law enforcement officers, and staff members, therapists, social workers, and parents. Additionally, she was an adjunct professor at Marylhurst University and Willamette College of Law.

Erin holds a BA from Claremont McKenna College and both a JD and Certificate in Dispute Resolution from Willamette University College of Law.  She lives in West Linn with her husband and two middle school-aged children. She is a Girl Scout leader, knitter, and Portland Thorns supporter.

Tim Hicks, Mediator

Tim is a conflict management professional with In-Accord, who has provided mediation, facilitation, training, coaching, and consulting to individuals and organizations in the private and public arenas since 1993. At its core, his work aims to help those he works with to communicate more effectively in order to solve problems, make decisions, and build or restore relationships.

From 2006 to 2014, he led the Master’s degree program in Conflict and Dispute Resolution at the University of Oregon to a position of national prominence as its first director. In that position, he taught a number of graduate-level conflict resolution courses. He works from his office in Eugene, Oregon. He continues to teach and present nationally and internationally. He is an adjunct professor at Endicott College teaching conflict and its resolution. Prior to his conflict management career, he and his wife started and managed two successful businesses, one that grew to 150+ employees over the course of seven years.

Tim is co-author of The Process of Business/Environmental Collaborations: Partnering for Sustainability (Quorum Books, May 2000), a text on collaborative partnerships to resolve environmental disputes between corporations and environmental organizations, author of Barriers to the Use of Mediation in Environmental Disputes (Antioch, 1997), and author of Embodied Conflict: the neural basis of conflict and communication (Routledge, 2018).

Madeline Kane, Mediator

Madeline has been a conflict resolution practitioner since 2017 and earned a Master’s degree in Conflict Resolution from Portland State University. Mediation, facilitation, and coaching are services that Madeline has provided to local businesses, non-profits, and government agencies. Through collaborative decision-making and creative resolution, she helps her clients address organizational health and transform their interpersonal relationships.

In addition to her work with In-Accord, Madeline has experience in collaborative governance and has facilitated policy analysis projects and public engagement endeavors. Recently, Madeline worked with the faculty and students of a state university to address interpersonal and programmatic challenges. Throughout the course of several mediations, faculty were able to better provide for the needs of students, and students were able to appreciate the efforts and expertise of the faculty.

When not working, Madeline enjoys hiking, biking, and swimming her way around the Pacific Northwest with her dog, Wallace. She’s an avid reader and hopes to eventually travel to every continent.

Abby Chroman, Mediator

Abby Chroman is a mediator and facilitator working with businesses, nonprofits, and government organizations to find new possibilities in conflict settings. While getting a Master’s degree in Conflict Resolution at Portland State University, Abby helped to develop a mediation resource center for the campus community, and discovered an effective way to build conflict resilience with teams. She applied the same approach when she co-founded XFORM, and through her training and mediation, has strengthened the capacity of entire organizations to move through tension and change. Her work with In-Accord focuses on helping colleagues improve important workplace relationships.

Abby is also a Program Manager for Social Innovation at Portland State University, using business tools to address pressing social and environmental issues. She leads a Graduate Certificate and a Business Minor in Social Innovation, international field studies, an immersive conference, a systems mapping competition, and participation in global social innovation networks.

Abby is a Futures Fellow at Portland State University, she serves on the Board of Advisors for The World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Hub in Portland, and she is always up for a good adventure.

Sunny Sassaman, Mediator

Sunny Sassaman has been providing professional conflict management services for over 20 years. She first discovered the power of mediation as a volunteer mediator in Maui, Hawaii. She holds a MA in Negotiation, Conflict Management and Peace Building Studies from Cal State Dominguez Hills, a Certificate from CYNERGY Conflict Coaching, and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Certificate from USF. Always passionate about fairness and access to justice, she has been able to combine her first career experience as an management executive with conflict management consulting. After two decades in Hawaii, she relocated to Portland, Oregon. In addition to her work with In-Accord, she is a Reservist for FEMA’s ADR Division and has been deployed to disaster recovery in Puerto Rico, USVI, Texas and Nebraska since 2018.

Sunny recognizes and appreciates that workplaces are dynamic and evolving. Sunny’s strengths in assessing whole systems, group facilitation, conflict coaching and mediation help build the resilience needed to weather changes. Her style is transformative and utilizes the concepts offered by Daniel Goleman in both Emotional and Social Intelligence to strengthen relationships and organizations.

Sunny is a past president of the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR), Vice President for the Oregon Mediation Association (OMA), and a member of the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network (OEN). She enjoys travel, spending time with family, and reading. 

Ryan Nakade, Mediator

Ryan has been a mediator since 2019 and provides facilitation services for the Oregon Department of Human Services. With his facilitation and mediation skills, Ryan helps parties collaborate toward win-win solutions, making all feel heard and acknowledged along the way.

Ryan also contracts with the Beaverton Center for Mediation and Dialogue, where he leads community dialogue workshops emphasizing political depolarization. He has led workshops for communities in conflict around divisive social issues like vaccines and race. He leads Diversity Equity and Inclusion trainings for mediators and organizations emphasizing a holistic and integrative approach to understanding identity and cultural conflict. Ryan currently co-leads the Portland Response Team, where he partners with numerous mediation, anti-violence, and community organizations to make Portland a safer and more peaceful city.

Ryan is passionate about using mediation to help participants develop insight into their own worldview. In a particular case around identity and diversity, he helped the parties become aware of the clash of paradigms that subtly underpinned the conflict. This insight helped the parties achieve mutual understanding and empathy toward each other, while paving the way for future collaboration.

In his free time, Ryan enjoys spending time with his wife, eight goats, and reading about philosophy, politics, and systems theory. He dreams of building a conflict-resilient society where we all learn and grow from our differences and disagreements.

Dr. Clare Fowler, Mediator

Dr. Clare Fowler, is an adjunct instructor at the University of Oregon and a practicing workplace mediator. She mediates employee disputes, workplace problems, mergers and dissolutions, employee grievances, and organizational concerns.

Clare has been mediating since 1999. She has mediated over 400 cases with a 91% settlement rate.

In addition to her work with In-Accord, Clare has been employed as a mediator for the Supreme Court of Hawaii. Clare assisted the career development program for the Straus dispute resolution students. She has also mediated for the Los Angeles Superior Court, Center for Conflict Resolution, California Association of Mediation Professionals, Fulcrum Dispute Resolution Center, Yakima Valley Dispute Resolution Center, and the United Nations Association.

· Master’s of Dispute Resolution from the top dispute resolution program, the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at the Pepperdine University School of Law

· Doctorate in Business Conflict and Organizational Leadership from Pepperdine University

· Doctoral dissertation on designing dispute resolution systems that will sustain small businesses.

· Assists mediation firms in case management and development at Mediate.com

Lauren Gross, Consultant

Lauren is an experienced In-Accord facilitator and consultant who supports both mediation processes and large-scale facilitation engagements. She is versed in meeting processes, group engagement, capturing group memory and direct mediation. Lauren also works as the Lead Guide for students at Wayfinding Academy, a non-profit college in Portland, OR. She is the Education and Outreach Coordinator/Community Organizer for Repair PDX and works as a mediator and facilitator in other community capacities.

Genevieve Jones, Assistant

Genevieve Jones specializes in keeping In-Accord’s team of consultants organized by handling tasks that maintain our top-notch customer service. Among her many juggling talents are improving In-Accord’s marketing and networking opportunities via technology and personalized outreach. Genevieve’s meticulous attention to detail ensures that the company’s documents, website, and promotional materials sparkle and inform.

Prior to working with In-Accord, Genevieve served with the executive team of an international risk management company. When she’s not working, she is raising two extraordinary boys, serving as the Board Chair for their charter school, or galloping away from it all on her beloved horses.

“I was pleased to have the option of relying upon Debbie’s excellent mediation skills when dealing with many complex employee relations issues. Debbie skillfully guided mediation participants to mutual agreements which assisted in repairing many difficult relationships… There were a few extremely difficult interpersonal relationships that were predictably headed toward disciplinary action and/or potential termination… Debbie mediated three of these sorts of complicated interpersonal relationships. With deep gratitude and admiration, I watched Debbie resolve disagreements in each of these relationships. All of those individuals continue to work together and have dramatically improved communication and productivity. I enthusiastically recommend Debbie to anyone who is in need of professional mediation services. She is truly remarkable.”
— Sheahan Griffitts, SPHR, Director of Human Resources, Inn at Spanish Head