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Meet our office staff providing mediation services.

M.J. Bauer, Executive Director

M.J. Bauer is the Executive Director of the Conflict Resolution Center in Minneapolis. Prior to this role she was on the Board of Directors for non-profit organizations including the Conflict Resolution Center, the Jostens Foundation and the Minnesota Childrens Museum and the Clark Lake Conservation Association. M.J. has over 25 years of experience in the Twin Cities business community. She was the Director of Marketing at Thomson Reuters, and Jostens, General Sales Manager at Dayton Hudson and manager of advertising and promotions at CVN TV. M.J. holds a BA from the University of Minnesota, with executive marketing certification from the University of Columbia.

Elise Chambers, Program Director

Elise is an attorney, a Qualified Neutral under Rule 114 and an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota School of Law.  Elise is also trained in facilitated dialogue methods, including Nonviolent Communication and the Art of Hosting practices of Appreciative Inquiry, Open Space Technology, Pro-Action Café and World Café.  Elise has over two decades of experience in nonprofit programming.

At CRC, Elise has developed workshops and trainings in mediation, communication skills, brain science, youth mentoring, community leadership, and group facilitation processes.  Elise has presented at a number of statewide conferences, including YIPA Fest and Conflict Resolution Minnesota’s annual conference.  Recently, Elise presented at the 2015 national Association for Conflict Resolution conference and the Twin Cities Diversity Round table.  Elise also provides regular workshop sessions at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. Elise is the co-author and presenter of published research regarding youth brain development and the mutual impacts of the juvenile justice system and adolescent mental illness on each other.

Elise designs and implements trainings and facilitated processes for non-profit organizations, coalitions, government offices and businesses to help them address conflict and achieve their goals.  The leadership team at an organization with over 750 employees was struggling with how to improve the organization’s culture.  Elise worked with leadership and staff to design a facilitated, multi-year change implementation process assessing and addressing the concerns and goals of leadership and staff.  Elise equipped leadership and staff with the tools they needed to positively change the conflict resolution and communication landscapes of their organization.


Paula Faraci, Intake & Volunteer Manager

Paula has over twenty years of nonprofit experience, mostly working with at risk and homeless youth. Paula has experience and enthusiasm for case management, intakes, and data management. Paula captures data that tells the story of changed lives. Paula’s blend of listening and exploring the conflict helps bring people in conflict to mediation. Paula is committed to providing the best possible service to clients and volunteer mediators. Paula’s understanding of multiple perspectives and collective solutions started when she studied international relations at the University of Minnesota.

Annalisa Harrington Petersen, Duluth Program Development

Annalisa, a native Duluthian, has been working in the field of conflict resolution since 2002. She is an attorney, a Qualified Neutral under Rule 114 and an adjunct professor in the Health Care Management Department at the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Labovitz School of Business & Economics. As Director of Mediation Services of Chicago’s Center for Conflict Resolution, Annalisa trained new mediators of all backgrounds and directed a panel of 250 certified volunteers in mediating over 2000 cases per year. She has also worked as a California State Long-term Care Ombudsman, facilitating the resolution of disputes involving residents of 150 nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Los Angeles County. As a HealthCare Ombudsman/Mediator at Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco’s Bay Area, Annalisa mediated disputes involving concerns about the quality of medical care and communication issues between patient, family, physicians and other health care providers. Annalisa is passionate about the power of mediation skills to improve communication, foster mutual respect and empower those in conflict to achieve meaningful resolution.

Ona Lawrence, St. Cloud

Ona came to Minnesota 8 years ago from Oregon. She completed a Masters Degree at St Cloud State University where she developed an interest in relational conflict management and mediation. Experience in volunteer mediation has given her a passion for non-profit, community building work and the positive impact this work can have in communities.

Laurie Whipple, Operations Director

Laurie earned her B.A. from the University of Minnesota in Women’s Studies and Sociology. She brings 25 years of experience in project coordination and design and has been a certified Feng Shui practitioner for over a decade. Laurie is a trained mediator and is a passionate believer in the positive effects of resolving disputes through mediation.

Dawn Zugay, Volunteer Manager

Dawn holds a Juris Doctor from Drake University Law School and is a qualified neutral under Rule 114. Prior to joining the CRC staff, Dawn was a volunteer mediator for CRC for five years. She mediated community, EEOC, family, and youth disputes, and assisted in mediation training at the Conflict Resolution Center and the University of Minnesota. Dawn believes that mediation provides people in conflict with the opportunity to solve their problems in a respectful and lasting way.