How I Got Here

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At a Glance... I am an expert in conflict – at all the complex levels it originates, exists, and affects us – mental, emotional, spiritual, bodily. I show you how to go beyond containing and controlling conflict, to leveraging its power to drive personal, relational, and team growth.

I study the drivers of violent conflict so I can reverse those principles to resolve conflict. I integrate western education, cross-cultural experience, and a metaphysical perspective. The way I approach conflict is influenced by my personal journey.

My Journey...  I have worked in politics, post-war recovery, sustainable development, human trafficking, and countering violent extremism. My field experience includes work in West Africa, South America, Middle East, Far East, and Europe. I specialize in optimizing multicultural human intelligence modalities to address institutional, organizational, interpersonal, socio-cultural, spiritual, and political conflict. See More:

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I assist private clients in negotiation by applying cross-cultural tactics to optimize their negotiating position.

What You Get: Drawing on wisdom and tactics from around the world, I help you examine your situation from mental, social, emotional, public and private angles not yet considered. When negotiating, your strategy misses nothing and your tactical implementation is impeccable.

  • Having spent over a decade working in indigenous and contemporary systems of conflict resolution - ranging from West African Palava to FBI armed hostage negotiating - I know what drives conflict, and also what resolves it.

  • I also served as a Senior Scientist at a human security company that creates curriculum material and instructs pre-deployment Green Berets at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare School and Center, on the use of nonlethal soft power tactics to augment Psychological Operations and Civil-Military Affairs. 

 
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Working with child soldiers and post-war communal violence in West Africa, I became familiar with the role of trauma healing in post-war recovery. Traditional tribal engagement efforts necessitate healing the land, mourning their dead properly, and reconnecting with the ancestors. Minor adjustments to philanthropic programs now could help reshape the next 100 years.

What You Get: I design custom research and evaluation instruments for your organization to find hidden and stifled sources of conflict that are impeding efficiency. Far more than personnel issues, these deep qualitative processes highlight financial waste and operational inefficiencies, which can then be corrected by implementing system de-confliction processes. For your grantmaking, I draw attention to the issues that, once adjusted, will have generational impact.  

  • Trauma healing is a significant part of sustainable peace and development, yet glaring gaps exist.  

  • My work in the philanthropic field explored human trafficking, former child soldier reintegration, genocide prevention, and countering violent extremism. 

  •  For my doctoral dissertation research I interviewed private donors and found how the grantmaking process has hidden conflict that impedes sustainable results (peace, healing, economics and otherwise). 

 

  • From there I served as a loaned executive to nonprofit organizations and philanthropic foundations, and published my work on donor engagement and sustainable development issues. I continue to highlight the gaps that inhibit sustainable peace.

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I understand the level of stress one is under during times of extreme crisis, so I remain available with clients to absorb the thoughts and emotions that need to go somewhere.

What You Get: Especially useful in times of crisis and stress, I organize the internal control of information and external control of the narrative.

  • My experience includes over ten years of political campaigning, fundraising, VIP handling at major political events, strategic messaging, and press relations.

  • My communication work began in the press office of then-Governor Tom Ridge (later to become the first Secretary of Homeland Security). As a natural transition, I went on to assist high-profile private clients, attorneys, and businesses with crisis message development and delivery. 

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Based on twenty years of personal experience and cross-sector research from nine courtiers, I assist high-profile clients who are at personal, financial, and  reputational risk in the current climate surrounding gender relations.

What You Get: With complete discretion, and without the publicity of hiring a PR firm or labor law specialist in sexual harassment, you as a client can have a discrete internal conversation to understand your context and handle issues internally. You can also realistically adjust their policy and messaging.

  • Clients often do not understand these issues, and so do not understand their risk or possible exposure, nor how to correct things.

 

  • Augmenting personal experience of economic loss due to executive-level sexism, I conducted international research and published a graduate-level textbook that defines and explains these impediments from the global perspective of multi-national executive level women.

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Some issues cannot be answered by a therapist or consultant. Your conflict may be more nuanced, and require a nuanced perspective.

What You Get: As a client, you benefit from an unconventional mix of nuanced perspective and integrative methods. You have many additional layers of information available for conceptualizing, understanding, and resolving your conflict.

  • I am versed in and facilitate discussions on sensitive topics: Psychological enslavement, GLBTQ issues and homophobia, youth and workplace bullying, alternative lifestyles, inequality, gender violence, sexuality and sexual violence, community trauma healing, and violence prevention. 

  • ​Adjacent to that, I also incorporate supplemental intuitive methodologies into my work. These are highly effective as additional sources of information gathering and intelligence assessment (as used in military intelligence and law enforcement.) These modalities and more are featured in my peer-reviewed volume Natural Healing as Conflict Resolution.

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My own 'Dark Night of the Soul' presented situations that could not be answered by conventional means. My perspective expanded, as did my knowledge.

What You Get: Far beyond individual talk therapy, I use a global blend of methods from around the world to provide a holistic treatment that relieves your mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical stressors.

  • I hold a M.S. and Ph.D. in Conflict Analysis & Resolution, and dual B.A. degrees in Political Science and Public Relations. I learned Ayurveda body treatments and perform Panchakarma for clients. When we feel pain, we feel it at every level of our being.

  • Now in addition to academic approaches, I integrate useful spiritual and healing modalities into my conflict resolution work. Spiritual support, astrology, energy work, and body treatments are all natural complements to resolving deeply embedded conflict.

Publications

Within the realm of international development, the need for cost-effective, sustainable, and successful methods of healing must be explored. Traditional methods for addressing conflict and healing have been largely replaced in elite settings by modern approaches. Rather than old and new complementing one another, bias is present. New is widely perceived as better among elite institutions, even when research indicates otherwise.

Natural Healing as Conflict Resolution is an essential reference book that examines and addresses systemic bias towards natural healing methods and explores the mutually beneficial relationships of natural healing through human and non-human life forms in the context of resolving conflict.

 

It illustrates not only the more obvious biological/physiological benefits of complementary approaches, but also the spiritual, emotional, and psychological benefits of integrating natural means of healing to resolve conflict. As such, the book articulates the benefits of traditional indigenous healing methods and how they can be used in complementary, mutually beneficial ways with modern practices. 

(IGI Global, 2020)

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Natural Healing as Conflict Resolution

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This work is written from the standpoint that character does matter. Different to what you see in media, this is not about clever memes, call-outs, or being enraged. Eliminating sexism is about keeping a clear head, staring unflinchingly at our character and conduct, and reorganizing what passes for normal. 

Seventeen executive women from nine different countries relate their experiences in this qualitative research study. The findings presented here, mostly in narrative form, contextualize the elusive ways that sexism creeps into subtle interactions and can derail your career or cause immense financial loss. Getting into high positions is one thing. Staying there is another. 

Sexism is a socialized set of beliefs and behaviors, a gray area that is absolutely experienced and yet so far has been hard to quantify. This book describes the stealthy expressions of sexism and how naturally and easily these beliefs and behaviors meld together into our professional interactions, our social activities, and our personal relationships. We want women to attain higher positions of authority, so it is time to talk realistically about what those spaces look like. Socialized behavior doesn't change when you get higher, it just conceals itself better. 

(ABC-CLIO, 2019)

Executive Sexism

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How Donors Understand Conflict in their International Funding

This qualitative study examines international funding practices from the personal perspectives of private donors who have contributed at least $1m to international development projects. It discusses how hidden conflict impedes efficient grant making, stifles sustainability, and prescribes specific conflict resolution measures to implemented throughout the funding process in order to achieve practical, measurable, and sustainable results. Noteworthy in the findings is the prominent role of personal identity: What the donor wants to give recipients is the most prominent influence in funding decisions.

Donor preference is a significant component that can either promote or inhibit sustainable development results, yet the involvement of private donors in international development work has not yet been examined in academic literature. Models for integrative negotiation in funding processes have been proposed, but without having the voice of donors present in literature, all previous negotiation models are incomplete because a major party to the negotiation is absent from the model. Conflict analysis and resolution is a new approach that will bring clarity to the role of private donors in international development work and generate integrative solutions for donors to employ in their work should they choose.

(Nova Southeastern University, 2013)

Special Operations Forces Engagement in Human Domain in Unconventional & Irregular Warfare 

Curriculum for Psychological Operations and Civil Affairs officers training in Unconventional and Irregular Warfare. Taught at John F. Kennedy Special Warfare and School, Special Warfare Education Group. 

 

Course texts were developed specifically to enhance mission goals for US military Special Operations Forces by explaining the Human Domain of warfare, which is the psychological and material realities of civilian populations residing in conflict zones.  ​I served as a contributor to this work as a Senior Social Scientist for Valka-Mir Human Security.

 

Current Course Textbooks:

  1. Motivations & Drivers of Indigenous Populations in Irregular Warfare 

  2. Culture in Violent Conflict

  3. Psychological Warfare in the Special Operations Human Domain 

  4. Culture in the Human Domain

  5. Non-Kinetic Targeting & Engagement in the SOF Human Domain 

  6. Trauma in the Human Domain

  7. Psycho-Social Emotional Variables of Target Audience Analysis 

  8. Indigenous Social Re-Engineering

  9. Traditional Governance Engagement in the SOF Human Domain 

  10. Revolution, Insurgency, and Terrorism in the Central Sahel

(Valka-Mir Human Security LLC, 2018)

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Scholarly Articles:

A Psycho-Emotional Human Security Analytical Framework: Origin & Epidemiology of Violent Extremism & Radicalization of Refugees.  Ch. 6 in Countering Trans-Regional Terrorism.

(United States Special Operations Command: Joint Special Operations University, 2018)

The Wave Makers:
Positive Sustainable Change

Shipyards and company owners of the yachting industry address oceanic conservation, education, and public policy through a sustainability lens, and - in their view -  the need to move beyond philanthropy and toward accountability.

Invictus Magazine, 2016

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Origin & Epidemiology of Violent Extremism & Radicalization

From the academic perspective of conflict analysis and resolution, this article explains how ordinary people can be weaponized through the psychological process individuals experience they undergo during targeting, recruitment, and radicalization.

Centre for 5th Generation Warfare Studies, Sept 2016

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Public Benefit Company

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8th House Elan Ltd. is a Public Benefit Company I formed to

 

(1) Improve human health and wellness by teaching conflict resolution skills and peace building techniques. 

 

(2) Promote attitudes and behaviors that favor expanded communication, learning, tolerance, and acceptance. 

 

(3) Advance knowledge of applied peace building, specifically in relation to international affairs, society & culture, and public policy.

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Center for Conflict Resolution (CENCOR)  Accra, Ghana

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