The International Mediation Institute

 Advanced Certification    

     Backgound:  The Maryland Council for Dispute Resolution (MCDR) has offered certification of mediators since 1996, relying on Performance Based Assessments.  MCDR was one of the first organizations in the United States to establish performance-based criteria for mediators.  Its program is considered a national model in the ongoing dialogue on quality assurance and mediator credentials.  As a result, in 2011 MCDR’s certification process was approved by the International Mediation Institute’s (IMI) Independent Standards Commission.  So now, after providing some additional information as requested below, MCDR certified mediators can be certified by the International Mediation Institute (IMI) as well. The IMI is a non-profit public interest initiative designed to drive transparency and high competency standards in the practice of mediation across all fields worldwide. 

     IMI has introduced a feedback system which provides mediation participant comments be made available anonymously through the IMI Feedback Digest, available on the IMI website.  Offering this IMI Feedback Digest is important because it allows prospective participants to find meaningful information about mediation while protecting privacy and confidentiality.  IMI Certified Mediators form a worldwide community of experienced mediator practitioners whose profiles are freely searchable by users through the IMI website.

     If you are interested in learning more about this certification click mediator certification.

     If you are an MCDR certified mediator and are interested in becoming IMI certified contact Ramona Buck  or Ellen Kandell.  MCDR will then notify IMI, asking them to create a profile for you on the IMI Portal.  Once created, IMI will invite you to log in and begin constructing your IMI profile. You can add your professional information to the profile, upload your photo and appoint a reviewer to prepare your Feedback Digest.   In order to prepare your Feedback Digest, you will need to collect and provide minimum of ten (10) mediation participant feedback forms.  Once your profile is complete and the Feedback Digest has been uploaded, you can submit your application to IMI. Once approved, your profile will be publicly visible on the IMI website.  IMI expects that certified mediators support their organization with an annual financial contribution.

The MCDR mediators who are IMI certified are listed below:

Ramona Buck

Ramona Buck currently serves as a Commissioner with the Office of Alternative Dispute Resolution at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service in Washington, D.C.  She mediates workplace cases, facilitates small and large groups, provides team building, trains, facilitates, and manages contracts for ADR services that FMCS provides for the federal government. Previously, she worked for the Maryland Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office in Annapolis, Maryland as Public Policy Director.  She also has worked for the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County as ADR Director and as Executive Director of Northern Virginia Mediation Service.  She volunteers as the Multi-Door Family Mediation Program in Washington DC and has volunteered for the Conflict Resolution Center of Montgomery County (CRCMC).  Ramona became certified by IMI in April 2016 and her profile may be found at:

Ellen F. Kandell, Esq.

Ellen  F. Kandell is an attorney with over 30 years of diverse legal experience in the public and private sectors. Her company, Alternative Resolutions, LLC, ( provides mediation, arbitration, group facilitation and training. She has provided services for government agencies, business, professional corporations, and nonprofits.   Ms. Kandell is one of eight Maryland mediators featured on a statewide demonstration video of good practice.   Prior to starting her  company she served as an environmental enforcement attorney at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency where she managed and grew the ADR program and was in private law practice. She is an Adjunct Professor at Catholic University of America, past president of the Maryland Council for Dispute Resolution and former co-chair of the ADR section of the Montgomery County Bar Association.  She  received her JD from Temple University School of Law and her BS from the University of Maryland.  In 2014 Ellen became certified by IMI and her profile may be found at:

David Lewis

David Lewis mediates civil/commercial, construction, corporate, and employment disputes. Mr. Lewis’ firm EGADR specialises in corporate and organisational conflict and assists small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) with the design and implementation of effective dispute resolution infrastructure at all points along the supply chain. Mr. Lewis also mediates family and workplace disputes on a pro bono basis and conciliates, makes expert determinations, and performs large group facilitations.

Mr. Lewis has taught mediation globally, published several articles in the field, and completed more than 1000 hours of professional ADR training. Mr. Lewis volunteers extensively in the ADR field including as a coach, judge and mediator for the ICC International Mediation Competition, an expert assessor for the CDRC, a Vis arbitrator, a judge for the ABA Mediation Competition, a coach for INADR, and as a member of the problems working group for Lex Infinitum. 

Mr. Lewis received his IMI Certification from the Association for International Arbitration and is also one of a handful of mediators globally to have received Intercultural IMI Certification from BRDGES Academy. He holds CEDR and EMTPJ accredited commercial mediator status and is a Chartered Mediator (Q.Med. C.Med.) and Qualified Arbitrator (Q.Arb.) with ADRIC in Canada as well as a SIMI Certified Mediator in Singapore. He holds ADR Group accreditation as a family practitioner and is certified by EU Cross-Border Family Mediators and MIKK as a specialist in Hague Convention Abduction matters. He is registered with the Maryland Program for Mediator Excellence and is the Programs Director on the board of the Maryland Council for Dispute Resolution.

Mr. Lewis completed his Bachelor of Civil Law at Pembroke College, Oxford, a Masters of Corporate Law from Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, and a JD from the University of Maryland. He also earned his LL.M. in Dispute Resolution as the inaugural JAMS Scholar at Pepperdine University and was a Fulbright research scholar in the area of comparative mediation.

Carl D. Schneider, Ph.D

Carl D. Schneider is Director of Mediation Matters, a private practice and training organization. Carl has trained several thousand mediators over the past 32 years.  He maintains a full-time divorce mediation practice in Kensington, Maryland. Carl is a licensed clinical psychologist (Illinois), licensed clinical Marriage and Family Therapist (Maryland), a Certified Mediator with the Maryland Council on Dispute Resolution and with the Supreme Court of Virginia, an Advanced Practitioner Member of the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR), and an Advanced Mediator Member of the Academy of Professional Family Mediators (APFM). He has mediated for EEOC, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the United States Post Office’s REDRESS Mediation Program, and Maryland’s Children in Need of Assistance (CINA) dependency mediation program. He has been on the Board of Directors of the national Academy of Family Mediators and has served on the editorial board of Mediation Quarterly. He earned his Ph.D. from Harvard.  Carl was certified by IMI in 2016 and his profile may be found at:

Louise Phipps Senft, Esq.

Twenty-one years ago, Louise Phipps Senft left a large law firm in downtown Baltimore and founded the Baltimore Mediation Center - the first mediation and training firm in Maryland with a focus on relational approaches to conflict resolution. Louise has built her firm’s success around the belief that people in conflict can work out their differences when given a quality dialogue process and a neutral mediator who believes in their capacity to make informed decisions. And now, together with her husband, Louise has co-authored a book entitled “Being Relational: The Seven Ways to Quality Interaction & Lasting Change.” Louise is the founder of the nonprofit ORANS and the Institute for Relational Leadership, which she has created for the purpose of developing leaders who will transform stressful interactions that we all know happen every day at home, at work and in our communities."   Louise was certified by IMI in 2015 and her IMI profile may be found at:

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     MCDR is the oldest membership-based organization in Maryland dedicated to promoting the use of mediation and supporting

the mediation profession.  We have a proud history of successfully advocating for allowing multiple professions to practice mediation,

halting attempts to restrict the practice some fifteen years ago.  MCDR is the first organization to establish performance based criteria

now in use as a national model, part of an ongoing dialogue on quality assurance and mediator credentials.

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