The Sarah Grebe Fund

The Maryland Council for Dispute Resolution (MCDR), an ADR practitioner organization in Maryland which was begun in the mid 1980's, has a fund to support the education/training of mediators in Maryland. The fund was formed in honor of Sarah Grebe, a long time mediator, trainer and one of the founders of MCDR, who was stricken with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) and died several years ago.

Sarah was the trainer for many mediators working in Maryland today. In addition to her mediation and training work, she was the Director of the Ethics Department at the National Association of Social Workers, NASW, and brought mediation to that agency as a way of dealing with some of the ethics complaints. She was in this position when she became ill.

Each year the Fund give a monetary award to a deserving conflict resolution practitioner or student, so that he or she can attend a conflict resolution educational activity.

You may send a check made out to "MCDR," with a memo stating "For Sarah Grebe Fund," to MCDR or send your contribution online.

Sharon PickettThe Sharon M. Pickett Award for the Promotion of Excellence in Mediation 


Award Honoree 2008  Martin Kranitz

Award Honoree 2010  Lorig Charkudian

Award Honoree 20

Award Honoree 2019  Cam Crockette 


The Sharon M. Pickett Award for the Promotion of Excellence in Mediation honors the vision of Sharon M. Pickett, a mediator dedicated to the development of performance-based assessment for mediators as a means of both professional development for mediators and quality assurance for consumers.  Sharon has been a seminal contributor to the formation and evolution of MCDR's voluntary performance-based assessment program for mediators. This program has been nationally recognized as a model tool, both for assessing skills and increasing mediator competence and excellence through valuable feedback. 


Description: The award recognizes those individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the advancement of mediation practice in Maryland.  The contributions may be in the field of mediation practice, mediator education, performance-based assessment or mediators, or advocacy/legislative work related to standards for mediator competence.


Award Process:  The Sharon M. Pickett Award for the Promotion of Excellence in Mediation is granted every two years by the Maryland Council for Dispute Resolution (MCDR).    


A Remembrance by Carl Schneider

Sharon M. Pickett:  10/29/49 – 8/30/08

My late wife, Sharon Pickett, 58, died of breast cancer on August 30, 2008 in Bethesda, Maryland.

Sharon had a rich, professional work life. Before she came to mediation, she was Director of Communications for three national nonprofit organizations and then was a communications consultant for many progressive nonprofit organizations, including the Sierra Club, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Center for International Environmental Law, and Physicians for Social Responsibility. Sharon was hired by ACR’s first executive director, Daniel Bowling, to work with staff on a wide range of projects before and after the merger. She helped create ACResolution magazine and edited every issue from its founding until she resigned when she was diagnosed with a recurrence of cancer last September.

Sharon’s own mediation work was primarily family and divorce mediation. She worked as a co-mediator and trainer with Mediation Matters. After a long personal and professional partnership, Sharon and I were married December 27, 2007.

 Sharon was a certified mediator with the Maryland Council on Dispute Resolution and was instrumental in developing its performance-based certification process as a member of MCDR’s Certification Committee. MCDR has also established its own Sharon M. Pickett Award for the Promotion of Excellence in Mediation.

Because of Sharon’s work for over a decade helping environmental NGOs, ACR established the Sharon M. Pickett Award in 2008 to honor an ACR member who had advanced the cause of environmental protection through the effective use of alternative dispute resolution (Alice Shorett in 2008). For all her dedicated work for protecting the environment, preserving world peace and empowering women, her life’s greatest joy and achievement was raising her daughter Tassie. Her deepest regret was that knowing she would not be able to be here for her two beautiful grandchildren, Shannon and Connor.

For those who knew Sharon, for all her professional contributions, it was her spirit that touched people. She was easy-going, kind, compassionate, and gentle - combined with a fierce love of life and a wonderful combination of funny crazy and serious, bright sides. As a friend said, “she was a lover.” She loved life. And we were all better people when we were with her. I know I was so very lucky to have been with her.

If there was any possibility, Sharon was determined to overcome this disease. She dedicated herself to do everything possible to live. She engaged the cancer with everything she had - chemo, alternative treatment, meditation, friends, prayer, wisdom, love and discipline. And she never stopped. Two days before she died, when she could only get up out of bed with great difficulty, she insisted I take her for a chemo treatment. She did all this not from an angry place, but with humility and her quiet dignity and from a place of gratitude to which she returned again and again. That was Sharon. In the face of all that was happening to her, I never heard her complain. She just persevered, undeterred, buying Christmas presents from her wheelchair for her family a week before she died The last TV show Sharon ever saw was Barack Obama’s acceptance speech. She said, “I want to live to see him elected.”

Sharon’s was a quiet presence. Perhaps the people who best knew and appreciated Sharon were staff at ACR who had the privilege of working with her.

Heather Prichard, former Direction of Communications and close friend of Sharon’s, tells how at her birthday party Sharon commented on the sunflower wrapping paper: “You know why the sunflower is my favorite? No matter how dark the day, sunflowers work to find a ray of light and literally turn their faces toward it. They live fully and beautifully, regardless of circumstance.” “That’s how I’d like to be remembered,” she told me, and then undefined forever pragmatic--asked, “Will you speak about that at my memorial service?” That was Sharon – she was sunny.

Mark Shawchuk, former ACR Publications Manager who worked with Sharon, said, “You could always count on her for wisdom… Her wisdom came from her incredibly capacity to seek out life in all of its richness, and never to shy away from a challenge. An academic dean, a magician's assistant, a mediator, a grandmother, and a rock musician, Sharon wore more hats in her life than most of us could in several lifetimes.”

Jen Druliner, former ACR Program Manager, captured so well Sharon’s spirit: “You’re a wonderful inspiration in the category of living with no regrets, and with a great generosity of spirit – and a healthy dose of not taking oneself too seriously, combined with innate dignity. You’re a keeper, no doubt!”

Another friend of Sharon’s who also was dying of cancer sent her a quote from Camus. Sharon left a hand-written note when she died asking that it be in her memorial service. “in the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” That is the quote on the memorial bench for Sharon in Newburyport, MA., where Sharon had a second home.

We loved to exchange greeting cards. One I gave her in her last month said: “Life is short, but it is wide.” Sharon’s life was short, but very wide.

Reflections of a Mediator

Create an environment,
Set the right tone,
Help folks to know
That they’re not alone.

Join with your clients,
Reassure fear,
Know where you’re going,
Make the path clear.

Focus on needs,
No resistance or blame,
Hear every word,
Learn how to frame.

Make no assumptions,
Create healthy doubt,
Stay centered and calm,
Don’t use your clout.

Talk to both people,
Look for the good,
Refrain judgment,
No “have to” or “should.”

Gain a commitment,
Develop the knack
Of asking clear questions,
It’s more than the facts.

Trust in the process,
Don’t try to combine,
Keep it quite simple,
One step at a time.

Identify options,
There’s more than one way,
Know your own buttons,
Conflict is OK.

Finalize plans,
And help them to see
It’s in their own interest
If they can agree.

So at the end of the day,
When all’s said and done,
The dark clouds reveal
a glimmer of sun.

                                                             Sharon M. Picket


Maryland Council for Dispute Resolution
10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 247
 Bethesda, Maryland   20817

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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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