Spring 2023 Newsletter

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The trees are talking. Are you listening?

By Maralise Hood Quan

Have you tuned in to Refresh Friday: The Space Between? As many Fridays as is practical, someone from the community joins me in dialog for 10 minutes on Facebook Live. We explore ideas that challenge you to listen, think and act. 

A recent Refresh discussion with my friend Robin focused on the space between nature’s living experience and science. The trees are talking. Are you listening?  

Trees tell us spring is coming with their new buds. They guide us into fall by shedding their summer coat. The soil where they live and nurture one another gives life. They communicate their distress through their leaves, bark and roots. Yet, to recognize they may be in trouble requires us to take the time to observe and understand what they’re saying.

The same is true with people. 

Think about how many of us are walking around feeling and showing distress. How many of us have experienced prolonged periods without being physically or emotionally fed and watered? How many of lack the nurturing needed to thrive? The answer is most of us.

It doesn’t take a botany degree to identify an unhealthy tree, yet some knowledge of the plant world helps. Humans, of course, are even more complex. 

Listening is an act of service to another. Our society encourages us to hear, sometimes we hear what we expect the other to say.  Yet our daily interactions often do not support us to listen, to listen in a way that allows us to learn from the point of view of the other.  

Join me in gratitude to those our community who choose to connect with the Center to sharpen their listening skills, in addition they learn the skill to listen with impartiality. This April we appreciate each and everyone of our Mediators and Facilitators in our community.  Thank you for your service.

Our mediator corps, every person who has taken our 40-hour Basic Mediation Training, as well as those who have participated in our 16-hour Tough Conversations Training have learned the art and science of listening. And you can, too. 

When we look around at a society rife with conflict and division, I believe the best gift we can give ourselves and others is the ability AND willingness to listen. 

Are you ready? Join us, we are here to help. 

Meet Our Board: Shakisha Ross

Shakisha Ross grew up in the Tacoma area. Shakisha and her husband Dean of 27 years raised their three children in Pierce County. Their oldest son Dean Jr. is married and serving in the United States Air Force, their middle daughter Tarisa, is a graduate of Howard University and is currently pursuing a PHD in Science at Virginia Tech and their youngest daughter Alexis received an Art Degree and is working at a renowned Art Gallery in Beverly Hills, California.

Shakisha restarted her career after being a stay-at-home mom with Horizon Air. There she learned her customer service skills, how to think quickly on her feet and her creative problem-solving skills. Shakisha took many adventures with her young family with some of their favorite states to visit being Texas to visit family and tropical vacations in Hawaii.

After quitting Horizon Air, Shakisha went back to school. She finished her Associate of Arts at Pierce College and her Bachelor of Arts at Seattle Pacific University, pursuing two degrees: Interior design and Political Science. Upon graduation, Shakisha worked with a first-time candidate in the 2012 election. The candidate didn’t win, but she learned how to steer volunteers and work within the community. After this election she began to work for Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) in many capacities as an Administrator, Grants Coordinator, Event Planner, Casework Manager and Field Representative. After leaving Rep Smith’s office, Shakisha was hired at the City of Tacoma. Her focus was on youth and apprenticeship workforce development programs, such as Summer Jobs 253 (SJ253) and other certificated programs that would benefit the youth of Tacoma Public Schools. Shakisha also worked to advance goals relating to equity in contracting and access in contracting to support minority and women-owned businesses in the City of Tacoma. She has worked with many community partners and nonprofits in the workforce development and contracting spaces in the City of Tacoma.

Shakisha currently works for Puget Sound Energy as their Sr. Community Representative for Pierce County. She manages a wide range of community issues including energy, land use, environment, equity, diversity and inclusion. Shakisha also builds relationships and coalitions to help move meaningful community initiatives forward.

Why did you join CDR’s Board?

I know the important work that the Center for Dialog & Resolution does for the community. I learned of the Center while working for Congressman Adam Smith. During the 2008 housing crisis, CDR was instrumental in keeping people in their homes. I saw first hand the commitment that this organization had for the community then and now. I am proud member of Pierce County and it is an honor to serve our community in various ways.

Congratulations Trainees!

The Center wrapped up its first training of 2023 last month energized to keep spreading our mission this year. Our incredible Basic Mediation Trainees impressed us with their enthusiasm and excitement for mediation and conflict resolution. Congratulations to our newest BMT graduates!