PPS Welcomes Peacebuilder Jeri Stroup - Pollack Peacebuilding Systems

Pollack Peacebuilding Systems is excited to welcome Jeri Stroup to our team of Peacebuilders.

From a young age, Jeri Stroup has held a passion for communication and a desire to help people. With this realization as a child, Jeri pursued her passion as a career, obtaining a Master’s degree in Human Relations. After moving from Florida to Oklahoma to finish her graduate studies in dispute resolution, Jeri decided to make Oklahoma her home, where she is involved with PPS conducting facilitations and dispute resolution trainings. With her work at PPS, Jeri aids the team as an expert mediator, team builder, and a group facilitator. Her previous mediation work in employment and dispute resolution training have given her the background to excel in the field of workplace conflict resolution

After her Masters, Jeri reflected on how she could balance learning the craft for herself and how she could best help others. She found herself drawn to mediation and conflict resolution work during graduate school and became a part of a mediation clinic in the area. She soon became certified mediator, then a family and divorce mediator, and finally an employee relations mediator. 

When reflecting on her time as both a family and divorce and employee relations mediator, Jeri was able to share the different circumstances she comes across within the two types of mediation. When it comes to family issues, the parties often come into mediation having been separate for some time. But with those intertwined in employee conflict, consistent interaction within a close space is more common. She found the different circumstances within these two types of meditation as a challenge to perfect her craft and learn more about the different types of disputes and what they entail.

As a mother of four, Jeri also discussed how these mediation skills have been helpful in her personal life with conflict and how it has benefited her parenting. Being able to communicate well has allowed her to establish better relationships with her children due to the mediation training that she has gone through. Being able to sit in conflict and be present and fully engaged, while listening neutrally, brings value to a conversation. Being able to handle conflict like this and learning how to take perspective is something that Jeri has found has helped her in raising her children and recommends this type of training to anyone that has a family or anyone who wants to be a better communicator in their personal and professional life. Conflict is inevitable, but with the right tools and process, it can be resolved with care and work. 

When asked what her biggest challenge in this line of work is, Jeri stated that it is discouraging when people don’t feel empowered and resist. She makes it her goal to get people over the hurdle of getting them to understand that they have a place at the table while also getting them to understand the importance of the other party’s perspective. Jeri is a big believer in “the process” which is listening, asking open ended questions, and paraphrasing. Whenever in doubt, her strategy is to just “trust the process”. 

“Conflict is like a river”, were some of Jeri’s final thoughts. She explained the symbolism of how rivers flow and have twists and turns with some rocks. If you have a good flowing river, a good flowing process, the conflict, or rocks, will have water flowing over them.  A good flowing river always goes to a place of calm. She stated that twists and turns are okay and are inevitable, and that trusting the process and asking the parties “What does that calm look like to you?” can go a long way. A mediator’s job is to help them travel down the river, and she stated, “A good flowing river will always lead to a place of calm.”

Elise Sanchez

Élise Sanchez is a double alumnus from Pepperdine University where she holds a Masters in Dispute Resolution from the Caruso School of Law and a Bachelors in both International Relations and French from Seaver College. During her time in her studies she found her passion for being an advocate for those who need help amplifying their voices. After finishing her International Relations degree, she decided to go on for her MDR to learn how to be a better advocate and peacekeeper.

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