Trainer Bios


Sharon Adams has over twenty years of experience in the California Community College System - serving as a Counselor and then as a Dean of Student Services. She holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and a Master’s degree in Counseling.  She has travelled to several countries around the world studying and implementing forgiveness and reconciliation models in work environments. Sharon specializes in NCRC’s professional and campus conflict resolution and diversity workshops.   


Johanna Afshani, Esq. graduated from Pepperdine University School of Law in 2002, where she trained at the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution. Johanna augmented her dispute resolution skills by attending the Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation. Johanna currently serves as a Lead Mediator at the Kearny Mesa Small Claims Courthouse. She serves on the Board of Directors of the National Conflict Resolution Center  and trains in the Diversity Advantage training for NCRC.


Ryan Ajou graduated from San Diego State University with a B.S. in Kinesiology. He is currently the Program Coordinator, University Initiatives at the National Conflict Resolution Center. Born and raised in San Diego, Ryan enjoys working with SDSU students on both the campus trainings and the study abroad courses offered through the College of Extended Studies in partnership with NCRC. 


Aous Ameen is from Bagdad, Iraq, where he obtained degrees in Computer Systems and Law.  He has worked in the Technology Field and in Sales. He currently works for NCRC in our trainings for the Arabic speaking refugee population.


Alison Aragon is currently enrolled in the Nonprofit Leadership and Management program at the University of San Diego. As a San Diego native, she is very interested in working with local communities, and has enjoyed meeting students and learning from their perspective. Alison specializes in youth and college training.


Shelley Barajas-Leyva, MA, is a native San Diegan who has been a proud Exchange trainer since 2011. She teaches conflict resolution skills to youth and community leaders, both nationally and internationally, in English and Spanish. In addition to her work with NCRC, Shelley is Director of the USD TRiO McNair Scholars Program – a program dedicated to preparing first-generation, low-income and underrepresented students for doctoral study through involvement in research and scholarly activities. Shelley holds a Bachelor of Art in Spanish from San Diego State University, and a Master’s in Counseling from USD’s School of Leadership and Education Sciences.


Linda Braun-Leibowitz hails from Johannesburg South Africa. She immigrated to the United States in 2009. She is an experienced Clinical Psychologist and an ICF accredited Executive and Life Coach, achieving her coaching certification through New Ventures West. She has over 24 years of coaching and training experience within the corporate and private sectors where she has focused primarily on interpersonal communication skills, conflict resolution, and diversity and inclusion. She is co-founder of GloCo Leadership Consulting, a San Diego based consulting company committed to helping leaders unleash their full potential within a diverse and rapidly changing global economy. She does conflict resolution and diversity trainings for the NCRC.


Karla Broady holds a Master's Degree in International Educational Development with a concentration in Peace and Conflict studies from Colombia University. She is originally from New York but is now happy to call San Diego home. Karla has extensive experience working with families and young children.  She is passionate about teaching parents positive ways to improve these relationships. Bilingual, Karla has lived and taught abroad and strives  to bring a global perspective to her teaching. 


Robert Brown, PhD, has extensive experience in public and private sector risk, conflict management operations and global security challenges. His responsibilities include leading organizations in human resources, relationship management, enterprise risk leadership, shared governance, conflict resolution (mediation and arbitration), litigation management and prevention processes. Robert is particularly interested in youth trainings, the Exchange for Managers and the Diversity Advantage work with NCRC.


Carson Cooper is the Training Specialist and Credential Program Manager for the Training Institute at NCRC. He has been a  trainer and mediator since 2011 and has helped to develop school, community, and workplace conflict resolution curriculum.  In 2015, he completed his MA in Negotiation, Conflict Resolution and Peace Building at California State University Dominguez Hills and his  Life Coaching certification through The Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching. As a Leadership Development Coach,  Carson coaches individuals as well as facilitates group coaching with intact groups and in conference call sessions for disparate individuals.  Prior to joining NCRC and coaching, Carson taught at a private high school for four years.  

Dal Pubel

Luca Dal Pubel, MA, has worked as an Alternative Dispute Resolution Specialist with NCRC since 2003. He has conducted mediations, conciliations and managed the NCRC Superior Court civil mediation program. He has a Laurea in Law (Juris Doctor) from the University of Bologna and a Master’s in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution from CSU Dominguez Hills. Luca teaches a module on Negotiation and ADR at San Diego State University, and Conflict Resolution and Mediation at the Lorenzo dé Medici Institute in Florence, Italy.


Kendrick Dial, MSW joined NCRC in early 2014 and facilitates the ART, Exchange, Intercultural Communication and Life Skills trainings. After serving as a substance abuse counselor in the U.S. Navy for nine years, he went on to work in the mental health field. He graduated from USC with a graduate degree in Social Work/Community Organization Policy and Administration. Kendrick serves as an adjunct professor at Mesa College and is a spoken-word artist with his award-winning band, The Lyrical Groove.


Steven P. Dinkin has been President of NCRC since 2003. He has also taught mediation and conflict resolution courses in the United States, Europe and Latin America. Prior to joining NCRC, Steven mediated workplace and employment cases under contract with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Federal Reserve System and the Office of Compliance, an independent office within the legislative branch of the federal government engaged in resolving workplace disputes within the House of Representatives, the Senate and other congressional offices. He received his law degree from George Washington University, where he taught a mediation clinic as an adjunct law professor.


Thuy Do teaches at Southwestern College in the Communications department and running her private Coaching and Consulting practice. She obtained her M.A. in Communications at San Diego State University and her Psy.D. in Psychology at the California School for Professional Psychology. Thuy has trained, moderated, and motivated groups in private businesses, non-profit organizations, and professional conferences for many years. She also has extensive experience counseling diverse populations in clinical and academic settings.   


Rola El-Kadi graduated from Ajman University with a degree in Mass Communications and Public Relations. She has spent the vast majority of her professional career in the Middle East, where she held several positions in the field of media. As a TV host and segment producer, Rola worked for the MBC Group and Charisma, where she hosted several live-on-air TV shows with the primary objective of educating, influencing and changing people’s lives in the Middle East. Having relocated to San Diego in 2012, Rola is currently a language translator for refugees in San Diego. She joined NCRC in early 2014 as a trainer for refugees in Arabic. 


Letitia Flynn is a member of the Urban Collaborative Project, which was instrumental in improving customer service, quality of food and conditions of cleanliness at the Food 4 Less store located at Market Creek Plaza in San Diego, California. Letitia recently completed training in the Resident Leadership Academy, also sponsored by the Urban Collaborative Project. She previously served as secretary on the board of directors for the Coalition of Neighborhood Councils and chair of the Judicial Reform Committee for the United African-American Ministerial Action Council. New to NCRC, Letitia focuses on assisting in trainings for the community.


Michael Fryer, MA, has been working on conflict resolution issues since 1996 as a trainer and facilitator. He has designed and delivered workshops around the world with groups ranging from elementary schools and community groups to businesses and the military. Michael has worked extensively in Northern Ireland and on community conflict resolution projects in his native England. In addition to lecturing at a number of university peace and conflict programs, he is cofounder of The SongStream Project, a nonprofit exploring social issues through the lens of music and memory. He is a consultant to businesses, not-for-profit agencies and a trainer for NCRC.


Samara Hakim, Esq, is a multilingual Culture Strategy Consultant and Trainer. She holds a Juris Doctor from the University Of Oregon School Of Law, BA degrees in Political Science and in History from the University of Portland, and an Advanced Certificate in Intercultural Management from the University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business. She is the President of The Culture Factor, LLC, and a member of the Continuing Legal Education committee for World Peace through Law, a Section of the Washington State Bar Association. Samara has extensive experience in nonprofits, gender issues, leadership, program management and cross-cultural communication, negotiation, and conflict management. She is a native of Lebanon, fluent in Arabic, French and English, and conversational in Spanish. Samara is a lead trainer and consultant for NCRC. 


William James, MA, has been a mediator with NCRC since 1995. He is retired from the U.S. Navy, where his assignments included human resources management, substance abuse counseling and submarine duty. He has served on NCRC’s Board of Directors, as well as EEO, Workplace, Parent-teen and Juvenile Court mediation panels for NCRC. William is an evaluator for NCRC’s Credentialing Program. He has a BA in business management from Christian Heritage College, an MS in project management from Keller School of Management and a Certificate in Dispute Resolution from Pepperdine University. As a trainer, he has represented NCRC in a variety of programs.


Michael Jenkins, Esq., a mediator since 1992, has mediated for NCRC, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, San Diego Superior Court, San Diego City Attorney’s Office and the San Diego City Council. He has trained mediators in introductory and advanced mediation techniques, has taught at the University of San Diego School of Law and is currently an adjunct professor at San Diego State University.


Laura Kass-Moreno, Esq., began practicing law in 1982 and has been a credentialed mediator since 1999. Laura  became an instructor for NCRC in 2002 on a broad range of topics to a variety of institutions, including the U.S. Military, various city and county agencies, healthcare facilities and hospitality locations. Additionally, she has served as the lead trainer for job corps, teaching skills for seeking and maintaining jobs. She has also conducted numerous trainings for diverse cultural groups, including Iraqi refugees, women of East Africa and several college organizations in the area of intercultural diversity conflict management. Laura brings vast experience and expertise to her role as a lead trainer for conflict prevention and conflict management, including managing intercultural diversity conflicts.  She has been NCRC’s Credential Program mentor for the past four years.


Juliana Konze, LL.M. (Master of Laws), an attorney from Brazil, has been involved in dispute resolution since 2009 in San Diego. She attended trainings at NCRC and Pepperdine Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution. Juliana has conducted hundreds of mediations and is part of the San Diego Superior Court Civil Mediation Panel. She is fluent in Portuguese, English and Spanish, and trains in all three languages for youth, community and mediation courses.


Ricardo Leyva joined the NCRC team in 2014. He currently serves as a bilingual coach/trainer for NCRC and focuses on the Exchange process and the Art of Inclusive Communication. Ricardo is a graduate of UC San Diego and holds a degree in biochemistry. He is passionate about anything related to science and research, as well as the ART of communication. 


Lisa Maxwell has been a mediator since 1985 and is Director of the Training Institute at NCRC. She has extensive experience mediating and resolving workplace disputes, interpersonal disputes and complex issues. Lisa has designed and implemented communication, conflict resolution and diversity trainings in Spanish and English locally and internationally for companies, universities and government agencies. She developed and is the lead trainer in The Exchange Training. Along with Barbara Filner and Steve Dinkin, Lisa wrote and published the book The Exchange: A Bold and Proven Approach to Resolving Workplace Conflict. She has a Master’s Degree from San Diego State University in postsecondary educational leadership.


Marc A. Meyer was a mediator and hearing officer for NCRC from 2004 to 2009 when he became a full-time staff member. Marc is currently the Associate Director of NCRC’s Training Institute, where he manages and implements NCRC’s Exchange training projects. He also provides coaching/training services for NCRC’s Credential Program, Training Institutes and Exchange trainings. He received his B.S. in international security and conflict resolution in 2007.


Veronica Mikho has been with NCRC as a mediator and the Community Justice Program Coordinator for El Cajon and City Heights since 2006 and 2014 respectively. She graduated from San Diego State University in 2005 with a B.A. in Criminal Justice. Veronica  has extensive experience in mediating all types of disputes and enjoys working with the community . Her passion is to help individuals deal with and resolve conflict in their lives by educating them in mediation and other conflict resolution skills. Veronica is fluent in English and Spanish and mediates and trains in both languages. 


Peter Noel has been an NCRC mediator since 2010 and a trainer since 2011. Prior to working at NCRC, he graduated from San Diego State with a degree in international security and conflict resolution. Peter’s passion is working with at-risk youths, in-need communities and the homeless. While he does a wide variety of trainings for NCRC, he specializes in work readiness, refugee, youth, homeless and veterans’ trainings.


Brian Pollard is the Executive Director of the Urban Collaborative Project. He has been instrumental in numerous community-building efforts in southeastern San Diego, helping to provide sustainable practices to neighborhoods while improving health, safety, civic engagement and neighborhood art. Brian has been a human resources executive in major corporations such as Kaiser Permanente Hospital, Rohr Industries and Deltec. He is involved in community and workplace Exchange trainings at NCRC.


John Rees, MPA, has been engaged in conflict resolution since 1984. As a professional advocate and transactional negotiator, he has represented hundreds of clients and negotiated hundreds of agreements covering a wide variety of complicated issues in individual and multiparty settings. As a Credentialed Mediator with over 300 hours of dispute resolution training, John has mediated hundreds of cases as a Superior Court Civil Litigation and NCRC Community Panel member. He has extensive training experience as a former Adjunct Professor at La Verne University, as a consultant to the private and public sector public agencies, and as a trainer for NCRC.


Khalada Salaam-Alaji and her husband established the Community Preparatory School and administered the Summer Food Service Program (USDA). Because of their work and service to children throughout San Diego County, they have received numerous awards and recognition. Khalada has a BA in social science (family life and human development) from San Diego State and an MA in education from the United States International University. Khalada is involved with developing a community garden on 3.45 acres of land in Encanto to help urban children experience nature. She does community trainings for NCRC.


Ana Sambold, Esq. ,is a bilingual mediator and attorney at law admitted in California, Federal Court Southern District and Colombia. As a mediator of the San Diego Superior Court Civil Mediation Panel and the National Conflict Resolution Center (NCRC), Ana has successfully conducted hundreds of mediations of litigated and non-litigated disputes involving highly contentious, complex matters and multicultural parties. She teaches in English and Spanish to community organizations, universities, nonprofits, refugees, and government agencies. Ana is originally a lawyer from Colombia and obtained her Master of Laws (LL.M.) from the University of San Diego School of Law. She received her training and credentials in dispute resolution from NCRC, the American Bar Association and Pepperdine University School of Law. 


Eric Sandy, MA, has a wide variety of experience in alternative dispute resolution. He has conducted hundreds of mediations and hearings on the Superior Court, Community, Parent-Teen, Elder Care, Navy, Small Claims Court and Employment Dispute panels. Since 2003, Eric has performed over 700 hours of dispute resolution training, while assisting NCRC in developing the Exchange Training. He has also worked for the City of Del Mar Community Services Department for 30 years. Currently, Eric serves on NCRC’s Board of Directors. He has an MA from San Diego State University in social science and an MS in human resources from Chapman University.


Suzanne Severin obtained her MBA from George Washington University, and has enjoyed various leadership and management positions throughout her business career, including 16 years at Qualcomm Incorporated in San Diego. Suzanne serves as a Commissioner on the Palm Springs Human Rights Commission. She received her Mediator Credential from the National Conflict Resolution Center and has been a mediator for NCRC for over 15 years, also assisting in the development of the Exchange Training. Suzanne has extensive training experience encompassing business leaders and human resources professionals within the community.

Shingler III

Arthur L. Shingler III, Esq., teaches Art & Practice of Mediation courses with NCRC’s Training Institute, as well as conflict management courses with NCRC’s Exchange program. He is an attorney and mediator, and aids litigants in resolving a full range of business and personal disputes. Art serves on the San Diego Superior Court’s Mediation Panel and on NCRC’s Commercial, Employment/Workplace and Insurance/Personal Injury/Property Damage panels. In addition, he has lectured and served on discussion panels on issues surrounding a number of subjects, including conflict management and corporate fiduciary duty law and ethics. 


Tana Slomowitz, a native of South Africa, Tana started her career as a clinical psychologist in private practice. After combining her experience as a clinical psychologist with corporate work, she founded Core Vision Consultancy in South Africa. There, she focused on working with international and local businesses as a diversity specialist and Leadership Development expert. Today, based in San Diego,Tana uses leadership development, group facilitation, executive coaching and change management skills to help organizations achieve results. She is co-founder of GloCo Leadership Consulting, a San Diego based consulting company committed to helping leaders unleash their full potential within a diverse and rapidly changing global economy. She has been working for NCRC as a trainer for two years. 


Hanna Venizelos, is the Training and Data Assistant for the Training Institute at NCRC. She graduated with a degree in International Security and Conflict Resolution from San Diego State University. Hanna enjoys setting up trainings and connecting NCRC with the community through various different activities. She is passionate about connecting with new people. Hanna specializes in youth and college trainings.


Mahealani Yoshida, was born and raised in Kealakekua on the Big Island of Hawai'i. She is in her final year of undergraduate studies at San Diego State University. She is pursuing a degree in Communications with a minor in counseling and social change. Before joining NCRC in 2015, Mahealani served as a member on the Advisory Council for The Hawai'i Meth Project;  a statewide, non-profit organization committed to spreading awareness about methamphetamine abuse in the islands. She has enjoyed working closely with many different people in her community and personally experiencing the process of multicultural communication. Mahealani is passionate about embracing individuality and seizing every opportunity to engage with others in diverse settings.

Siru (Rose)

Siru Zhu-Peace joined NCRC as a trainer in 2016 after her graduation from UCSD with a B.A in Political Science. Rose moved to the U.S after spending 19 years in China. She has researched into different cultures through her extensive international travel experience and brings culturally informed and diverse perspectives into her work. Rose has been invited to speak about motivation and empowerment at numerous events on campus and at different companies. Besides being an NCRC trainer and a speaker, Rose is also an aspiring entrepreneur who currently works as a therapist and a yoga instructor to better lives both mentally and physically.