Appreciation Gala

Appreciation Gala

Northern Community Mediation (NCM) celebrated its annual, Appreciation Gala on Thursday, May 27, 2021. Festivities began at 5:00pm. As was done in 2020, the 2021 event was held online via Zoom. Doug Van Epps, the Executive Director of the Office of Dispute Resolution (ODR) of the State Court Administrative Office (SCAO), was the keynote speaker. In that Doug was retiring one week after the Appreciation Gala, Doug reflected upon the history of the Citizen Dispute Resolution Program (CDRP) and hhis vision for its future.

One of the highlights of the Appreciation Gala is the presentation of the annual awards: Advocate of the Year, Veteran Mediator of the Year, Rookie Mediator of the Year, and the prestigious Leah Award.

The Veteran Mediator of the Year is presented to an individual who not only has excellent mediation skills but also goes out of his/her way to be available for mediation. The Rookie Mediator of the Year possesses the same attributes as the Veteran Mediator of the Year with one exception. This award goes to a mediator who has been mediating for Northern Community Mediation (NCM) less than two years.

The Advocate of the Year Award recognizes an individual or organization that is a voice in promoting mediation. Through the initiative and effort of the Which Wich restaurant, board members, mediators and community members, NCM hosted a very successful fundraiser. hence, the award recognized that team effort.

The Leah Award is one that is not necessarily given annually. It is reserved for an individual who has advocated for mediation over the years, has been supportive of NCM, and has promoted mediation creatively. There was no doubt as to the perfect recipient for this 2020 award.

Last year’s recipients were

  • Rookie Mediator of the Year – Bill Cattin
  • Veteran Mediator of the Year – Jean Baranowski
  • Advocate of the Year – Which Wich Team
  • Leah Award – Doug Van Epps

The 2022 Appreciation Gala will be held in May, the exact daate and location to be determined in November 2021. One thing is for certain, it will not be held via Zoom. It will be an in-person event.


One of the desktop pictures of the attendees at the 2020 Appreciation Gala.