Northern Community Mediation Staff


Northern Community Mediation (NCM) has three employees: the Executive Director and two Case Managers


Dr Jane Millar

Dr. Jane Millar
Executive Director
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Jane became the Executive Director of Northern Community Mediation (NCM) in July 2003. In addition to her responsibilities for NCM, she also facilitates mediation trainings for participants throughout the state and serves on the Development, Training and Funding Committees for the Michigan Community Mediation Association.

She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Albion College with a major in English and minors in Business & Economics, Psychology and Spanish. Her Master of Arts Degree is in Child Psychology from St. Lawrence University, and her doctorate degree is from Eastern Michigan University in the field of Leadership.

Jane is active in the community. As a Rotarian, she is a past district-governor of Rotary International. She is a trainer for Rotary Leadership Institute, vision facilitation, and leadership sessions for the District Assembly and the president-elect training. She has also co-chaired the Training Institute. She is a past president of her local club and has been responsible for planning three district conferences.

Jane is a past president of the Women’s Resource Center, as well as Crooked Tree Arts Center. She has served on and chaired numerous committees and boards of directors in her local community. In 2005, she was the recipient of the prestigious Athena Award. In 2016, she received the eddi Award from Crooked Tree Arts Center, and in 2018, the Nancy S. Klein Award from the ADR Section of the Michigan Bar Association.

Karen Cole
Case Manager
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Karen Cole has been a volunteer mediator with Northern Community Mediation for 14 years, having completed the initial 40 hour training in January 2005. Since then, Karen has completed trainings in Domestic Relations, Parenting Time, Domestic Violence Screening, Agriculture, Victim Offender Reconciliation, Child Protection, Guardianship, School Attendance and Special Education. Karen has mediated over 600 cases for NCM, and in 2012 was named Mediator of the Year.

Currently, Karen continues to mediate for NCM while also working full time as the case manager for Domestic and Probate cases and Educational programing.

Having earned Bachelor and Master’s degrees from Central Michigan University, Karen’s background is in teaching and social work.  She has taught fifth through seventh grades in area schools and has provided social services for Head Start and Lutheran Child and Family Services before “retiring” to work for NCM.

For Karen, the most rewarding aspect of mediation is in providing a pathway for others to find a solution.

Karen is a native of Charlevoix and lives in Petoskey with her husband Ed. Together, they have two adult sons.

Laura Buckingham
Case Manager
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Laura received her Associates’ Degree in General Science, specializing in Aquatic Biology from Lansing Community College. Following that,  she studied Court and Conferencing Reporting. Her work experience includes being an Office Manager / Legal Assistant with a local law firm. In that capacity, she was involved in all aspects of the law. Laura has also worked in the medical field

Laura is also highly involved in the community. She has been committed to the Northern Michigan Women Who Care, Women’s Resource Center, Petoskey Band Boosters, and Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council. Additionally, she has served as a STRIVE mentor and a Petoskey Parks and Recreation soccer coach.

Laura is responsible for small claims, general civil and landlord / tenant cases. She also oversees the Victim-Offender, Reconciliation Program, as well as the First-Time, Offender Reconciliation Program.