Mission & History

Mission Statement

Our mission is to promote the understanding and the use of mediation in Iowa.

Brief History of IAM

(originally IADR)

In 1994, at a meeting of the Iowa Network for Conflict Mediation Education (INCME), a discussion began about the need for a professional organization for mediators. As a result, about two dozen mediators met in Grinnell on June 24, 1994 and voted to form an organization designed to promote alternative dispute resolution throughout Iowa. On September 24, 1994, in Carroll, Iowa, the Iowa Association for Dispute Resolution (IADR) was born. The first election of officers was held January 21, 1995 in Ames. In the fall of 2006, the association name was changed to Iowa Association of Mediators (IAM).

Liz Binger, Director of the Center for Creative Justice, Ames, was the first president from 1995-1996, followed by:

  • Sondra Kaska, Mediator and Attorney, Iowa City, 1996-1998
  • Sue Wilden, Therapist and Mediator, Phoenix Associates, Clinton, 1998-1999
  • Hank Ostward, Mediator, Iowa Mediation Service, Spencer, 1999-2001
  • Lois Crane, Mediator, 8th District Small Claims Court Mediation, Mt. Pleasant, 2001-2003.
  • Scarlett Lunning Huey, Mediator, Iowa Mediation Services, West Des Moines, 2003-2005.
  • Steve Schodde, Mediator and Attorney, West Des Moines, 2005 to 2007
  • George Elliot, Mediator, Des Moines, 2007 to 2010
  • Terry Parsons, Mediator and Attorney, Cedar Falls, 2010 to 2013
  • Dan Bechtol, Mediator, Atlantic, 2013 to present

Since its inception, IAM has served our mission by:

  • establishing certification guidelines and standards of conduct for member mediators
  • sponsoring annual continuing education conferences
  • providing opportunities for networking and collaboration among mediators across Iowa and the Midwest
  • advocating for legislative issues effecting the practice of mediation

International Partnership

Through a unique arrangement between the IAM Executive Council and Samie Ihejirika, the director of the Strategic Empowerment and Mediation Agency (SEMA) of Kaduna, Nigeria, Nigerian mediators recognized by SEMA will receive honorary IAM membership and Iowa Certification.

Mr. Ihejirika received conflict resolution and mediation training in Iowa through the Iowa Resource for International Service (IRIS), a non-profit organization devoted to international understanding and directed by Bob Anderson, former Lieutenant Governor of Iowa. The IAM Chair for International Issues in Mediation, Noa Davenport, has been associated with IRIS since its inception and has co-directed many of its international education and exchange programs.