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Conference Ombuds Service

Conferences provide many social and educational benefits to members, prospective members, association leadership, and sponsors. A successful conference should be a safe, welcoming, and inclusive experience for all attendees. But what happens when an attendee needs to raise a concern and is not sure where to go? Even properly trained staff cannot provide impartial, independent, and confidential services necessary to process all complaints and concerns. To ensure that attendees are supported at your next conference, consider the benefits of an outsourced ombuds. MWI’s conference ombuds team members will provide informal, independent, neutral, and confidential support to your members and resolve concerns before they escalate.


Conference Ombuds Enhance Conferences

A conference ombuds provides services before, during, and after a conference. Before the conference, ombuds work directly with your association to create an Ombuds Charter to define the scope of the service and work with you to develop a marketing plan to inform attendees and members about the benefits and role of the ombuds. During the conference, ombuds will be available to speak with attendees and provide a safe place to address any concerns. After the conference, ombuds will be available to complete discussions with anyone who may have raised an issue during the conference and to address issues raised after the conference.

Specifically, ombuds provide conference attendees, members, prospective members, association leadership, and sponsors with a confidential resource and safe place to:

  • Raise concerns
  • Brainstorm ways to resolve concerns
  • Get answers to questions
  • Deal with a difficult or challenging situation
  • Listen to feedback and report it (while maintaining the confidentiality of the visitor), and
  • Feel safe, knowing they have a designed neutral to turn to for assistance, if/when needed

Ombuds also provide the organization with a written report on trends and concerns raised during the conference while maintaining confidentiality. By raising these concerns, organizations will learn of issues they would not otherwise be made aware of. These insights enable organizations to improve the quality of future conferences and to update policies and procedures.


Sample Conference Ombuds
  • Nnena Odim
    Nnena Odim
  • Audrey Lee
    Audrey Lee
  • Josh Hoch
    Josh Hoch
  • Caitlan Hendrickson
    Caitlan Hendrickson
Nnena Odim

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Outsourced Ombuds
nnena-ombuds@mwi.org


Nnena Odim is an ombuds, mediator, and consultant with MWI. She began mediating in 1997 and was trained as an ombuds by the International Ombuds Association. In addition to her ombuds and mediation training and work, Nnena is the Director and Senior Clinical Instructor of the Family/Domestic Violence Law Clinic at The Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School. She provides experiential training to law students and teaches them how to become effective and ethical attorneys. Nnena has also worked with the Harvard Mediation Program and Harvard Program on Negotiation to provide trainings for students and community members, and to supervise Harvard Law School students in their mediation and negotiation studies. Nnena has mediated personal, academic, and administrative issues between students, faculty, and administration in higher education settings, served as a faculty and coach of mediation skills for trainings at Suffolk and Boston College Law Schools, MIT, and New England
School of Law, and provided dispute/conflict resolution consultations for various academic and administrative departments in Boston‐area colleges and universities. Nnena has served on numerous panels and speaking rosters for a variety of diverse topics, including those on self‐care and mental health for students and faculty, establishing boundaries in a professional setting, race and gender, and LGBTQ rights. In 2013, Nnena was a Top Women in the Law award recipient from Mass. Lawyers Weekly. In 2015, she received the Harvard Law School Dean’s Award for Excellence, and in 2019, she was honored by the Harvard Women’s Law Association International Committee.

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Audrey Lee

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Outsourced Ombuds
audrey-ombuds@mwi.org


Audrey Lee is an experienced mediator, ombuds, facilitator and coach. As a mediator, she specializes in workplace, employment, discrimination and harassment matters. Drawing on her experience as a workplace mediator and conflict management consultant, Audrey also leads interactive implicit bias workshops. She has worked with organizations in an ombuds role and received her organizational ombuds training through the International Ombuds Association. Previously, Audrey served as a mediator and trainer for the MA Commission Against Discrimination, where she mediated a variety of discrimination cases and led interactive discrimination awareness and prevention programs. Outside of her mediation and ombuds work, Audrey is a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School where she teaches courses on Mediation and Diversity & Dispute Resolution. In 2021, Audrey was recognized in Boston Magazine’s inaugural list of “Top Lawyers” in the category of Mediation.

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Josh Hoch

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Ombuds, Mediator, Director
617-895-4028jhoch@mwi.org

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Josh Hoch is an ombuds, mediator, instructor, and is Director of Mediation & Ombuds Services at MWI. As Director of Mediation & Ombuds Services, Josh manages mediations in the areas of family law, construction, and workplace/employment. His ombuds responsibilities include overseeing MWI’s Outsourced Ombuds Panel, serving as an organizational ombuds for CVS Health and John Moriarty & Associates, and working with companies interested in a conference ombuds. Josh also travels to MWI’s ombuds client sites to educate employees about the role of an ombuds and how to access an ombuds. Additionally, Josh serves as MWI’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) liaison where he triages employment and higher education referrals for MWI’s mediators and trainers. Josh is a member of the International Ombuds Association (IOA).

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Focus Areas

  • Organizational Ombuds
  • Conference Ombuds
  • Workplace and Employment Mediation
  • Mediation Training
  • Advanced Mediation Training

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

  • Ombuds, CVS Health Ombuds Team Member (March 2022 – present)
  • Ombuds, John Moriarty & Associates (March 2022 – present)
  • Director of Ombuds at MWI (September 2021 – present)
  • Member of the International Ombudsman Association (IOA) (September 2021 – present)
  • World Mediators Alliance on Climate Change Green Pledge (July 2021 – present)
  • Designed and administered a court-approved Parent Education Program for the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court Department, (2016 – 2021)
  • Speaker, New England Association of Conflict Resolution, (April 2021)
  • Designed and supervised a mediation program at the Norfolk Probate and Family Court, (September 2013 – 2020)
  • Served on the Assistant Judicial Case Manger (AJCM) Transition Working Group for the Chief Justice of the Probate and Family Court, 2019
  • Served on the ADR Education Subcommittee for the Massachusetts Trial Court, 2019
  • Received recognition for outstanding performance and lasting contributions to the MA AFCC Chapter
  • Served for 7 years on the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Chapter of AFCC
  • Member of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
  • Member of the Massachusetts Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
  • Member of the Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation
  • Organizational Member of the New England Chapter of the Association for Conflict Resolution
  • Served as Treasurer for an annual fundraiser for Jimmy Fund Clinic patients and their families helping to raise over $500,000

Lectures and ADR Trainings Conducted

  • Understanding the Ombuds Resource, On-site at MWI client locations, (October 2021 – present)
  • Mediation Training Program for Staff of the Boston Municipal Court Department, Executive Office of the Massachusetts Trial Court, (June 2022 – present)
  • Harassment Prevention Mediation Training Program for Mediation Programs in the Juvenile Court Department, Executive Office of the Massachusetts Trial Court, (June 2022 – present)
  • Dispute Resolution Training Program for Probate and Family Court Staff, Executive Office of the Massachusetts Trial Court, (June 2022 – present)
  • Advanced Divorce Mediation Training Instructor, (April 2005 – June 2022)
  • Provide individual mentoring to mediators looking to increase their effectiveness as mediators, (2003 – June 2022)
  • Advanced Mediation Skill Building Trainer for a Community Mediation Program, (January 2022)
  • Facilitator, Implicit Bias Workshop, (May 2021)
  • Trainer, Basic Mediation Training Program for the Housing Court Department of the Massachusetts Trial Court, (October 2021)
  • Trainer, Advanced Dispute Resolution Training for Probation Officers of the Probate and Family Court, (March & June 2021)
  • Trainer, Juvenile Mediation Training, 2-day Advanced Mediation Training Program, (March 2021)
  • Presenter, Bringing Mediation Online: Lessons Learned So Far, Massachusetts Council for Family Mediation (February 2021)
  • Trainer, Housing and Eviction Mediation Training for five Massachusetts Community Mediation Centers, (December 2020 – January 2021)
  • Presenter, Mediating Cases Remotely (Online), Roundtable Event, (November 2020)
  • Designed and serves as an instructor for an Advanced Dispute Resolution Training Program for Probation Officers of the Probate and Family Court. (May 2019 – June 2021)
  • Norfolk Probate and Family Court Department, mediation program mentor and supervisor, (2013 – 2020)
  • AFCC’s 54th Annual Conference: Turning the Kaleidoscope of Family Conflict into a Prism of Harmony, Conference Presenter (May 2017)
  • Community Dispute Settlement Center (CDSC), Housing Mediation Trainer, (February 2017)
  • International Academic Institute of Mediation, Conference Presenter, Divorce Mediation in the Courts, (September 2015)
  • Advanced Refresher Mediation Skills Training Program, Presenter, (2015 – 2016)
  • New England Chapter of the Association for Conflict Resolution Biennial Regional Conference, Presenter, “I’m a Trained Mediator, Now What do I Do?”, (June 2015)
  • Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation, Presenter, On-site mediation project in the Norfolk Probate and Family Court Department, (2014)
  • Emerson College, Guest Speaker, (2014 – 2016)
  • New England Law | Boston, Ethical Standards, Presenter, (2005 – 2013)
  • Liaison for Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy Mediation Practicum, (2001 – 2011)
  • A Child’s Voice in Court: How to Get It, How to Interpret It and How to Use It, Panel Speaker, (2008)
  • Coca-Cola Enterprise Inc., Trainer. Trained over 950 employees dispute resolution and communication skills and educated over 1700 employees through briefings, (Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, New York, Vermont), (2004 – 2006)
  • Harvard Law School, Intern Fair, Cambridge, MA, Presenter, (2005)
  • Simmons College Graduate School of Social Work, Guest Lecturer, Parent – Teen Mediation (2004)
  • Boston University Law School, Court Connected ADR, Guest Speaker, (2003 – 2008)
  • Hale and Dorr Legal Services Center, Divorce Mediation Presenter, (2003 – 2004)
  • Newton and Lexington Community Education, Presenter: Divorce Information You Want to Know, (2003 – 2005)
  • Germaine Lawrence, Family Communication Workshop, Facilitator, (2001 – 2005)
  • Southern New England School of Law, Mediation Trainer and Coach (2001 – 2004)
  • Northeastern University, undergraduate class, Guest Speaker, (2001 – 2002)

Background and Education

  • Director of Ombuds, MWI, (September 2021 – Present)
  • Workplace & Employment Mediator, CLC Inc., Granite Bay, CA, (June 2022 – Present)
  • Organizational Ombuds Training, IOA, (October 2021)
  • Divorce Mediator, MWI, Boston, MA, (2001 – June 2022)
  • Director of Mediation Services, MWI, Boston, MA, (2001 – Present)
  • Divorce Mediator, CLC Inc., Granite Bay, CA, (2004 – June 2022)
  • Court & Divorce Mediator, Cambridge, MA, (2001 – 2012)
  • Boston Municipal Court Mediator, Boston, MA, (2004 – 2007)
  • Prisoner Disputes Mediator, Middlesex Multi-Door Courthouse, Cambridge, MA, (2003 – 2005)
  • District Court Mediator, Middlesex Mediation Program, Lowell, MA, (2000 – 2001)
  • Staff Member, Academy of Family Mediators, 2000
  • B.A. University of Massachusetts at Amherst, 1998
  • Mediation Training, L. Wing Mediation Consulting, 1996

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Caitlan Hendrickson

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Outsourced Ombuds
caitlan-ombuds@mwi.org


Caitlan Hendrickson is a Certified Organizational Ombuds Practitioner (CO-OP) with over eighteen years of experience in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and over a decade of experience leading ADR offices in large multicultural organizations. With extensive experience working in a wide variety of settings – including in higher education, healthcare, court, government, and non-profit organizations – she enjoys tailoring her extensive experience and training in conflict engagement practices and human relations to the unique needs of the individuals, groups, and organizations she serves, whether they are small non-profits or large, complex institutions. Caitlan has been a member of the International Ombuds Association since 2011 and brings a background in Ombuds work that is truly multidisciplinary, bridging countless academic disciplines, healthcare, research and innovation, emergency response, and social service. She entered the Ombuds profession as a mediator and restorative justice practitioner with extensive experience working with disadvantaged and marginalized communities in the social service sector, where she specialized in multicultural inclusion and trauma-informed work. Caitlan sees conflict and other challenges as potent opportunities for learning, growth, and transformation on individual, group, and organizational/systemic levels, and enjoys the process of facilitating evolution on each level. She holds a M.Ed. in Human Relations and graduate certificate in Educational Technology – Adult Learning & Training, and is currently completing a doctorate in leadership. As a fluent Spanish speaker, she provides Ombuds services in both English and Spanish.

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Organizational Ombuds – Year Round

Conference and organizational ombuds both provide a neutral, confidential, informal, and independent resource for companies, organizations, colleges and universities, conferences, and annual meetings.

Another option to consider is having MWI provide outsourced ombuds services throughout the year to your organization. Members benefit by having access to ombuds services when needed. MWI provides leadership with quarterly reports that identify systematic trends or issues the organization could address to improve its climate beyond individual conferences. Employees who have ombuds as a resource often feel more valued, heard, and appreciated.


For More Information

For more information, contact MWI’s Director of Ombuds, Josh Hoch at jhoch@mwi.org or 617-895-4028. To schedule time to speak with Josh, click here.