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 unsure where to go? Even properly trained staff cannot provide impartial, independent, and confidential services necessary to process all complaints and concerns. To ensure attendees are supported at your next conference, please consider the benefits of 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 provide services before, during, and after a conference. Before the conference, the ombuds works 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, the 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 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 aware of. These insights enable organizations to improve future conferences’ quality and update policies and procedures.

Sample Conference Ombuds
  • Charmhee Kim
    Charmhee Kim
  • Nnena Odim
    Nnena Odim
  • Josh Hoch
    Josh Hoch
  • Caitlan Hendrickson
    Caitlan Hendrickson
Charmhee Kim

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Outsourced Ombuds

Charmhee Kim is an experienced ombuds and cross-cultural trainer with MWI. She served as an ombuds for 15 years at McKinsey & Company, a global management consultancy, addressing workplace conflicts including harassment and discrimination claims, career development concerns, and other challenges. She has been an active member of the International Ombuds Association (IOA) since 2007 and was trained in its Foundations of Organizational Ombudsman Practice Course which she later taught as faculty. Charmhee served on the IOA Board of Directors and co-chaired its Global Marketing Task Force. Prior to entering the ombuds profession, Charmhee worked as a management consultant, investment banker, and public affairs specialist with the United Nations. She holds an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and an MA from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. Charmhee is trilingual in English, Korean, and Mandarin Chinese.

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Nnena Odim

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Outsourced Ombuds

Nnena Odim is a mediator, ombuds, attorney, trainer, and consultant. She has been mediating in a variety of settings since 1997, and has mediated disputes involving issues such as employment, housing, business, consumer, academic/higher education, and the full range of family/domestic relations (divorce, unmarried parents, elder care, adoption, etc.). Nnena has also designed and/or led conflict management trainings for several local and national businesses and agencies, including the Boston Public Schools, Massachusetts Housing Authority, Neighborhood Works, Coca-Cola, and Netflix. In addition to her mediation and conflict resolution training background, Nnena is trained by the International Ombuds Association and has served as an ombuds for CVS, American Planning Association, American Economic Association, and several local construction companies. After 25 years, Nnena recently retired from Harvard Law School, where she was the Director and Senior Clinical Instructor of the Family/Domestic Violence Law Clinic at Harvard’s Legal Services Center.

Nnena has worked with the Harvard Mediation Program (HMP) 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. She 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. Nnena has also served on numerous panels and speaking rosters for a variety of 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.

 Nnena is a member of the HMP Advisory Board and Mediation Works Inc. (MWI) Board of Directors. In 2019, Nnena was honored by the Harvard Women’s Law Association International Committee. In 2015, she received the Harvard Law School Dean’s Award for Excellence, and in 2013, Nnena was a Top Women in the Law award recipient from Mass. Lawyers Weekly.

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Josh Hoch

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Ombuds, Mediator, Trainer, Director

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Josh Hoch is an ombuds, mediator, and instructor and is the Director of Ombuds & Mediation Services at MWI. As Director of Ombuds & Mediation Services, Josh manages MWI’s Outsourced Ombuds Panel and has worked as an outsourced organizational ombuds for clients including CVS Health, Arapahoe Basin, and John Moriarty & Associates. He also works with organizations interested in conference ombuds services. Josh has been an active mediator since 2001 for various case types, including workplace and employment cases, and is a mediation trainer who leads advanced mediation training programs for clients, including the Executive Office of the Massachusetts Trial Court. 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 Trainer
  • Advanced Mediation Trainer

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

  • Outsourced Organizational Ombuds, Arapahoe Basin (November 2023 – present)
  • Outsourced Organizational Ombuds, John Moriarty & Associates (March 2022 – June 2024)
  • Board of Directors, North and South Rivers Watershed Association (October 2022 – Present)
  • Director of Ombuds at MWI (September 2021 – present)
  • Ombuds, CVS Health Ombuds Team Member (March 2022 – December 2022)
  • Member of the International Ombudsman Association (IOA) (September 2021 – present)
  • Workplace & Employment Mediator, CLC Inc., Granite Bay, CA, (June 2022 – 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 Manager (AJCM) Transition Working Group for the Chief Justice of the Probate and Family Court in 2019
  • Served on the ADR Education Subcommittee for the Massachusetts Trial Court in 2019
  • Received recognition for outstanding performance and lasting contributions to the MA AFCC Chapter
  • Served for six years – Board of Directors, Massachusetts Oyster Project
  • Served for seven years – Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Chapter of AFCC
  • Past Member of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
  • Past Member of the Massachusetts Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
  • Past 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

  • Conference Presenter: Exploring the Growing Trend of Outsourced Organizational Ombuds: Navigating Opportunities and Challenges, Saint Paul University Annual Symposium on Conflict Resolution, (May 2024)
  • Trainer: Conciliation Training Program for the Massachusetts Trial Court, (June 2023 – Present)
  • Trainer: 30-Hour Mediation Training Program for the Massachusetts Trial Court, (June 2023 – Present)
  • Facilitator: World Café:  Massachusetts Bar Association, “Taking Steps to Address Barriers to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Dispute Resolution” (February 2024)
  • Presenter: Organizational Ombuds as a Profession, Things a Mediator Might Want to Know About This Unique Role, Rhode Island Mediators Association (April 2023)
  • Presenter: Tools for Becoming a More Effective Mediator, CDSC (March 2023)
  • Presenter: Understanding the Ombuds Resource On-site at MWI client locations (October 2021 – present)
  • Trainer: Mediation Training Program  for Staff of the Boston Municipal Court Department, Executive Office of the Massachusetts Trial Court (June 2022 – June 2024)
  • Facilitator: Harassment Prevention Mediation Training for Mediation Programs in the Juvenile Court Department, Executive Office of the Massachusetts Trial Court (June 2022 – June 2024)
  • Trainer: Dispute Resolution Training Program for Probate and Family Court Staff, Executive Office of the Massachusetts Trial Court (June 2022 – June 2024)
  • Trainer: Advanced Divorce Mediation Training Program (April 2005 – June 2022)
  • Mentor: Provided individual mentoring to mediators looking to increase their effectiveness as mediators (2003 – June 2022)
  • Trainer: Advanced Mediation Skill Building 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 Workshop (November 2020)
  • Designed and served as an instructor for an Advanced Dispute Resolution Training Program for Probation Officers of the Probate and Family Court. (May 2019 – June 2021)
  • Mentor: Norfolk Probate and Family Court Department, mediation program mentor and supervisor (2013 – 2020)
  • Conference Presenter: AFCC’s 54th Annual Conference: Turning the Kaleidoscope of Family Conflict into a Prism of Harmony, (May 2017)
  • Conference Presenter: International Academic Institute of Mediation, Mediation in the Courts, (September 2015)
  • 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)
  • Presenter: Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation, On-site mediation project in the Norfolk Probate and Family Court Department, (2014)
  • Liaison: Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy Mediation Practicum (2001 – 2011)
  • Trainer: Coca-Cola Enterprise Inc., Trained over 950 employees in dispute resolution and communication skills and educated over 1700 employees through briefings (Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, New York, Vermont) (2004 – 2006)
  • Germaine Lawrence, Family Communication Workshop, Facilitator, (2001 – 2005)
  • Southern New England School of Law, Mediation Trainer and Coach (2001 – 2004)
  • University Guest Speaker on Mediation related topics:
    • Emerson College, Guest Speaker (2014 – 2016)
    • New England Law Boston, Ethical Standards (2005 – 2013)
    • Boston University Law School, Court Connected ADR (2003 – 2008)
    • Northeastern University, (2001 – 2002)

Background and Education

  • Director of Ombuds Services, MWI (September 2021 – Present)
  • Director of Mediation Services, MWI, Boston, MA, (June 2001 – Present)
  • Organizational Ombuds Training, IOA, (October 2021)
  • Divorce Mediator, MWI, Boston, MA, (2001 – June 2022)
  • 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 Hendrickson is an ombuds with over twenty 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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To view additional conference ombuds, please click here.

Conference Management Service Companies

MWI provides conference ombuds services through Conference Management Services Companies. Many conference management companies offer strategic planning, speaker management, registration management, and site selection services. Conference planning companies can provide clients with conference ombuds services with MWI. Please contact us to learn more about working together to provide your clients with an informal, confidential, and independent conference ombuds service.

Organizational Ombuds – Year Round

Conference and organizational ombuds 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 identifying systematic trends or issues the organization could address to improve its climate beyond individual conferences. Employees with 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 a time to speak with Josh, click here.