Chris Sheesley, President
Chris puts derailed workplace relationships back on track. Senior managers and HR professionals hire Chris when they recognize the need for an experienced, objective facilitator to transform high-stakes or seemingly impossible internal disputes into cooperation and employee efficiency.
With two and a half decades of full time experience, a client roster of hundreds of notable organizations and a track record of over 1,750 cases, Chris is among the most seasoned conflict management professionals on the West Coast. He has amassed over 5,000 hours of experience teaching dispute resolution and related skills grounded in his real-world experience.
In one instructive case, a despairing CEO sought out Chris to address a conflict between two high-level executives. If their relationship deteriorated further, the CEO feared, productivity would continue to degrade, morale would implode, and the feud might become public. With so much at risk, Chris applied his five-step process to bring both managers together. He helped them craft an agreement to enhance their interactions and, significantly, improve how they viewed each other. Grateful, the CEO stopped worrying about the collapse of her executive team.
Chris lives in a 1908 farmhouse on seven Clackamas County acres with his wife, two elementary aged sons, dogs, horses, chickens and other critters. When not fussing around on the property, he’s sailing Zeitgeist on the Columbia River, cycling, gawking at Oregon’s fascinating birds or gazing through a telescope at the vastness of space.
MA, Organizational Communication, Marylhurst University. Thesis explored employee resistance to conflict resolution opportunities.
BA, Conflict Resolution, American University.
Debbie Nelson, Consultant
Debbie Nelson has been an active conflict resolution professional since 1992 providing a spectrum of services, including mediation, facilitation, conflict coaching and mediation training. Debbie specializes in resolving complex conflicts that include: community, grievance and workplace disputes, school conflicts, harassment and discrimination. Her coaching, facilitation and training practice includes work with public, private and non-profit organizations on effective communications, collaborative negotiation and conflict resolution. In addition to her work with In-Accord, she provides mediation services for the US Postal Service Redress Program and the federally-sponsored Shared Neutrals workplace resolution program. In 2010, Debbie retired from an 18-year dispute resolution career with the City of Vancouver’s Community Mediation Services in which she coordinated the mediation efforts of the City of Vancouver and Clark County and the professional mediation skills training program for community volunteers.
In 2003, Debbie received the Association for Conflict Resolution designation of Advanced Workplace Mediator.
Debbie believes that mediation offers a unique opportunity for people to build or rebuild trust and healthy working relationships. Her experience helping people in conflict demonstrates that when people with different points of view work together to resolve disputes, their solutions are more resilient.
In her free time, Debbie likes to hike and kayak, enjoys researching genealogy, and play with her grandkids.
Mark Danley, Consultant
For 31 years, Mark Danley served in the federal sector, the last 16 of which were focused on workplace conflict resolution at the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). In this role, he founded and managed the first agency-wide workplace mediation program. Mark has continued this work by specializing in interpersonal workplace conflict management. He helped establish, and was the first Chair, of the Oregon Federal Executive Board’s “Shared Neutrals” program, where he facilitated agencies including the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, Indian Health Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Additionally, Mark served for five years as a dispute resolution ombudsman at BPA, where he also managed the resolution of complaints under Federal Equal Employment Opportunity laws. He has been on the Board of Directors of the Oregon Mediation Association (including as board President), and has presented conflict management topics to both supervisors and employees. Mark has helped train mediators at Portland State University, Portland Community College and other venues.
Mark believes that conflict comes from a variety of places (interpersonal, structural, organizational, etc.). Therefore, he takes a systems approach to each conflict, looking beyond or beneath the presenting problems to identify and address the sources of conflict. He respects the integrity of all parties to collaborate in solving problems in ways that work for them.
When Mark is not mediating, he’s researching his family tree, entertaining his three grandchildren, or traveling to parts known and otherwise. He’s also working on building an orphanage in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
Nancy Pionk, Constultant
Prior to starting with In-Accord, Nancy Pionk served as the Executive Director of Community Mediation Services, a nonprofit located in Vancouver, WA, that provides conflict resolution services and related training to the community. Nancy is a certified mediator and an approved practicum supervisor with the Washington Mediation Association. Nancy has over ten years’ experience providing Professional Mediation Training and has mentored hundreds of mediators. A mediator since 1996, Nancy has mediated many different types of cases including those in the workplace, neighbor-to-neighbor, small claims, landlord/tenant, victim-offender, foreclosure, and police/citizen matters. She is a large group facilitator and has facilitated numerous internal workgroups, retreats, and public meetings. She designs and presents mediator training, conflict resolution, decision-making and communications trainings. She is also an adjunct instructor with the Carson School of Business at Washington State University Vancouver, teaching Negotiations.
Nancy is also a certified Hudson Institute coach, providing leadership, executive, transition and conflict coaching. As a coach, she guides clients through the creative process of change, helping them achieve their professional and personal development goals. She has worked with individuals in executive and team leadership roles in the private, public and nonprofit sector, small business owners, and individuals seeking to make career or personal life transitions. She is a licensed Facilitator for the Immunity to Change Process developed by Harvard Professors Dr. Robert Kegan and Dr. Lisa Lahey. In this facilitated process, Nancy helps individuals, teams and organizations map out their desired changes, uncover blocks to the changes, and identify practices and actions that can help them overcome their blocks and attain their goals.
Nancy earned a B.A. from Eastern Michigan University and a J.D. from Loyola University of Chicago School of Law.
When not working, Nancy loves hiking and biking in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, and is currently exploring as much of Eastern Oregon and the Wallowa region as she can. She also enjoys meeting up with her 11 brothers and sisters who reside throughout the U.S. and in Italy. When she is not traveling, she indulges in Portland’s many cultural offerings such as Thorns soccer matches, Wordstock, Portland Literary Arts and OPB’s Live Wire shows.
Erin Ruff, Lead Trainer
Erin is new to In-Accord and brings along her deep career in conflict management. She is passionate about effective, interest-based problem solving. Erin also works with Clackamas County Resolution Services, where she mediates workplace cases, teaches and mentors volunteer mediators, resolves small claims, community and parent-teen cases. She also facilitates victim-offender dialogue and foreclosure interventions.
A mediator since 1996, Erin worked for the Oregon Judicial Department as a mediator and dispute resolution policy advisor for 12 years. She has facilitated dozens of groups, including State and County collaborative policy and rule-making. Erin teaches conflict management theory and technique to students aged 10 to 99. She developed and delivered specialized courses for attorneys, judges, law enforcement officers and staff, therapists and social workers, and parents. She was an adjunct professor at Marylhurst University and Willamette College of Law.
Erin holds a B.A. from Claremont McKenna College and a J.D. and Certificate in Dispute Resolution from Willamette University College of Law. She lives in West Linn with her husband and two middle-school aged children. She is a Girl Scout leader, knitter, and Portland Thorns supporter.
Sarah Grigsby – Facilitator
Sara has worked professionally as an organizational development consultant, trainer and facilitator since 1985, providing organization change and project-based management, coaching, formal training and event facilitation services to a variety of corporate, public agency and health care clients. Sara provides consulting and customized training for organizational effectiveness, and focuses specifically on how to create and sustain the health and vitality of an organization in its meetings, projects, processes, direction-setting, organization culture and interpersonal relationships. She has worked as a part time instructor at Portland State University in the School of Business Administration teaching Organization Design and Change, Business Communication, and Organization Behavior.
She served as Senior Organization Development Consultant at NW Natural, Portland’s natural gas utility, from 2004 to 2016 and helped lead its reorganization around core business processes, as well as serving as project manager and SME in performance management and training and development during their conversion from PeopleSoft to SAP.
In her personal life, Sara has been a certified yoga instructor since 1981 and is a certified Somatic Coach through the Strozzi Institute. She is a graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration (HBS). She received an MS in Counseling, MS in Art Education and her BFA from the University of Tennessee.
Genevieve Jones, Assistant
Genevieve Jones specializes in keeping In-Accord’s team of consultants organized by handling tasks that maintain our top-notch customer service. Among her many juggling talents are improving In-Accord’s marketing and networking opportunities via technology and personalized outreach. Genevieve’s meticulous attention to detail ensures that our documents, website and promotional materials sparkle and inform.
Prior to working with In-Accord, Genevieve served with the executive team of an international risk management company. When not working, she is raising two extraordinary boys, serving as the Board Chair for their charter school or galloping away from it all on her beloved horses.
“I was pleased to have the option of relying upon Debbie’s excellent mediation skills when dealing with many complex employee relations issues. Debbie skillfully guided mediation participants to mutual agreements which assisted in repairing many difficult relationships… There were a few extremely difficult interpersonal relationships that were predictably headed toward disciplinary action and/or potential termination… Debbie mediated three of these sorts of complicated interpersonal relationships. With deep gratitude and admiration, I watched Debbie resolve disagreements in each of these relationships. All of those individuals continue to work together and have dramatically improved communication and productivity. I enthusiastically recommend Debbie to anyone who is in need of professional mediation services. She is truly remarkable.”
Sheahan Griffitts, SPHR Director of Human Resources Inn at Spanish Head