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 unresolvable internal disputes into cooperation and employee efficiency.
With two-and-a-half decades of full-time experience, a client roster that includes 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 also 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 Chris to address a conflict between two high-level executives. The CEO feared productivity would continue to degrade, morale would implode, and the feud might become public if the relationship further deteriorated. 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, more significantly, improve how they viewed each other. The grateful CEO stopped worrying about the collapse of her executive team.
Chris holds an MA in Organizational Communication from Marylhurst University, and his thesis explores employee resistance to conflict resolution opportunities. He also holds a BA in Conflict Resolution from American University.
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 he’s not fussing around on the property, he’s cycling, gawking at Oregon’s fascinating birds, sailing Escapade on the Columbia River, or gazing through a telescope at the vastness of space.
Debbie Nelson, Consultant
Debbie Nelson has been an active conflict resolution professional since 1992 and provides a spectrum of services, including mediation, facilitation, conflict coaching, and mediation training. Debbie specializes in resolving complex conflicts that include harassment; discrimination; school conflicts; and community, grievance, and workplace disputes. 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 U.S. 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, during which she coordinated mediation efforts for Clark County and the City of Vancouver. She also coordinated 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, kayak, and play with her grandkids. She also enjoys genealogy research.
Mark Danley, Consultant
Mark Danley served in the federal sector for 31 yrears, 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 the Oregon Federal Executive Board’s Shared Neutrals program and served as its first Chair. Through his involvement in this program, he facilitated agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, Indian Health Service, and 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 served on the Board of Directors of the Oregon Mediation Association (including a term as its President), and he has presented conflict management topics to both supervisors and employees. Mark has also trained 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 its sources. 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 joining In-Accord, Nancy Pionk served as the Executive Director of Community Mediation Services, a non-profit located in Vancouver, Washington, that provides conflict resolution services and related training to the community. She is a certified mediator and approved practicum supervisor with the Washington Mediation Association. She also has over ten years’ experience providing professional mediation training and has mentored hundreds of mediators. Nancy has been a mediator since 1996 and has mediated a variety of cases, including workplace, neighbor-to-neighbor, 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. In addition, Nancy designs and presents mediator, conflict resolution, decision-making, and communication training. She is also an adjunct instructor and teaches Negotiations in the Carson School of Business at Washington State University Vancouver.
In addition to her mediation work, Nancy is a certified Hudson Institute coach who provides 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 coached individuals in executive and team leadership roles across the private, public, and non-profit sectors. She has also worked with small business owners and individuals seeking to make career or personal life transitions. In addition, she is a licensed facilitator for the Immunity to Change Process. Through this facilitated process, Nancy helps individuals, teams, and organizations map their desired changes, uncover blocks impeding the changes, and identify practices and actions that can help them overcome these blocks and to attain their goals.
Nancy earned a BA in Public Law and Government from Eastern Michigan University and a JD 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 newer to In-Accord and brings with her a deep career in conflict management. She is passionate about effective, interest-based problem-solving. She also works with Clackamas County Resolution Services, where she mediates workplace cases, teaches and mentors volunteer mediators, and resolves small claims, community, and parent-teen cases. Additionally, she facilitates victim-offender dialogue and foreclosure interventions.
Erin began her career as a mediator in 1996 and 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 groups. In addition, she teaches conflict management theory and technique to students aged 10 to 99. Erin has also developed and delivered specialized courses for attorneys, judges, law enforcement officers, and staff members, therapists, social workers, and parents. Additionally, she was an adjunct professor at Marylhurst University and Willamette College of Law.
Erin holds a BA from Claremont McKenna College and both a JD 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. She offers organizational change and project-based management, coaching, formal training, and event facilitation services to a variety of corporate, public agency and health-care clients. She also provides consulting and customized training for organizational effectiveness, and she focuses on creating and sustaining organizational health and vitality through its meetings, projects, processes, direction-setting, organizational 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. She also served as a project manager and subject matter expert in the areas of performance management and training and development during the company’s 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 also received an MS in Counseling, MS in Art Education, and Bachelor of Fine Arts 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 the company’s 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 she’s 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