Thank you for attending IOA’s inaugural virtual September SymposiumOmbuds as Change Agents: Ombuds Intersections in the Modern World. This program invited ombuds to explore topics related to diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and trauma, and how those intersect in practice. This event will took place over two half-days to better meet the needs of our international and busy practitioner communities.    

Topics Included:  

  • Intergenerational diversity 

  • Indigenous practices 

  • Neurodivergence

  • Incorporating DEIB into workshop design 

  • DEIB in the international context

  • Trauma-Informed Ombuds Practice

  • Facilitated small group case study work tying in the learning from the day (organized by level of practice: advanced, intermediate, newer, new,  and aspiring)  

Registration is now closed. Recordings are now available for purchase.

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 Keynote Speaker: Sunn m'Cheaux (pronounced sʌn mɪˈʃoʊ | sən məˈshō | sun mi-show)

Gullah/Geechee linguist, activist, and instructor at Harvard University.  

Sunn m’Cheaux is a native South Carolinian whose work as an academic, artist, advocate, social media creative, and influencer is rooted in life lessons learned from his traditional Gullah/Geechee upbringing. He is Harvard University’s first and only instructor of his native language, Gullah, teaching a course curriculum that he founded. Sunn is an in-demand social commentator, cultural competency consultant, and public speaker whose media credits include HBO Vice, Al Jazeera Plus, CBS International, BBC, WIRED Magazine, Discovery Channel, Netflix, and he is a published columnist for The Root Magazine.

Pre-work: The symposium will also include pre-work to allow attendees to have a shared, baseline of knowledge.  Pre-work and attending this symposium will provide professional development hours (PDHs) that can be applied toward the new IOA micro-credential in DEIB that is currently being developed, and also CO-OP recertification.   

A note about creating a safe learning environment for all participants:  IOA has created this learning experience as an opportunity for ombuds to advance their understanding of these issues and apply them to practice.  And we also recognize that DEIB learning benefits from individualized work and personal reflection that takes place outside the confines of formal education and group work.  As Resmaa Menakem reminded us at the 2022 Annual Conference, there are no shortcuts or workarounds; we all need to move through clean pain and healing.  


Course Access

You must be registered for the event for access. Login to access pre-work, Zoom links, recordings, and handouts.  

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 All Times Are in Pacific Time

Day One Event 
7:00 AM  7:05 AM  Welcome
7:05 AM  – 7:20 AM Networking
7:20 AM – 7:50 AM

Session I: Creating Culturally Inclusive Interactions for Visitors, Peers, and Organisational Partners from an Indigenous New Zealand Approach

Presented by Christina Tay

In our work as organisational ombuds, we are in service to those that we interact with as visitors, peers, and organisational partners. A part of being in service is ensuring that we are providing holistic care in all of our interactions which extends to cultural consideration and the appropriate inclusion of cultural practices which whilst unique to certain tribes around the globe are all underpinned by the essence of kindness, caring, and respect. I would like to provide a brief introduction to cultural practices that I include from an indigenous New Zealand perspective.

7:55 AM – 8:25 AM

Session II: Panel Discussion: Cultural Perspectives on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging in Ombuds Work

Facilitated by Marlo Goldstein-Hode

Four panelists representing Africa, Europe, Latin America, and Asia Pacific will share their perspectives and insights on the evolving landscape of DEIB in different cultural and organizational contexts.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will learn how the concepts of diversity, equity, and inclusion are similar and different in various cultural contexts.
  • Participants will gain insights into ombuds work and DEIB issues in various cultural contexts.

Panel Participants

  • Arllon Souza Viçoso – IBM Americas & Brazilian Ombuds Association Director, Co-Chair Latin America Caribbean RAC
  • Jutta Reitmeier – Mars, Inc. Europe & CIS Ombudsman , Co-Chair Europe RAC
  • Zetu Makamandela – Mguqulwa Owner and Director at ZetuMindshift and Chair of the Africa RAC
  • Lily Xu – RTX Corporate Ombuds, IOA Board of Directors
8:30 AM – 9:00 AM

Session III: Practices, Ideas, and Experiences in Designing and Delivering Intentional, Inclusive Group Experiences

Presented by Jenn Mahony, Dan Young, and Mike Rozinsky

It takes thoughtfulness to design a space for creative thinking, exploring ideas, agreeing on solutions, and learning together in ways that celebrate diverse experiences and viewpoints as well as promote inclusion and safe dissent.

In this session, we will share more about our influences and practices in designing and facilitating sessions that go beyond our cultural and identity perspectives while also providing a space for attendees to consider ways in which they might further develop their own practice for designing intentional, inclusive group experiences.    

9:05 AM – 9:40 AM

Session IV: Generational Diversity in the Ombuds Arena

Presented by Twillea Evans-Carthen

The presentation of information will include a conversation on moving boldly forward, looking in the rearview mirror of generational practices, understanding of intergenerational diversity, ageism, and behaviors to help enhance diversity awareness, practices, and behaviors for all to foster a culture of acceptance, respect, fairness, transparency, and belonging among fellow colleagues and others.

Learning Objectives:

  • Provide attendees with an overview of the five generations in the Ombuds Arena.
  • Examine different perspectives of multigenerational environments in relation to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging.
  • Analyze common challenges of stereotyping members of each group.
  • Assess strategies for communicating with members of each group.

9:40 AM – 9:55 AM


9:55 AM – 10:15 AM

AMA: Ask Me Anything

10:15 AM – 11:00 AM

Small Group Discussion

11:00 AM  11:30 AM

Keynote: Sunn m'Cheaux

11:30 AM

Closing Remarks
Day Two Event 
2:00 PM  2:05 PM Welcome
2:05 PM  2:20 PM Networking
2:20 PM  2:50 PM

Session V: PEC'ing Order: The Journey of Creating a Space of Emotional Resilience During the Emergence of Challenges to DEI

Presented by Derrick Johnson

As an ombuds, Perceptions, Emotional Intelligence, and Coping Mechanisms (PEC) have intersectionality in the success or failure of the persistence to develop equitable-based processes, especially when faced with political or systematic challenges. How do we build support for the emotional effects the impact restrictive policy actions have on ombuds while maintaining the core goals of DEI and recognize that unique ombuds PEC experiences and intersectionality provide for better overall professional and personal development?

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will learn how to assess their individual PEC’ing order and how it intersects with the populations Ombuds serve.
  2. Participants will learn how to build and maintain emotional support while working within the confines of restrictive company policies or legislation that may not lend to the promotion of diverse initiatives.
2:55 PM  3:25 PM

Session VI: Self-Care for Ombuds Professionals: Navigating Trauma and Its Impact

Presented by Tuba Bilecik

In this session, the participants will explore the crucial topic of self-care and its profound impact when working with individuals affected by trauma. The presentation aims to provide attendees with essential strategies for maintaining their well-being while navigating the complexities of ombuds work within diverse and dynamic environments. Participants will gain a deeper understanding of trauma's effects on both visitors and themselves, particularly in the way they engage in conflict resolution, and they will learn practical self-care techniques to enhance resilience and cultivate a supportive work environment.

3:30 PM  4:00 PM

Session VII: Ombudsing Marginalized Communities That Are Retraumatized by Microaggression

Presented by Aaron Footman

This session will explore how systemic traumas among marginalized community affects employees and the work environment. By examining how micro-aggressions can lead to psychological trauma among groups regularly encountering intense discriminatory incidents and practices throughout their lives. We will also explore how traumatic stress triggers mistrust and disenfranchisement in the workplace negatively impacts engagement and productivity. Finally, we will explore how intersectionality affects how one encounters and copes with microaggressions and trauma.

The goal of this session is to learn:

  1. How traumatic retention and intergenerational transmission in protective classes lead to microaggressive behaviors.
  2. Strategies to address microaggressive trauma: individually, institutionally, and systemically.

4:05 PM  4:35 PM

Session VIII: Neurodivergent Ombudsing: Personal Reflections and Case Lessons

Presented by Amanda Dean

The term neurodivergent has become the catch-all for many mental differences, everything from social preferences to ways of learning and communicating. In this session, an ombuds who identifies as neurodivergent will share her experiences ombudsing and serving others with neurodivergent brains

4:35 PM – 4:50 PM


4:50 PM – 5:05 PM

AMA: Ask Me Anything

5:05 PM – 5:45 PM

Small Group Discussion

5:45 PM  6:15 PM

Keynote: Sunn m'Cheaux

6:15 PM  6:30 PM

Keynote Q&A

6:30 PM 

Closing Remarks


Tuba BilecikTuba Bilecik

Tuba is a highly accomplished mediator, outsourced ombuds, conflict management consultant, and trainer based in Washington, DC. With a wealth of experience in mediating civil, commercial, employment, and workplace disputes, she collaborates closely with organizations providing expert advice on effective conflict management and fostering a positive and respectful workplace environment. Tuba has successfully set up outsourced ombuds programs for various private companies, effectively providing impartial and confidential dispute resolution services. She serves as a mediator for the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman of the World Bank Group, Global Mediation Panel member at the Office of the Ombudsman for United Nations Funds and Programmes, and an ADR consultant for the Council of Europe.
Having started her ADR career as a mediation pioneer in Turkey, Tuba has worked with diverse clients worldwide, including international organizations, private companies, NGOs, government agencies, and individuals. She is a Distinguished Fellow of the International Academy of Mediators and was awarded the prestigious Weinstein JAMS International Fellowship in 2017. Tuba holds a Bachelor of Laws degree from Marmara University and an LL.M. in ADR degree from the University of Southern California.

Amanda DeanAmanda Dean

Amanda is Ombuds for Faculty and Staff at Austin Community College. Originally from Atlanta, Amanda attended Kennesaw State University's Master's in Conflict Management program, graduating in 2015. During her MSCM Amanda learned about the work of an Ombuds and immediately felt a calling. In 2017 she co-founded the Emerging Ombuds Network and in 2022 joined the IOA Board of Directors.  Amanda plays Ultimate Frisbee, has a dog named Navia, and was diagnosed with learning disorders at the age of 15. 


Twillea Evans-CarthenTwillea Evans-Carthen

Twillea is University Ombuds Officer, Director of Ombuds Services for California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) has been Director of Ombuds for over six (6) years, as a College Administrator at CSUSB for over 35 years, and over 25 years as a Professor/Lecturer. Evans-Carthen has a master’s degree in public administration from California State University, San Bernardino and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from California State University, Long Beach.

Evans-Carthen is an active member of the International Ombuds Association (IOA), California Caucus of College and University Ombuds (CCCUO), CSU Systemwide Ombuds, Southern California Ombuds Association, Inland Empire American Society for Public Administration (IE ASPA), and Society in Human Resources Management (SHRM).  Evans-Carthen serves on the board for The Inland Ivy Foundation and League of Women Voters San Bernardino Area, active member of American Association of University Women, and Life member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Evans-Carthen was the recipient of the 2023 CSUSB Black Faculty, Student Staff Association Pioneer Alumni Legacy of Excellence Award, 2022 Community Service Award from Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Pi Rho Chapter and 2022 Educational Leadership and Community Service Award from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Eta Nu Omega Chapter and The Inland Ivy Foundation. Also, she is the recipient of the Citizen of Achievement Award from League of Women Voters San Bernardino Area, CSUSB Distinguish Alumna Award.

Aaron FootmanAaron Footman

Aaron Footman III is the Supervisory Conflict Prevention and Resolution Specialist at the FDA. He has thirteen years of professional experience in conflict management and resolution in the federal, non-profit, and private sectors.

Before coming to the FDA, Aaron served as a Senior Associate Ombudsman for nearly three years at the United States Patent and Trademark Office. At USPTO, Aaron was a confidential resource who advocated for fair process and equitable outcomes. As an Ombuds, Aaron created an emotionally safe and brave space where ALL employees felt seen, valued, and understood. Through psychoeducation and coaching, he helped employees normalize, engage in, and manage conflict through conversations and connections. As a change management leader, he focused on educating the workforce on imperative diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) topics and promoting allyship across the agency.

Before becoming an Ombudsman, Aaron served as the Acting Regional Outreach Officer for the Eastern Regional Outreach Office (USPTO) to close the innovation gap among women, veterans, minorities, and differently-abled applicants who apply for patents and trademarks. He also worked as the Regional Offices' liaison in the Office of Under Secretary (USPTO). In this role, he promoted progressive change. He monitored the implementation of strategic program planning, assessment, performance measurement and analysis, process improvement, and trend identification efforts, which guided and governed management in the regions.

Aaron holds a Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) from Liberty University, a Master's in Public Administration (MPA) from Strayer's University, and a B.A. in Business from Bowie State University. He resides in Washington, DC, with his rambunctious yet highly loyal dog, James. He is passionate about his "faith walk," personal growth, traveling, attending cultural events, family, and extreme sports. 

Marlo Goldstein HodeMarlo Goldstein-Hode

Marlo Goldstein Hode currently serves as the Director of Conflict Resolution and Mediation Services for the University of Missouri St. Louis, housed within the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.  She holds a courtesy faculty position in the Department of Communication at the University of Missouri  Columbia.  She is the co-author of DEI 2.0 – A Toolkit for Building Your Own Online Diversity Course. As a scholar, she has publications in peer-reviewed journals and book chapters on various topics including sexual harassment, neurodiversity, racial issues on campus, and the effectiveness of online professional development courses.

Marlo received her BA in Communication from North Carolina State University, an MA in Intercultural Communication from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, an LLM in Dispute Resolution from the University of Missouri School of Law, and a Ph.D. in Organizational Communication with a minor in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from the University of Missouri.

Derrick JohnsonDerrick Johnson

Derrick currently holds the position of Ombudsman at Florida State College at Jacksonville, and has worked in the areas of education and counseling for over 15 years. It was not his intention to work in education; he originally was a Director of television at WALB-TV in Albany, GA; however, the education profession chose him, (which makes him a 3rd generation educator). He has worked steadfastly since in the areas of student equality and achievement.

Derrick is an experienced student service professional who partners with students, parents, faculty, staff and administration to offer superior quality services in assisting students with navigating their academic, social and career pathways. After spending over a decade working in education and counseling, the position of Ombudsman has allowed him to focus those previous skills into assisting with the development of policies and processes that continue to build equality among program stakeholders.  

Jenn MahonyJenn Mahony

Jenn is the Boston Children’s Hospital Ombuds Office Director. She has 20 years of conflict resolution and conflict resiliency work as an ombuds, mediator, facilitator, conflict coach, and educator. She focuses on restorative practices so that people can feel successful at work and in their working relationships. She obtained her J.D. from Emory University School of Law in 2001, worked as a dispute resolution professional and ombuds in New Zealand for almost 10 years, and was most recently an associate ombudsman at the National Institutes of Health. She is a member of the International Ombuds Association and the Arbitrators and Mediators Institute of New Zealand, where she is a fellow in arbitration and on the AMINZ mediation panel. She is a frequent presenter and educator on conflict resolution and building conflict resiliency at work.

Mike RozinskyMike Rozinsky

Mike and Dan Young work together, across the Atlantic. Through the When & How Studios project they help create participatory experiences and meaningful conversations that connect and activate groups of people around the world. They work online, in-person, and everywhere in between.

For 23 years and counting, Mike has partnered to create impact through a variety of conflict management, people development, facilitation, change enablement, visual storytelling, restorative justice, and organizational development practices and workshops. Mike consults with clients locally and globally, serves as an external organizational ombuds as part of the ombuds teams at multiple organizations and universities, and is a confidential coach and dialogue facilitator at Bravely. He holds a graduate certificate in conflict resolution from the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMB) and is a Certified Organizational Ombuds Practitioner (CO-OP®) through the International Ombuds Association.

Christina TayChristina Tay

Christina works as a freelance dispute resolver with a background as an organisational ombuds at an academic institution and the head of a client service providing ombuds services across numerous government agencies.  She is currently involved in the IOA Ombuds mentoring programme which she thoroughly enjoys.  Christina has been involved with restorative justice for many years and thoroughly enjoyed traveling to Dublin, Ireland to participate in a Maynooth University innovation lab on the topic of RJ: Public Education in August 2022.  The other areas that Christina has practised in as a mediator is Family dispute resolution, International Student mediation, and adjudication as well as Employment facilitation, mediation, and restorative practices.  She was also a public member of the NZ Media Council for a number of years which is a non-governmental organisation which exists to uphold standards in the New Zealand media industry and promote freedom of speech in New Zealand.

Dan YoungDan Young

Dan and Mike Rozinsky work together, across the Atlantic. Through the When & How Studios project they help create participatory experiences and meaningful conversations that connect and activate groups of people around the world. They work online, in-person, and everywhere in between.

In the last 20 years, Dan has tinkered with network engineering, collided with consulting, played in product strategy and fallen into entrepreneurship. By reflecting on all his experience Dan has developed his own organizational development practice called Needs Workshop; through which he supports invitational change, offers consulting with a curious approach, and facilitates gatherings to transform the way people come together at work.

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