Belinda Dulin

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Leader & Innovator
Executive Director of the Dispute Resolution Center in Ann Arbor. The Dispute Resolution Center, which serves Washtenaw and Livingston counties, seeks to build peaceful communities by offering conflict resolution services and training. The center has trained more than 100 volunteer mediators who conduct mediation services for family, civil, and school–related disputes. It also provides facilitation services to help groups in conflict resolution and decision making. Dulin began her employment with the center in 2003 as the mediation services coordinator and moved into roles of increasing responsibility while developing new programs and services. Since being named executive director in 2007, Dulin has expanded the center’s small claims mediation program and developed and implemented school–based conflict programs serving students, families, and school staff. Under her direction, the center also implemented a restorative practices service that addresses student/student and student/teacher conflicts in a non–punitive, supportive manner that allows relationships to be restored and problems to be resolved. The center is working with Judge Timothy Connors, who is establishing a Peacemaking Court at the Washtenaw County Circuit Court, modeled on Native American tribal court traditions, where the Dispute Resolution Center will facilitate cases. Dulin also presents dispute–resolution standards and practices to groups at such institutions as the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, and the State Bar of Michigan. Prior to becoming involved in community mediation, she worked in a corporate setting assisting with employment disputes. Dulin received her bachelor’s degree in business administration and master’s degree in dispute resolution from Wayne State University.

WHERE BORN: “Detroit.”

MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSONS: “There have been quite a few but my grandmothers and my aunts have been influential because they’ve always tried to see the best in people. And my in–laws constantly motivate me to create healthier communities.”

LAST BOOK READ:Sycamore Row by John Grisham.”

WORDS THAT DESCRIBE ME: “Realistic, practical, flexible, and I value autonomy.”

WHERE MY FIELD/INDUSTRY IS HEADED: “Alternative dispute resolution services have been based in the courts for a long time. Many cases come from the civil or family side in courts. We’re gaining more visibility in communities. Our customers now include schools and municipalities. The Dispute Resolution Center demonstrates that these alternative models can improve how municipalities function. And newer technologies such as Skype and Facetime allow people to be physically far apart but ‘in the same room’ to negotiate and work through their own disputes.”

FAVORITE TECHNOLOGICAL GADGET: “I love my Kindle Fire. I was resisting technology, I love books, but it has really tapped into my enjoyment of reading.”

FAVORITE PLACE: “I enjoy the enclosed deck of my house, with the afternoon sun and mild temperatures, where I can relax and reflect.”

FAVORITE HOBBIES: “Watching my son play sports. I also enjoy reading novels and suspense thrillers.”

FAVORITE FOOD: “Anything pasta.”

MY HIDDEN TALENT: “I crochet. I like making blankets, scarves, and hats. I have a drawer full of things I make and forget to give away.”

HOW I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED: “As a person who was sincere and passionate about her work and was helpful to others.”

At the annual awards reception in May 2015, one Leader & Innovator from the previous 12 months will be selected as the Leader & Innovator of the Year.