Conflict Solutions Center Announces New Members of Board of Directors – Leonard Flippen and Sandy Lin

Conflict Solutions Center (CSC) is pleased to announce the election of two new board members: Leonard Flippen and Sandy Lin


Leonard Flippen is a drug and alcohol counselor who works with individuals recently released from prison. He initially became involved with CSC through the Mediation Skills Training because he felt the skills of mediation would support his work with clients. Flippen soon realized mediation exceeded his expectations. “Little did I know,” he said, “that I was about to be introduced to an entirely new way of communicating, thinking, and seeing the world. I use the skills I learned in the training every day, not only in my own work but at home and in my personal relationships as well.”

Upon reflecting on one of the most valuable things he has learned from his experience at Conflict Solutions Center, Flippen described how he has come to realize that within most disputes “the ‘issue’ is not the real issue, but rather a breakdown somewhere in the relationship that is the real problem.” Once that underlying issue is addressed through the process of mediation, he explained, “it is amazing how quickly and easily the issues resolve themselves.”

Leonard Flippen

Sandy Lin, a former CPA and college counselor, holds a MS in Counseling from Johns Hopkins University and is currently working on her doctoral dissertation at Pacifica Graduate Institute. She has lived in the Midwest, on the East coast, and now happily calls Santa Barbara home.

Lin initially became involved with CSC because of her interest in the principles and practice of restorative justice, but, like Flippen, she soon found that the skills she learned through the mediation training helped her with communication in her “regular” life as well. “There is a difference between being a good listener and letting the other person know they are understood,” she said, adding, “it takes practice to listen not only to the content of what people say, but for their feelings and needs underneath.” One of the most rewarding aspects of mediation, Lin said, is “watching people who begin mediation in an angry, argumentative mode change to understanding and cooperation.”

Sandy Lin

Both Flippen and Lin bring a wealth of experience and knowledge in financial management, nonprofit leadership, and client services.


About Conflict Solutions Center

Founded in 1989, Conflict Solutions Center is a community-based non-profit organization committed to the development of non-adversarial responses to conflict and differences that strengthen social harmony and support individual healing. The organization serves the communities of Santa Barbara County by providing compassionate communication, appropriate dispute resolution and problem solving practices, Restorative Justice, consultation, training, and mediation services.


About Mediation

Mediation is a facilitated, constructive negotiation process for resolving differences and conflicts between individuals, groups and organizations. It is an alternative to avoidance, destructive confrontation, and prolonged litigation or violence. It gives people in conflict an opportunity to take responsibility for the resolution of their dispute and control of the outcome. Community mediation is designed to meet individual interests while strengthening relationships and building connections between people and groups, and to create processes that make communities work for all of us.

In mediation, the decision-making authority rests with the parties themselves. Recognizing variations in styles and cultural differences, the role of the mediator(s) involve assisting the disputants in defining and clarifying issues, reducing obstacles to communication, exploring possible solutions, and reaching a mutually satisfactory agreement. Mediation presents the opportunity to constructively express differences and to “hear each other out” even when an agreement is not reached.

Conflict Solutions Center is available for Conflict Resolution Consultation, Community Mediation, Parent/Teen Mediation, and Small Claims Mediation. In 2013, CSC mediated 82 cases, resulting in 60 mutually determined agreements.


About Restorative Justice

Restorative Justice is a community-based approach to addressing crime, the effects of crime, and the prevention of crime, emphasizing the attempt to repair harm caused or revealed by criminal behavior. A Restorative Justice process operates from a belief that the path to justice lies in problem solving and healing through reconciliation with victims and the community at large, rather than punitive isolation.

In 2013, 27 juvenile cases successfully completed Conflict Solutions Center’s Restorative Justice program. Using this Restorative Approach, only 12.5% of graduates reoffended and 87.5% of graduates have defied the odds and remained out of the juvenile justice system post graduation. This success rate is significantly higher than the methods used in the traditional judicial system.  


Upcoming Training

Conflict Solutions Center is offering a 40-hour conflict resolution and mediation skills training in Santa Barbara and Santa Maria. Community members who are interested in being a volunteer mediator, for neighborhood, parent/teen, business disputes and/or in Small Claims Court or simply want to improve your own abilities to communicate and resolve conflicts more effectively – this course is for you. Training begins March 2015.

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