People in conversation

Mary Jacksteit, JD, MS

Associate Emerita
Photo: Mary Jacksteit

Mary Jacksteit is an Associate Emerita of Essential Partners. For more than 30 years, Mary served as a practitioner in dialogue, deliberation, mediation, and dispute resolution with an overarching interest in how this work can contribute to community-building (broadly conceived) and depolarizing our society. Her work with Essential Partners focused on non-profits, religious and educational organizations, community groups, and other private and public entities, both providing training and supporting dialogue about challenging issues and ways to embed new ways of dealing with differences.

Mary is based in the Washington DC area and her primary work over the years has ranged across the conflict resolution field. She directed two projects for the non-profit organization Search for Common Ground. The Network for Life and Choice, a project for which Essential Partners (then Public Conversations) was a close advisor, brought together people opposed over abortion in 20 cities across the country during the decade of the ‘90s. A later initiative, Collaboration DC, helped residents and local leaders in the city of Washington DC work together on education, community development, poverty, and other critical local issues. More recently she was a senior practitioner with the DC-based facilitation firm, Justice and Sustainability, where the focus was community engagement in land use decisions.

One other stream of practice has been in the area of employment and labor relations. Starting out as a union labor lawyer Mary shifted into arbitration and mediation. She served on the Federal Service Impasses Panel (FSIP), as a Presidential appointee, during the Clinton Administration. She was again appointed by President Obama in 2009 and served as Chair of the FSIP until 20017.

Mary has also been for many years a volunteer mediator and facilitator with a local conflict resolution center.

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