Board of Directors
MCI Board of Directors
Back: Laura Noah; Jerry Kessler; Sharon Zingery;
Tom Winkley; Patty French, Recording Secretary
Front: Sheila Mack, Treasurer; Susan McCabe, Immediate Past President;
Diane Johnson, President; Paula Brown; Helen Torscher, Recording Secretary
Not Pictured: Don Hammer, Vice-President
Diane Johnson, J.D., specializes in bridging conflict in families. In 2006, she began offering skilled and impartial dispute resolution through Johnson Mediation Services, located in Crystal Lake. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, with degrees in Psychology and Speech Communication. She received her J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1982. Diane has pursued mediation training in divorce mediation and general mediation skills from Northwestern University and restorative justice from McHenry County Circuit Court. She completed training in facilitation through Motorola University and the Illinois Association of School Boards, training in reflective listening through Stephen’s Ministry, and training in Interest Based Bargaining through the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. Though Diane began mediating about 20 twenty years ago while practicing law, she now focuses solely on mediation. Diane is currently co-chair of the Scholarship Committee for the McHenry County Chapter of WIM and a member since 2006. She is President of the District 47 School Board for 13 years. This is Diane’s third year as a director on the Board of the Mediation Council of Illinois.
DON HAMMER, JD
202 N. Center Street
Bloomington, IL 61701
Don Hammer earned his J.D. from John Marshall Law School, Chicago, Illinois, and earned his Bachelor of Arts from Ohio State University. He was also Clerk to Justice Howard Tryan, Illinois Supreme Court (1975-76). His practice focuses on alternative dispute resolution. He is a Court Certified Divorce Mediator of the 11th Circuit, handling custody issues since 1986 and financial issues since 2005. Don is a Court Certified Civil Mediator and Court Certified Arbitrator (Chair) for the 11th Circuit, a Department of Justice Mediator, a private business and divorce mediator, a mediator for the Illinois Agriculture Mediation Program through Southern Illinois University, and a Hearing Officer for the State Universities Civil Service System. Don has had previous mediation experience in the areas of child abduction cases (Child Find), Department of Child and Family Services, Victim-Offender Reconciliation (VORP), and insurance claims. He also was an Associate Professor of Politics and Government/Paralegal Studies at Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois, and was an adjunct faculty member providing mediation training at Aurora University.
SHEILA MACK, CDFA, CDP
1210 S. Fifth Street
Springfield, IL 62703
Sheila E. Mack is a Certified Divorce Specialist, Certified Divorce Planner, Certified Financial Planner and divorce mediator. Sheila received her B.A., Cum Laude, in mathematics from Alverno College in Milwaukee, WI and received an M.A. in Operations Research/Systems Analysis from the University of Illinois at Springfield. Sheila has been in practice since 1985 and is currently an Account Executive with Royal Alliance Associates, Inc. In 1993, Sheila founded Equitable Solutions, Inc., a pre-divorce financial consulting business. Sheila provides pension valuations and litigation support as well as mediation services for attorneys and their clients. Sheila has been an instructor for the Institute for Certified Divorce Planners and for the American Institute of Banking Program specializing in financial planning in the bank and her consulting business has been featured in several articles. Sheila has spoken at University of Illinois at Springfield on the financial impact of divorce on women. In addition, Sheila has been a presenter for divorce seminars, the Young Lawyers Bar Association in Springfield, the Mediation Council of Illinois, various Financial Planning Association chapter meetings, and State of Illinois FPA’s Financial Forum discussing mediation and pre-divorce financial planning.
Patty French, principal of P.A. French & Associates has over 25 years experience in the mental health field. Patty is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC), a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) and an Employee Assistance Professional (CEAP).
A trained and experienced a mediator, Patty assists individuals, families and corporations resolve conflict in a process that is mutually beneficial and respectful to all parties. She travels extensively providing conflict management and mediation services to corporations and organizations that include training workshops, presentations and coaching. She has developed and directed an employee assistance program for and served on the board of directors of a large organization.
With a private practice in Barrington, Illinois, Patty offers mediation services, individual, couples and family counseling, and life coaching.
HELEN TORSCHER, CFDP
4302F Crystal Lake Road
McHenry, IL 60050
Ms. Torscher has been a trained Mediator since 1994. Helen has been providing divorce financial services since 1996 when she completed the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts’ course and received the CDFA designation. Recently Helen received the Certified Divorce Financial Practitioner designation from the Academy of Financial Divorce Practitioners and in 2003 completed Collaborative training. She is the Past President of the Association of Illinois Divorce Financial Professionals, member; Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois, International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and presently serves as Recording Secretary for the Mediation Council of Illinois.
Immediate Past President
Susan E. McCabe received her law degree from Loyola University in Chicago and has a solo law practice in McHenry County, IL. She offers alternatives to resolve disputes for clients who are divorcing, separating, or who have post-decree disputes and Susan limits her family practice to mediation services and collaborative legal representation. Susan serves as a court-appointed family division mediator for the 19th and 22nd Judicial Circuit Courts, and is a volunteer mediator for pro-se small claims cases in McHenry County. She is an ACR Referral Advanced Family Practitioner and past co-president and Fellows member of the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois. Susan also instructs the Parents, Children, and Divorce course at McHenry County College.
Paula Brown, LCPC, CADC, Mediator owner of Brown & Associates in Hinsdale, Illinois, which was established in 1999. She earned her undergraduate degree at DePaul University – Major Psychology, her Masters Degree in Clinical Counseling, Benedictine University and completed her mediation training at DePaul University Law School and Collaborative Family Law Training at the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois. Paula’s experience includes mediating divorces, parenting contracts, family business, eldercare and corporate issues, and has had prior experience as an Association Executive concentrating on conflict management and resolution. Brown & Associates is recognized for its work in areas of Divorce Mediation, Parenting Contracts, Post Decree Issues, Family Real Estate, Family Businesses, Corporate Harassment and Bullying, as well as Eldercare Issues.
JERALD A. KESSLER, JD
14047 Petronella Dr., Suite #202B
Libertyville, IL 60048
Jerry Kessler is a full-time mediator in Libertyville and Northfield. He began converting his law practice to mediation in 1990 and has mediated over a thousand cases. He is certified as a mediator for the Civil and Family mediation panels of the 19th Judicial Circuit. He also provides advanced mediation trainings, a monthly case consultation group for other mediators, and an internship for new mediators, and has presented at numerous state and national conferences. Mr. Kessler received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Chicago. He has served as an adjunct lecturer in Conflict Resolution (undergraduate and graduate level), at North Central College, and has taught at DePaul University College of Commerce, and presently serves as an adjunct professor at IIT Chicago Kent College of Law. He has lectured for several years on the topic of “Power and Power Imbalances” at graduate and undergraduate mediation classes at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is an Advanced Practitioner Member of the Association for Conflict Resolution, and is a past President of the Mediation Council of Illinois. He serves on the Board of the International Academy of Dispute Resolution, the Mediation Council of Illinois, and served as a member of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Section Council of the Illinois State Bar. He is a past chair of the North Suburban Service Council.
LAURA NOAH, MA
1111 Westgate Street
Oak Park, IL 60301
Laura Noah, owner of Noah Mediation Services (NMS), has a Master of Arts degree in Dispute Resolution from the University of Massachusetts Boston and has been mediating since February 1999. Most recently Laura worked as a full-time mediator at The Marriage and Family Counseling Service (MFCS), Office of the Chief Judge, Circuit Court of Cook County, Chicago, Illinois. She served as an "Emergency Intervener" for cases requiring emergency intervention (accusations of abuse, denial of access, parent moving out of state/country) by interviewing all parties involved and making recommendations to the judge. In addition, Laura taught a class for post-decree, pre-decree, and never-married parents called "Focus on Children". In 2007 Laura left MFCS to establish Noah Mediation Services in Oak Park, Illinois. Laura is an Advanced Family Practitioner Level Member of the Association for Conflict Resolution and has completed the Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network 40-hour domestic violence training. Laura worked in Human Resources for 5 years prior to and during the time in which she was obtaining her Master of Arts degree.
THOMAS WINKLEY, LCSW
Bloomington, IL 61701
Tom received a BA degree in sociology from St. Thomas College and MSW from Loyola University. Tom retired from Catholic Charities after serving as family therapist/coordinator from 1977 to 2003. He did long term intensive work with emotionally disturbed children and their families at the Children’s Home of Peoria. His later duties included administration of the agency, program direction of agency services and a multitude of other tasks. He also worked providing therapy services to individuals, families and married couples for Catholic Charities in Peoria. Tom presently serves on several boards, does volunteer work, mediation and private contracting for therapy.
SHARON ZINGERY, MA
Sharon Zingery has been a custody/visitation mediator for over 15 years, and served as a supervisory mediator at the Marriage and Family Counseling Service – the Circuit Court of Cook County’s family mediation program. Prior to that, she was a child custody investigator for the Cook County Department of Supportive Services which served the Domestic Relations Division of the court, also for 15 years. In 1988, she founded the Family Violence Committee of the Marriage and Family Counseling Service of the Circuit Court of Cook County, which developed the protocols used to deal with mediation cases where domestic violence is a concern. Sharon has served on the Board of Directors of the Mediation Council of Illinois, as well as serving as its President for several years. She was also on the Supervised Visitation Network Board of Directors. She was invited to serve on the Toronto Spouse Abuse Forum. She also was honored to serve as a panel member for Janet Reno’s research on mediation and domestic violence.
MCI Advisory Board Members
CORINNE ('COOKIE') LEVITZ, JD
1221 North Dearborn
Chicago, IL 60610
THE HONORABLE BENJAMIN S. MACKOFF (retired)
200 North LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60601
DANUTA MCDANIEL, MA, LCPC, CADC
1039 College Avenue
Wheaton, IL 60187
BURTON ZOUB, JD
155 N. Michigan Ave, Suite 600
Chicago, IL 60601
EARL JANN PH.D
BURTON ZOUB, J.D.
DEBORAH B. GENTRY, Ed.D., CFLE, CFCS