Board of Directors
The Board of Directors consists of accomplished Family Mediators from across the Province of Ontario working together to promote family mediation and maintain the highest standards of accreditation.
Our Board is comprised of family mediators from diverse disciplines including law, social work, psychology and finance who represent every region of Ontario. Members are elected at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) for a three year term.
The Board develops and maintains standards for accreditation and continuing development in areas such as elder mediation and oversees the Executive Director and Director of Child Protection Mediation as they fulfill the objectives of the OAFM with a high degree of excellence.
Each Director is fully committed to ensuring that the OAFM remains the voice of family mediation in the Province of Ontario.
Meet the members of the Board
Vicky Visca has been working in the field of child welfare, separation and divorce and youth in conflict with the law for almost 40 years. She has been a Family Mediator since 1983 and an Accredited Family Mediator with the Ontario Association of Family Mediation (OAFM) since 1997. She has been a Child Protection Mediator since 2007 and she is an Open Adoption Mediation Specialist.
Vicky has been an OAFM Board Member since 2018, and she is currently the President of the Board. She currently chairs a number of OAFM Committees including the Child Protection Committee and the Child Inclusive Mediation Committee.
Vicky began her career as the Coordinator of the Belleville Family Court Clinic and was also the Executive Direction of the Durham Family Court Clinic. Vicky’s private practice was established in 1997 with the emphasis on the provision of mediation, assessment, and counselling services. In the past, Vicky was a clinical investigator with the Office of the Children’s Lawyer and she retired from the provision parenting capacity assessments after having completed them for over 30 years. Vicky’s current practice is solely in the provision of Family and Child Protection Mediation and training.
Vicky is a provincially approved instructor for Child Protection Mediation and she is also a Family Mediation Instructor. She provides consultative and training services to other Family and Child Protection Mediators as well as in-service training to a multitude of child welfare and mental health agencies throughout the province in relation to Child Protection and Family Mediation.
Vicky has contracts with the Ministry of the Attorney General for the provision of On-Site and Off-Site Mediation, Information and Referral Coordination and Mandatory Information Programs for Kingston and the Quinte Region.
Kathy Dunne founded Family Life Mediation to help families throughout the circle of life to manage conflict and find peaceful solutions to life’s challenges. Kathy is an Accredited Family and Elder Mediator with the Ontario Association for Family Mediation. She has worked in Family Mediation for 13 years and has helped many families improve their cooperation and communication and assisted them to develop shared parenting plans for their children. Prior to creating Family Life Mediation, Kathy managed Four Counties Family Court Mediation Service, a not-for-profit court connected family mediation agency, and she remains on the roster.
Kathy is certified as a trainer of the “It’s Not Right” program of Elder Abuse Ontario. As a member of the Peterborough Elder Abuse Prevention Network, Kathy provides advocacy and education to give a voice to our fragile populations. Kathy is a speaker, educator, advocate and consultant and has served on many not-for-profit boards and committees, including the Special Education Advisory Committee and the Accessibility Advisory Committee of the Peterborough, Victoria, Northumberland and Clarington Catholic District School Board. She was a district council member of The Easter Seal Society and a coordinator of The Easter Seals Telethon, and was a board member of Five Counties Children’s Centre Foundation, a children’s treatment centre in Peterborough.
Janet M. Whitehead is the principal behind Whitehead Law and Mediation. Janet is a fully qualified lawyer licensed to practice law by the Law Society of Ontario. She has practiced law in London and Sarnia/Lambton since being called to the bar in 1993, and is an Accredited Family Mediator with the Ontario Association for Family Mediation.
Janet has extensive experience in all levels of court and has been involved in negotiating countless settlements of disputes, primarily in the areas of family and estate law. Individual clients appreciate Janet's ability to explain legal concepts and respect her ability to help them find practical, common sense solutions.
Janet has witnessed first-hand the emotional and financial toll conflict can take on families involved in disputes, particularly when litigation, or the court process, is required. As a result, in 2016 Janet decided to focus her efforts on helping clients find ways to resolve family disputes in a principled and respectful manner. Her family law practice is now restricted to matters which can be resolved through mediation or negotiation, rather than litigation in the court system.
As senior partner in the family law department at McKenzie Lake Lawyers LLP, Malcolm Bennett has over 42 years’ experience in assessing clients' interests and needs which allows him to help families in an efficient and effective way. Malcolm has expertise both in court and in mediation as an Accredited Family Mediator and Arbitrator in Family Law. After nearly 42 years of practice, Malcolm's focus is on solutions and resolution. Malcolm recently acquired Bluewater Mediation to devote his time to mediation and arbitration in family and estate matters. His experience as a family law lawyer led him to believe that mediation was a much better process for separated couples to preserve and maintain relationships for themselves and their children rather than the traditional adversarial approach.
Carrie-Lynn Wilton is a bilingual Accredited Mamily Mediator with the Ontario Association for Family Mediation practicing privately as well as in the courts in Northern Ontario. She is also on the clinical panel of the Office of the Children's Lawyer, completing custody and access assessments from a child-centred approach.
Carrie-Lynn holds a Master of Arts degree in Dispute Resolution from the University of Victoria and has a background in child welfare. She believes that families, being the experts of their own lives, and the lives of their children, are better able to come to a suitable agreement if provided with the tools to do so. She works with families to help them find common ground and come to a mutually satisfactory agreement while always keeping the children as most important.
Nicole Stewart Kamanga
Nicole Stewart-Kamanga is a Family Lawyer and Accredited Family Mediator with the Ontario Association for Family Mediation. She operates a negotiation/mediation-based private practice in Oakville. She holds an LL.M. in Alternative Dispute Resolution. Nicole is a panel lawyer with the Office of the Children’s Lawyer and sits on the Board of the Ontario Bar Association’s ADR Section. Before entering the practice of law, Nicole worked as a Children’s Advocate in a women’s shelter. Recently Nicole accepted a one year contract position with a Member of Provincial Parliament.
Elizabeth Sterritt is a certified bilingual mediator, coach and trainer. Elizabeth brings a great deal of experience to the field of mediation, coaching and training. Her work in the field of coaching and mediation has given her a consummate understanding of the importance of the role of relationships. An Accredited Family Mediator with the Ontario Association for Family Mediation, Elizabeth focuses on family conflict, with a special interest in intergenerational conflict and Elder Mediation. Elizabeth also mediates workplace conflict. She is a coach and mentor in the Graduate Certificate in Conflict Resolution program at Carleton University, where she coaches prospective mediators. Trained as a CODE Model TM Coach, Elizabeth infuses wisdom and enthusiasm into her coaching sessions.
Elizabeth is the past-president of OAFM (Ottawa Chapter) and a member of the Collaborative Family Law Network in Ottawa, where she offers communications coaching as a neutral collaborative professional. Elizabeth Sterritt contributes a refreshing and effective approach to mediation, coaching and training. Elizabeth’s educational background enables her to engage her clients in a potent conversation regarding the importance of acquiring mindful conflict competence through reflective practice.
Jonathan Paynter graduated from McMaster University with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in 1997 and a Bachelor of Social Work (Summa Cum Laude) in 1999. He worked in the Child Welfare and Youth Justice systems for a few years with children and their families. He then returned to school to complete a Master of Education in Counselling Psychology from the University of Toronto (2006), while still working in the Children’s Mental Health and Education systems. He worked in the Ontario College system for a few years as a counsellor at Fleming College and then transitioned into working in the Family Court system, completing custody and access assessments, parenting capacity assessments and youth court assessments. He has also worked in private practice since 2008 and, in September 2019, opened a full-time private practice, providing psychotherapy and counselling to adults, couples and children. He has specialties in the areas of Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy and couple’s counselling. Jonathan has pursued many educational opportunities in addition to his university education, including certificates in Collaborative Family Law, Advanced Family Mediation, Family Arbitration, Domestic Violence Screening, Offender Relapse Prevention and Actuarial Assessment of Risk. He has done a lot of training on the subject of domestic violence and intimate partner violence and is a certified user of the Ontario Domestic Assault Risk Assessment (ODARA). He is a regular attendee at conferences and workshops to continually update his skills.
Maryanne King is an accredited Family, Child Protection and Adoption Openness mediator with the Ontario Association of Family Mediators. She has a Master’s degree in Social Work and has been working in the fields of child welfare, adoption and alternative dispute resolution for twenty-five years. Maryanne holds an approval from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services as a Private Adoption Practitioner. She is a sought after and highly respected trainer on issues related to mediation and adoption around the province.
Maryanne’s specializes in the provision of Family and Child Protection Mediation. She is an expert in working with high conflict families and has passionately dedicated a large part of her practice to establishing openness in adoption arrangements for children.
After more than 20 years’ experience of working as a Senior Law Clerk, Sally Morgan answered the call to seek a better way of helping clients and families through conflict.
Sally gained a BA in Psychology and English Literature from Trent University and continued to explore what possibilities Mediation held. She has completed Certificates in Advanced Alternative Dispute Resolution from Durham College and in Mediating Disputes from Harvard Negotiation Institute.
In 2013 she founded Vive! Mediation Inc which encapsulates the idea of helping parties “grow through what they go through”. An Accredited Family and Elder Mediator, Sally does this work because she believes that parties deserve an opportunity to utilise their own autonomy to develop their own fair outcomes that will endure.
Her warm, easy-going, authentic approach to both personal and professional life has resulted in a dynamic network of like-minded practitioners. Never one to stop learning, she continues to research and learn about human relationships and is constantly striving to bring peace to the table.