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About Us

We strive to strengthen communities peace by peace.

Our Mission

Our mission is to promote and provide collaborative problem solving processes throughout Montgomery County.

Our History

In 1999, a group of Montgomery County citizens came together to create a nonprofit that would enable people having neighborhood or community disputes to talk it out rather than fight it out, without the need to go to court. The Conflict Resolution Center of Montgomery County (CRCMC) officially opened on July 1, 2001, in the Executive Director‘s home. Since then, CRCMC has grown to include programs in the public schools, the district court, local correctional facilities, and more. We continue to look for new opportunities to strengthen our communities peace by peace.

Board of Directors

CRCMC’s Board of Directors include a group of passionate professionals dedicated to addressing the needs of Montgomery County residents.

Wendell Smoot

Wendell Smoot

Co-President

Wendell currently serves as a Program Management Specialist with the Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control. Wendell is originally from Fort Worth, Texas, and a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan. He joined the Air Force after graduating from high school and spent twenty-two years serving in the Air Force with tours in Thailand, England, Florida and Germany. He achieved his Bachelors in Administrative Management with the University of Maryland, European Division, and his Master’s degree in Administrative Management with Bowie State University through the G.I. Bill education program. He has many interests and hobbies, including volunteering as a mediator for Conflict Resolution Center Montgomery County, District Court of MD and the Department of the Treasury, and recruiting for the Workforce Recruitment Program, a government program sponsored by the Department of Labor and Department of Defense that recruits disabled college students for government summer and permanent jobs. Wendell is also a former marathon runner, with two marathons under his belt, along with a number of 10 milers, 10ks and other races and he recently took up learning to play the piano. Wendell has been an Airbnb host since 2011 and a part-time tax preparer for the past sixteen years with H&R Block (Block Advisors). Wendell resides with his wife, Johanna, a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, and they have two adult daughters, Cassandra and Sarah-Amina. Wendell and his wife travel frequently to Texas to visit his mother and family, also to Germany to visit their daughter, Sarah-Amina and his wife’s family and friends.

Neva W. Ikner

Neva W. Ikner

Co-President

Neva traded the scenic Rocky Mountains of her native state of Colorado for the blue shell crabs of Maryland. Prior to moving in 2000, Neva obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice (specializing in Criminology), and a minor in Sociology from the Metropolitan State University of Denver. Since leaving the Mile High City of Denver, she has been working as a Senior Analyst for the Criminal Division within the Internal Revenue Service. Aside from facilitating groups at work, she is also an Agency Grievance Examiner with the Treasury Department. She is a mediator within the State of Maryland and has been an active mediator with CRCMC since January 2013. She is also trained in Re-entry mediation. Currently, she is affiliated with Association for Conflict Resolution (ADR), Maryland program for Mediator Excellence (MPME), Association for the Improvements of Minorities (AIM), and National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice (NABCJ). When not working or mediating she likes to travel and attend wine and music festivals. She is also passionate about bike riding and other outdoor activities.

Jody Reitzes

Jody Reitzes

Past President

Jody owns and operates her own business, T. J. Meier & Associates, Inc., a company that imports frozen seafood (including octopus, squid, snapper and kingfish) from overseas and sells it to wholesalers and distributors primarily in the Mid-Atlantic region and the Northeast. The business was founded by Jody’s father over 35 years ago, and she has been working in the business for over 20 years. Jody has been the owner and President of the company since 2010. Prior to that, Jody was an environmental attorney with Dickstein, Shapiro in Washington, DC. She holds a B.A. from Tufts University and a J.D. from Georgetown Law Center. She spent a year after college as a Fulbright Scholar in Brussels, Belgium studying the European Union. In addition to her Board work, Jody volunteers as a mediator for CRCMC primarily doing in-school mediations and parenting plans. Jody resides in Potomac, Maryland with her husband, Jim and their two dogs.

    Hannah Ho

    Hannah Ho

    Co Secretary

    Hannah is currently a senior at Thomas S. Wootton High School. She was born and raised in Gaithersburg, Maryland, where she lives with her parents and younger brother. Hannah is passionate about conflict resolution and creating solutions that can help make an impact on the community. To gather more people and make a bigger difference, she founded Art With A Heart, a club that donates art and cards to children in hospitals locally in hopes of bettering their recovery. Beyond conflict resolution, she enjoys writing and entrepreneurship. She is an editor on Wootton’s Common Sense newspaper. Hannah is also involved in FBLA and the Humanities and Arts Signature Program at Wootton.

      Brent Croghan

      Brent Croghan

      Treasurer

      Brent is a director and shareholder of Dembo Jones, P.C., a mid-size CPA firm with offices in Columbia and Rockville Maryland. With more than 18 years of experience in public accounting, Brent has significant experience in conducting and reporting on audits of non-profit organizations and preparing 990 tax returns. Brent is a highly trained auditor, whose experiences include successful audits of large and small not-for-profit entities throughout the Greater Washington Metropolitan Area. Brent holds a B.S. in Accounting from the University of Maryland, University College and is a Certified Public Accountant in Maryland and the District of Columbia. Brent resides in Frederick, Maryland with his wife, Jenny, and daughters Lillian and Lindsey. Brent’s favorite pastimes include watching his daughters swim and play tennis.

      Maria Surova

      Maria Surova

      Co Secretary

      Maria is currently a sophomore at Thomas S. Wootton High School and it is her first year on the board. She was born in Moscow, Russia but moved to America at the age of 2, where she now lives with her parents and 2 younger brothers. She has attended 6 schools and has loved to be involved in helping and participating in community activities. Maria is very excited to be able to help the CRCMC create solutions and give back to the wonderful Montgomery County. As a people-person, Maria has started a Russian Club to teach and include others in a wonderful culture and is part of the STARS program at her school

        Gerald Charles

        Gerald Charles

        Board Member

        With past roles as VP/General Manager, Executive Advisor, and Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Gerald is a trusted advisor to the “C”-suite delivering thought leadership, visionary roadmaps, and innovative (multi-$B) business models. Mr. Charles has earned a Congressional medal for outstanding service and achievement. Prior to becoming Cisco’s Director for Strategy, Operations, and Strategic Customer Engagement for their $5B+ U.S. Public Sector business, Mr. Charles was vice president for TRW and BDM, and was a key architect for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s EDGAR system – considered one of the government’s first e-Commerce systems. Mr. Charles served as Chairman of the Board for one of the industry’s first automated, interactive media marketing companies for video in retail locations, on various advisory boards for technology conferences and for senior executives and officials in civilian, defense, and commercial organizations – developing and implementing their strategic, operational, and financial goals, including mergers and acquisitions. Mr. Charles, a speaker on radio, video, and at conferences, is a McGraw-Hill published author, and has written various magazine pieces and Cisco global industry points of view, including the 21st century workforce and workspace, innovation in the Public Sector, transportation, and security. Mr. Charles holds a M.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland, and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

        Sarah Malik

        Sarah Malik

        Board Member

        Sarah owns and operates her own law practice, Malik Law LLC, focusing on family law and mediation. Her practice is settlement focused and collaborative in nature, focusing on divorce, custody, visitation, child support and adoption.  Additionally, she is regularly appointed by the court and her peers to serve as the Best Interest Attorney in high conflict custody cases. She mediates privately as well as through the custody mediation program of the Circuit Court for Montgomery County.  She is an Adjunct Professor with The George Washington University Law School, where she has been teaching Introduction to Legal Research and Writing and Introduction to Advocacy since 2012.  Sarah is an active participate in the Montgomery County Bar Association and the Women’s Bar Association of Montgomery County, where she sits on the executive committee as the newsletter editor and website manager. Sarah received her Juris Doctor from the George Washington University Law School in 2007 and her B.S. from University of Maryland in 2004. She is admitted to practice in Maryland and the District of Columbia.  Sarah is an active member of her mosque in Potomac; there, she volunteers with the Sunday School and mediates for community members.  Sarah was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and now lives in Gaithersburg with her husband, two sons and daughter.

        Steve Shapiro

        Steve Shapiro

        Board Member

        Steve is the President of Resolution Matters, Inc., (RMI) an alternative dispute resolution firm specializing in family business mediation, elder mediation, collaborative law and divorce mediation. Steve has been mediating in DC, MD and US-wide for the past twenty eight years.  He has served as a federal and private mediator on high stakes energy/environmental disputes, worked on renewable energy policy, mediated a collaborative operating agreement for sixteen hospital centers and community health centers in West Baltimore, and facilitated a break-up of the Maryland Latino Business Community comprised of three sub organizations. He served as president of Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation in Bethesda, MD and served on their board for sixteen years.  He is currently mediating September 11 personal injury and wrongful death settlements, and working as a mediator at GWU Law School.  Steve has taught dispute resolution skills to federal and private sector employees. He obtained his Juris Doctor from Antioch School of Law with advanced clinical work in prisoner’s rights and domestic relations law.  Steve continued towards an LLM in government contracts law at GWU Law School and attended Harvard Law School studying advanced mediation and negotiation. Steve has also served as Chair of the Maryland State Bar Dispute Resolution Section.

        Aileen Klein

        Aileen Klein

        Board Member

        A native of Washington D.C., Aileen Klein started her career in the early 1970s in the inner-city D.C. Public School system as part of the Urban Teacher Corps.  She received her BA in Sociology from the University of Maryland and her MA in Elementary Childhood Education from Catholic University.   After starting her own family, Aileen joined the IBM Corporation where she worked in the Federal division for 27 years before retiring.

         

        As an active volunteer throughout the County, Aileen served on the board of the Friends of the Library, Montgomery County for the maximum term of nine years and as such was the chapter relations coordinator for the 16 Friends of the Library chapters. She is a graduate of Senior Leadership Montgomery class of 2010 and currently serves as an advisory board member to the Friends of the Library, Rockville Memorial Chapter for which she was on the executive board for 12 years.   She has been a supporter of local activities, as evident in her roles as a founding member of Rockville’s Bicycle Advisory Committee, former co-chair and member of the Rockville Town Center Action Team, and member of the Buy Rockville committee.  Aileen has also completed training as a Montgomery County Study Circle Facilitator, Youth Life Coach, and Mediator.   She enjoys being active in local and national politics.

         

        Aileen served two terms (three years each) on the Montgomery County Executive’s Western Montgomery County Citizen Advisory Board during which she met Ken Hartman who told the board that there was empty space in the building.  That is how CRCMC ended up moving from Wheaton to its current HQ in Bethesda.

        Mike Pina

        Mike Pina

        Board Member

        Mike has more than 20 years’ experience in travel and transportation, public relations and communications. He currently serves as a program manager for communications and outreach at the U.S. Department of Transportation in Washington, DC. Mike grew up outside of New York City, went to college at Syracuse University and worked as an intern for Governor Richard F. Celeste of Ohio, before moving to Washington, DC in 1986. He spent 10 years as an editor for two travel trade magazines where he covered Congress and traveled to six continents before joining the Travel Industry Assn. of America. Later he worked as Director of Public Relations for AAA where he was in charge of AAA’s nationally recognized holiday weekend forecasts. He has been interviewed on all of the national morning TV shows as well as CNN, CNBC, MSNBC Fox News and NPR. He is a former member of the Montgomery County Taxicab Services Advisory Committee. Mike lives in Silver Spring with his wife, Donna, an administrator at Montgomery College, his son Lawrence (18) daughter, Lauren (15) and Blossom, the family’s Bichon Frise. He has worked as a CRCMC mediator since 2012 and is secretary to CRCMC’s Volunteer Circle.

        Olukemi “Kemi” Pedro

        Olukemi “Kemi” Pedro

        Board Member

        Kemi is an admin paralegal at Offit Kurman, P.A., where she assists with family law matters and guardianships.  Kemi received her Master of Legal Studies degree from the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law in 2017 and her B.A. from Penn State University in 2014. From 2015 to present, Kemi has earned several mediation training certificates including basic mediation, divorce mediation, restorative justice, and parenting plan mediation. Kemi has been a mediator since May 2015 and is an active volunteer mediator in Montgomery County and Washington DC She has been a volunteer with CRCMC since September 2016 and has mediated several cases at the center. She also mediates civil cases for the Montgomery County District Court in Rockville and family cases for the Multi-Door Program at the DC Superior Court.  In the past, Kemi was a volunteer facilitator at the Mediation and Conflict Resolution Center of Howard County, where she facilitated restorative justice dialogues with youths who were first-time offenders.  She is currently in the works of starting her own mediation practice. Born and raised in Hyattsville, Maryland, Kemi now lives in North Bethesda with her boyfriend.  During her spare time, she enjoys reading LOTS of books, painting, and attending dance classes.

        Wendy S. Swire, MA, PCC

        Wendy S. Swire, MA, PCC

        Board Member

        Ms. Swire is the founding principal of Swire Solutions, LLC a leadership consulting firm based in Bethesda with a focus on training, teambuilding, conflict resolution and executive coaching services. Her firm evaluates, designs and teaches leadership courses, facilitates large and small group strategy sessions and conducts multi-party facilitations. She served as an Adjunct Professor at Johns Hopkins Carey Graduate School of Business teaching negotiation and conflict resolution. Since 1989, Ms. Swire has mediated a wide variety of employment (EEOC) and family disputes for federal agencies and Prince George’s Circuit Court. She is the co- author of Anytime Coaching: Unleashing Employee Performance (published by Management Concepts, available on Amazon and Kindle). Ms. Swire is a graduate of the Georgetown University Leadership Coaching Program and a Professional Certified Coach by the International Coaching Federation since 2006. Ms. Swire is the first head of the Washington, DC local chapter of the Neuroleadership Institute. Prior to forming Swire Solutions, Ms. Swire worked as a banker at JP Morgan and as an US Government economist. Ms. Swire received her MA from the Fletcher School (Tufts/Harvard Universities) and her BA degree from Mount Holyoke College.

        Nozipho Dube

        Nozipho Dube

        Board Member

        Nozi is a Senior Auditor at Dembo Jones, P.C., a mid-size CPA firm with offices in Columbia and Rockville Maryland. Nozi has more than 7 years of experience in public accounting, conducting and reporting on audits of both for profit and non-profit organizations and preparing corporate, individual and 990 tax returns. Nozi holds a B.S. in Economics from Ave Maria University and a Master’s in Business Administration with a concentration in accounting from Loyola University, Maryland.  Nozi is a Certified Public Accountant in Maryland and resides in Derwood. Nozi’s favorite pastimes include reading and volunteering with local charities that focus on providing services for underserved communities.