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September 26, 2023

Message from the Committee Chairs

The mission of the Ombuds Committee is to increase the public’s knowledge of ombuds, as well as to promote the establishment and use of appropriately designed, supported, and implemented ombuds programs in all types of organizations

Ken Skodacek and Meg Willoughby

The Ombuds Committee is honored to sponsor the September 2023 edition of Just Resolutions. We would like to acknowledge our authors, Lynn Clough, Angela St. Julien, and Marcus Stergio, for sharing their perspectives on the ombuds field with us, as well as our Newsletter Chair, Shannon Lynn Burton, for her careful crafting of this edition.

Our authors have focused our attention on an important theme: the value that ombuds across different multiple modalities provide to their stakeholders, regardless of whether those stakeholders are internal or external. Our authors represent the advocate and organizational ombuds models, and their work highlights some of the issues and concerns experienced by stakeholders, the challenges then faced by ombuds, and the tools and other resources utilized by ombuds to overcome those challenges and ultimately support their respective stakeholder populations.

We want to direct your attention to the upcoming Ombuds Day event on October 12, 2023.  This will be the 6th recognition of Ombuds Day, and the theme is Diverse in Role, United in Service.  This year’s event will include a free webinar entitled A Conversation with Thomas Zgambo, a long time and respected leader in the ombuds community.  Under the steadfast leadership of Ryan Smith, Chair of the Ombuds Day Subcommittee, the impressive subcommittee has created an homage to the ombuds role that highlights both its diversity and unity.  You can learn more about Ombuds Day, and find links to programming and other resources at and the ABA Ombuds Day webpage.

We also want to make you aware of the exceptional work of the Ombuds Committee’s Legislative Task Force, which has been engaged in drafting an Organizational Ombuds Model Act.  A Herculean effort years in the making, Natalie Fleury has deftly guided our esteemed Task Force through the drafting process.  We will be showcasing their results in the upcoming year. 

Our fellows, Marcus Stergio and Sareh Aghamiri, have contributed much to our committee during their tenure with us, complementing their professional development in the dispute resolution field.  Marcus is also leading the process for requesting Ombuds Day proclamations across the nation.  We thank them for their dedication to the committee and look forward to their continued involvement in the Committee and Section.  

We appreciate the active members of the Ombuds Committee for their role in supporting our efforts in alignment with the Committee’s mission.  The Committee is open to anyone who is interested in learning more about ombuds, including those that are currently serving as an ombuds as well as those that might not have experience serving in an ombuds role.  We will continue to have opportunities for all to learn and contribute to the profession, including presentations, webinars, research, writing, and planning.  If you have an interest in developing greater awareness and use of this powerful dispute resolution tool, we strongly encourage you to join or reach out to us!

Best Regards,

Ken Skodacek and Meg Willoughby
Co-Chairs, Ombuds Committee,
ABA Dispute Resolution Section

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