We like working with people. Whether we are assisting start-ups, entrepreneurs, established companies or life partners, in all cases we focus on the person and their desires and needs. Giving people genuine attention is what motivates us.
Our philosophy is influenced by our varied backgrounds (the legal profession, organisational psychology). What unites us is the conviction that every individual has universal needs such as recognition, being seen and being valued. But in practice we express our feelings in terms of what another person has “done to us.” We struggle to understand what we want or need in the moment, and how to effectively ask for what we want without using unhealthy demands, threats or coercion. We take inspiration from a model for nonviolent communication developed by the American psychologist Marshall Rosenberg.
Annemarie van Raay (1971)
After my degree in Organisational Psychology at the University of Groningen, I have had various jobs in HR and Consulting in a number of different companies. I then decided to totally transform my life and set up a retreat in Austria. This has been an amazing experience. At present back in the Netherlands, I work on assignments as an HR manager, organisational psychologist, coach and mediator. I also give people individual guidance using the Journey methodology (see the information elsewhere on the site).
I am empathic and am genuinely interested in other people, I can give people a sense of calm and I am good at listening. I enjoy getting to the bottom of the matter and bringing issues out into the open while creating a safe space. I have been through a personal process of developing awareness, which has enriched my life enormously. This motivates me to see and bring out the best in other people and in organizations. I see conflicts as a way to evolve as a person. By helping people to have True Conversations they are invited to try to deeply understand each other. Mediation is a powerful tool for achieving this.
Roelof Vos (1965)
I studied Tax Law at the University of Groningen, after which I had a variety of jobs at various firms, both large and small. I currently work as a lawyer for the tax specialists Hertoghs Advocaten (www.hertoghsadvocaten.nl). I also lecture in law at Leiden University (the Moot Court). I am skilled in building relationships, I have a keen analytical brain, an open mind and a direct style of communication. In my career as a lawyer, I have become increasingly interested in how conflicts arise. Lawyers usually come into contact with people once they are already embroiled in a conflict. Of course it would be good if things did not get that far. That’s why I decided to become a mediator.
Maarten Bakker (1960)
After my Law degree at the de University of Utrecht I have been working in different organizations as Corporate Lawyer and Manager. In these positions I found out that it is my second nature to want to find out what really matters and to ask further to get the problem on the table, before looking at solutions. Really effective. In that period somebody called my way of working “mediation”. Research on that topic inspired me to do an Education in Mediation with the renowned ADR-institute in Amsterdam.
Meanwhile I am a Trainer at this same ADR-Institute for 20 years and do i work as an independent Mediator in Business disputes. First with BINC Mediators and lawyers, and now with Partner-Mediation. Although I have done various labor- or labor related mediations, my experience is broader. I mediated in conflicts in the Boardroom with the ‘OR’/works council, conflicts with bankruptcy and merger and acquisitions. during the mediation I listen carefully, also to the things that aren’t said. Further more it is my strength, due to my analytical way of thinking, to get to the root cause of things. I have the guts not only to address the similarities but also the differences, which is often confronting, but also helps to look for a sustainable solution.
The concept van pre-mediation, where we use our mediation skills in a context where there is not a conflict yet, really appeals to me. With my knowledge and experience I hope to contribute to the innovation of this concept within Partner-Mediation. Together with my professional and inspiring colleagues, I want to bring my metier to the next level.
Frederique de Jong (1968)
After my degree in Cultural Studies at the University of Amsterdam, I started work as a journalist writing for magazines and newspapers. I discovered my love for discussion when working for Amsterdam’s local radio. I spent ten years as a presenter for the news radio station BNR Nieuwsradio and two years working on the news programme NOS Radio 1 Journaal.
I am a good discussion leader who can interpret what people are saying and make connections. My deepest wish is for people to understand one another better so that conflicts can be resolved. It is even better if conflicts can be avoided in the first place. Pre-mediation is a good tool for that. Honest, confidential, profound discussion can lay bare people’s wishes and expectations, and thus enable a harmonious partnership. I particularly enjoy pre-mediation for start-ups as it also gives me a taster of their brilliant ideas for a better future.
Ton Croiset van Uchelen (1960)
My law degree from Utrecht University led me to the legal profession. Being a solicitor at Houthoff I, learned the bits and pieces about (insurance-) litigation. Subsequently I switched to positions in the business, where I gained experience e.g. in the IT-sector (software), in FMCG and in the pharmaceutical industry, mainly as General Counsel with final responsibility for legal affairs. For several years now I have my own legal consulting practice with very diverse clients, both entrepreneurs and companies. A special area of interest is consulting franchisees and their representatives.
While working in this business I developed a different insight on the various interests that clients may have. And on the interests of the opposite party. These interests are often overlooked while debating who is ‘legally right’ or when parties play their usual power game. In this case the achieving of a win-win outcome is impossible.
This triggered my mission to focus on preventing conflicts, and – if that is not possible – trying to jointly resolve the matter. I am an easily accepted moderator in negotiations, with a sharp, analytical eye and ear for “the underlying interests” and for any unspoken wishes and feelings. These characteristics help a lot to bring two parties together.
Morly Frishman (1976)
A versatile (legal) professional and an international business mediator (MfN Register), I am passionate about helping people and organisations deal with conflict situations and, where possible – avoid them altogether.
A big picture guy and simultaneously a fan of details and stories. Next to my law studies (Jerusalem and later Amsterdam) I’ve also completed an interdisciplinary programme, which was instrumental in shaping my multifaceted perspective on life. Over the years I’ve developed a profound understanding of conflict dynamics and the needs of people in conflict situations, much thanks to a diverse international legal career, spanning over two decades, during which I worked as a lawyer, researcher, judicial clerk, policy and justice sector advisor, multistakeholder process facilitator and, more recently, as an independent consultant and as a mediator.
Becoming a professional mediator is something that somewhere deep inside I’ve always known I would do, because of my natural tendency to act as one. My focus is on business and work relationships, especially those with an international or multicultural dimension. My strongest asset as a mediator is an ability to gain people’s trust, presumably as a result of having (and displaying) a naturally open, balanced and nuanced approach. Clients further value the mix I bring of genuine curiosity and empathy, an analytical and creative mind and a solutions-oriented mindset.
I am pleased to have joined Partner-Mediation for the opportunity to engage in practicing pre-mediation – a concept of which I am a great believer – with start-ups.
Having been myself one of the founders of a legal-tech start-up which – much like so many similar entrepreneurships – discontinued because of relational challenges, I am particularly keen to help other start-ups minimise such risks.
Naëtt Atkinson (1965)
After 30 years in the corporate world, Publishing and Social Justice, I followed my heart and started my own mediation practice five years ago. My motto is “Change your response to conflict, change your life.” I specialise in workplace mediation and conflict coaching and seem to naturally gravitate to restore relationships and dignity for all involved.
My strengths in mediation lie in the fact that I am not hindered by convention, am both analytical and creative, can listen between the lines and hold a calm space while people find their voice and clarify their real interests.
I believe pre-mediation is an excellent format to achieve self-awareness and pre-empt and prevent conflict whilst at the same time improving relationships and communication.
I am happy to have joined Partner-Mediation and change the way people relate to conflict one conversation at a time.and
Olaf Smits (1980)
During my study tax economics (University of Amsterdam) I started working for one of the Big4 firms. Subsequently, I worked as an in-house transfer pricing manager for two large multinationals. Currently I am co-founder and partner with Ectacon. Ectacon is an independent transfer pricing consultancy.
As a transfer pricing specialist, I have learned to first look at the individual parts, to be able to see the coherence of the big picture. Because I have the overview, I make things easier. In collaborations I look for the personal connection in combination with a feeling for what is going on. As a result, my clients often see me as a trusted advisor in a broader area than transfer pricing.
I intuitively searched for interests and sustainable win-win solutions. In taxation, however, the focus is often on the content. To better understand the communicative aspect and to further develop myself, I followed a coaching course in 2018 and a mediation course in 2020.
With Partner Mediation I want to support entrepreneurs and companies in business and tax conflicts, by using my experience and (pre) mediation. There is nothing better than helping others solve a problem themselves.
My fascination with negotiation started during my MBA at IESE in Barcelona some thirty years ago. After all, you negotiate every day, both professionally and privately.
As an entrepreneur, investor, supervisor, director and consultant, I have gained a lot of experience in negotiating in recent years. In addition, in all these roles I have also seen and experienced the ‘necessary’ conflicts. Given that approximately 65% of young companies fail due to conflicts between the founders themselves or with investors and the C-level team, I am committed to reducing that percentage. By looking beyond the enthusiasm and precisely addressing the more complicated issues of working together in a rapidly changing and growing environment in conversations, not only is there better cooperation, but there is also more focus on growth and success.
I love helping others. Therefore, I use my knowledge and experience to help individuals in companies and organizations to improve communication, avoid, prevent and resolve conflict.
Marijke Thomas – Lont (1978)
After my degree in Dutch Law at the University of Groningen, I worked as a legal specialist for a legal aid insurance company. I then went on to work for the district court. There, I learned about mediation. As a mediation officer, I helped the parties in court cases find a suitable mediator to resolve their dispute. Talking to one another and in particular listening to what the other side is really saying is the key to unearthing the real issues. This enables solutions to be found that are much more valuable than a ruling by a judge.
The decision to become a lawyer seemed logical to me as I want to be the person mediating or, where necessary, pleading a case in court.
I currently work as a family law specialist for my own firm NAAM Advocaten. My interest in people and their development and my strong drive to deliver legally sound work are now coming into their own. I particularly like assisting people in divorce situations. A divorce is often a turbulent process involving both legal and personal questions. I find that combination really fascinating. I am committed, warm-hearted, analytical, and confrontational where necessary.