Monday Profile: Belinda Dulin

What is your idea of perfect happiness? My idea of perfect happiness is knowing that people are safe and healthy. I think that feeling safe and healthy allows us to be our best selves. The ripple effect will be safer and stronger individuals, families and communities. Seeing this would make me happy.

It's 7 a.m. Monday. How are you feeling? Monday mornings have always been my hardest day--even when I was a kid. If I ruled the world, there would be no more Mondays. So at 7:00 a.m. sometimes I feel panicked, other times rushed. I try to have a simple Monday morning routine, no frills, no surprises and no presentations.

What would surprise people about your job? People who have no experience in the not for profit sector may be surprised at how demanding it can be. Each day I am the face of The Dispute Resolution Center. This means addressing the interests of a number of people--staff, volunteers, donors, supporters, referral sources, board members, customers and prospective--current and prospective. At the end of each day, they must all feel some sense of satisfaction to keep the DRC viable, open and relevant.

Are you extra good at settling disputes in your own life? I can't say that I'm extra good, but I'm definitely better. As I was completing grad studies in dispute resolution, an early conclusion was that the information was very applicable to my personal life. My communication skills, including listening, have improved. Generating options has become a common practice for me. Having discussion about needs and interests with my family members is routine. So even when a dispute is not settling immediately, I'm not disappointed or angry. I'm able to try different strategies and hope for better outcomes.

Introvert or extrovert? Those who know me may be surprised to hear that I'm an introvert and have taken several personality tests that confirms this. However, I learned to be more extrovert in order to navigate life. My mother was always concerned that being introverted would mean that I would not be able to stand up for myself or present myself clearly. Well she's no longer concerned.

What would you say to your 16-year-old self? Girl, you better listen!!! I was raised in a multi-generational family. I heard stories from my great-grandmothers, learned to do maintain the lawn from my great-grandfather and learned to cook from grandparents. All of these interactions included lots of lectures. Now, I realize that what I heard as "old people lectures" were valuable life lessons.

Where would you like to be when you're 90? I would like to be living in my son's home, leaving my socks all over the place and having happy hour with my friends everyday. Did I say at his house? And with his food.

At the DRC, you've implemented conflict resolution services in schools. Why? In this fast pace environment, conflicts often are not handled well. Our programs intentionally slow things down a bit to allow disputing students to think about what the problem really is and not just who did it. They also listen (usually for the first time) to the other person. And most importantly, they are accountable for their contribution to the problem as well as the solution. Traditional discipline does not always accomplish these and the conflicts fester from grade to grade and sometimes from middle to high school. Also, we believe that our services and training for the student are life skillls.

Published: Thu, Sep 20, 2012

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