Louise Phipps Senft Bio
Louise Phipps Senft, Founder and CEO of Baltimore Mediation
Louise Phipps Senft, voted “Baltimore’s Best” Mediator by Baltimore Magazine 2002 and named one of “Maryland’s Top 100 Women” for the year 2004 and 2007 and 2009 by The Daily Record, and inducted into Maryland’s “Circle of Excellence” for outstanding leadership in Maryland, and chosen for the Spirited Woman Award by the American Red Cross, MyCity4Her and the Baltimore Business Journal in 2011, founded the Baltimore Mediation Center in 1993, the first mediation firm in Maryland with a focus on relational approaches to conflict resolution. In 2006, BMC was expanded and renamed Louise Phipps Senft and Associates/Baltimore Mediation.
In 2007, Ms. Senft, also an attorney, was honored with one of the Baltimore Business Journal’s “Most Enterprising Woman” awards, and in 2009, her firm was recognized as a “Top 100 MBE” minority owned enterprise in the Mid-Atlantic region. In May 2010, Ms. Senft was inducted into the Greater Baltimore Area’s YWCA’s Academy of Leaders with a “Special Leader of the Year” award for her work in the field of conflict resolution with effects that eradicated racism. In 2012, Ms. Senft was honored by Smart CEO Magazine with a Brava Award as a top CEO in Maryland and was invited into the Women Presidents Organization. Ms. Senft was also a member of the Class of 2009 Leadership Maryland. Baltimore Mediation offers family/divorce and commercial/workplace mediation, facilitation for collaborative decision-making for families, businesses, health, academic and religious institutions and those in litigation, and negotiation and conflict resolution training, all from the transformative relational framework. Ms. Senft is known nationally and internationally for her elicitive design and delivery of a relational worldview and how to approach difficult negotiation and conflicted situations to increase understanding and to change the negative interaction to promote more informed decision-making. Working with people who want to work it out but are not sure how, she combines this approach into negotiation and mediation trainings for professionals, court systems, bar associations, government agencies, companies, contractors, real estate management firms, physicians and medical staff, assisted living facilities, higher education, religious institutions and family practitioners. A hallmark of her training and teaching is a combination of transformative conflict theory and a focus on negotiators’ and mediators’ self-awareness and self-observation of their emotional defense mechanisms and related somatic experiences to relax the head, heart and body to be more open and authentic in responses to conflict as it unfolds. Ms. Senft has provided mediation and facilitation services to thousands of individuals in divorce, employment, business, closely held family businesses, trusts and estates, organizations and foundations, and commercial and civil litigation. She has written a monthly column for The Daily Record, The Negotiating Table: Turning Problems into Opportunities. Ms. Senft’s work with divorcing families has been featured in numerous media interviews. Ms. Senft’s work with family businesses is featured in the documentary, Resolutionary People (2002), produced by Emmy award winner Richard Chisolm. Ms. Senft’s work with corporate and public policy multiparty facilitation is featured in the book the Promise of Mediation (Jossey-Bass, 2004). Ms. Senft’s work in elder care mediation was the featured story on ABC Worldnews with Charles Gibson in July 27, 2007. In 2009, Ms. Senft was invited by the Nakwatsvewat Institute at the Hopi Indian Nation and began work with Hopi clan elders and tribe leaders to design a mediation program to assist Hopis grappling with issues of family preservation and preservation of Hopi culture and to provide conflict transformation training “Hopi-ized” for and by Hopis. She continues her work with the Hopi making trips each year to the Reservation to continue with training and mediating issues of governance, land and property disputes and family and clan conflicts. Ms. Senft is also an international negotiation and mediation trainer, having trained attorneys, businessmen and women, and judges in Europe, speaking to the Roman Bar Association in Rome in 2010, and with the Italian national clerks and the Florence Mayor’s Office in Florence, as well as being invited to speak at the first European Transformative Mediation Congress which drew interest from across Europe in 2011, and training professionals in Germany, Portugal, Italy and Slovenia most recently.
Ms. Senft has been a national leader for transformative mediation for separation and divorce and for business conflicts in the US. She is an early member of the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation; she and her firm were chosen to pilot training for teaching transformative conflict theory with practical application in the early 1990’s. She is one of the originators of “marital mediation” for couples in conflict wishing to preserve their marriages while making difficult decisions including post-nuptial agreements, and for “team mediation” for business executives and managers wishing to maintain productivity while working through difficult personality and other differences. She has been interviewed by NPR and has been a guest on NPR radio affiliates and other radio programs. She has provided keynote speeches throughout the US and Canada. Ms. Senft was asked to speak at the United Nations in 2008 to inspire young leaders worldwide to champion an elicitive and relational approach to cultural and economic differences and conflict and to use mediators to assist as “Communication Brokers”, so that they can have a “Beyond Win-win” experience, phrases she coined. Ms. Senft has pioneered the value of self-awareness training and practices for conflict interveners teaching as adjunct faculty for Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation Insight Initiative for attorneys, CEO’s, professionals and executives worldwide, for Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, MBA Bio-technology Program and the Business of Medicine Program and as an adjunct law professor for fifteen years at the University of Maryland School of Law.
Ms. Senft, an attorney, has over twenty years of mediation training and experience. In the family environment, she has a national reputation for her divorce mediation work. Specifically, her background includes domestic mediation, separation and divorce, marital property and tax liability, domestic violence, high conflict, gay and lesbian partnerships, bankruptcy, religious annulment, parental rights, grandparents’ rights, adoption, cognitive- psychological- social child development, parenting plans, religious faith and doctrine on marriage, adultery, adult grief and traumatic incident reduction, guardianship, estates and trusts, real estate and personal property asset division, estate planning, end of life issues, elder care decision-making, and closely held family business and partnership disputes. She has been the chosen mediator for over 2500 marital, separation or divorce mediations and has been interviewed on the subject of divorce and family conflict by various media. In 2009, the Administrative Office of the Courts of Maryland asked Ms. Senft to design an assessment program for court-rostered domestic mediators modeled on her Practitioner’s Institute, a formative and summative assessment based on actual real-time observed performance of the mediator. She has expanded this program for other mediators nationwide and for state bar associations.
Ms. Senft also has extensive experience in the business, organizational and litigation environment. Her specific background includes relational and interest-based negotiation and bargaining, insurance, insurance coverage disputes, personal injury, wrongful death, Medicare and medical disclosure concerns, medical malpractice, bankruptcy, business partnerships, alliance formations, succession planning, workplace discrimination and ADA issues, organizational visioning, congregational conflicts and business/workplace mediation including interdepartmental issues, sexual harassment and EEO complaints, condominium and real estate development, construction and real property contracting, public dialogue, regulatory disputes, public policy process, environmental policy and regulation, city planning, Board of Directors management and systems approaches. She also has a background in insurance and complex commercial litigation and professional malpractice matters. She was selected as one of six mediators by the American Arbitration Association to mediate complex personal injury cases and was selected by the EEOC to mediate litigated employment discrimination cases for the Mid-Atlantic Region. In addition to mediating many hundreds of business, workplace, EEO and litigated disputes, she is called upon regularly to facilitate quality conversations over difficult issues and meaningful dialogue when there are complexity and emotional barriers involving executives, managers and boards of directors.
In the international arena, she is one of the founding members of Mediators Beyond Borders™, a non-profit offering conflict resolution aid and training for initiatives such as the Child Soldier Project in Ghana and the Katrina Mediation Project in New Orleans and Biloxi, Mississippi. She served as Executive Chair of Training for MBB domestically and internationally for four years and speaks internationally on behalf of the MBB mission of dialogue. She is also an elected member of the Board of Trustees of Convergence: Center for Public Policy Resolution, a Washington, DC non-profit focused on bipartisan dialogue on pressing political issues of the day, including US-Muslim relations, K-12 Education Reform, and Obesity and Diabetes.
Ms. Senft has been an adjunct Law Professor at the University of Maryland School of Law since 1998 teaching various courses in Alternative Methods of Dispute Resolution (ADR) for Lawyers, Negotiation and Mediation Theory and Practice. She designed and continues to teach what was the first certificated mediation training course offered by a Maryland law school. For each of her adjunct teaching invitations to Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation Insight Initiative, Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, Johns Hopkins MBA Bio-technology Program and the Johns Hopkins Business of Medicine Program, Loyola University School of Business, and University of Baltimore Law School, she has taught conflict transformation theory and incorporated personal reactivity and self-awareness practices and methods into real-life application.
Ms. Senft is a certified Enneagram teacher in the Narrative Tradition and associated with the Trifold School for Enneagram Studies and the International Association of Enneagram Teachers in the Narrative Tradition. She offers Enneagram workshops on mindfulness, greater productivity and personal satisfaction, emotional intelligence and self-awareness for judges, lawyers, businesses executives, managers, parents and families. An area of focus that has brought Ms. Senft great joy over the years is using the Enneagram and the relational transformative approach to conflict to assist families in having healthier and more satisfying conflict experiences. She has pioneered reliance on self-awareness and the Enneagram for the conflict resolution and mediation communities as a means of quality practice and personal and professional excellence.
Ms. Senft was the first mediation trainer nationally to be approved as an Accredited Continuing Education Trainer (ACET) by the Association for Conflict Resolution in 2010, providing her the distinction of approval for teaching on any subject in the conflict resolution field as an exceptional life-long teacher. Ms. Senft was one of the first elected Associates of the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation. She is a nationally Certified Transformative Mediator™ and has been certified by the Maryland Council on Dispute Resolution, the only two performance-based certifications of skill level in the US. She is the architect for Maryland’s Performance Based Assessment for Transformative Mediators—The Practitioner’s Institute—which served as an assessment model for a program for Maryland Family Court Appointed Family Mediators that launched in 2009, part of the statewide Maryland Program for Mediator Excellence, the first in the country. Ms. Senft is also the co-architect of the state of Maryland’s Mediation Ombuds Program, designed to handle consumer mediation complaints throughout Maryland with a restorative approach. Ms. Senft has earned the status of Advanced Practitioner in the Family Section’s Academy of Family Mediators as a member of the international Association of Conflict Resolution’s (ACR), formerly the Academy of Family Mediators.
Ms. Senft and Baltimore Mediation are best known nationally for their trainings on conflict transformation and their offerings of certificated training courses in General and Advanced Mediation and Conflict Resolution and Domestic and Workplace Mediation with a focus on the transformative approach. Their training courses, with an emphasis on mediator self-awareness, ethical practice, fostering quality interaction, empowerment, informed decision-making by the parties, and recognition, were selected as a model and pilot for the training component of the national Transformative Mediation Project, an outgrowth of the highly acclaimed writing of R. B. Bush and J. Folger in their book The Promise of Mediation, Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1995 and have been the trainings of choice for the Maryland Judiciary and numerous federal agencies. She tailors these trainings for three audiences: (1) professionals, including attorneys, doctors, therapists, clergy, businessmen and women, human resources managers and educators; (2) families, youth and parents; and (3) staff working in courts and agencies and non-profits. She also designed and offers twice annually the Practitioner’s Institute for advanced mediators who desire an intense assessment for certification as well as a series of one day workshops on the Enneagram and Conflict Transformation.
She is the author of numerous training manuals including:
Editions beginning in 1998 include the collaborative training content work of the ISCT think tank on transformative practices.
- Senft, Louise Phipps (2009-2013), Conflict Transformation and Self-Awareness: the Enneagram as Catalyst
- Senft, Louise Phipps (2010), Family, Clan and Tribal Conflicts: A Relational Approach and Skills for the Hopi Indian Nation.
- Senft, Louise Phipps (1997-2013), Conflict Transformation and Mediation Skills with a Focus on Third Party Intervention and Systems Training Manual, with Nancy Good
- Senft, Louise Phipps (1996 – 2013), Conflict Transformation and Mediation Skills Manual for Domestic Disputes with a focus on Working with Family Systems, Child Custody, Parenting Plans, Domestic Violence and Child Support Training Manual, with Nancy Good
- Senft, Louise Phipps (1996 – 2013), Conflict Transformation and Mediation Skills with a focus on Self-Awareness Training Manual
- Senft, Louise Phipps (1997 – 2013), Conflict Transformation and Mediation Skills with a focus on Legal Standards and Ethics Training Manual, with Larry Hoover
- Senft, Louise Phipps (1997 – 2013), Conflict Transformation and Mediation Skills for Divorcing Couples with a focus on Quality Decision-making for Marital Property Issues Training Manual
- Senft, Louise Phipps (1997 – 2013), Conflict Transformation and Knowing Thyself: the Enneagram as Catalyst Training Manual
- Senft, Louise Phipps (1998 – 2013), Conflict Transformation and Mediation Skills for the Workplace Training Manual
- Senft, Louise Phipps (2008, 2004), Conflict Transformation Skills and Approaches for Families Training Manual
- Senft, Louise Phipps (2005, 2002, 1996), Conflict Transformation and Mediation Skills for Working with Multiple Parties Training Manual
- Senft, Louise Phipps (2005, 2000, 1994), Conflict Resolution Skills for Peer Mediators, Teachers and Peer Mediation Programs Training Manual
- Senft, Louise Phipps and Larry Hoover (1996, 1995, 1994), Basic Conflict Resolution and Mediation Skills Training Manual
- Senft, Louise Phipps and Nancy Good (1996) Conflict Resolution and Intervention Skills for Organizational Conflict Training Manual
- Senft, Louise Phipps (1994), Conflict Resolution Skills and Approaches for Families and Children Training Manual
- Senft, Louise Phipps (1993), Conflict Resolution Skills for the Safe Haven Network Children at Risk Training Manual
Ms. Senft is also the author of numerous journal, magazine, newspaper and law review articles including:
- “Mediation Changes People”, Senft, Louise Phipps, Translated into French (2010)
- “Mediation Basics for Biotech: How to Transform Your Negotiation”, Senft, Louise Phipps, John’s Hopkins University, Medical Innovation and Business (Baltimore, Oct. 2010)
- “Legal System Must Change to Help Families”, Senft, Louise Phipps, Unified Family Court Connection, Center for Families, Children and the Courts, Baltimore, Maryland (2010)
- “Lawyers in Mediation: Conflict or Opportunity?”, Senft, Louise Phipps, Roman Bar Association, Concilia, Rome, Italy (2010)
- “Marital Mediation: Transforming Marital Conflict through Facilitated Dialogue—Reclaiming Personal Strength and Marital Connectedness”, Senft, Louise Phipps, Good, Nancy, Transformative Mediation: A sourcebook, Resources for Conflict Intervention Practitioners and Programs, Bush, B. & Folger, J. (eds.), Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation and the Association for Conflict Resolution Publishers (2010)
- “Vocational Truthfulness: Having the Courage to Love and Need Our Work”, Senft, Louise Phipps with Aloi, M.J., ACResolution (Baltimore, Spring 2009)
- “Mediating End of Life Decisions with Quality Interaction”, Senft, Louise Phipps, Senft, William W., ACResolution (Baltimore, Summer 2009)
- “Mediating End of Life Decisions: Meeting Basic Nutrition Needs and the Advanced Health Care Directive”, Senft, Louise Phipps, Senft, William W., MCDR Resolutions (Baltimore, Summer 2008)
- “Mediation Changes People”, Senft, Louise Phipps, Community Mediation of St. Mary’s County News (Baltimore, Fall 2008)
- “Quality Deliberation and Quality Decision Making: Mediation from a Transformative Approach”, Senft, Louise Phipps, ACResolution (Baltimore, Winter 2007)
- “Conflict Transformation for Separating Couples”, Senft, Louise Phipps, ACResolution (Baltimore, Summer 2005)
- “Katrina: Turning Problems into Opportunities,” Senft, Louise Phipps, ACResolution (Baltimore, Fall 2005)
- “The Interrelationship of Ethics, Emotional Intelligence and Self-Awareness”, Senft, Louise Phipps, ACResolution (Baltimore, Spring 2004)
- “ADR in the Courts: Progress, Problems and Possibilities”, Senft, Louise Phipps & Cynthia A. Savage, ADR Handbook for Judges, Stienstra D. & Yates S. (eds.), American Bar Association and Federal Judicial Center (2004)
- “Gaining Sight of the Goal of Transformation”, Senft, Louise Phipps, Promise of Mediation, Bush B., Folger, J. & Della Noce, D. (eds.), Jossey-Bass (2004)
- “Portrait of a Good Mediator”, Senft, Louise Phipps, Maryland Bar Journal, 8, Vol. 36, No. 4 (Baltimore, 2003)
- “ADR in the Courts: Progress, Problems and Possibilities’, Senft, Louise Phipps, Cynthia Savage, 101 PENN ST. L. REV.l22 (Baltimore, 2003)
- “Preliminary Motion for Mediation: New Tool for Litigators,” Senft, Louise Phipps, Maryland State Bar Association, ADReport, Vol. 1, No. 2, (Baltimore, 2002)
- “Should a Mediator Draft Settlement Agreements?”, Senft, Louise Phipps, Academy of Family Mediators, 9, Mediation News, Vol. 19, No.3, (Baltimore, 2000)
- “When to Mediate Business Disputes”, Senft, Louise Phipps, Maryland Business Law Watch, 25, (Baltimore, Feb. 1998)
- “Ten Times to Try Mediating Personal and Family Disputes,” Senft, Louise Phipps, Maryland Family Law Monthly, 5 (Baltimore, Apr.1998)
She is co-author of the final chapter of the ADR Handbook for Judges, ed. D. Stienstra & S. Yates, American Bar Association and Federal Judicial Center (2004), has her work of facilitating public policy conflicts featured in Chapter 3 “Gaining Sight of the Goal of Transformation,” of the revised Promise of Mediation, 2d. ed., B. Bush & J. Folger, Jossey-Bass Publishers (2004) and is co-author of the chapter “Marital Mediation: Transforming Marital Conflict through Facilitated Dialogue-Reclaiming Personal Strength and Marital Connectedness”, with N.Good in Transformative Mediation: A Sourcebook, Resources for Conflict Intervention Practitioners and Programs, ed. J. Folger, B. Bush, and D. Della Noce, ISCT and Asso. Conflict Resolution Publishers (2010). Ms. Senft is currently writing a book on self-observation methods for the negotiator and mediator to be published by the Enneagram Publishers in 2013. In 2014, Ms. Senft will also be publishing a series of booklettes: The Little Book for Couples: How to Transform Conflict Interaction with your Teenager; The Little Book for Managers: How to Transform Conflict Interaction with your Staff and Co-Workers.
In her field of conflict resolution and conflict transformation, throughout the 1990’s to the present, she has served continuously in various capacities for the Association for Conflict Resolution, on its Ethics Committee, Mediation News staff, Training Approval Committee and Family Section Advisory Council, where she is currently Co-Chair. She served as Co-Chair of the Baltimore City Bar Association’s first ADR Committee in the early 1990’s, and she was elected and served on the Maryland State Bar Association’s ADR Section Council in its early years of formation. In 1998, she was appointed by Chief Judge Bell to the Maryland Court of Appeals’ ADR Commission and the task force on Professional Responsibility in ADR. In 2000, Ms. Senft was appointed by the highest court to Chair the first statewide Family ADR Initiative. She was the co-architect of the state’s mediator grievance process, The MPME Ombudsman Program, and was subsequently appointed as Chair in 2003 of the Mediator Ombudsman Program for the Maryland Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office. During that time she also served in 2002 as President of the Maryland Council for Dispute Resolution with a focus on creating a strong internal infrastructure for the future and representing the views of the private practitioner on MACRO initiatives. She is a founding member of Mediators Beyond Borders, whose mission is to build sustainable conflict resolution capacity for a more peace’able’ world, where she served as Director of Training from 2007-2010 establishing protocols and quality control. She also served as an elected board member of the Global Negotiation Insight Initiative, an auxiliary entity created in 2008 as a result of the work at Harvard’s Law School’s Program on Negotiation Insight Initiative. Since 2011 she has served as a Trustee on the Board for Convergence: Center for Policy Resolution in Washington, DC, where she is also co-chair of Development.
In addition to serving as a Member of the corporate board for Saval Foods and Deli Brand, Ms. Senft also has served non-profit organizations whose mission she champions. She was Treasurer and on the executive board of Network 2000 whose mission is to place women on corporate boards and mentor rising female executives; she has served as an elected board member for the Coalition of Geriatric Services in Maryland, whose mission is to expand compassionate alternative services to seniors at home and in residential living; as Vice President of the Roland Park Civic League, whose focus is on civic engagement and the preservation of historic green space in Baltimore City, the monitoring of other land developments and the creation of a 100 year Master Plan for the preservation and modernization of the historic garden community designed by the Olmsted Brothers. She is also a founding member of the Tuesday Girls whose mission is to provide networking opportunities for women executives and business owners; is a partner in Accelerant, a national platform for mid sized corporate businesses in the midAtlantic; is serving as a corporate mentor for the COMMIT Foundation, whose mission is to mentor mid-level female veterans to reach their full potential personally and professionally. She has also served Board positions in her children’s schools and her church, including the National Catholic Review Board for Washington, DC/Arlington; the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, where she was the first woman President of the Parish Council; Grace Methodist Pre-School Board of Directors; the Cathedral School’s CASPA, the Parent’s Association for her Children’s grade school; and the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s Catholic Community Foundation, where she is currently chair of Distributions and oversight of a fund of Three Million Dollars for social outreach services. She also travels biennially with the Order of Malta and a medical team to Lourdes, France, a place of spiritual healing, tending to the needs of 50 “malades’ suffering from stage IV cancer and other debilitating and life-ending diseases.
She was selected as part of the first national certified mediation training team for the United States Postal Service REDRESS Program for EEO/discrimination complaints and other workplace disputes. From 1998 through 2001, she trained mediators across the country as part of the USPS national rollout, which trained over 2500 outside neutrals from 32 states, as well as over 18,000 labor and management representatives.
Ms. Senft was the initiator, Co-Creator, Lead Trainer and Supervisor for the Baltimore City Circuit Court Family Mediation Services program from 1998-2005, which focuses on custody and visitation lawsuits providing transformative mediation services for their resolution, which continues to serve thousands of Baltimore families in the court system annually.
Ms. Senft is the co-founder of The Safe Haven Network: a church, police, school, and community safety initiative for children in Baltimore City which has provided safe shelters before and after school for children and conflict intervention training and safety skills to community residents and school officials since 1993 and which continues to provide safety to children today.
Ms. Senft served as Chair of the Governor’s Task Force on Youth Citizenship and Violence Prevention’s Out-of-Schools Committee in 1995-96, and provided technical assistance in programming, violence reduction education and evaluation for the Governor’s office on Crime Control and Prevention’s state and federal funded initiative for community after school programs for late elementary and middle school youth throughout Maryland, 1996-1999. She was also a nine year board member of the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland with a focus on their capital campaign to expand services for inner-city girls.
Ms. Senft has also served on numerous Bar Association committees, including presidential appointments to the Special Committee which drafted the Guidelines for the Prevention of Sexual Harassment adopted by the Maryland State Bar for law firms throughout the State, and the Chair of the 1994 publication “Baltimore’s Children and Their Families.” She was asked by television’s Arts and Entertainment to audition for a TV pilot, The Mediator. She is listed in the Worldwide Who’s Who and the International Who’s Who.
Prior to founding Baltimore Mediation, Ms. Senft was a litigator and trial lawyer engaged in practice at the Baltimore law firm, Whiteford, Taylor and Preston in the areas of insurance, commercial defense and family law. She is a Dame in the Order of Malta. She hails from Springfield, Illinois, was inducted into the Sacred Heart-Griffin High School Hall of Fame in 2010, attended the University of Virginia, where she was President of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority; attended Washington & Lee School of Law, where she was named Most Outstanding Woman Law Student, and was the first female Honor Council representative for both the undergraduate and graduate students since the founding in 1749. She is married to Bill Senft and is the mother of five wonderful children.
Ms. Senft can be reached at Louise@BaltimoreMediation.com.