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Barb Barnes is an amazingly gifted, generous and talented human being. She is unusually both smart and kind. She is naturally empathetic, extremely insightful, profoundly curious, intelligent, energetic, an inspiring coach and facilitator, and a clear thinker. She is deeply ethical and consistently open-hearted, which makes her an outstanding mediator. She has a deeply inquisitive mind and a generous personality and I recommend her highly.
– Kenneth Cloke, author of The Crossroads of Conflict: A Journey into the Heart of Dispute Resolution (2nd edition) 2018.

Our organization works with fast paced public facing encounters. Brave Conversations brought our leadership team and executive team some truly transforming ways to work together with conflicts that arose both with each other and with our consumers. Barb took us into processes that helped us identify areas of concern, but also the places of strength. We gained back our humor and found ways to start caring about each other again that had been lost to what Barb named “chronic conflict”. She also packaged modules for both teams so we could affordably keep up with our skill building commitments. Our HR department has noted that our absenteeism and complaints have decreased since beginning this engagement with Brave Conversations.
-COO Non Profit Medical and Counseling Center

Barb Barnes has a gift. She offers a grounded approach in guiding people of all ages toward clear, empathetic communication. Barb has come into our school on numerous occasions and worked with our staff, students and parents. With each visit she brings clearly articulated strategies that can be implemented immediately. She has helped our school community learn to communicate with care. When you hear people mediate difficult situations at Cottonwood, you can see Barb’s work in action. We will invite Barb in to work with our community year after year!
– Christopher Taleff and Sara Casey Taleff, Cottonwood Agile Learning Center

Barbara supported our group in having much needed and difficult conversations. Her expertise and compassion allowed our group to cover stuck patterns and begin envisioning new horizons and possibilities. Her work is transformative. I’m deeply grateful.
– A.J. Johnston

When we called Barb at Brave Conversations, we had pretty much given up hope that our team could continue to work together. She just has a way of helping get to the meat of what’s really going on and, why it is so hard to talk about. The process was not always comfortable, but we always felt safe. In addition, the skills we learned have continued to grow us in ways we didn’t expect. We even use them with our families and friends when we need to collaborate or get to the bottom of a conflict. One more thing, Barb’s style is not like others we’ve tried, there’s no “one size fits all – kumbaya” kind of approach. Instead, what she did with us was unique to our needs and even to our lingo and pace of integrating work.
– T.K. Executive Director, Financial Management Firm, Northwestern United States

Barb worked with three staff members on a very delicate situation that could have been very explosive and negative for our organization. I’ve asked to keep our firm confidential but wanted to share that her skills and compassion and clarity were exactly what we needed. The issue included sexual harassment and a possible toxic workplace claim. When she finished, all the members of the group (not just the three having the conflict) had a better understanding of each other and even better, the agreements they made had measurable goals and consequences if they were not met. This clarity made it possible to move forward and rely on the staff members again because they had become very clear about their roles in the disputes. We also have ways to prevent these kinds of problems from being ignored until they explode and cause harm to our teams and clients. The cost of this contract was worth its weight in gold.
– HR Director, multi-faceted, international consulting organization

The comparison our team makes when describing our work with Barb Barnes, of Brave Conversation, is that it feels like finding sacred ground, touching the earth after chaos and fear take hold in one’s being. We call her Mamma Tree, because the experience of working with her feels absolutely safe and rooted in deep wisdom. Even though some of the work we did with her was hard to untangle and challenged our own personal patterns with conflict; there was so much personal growth and learning that came through the process, which gave a sense of authentic and embodied hope regarding stuck personal patterns. It was as though these challenges we came to her for became this exciting and beautiful process of personal discovery that could be applied to all relationships and communication. The lessons and skills in compassion, boundaries and communication we learned from Barb are so valuable and useful to us both personally and professionally as a team. Barb remains a valuable resource for us as a team and when working through our own personal conflicts. The belief that Barb has in our own intrinsic bravery when navigating unclear waters, has become an embodied way of seeing more possibilities in our lives. We are forever grateful to have Barb work with our team.
– Jamie Anesi, LCPC and Co-Owner of The Lotus (Wellness Studio) in Helena, MT

We were skeptical when Barb was hired to work with our teams. We are mostly BIPOC and did not want to get a tone deaf response to our conflicts about racism. Instead of getting just one more disappointing experience, she showed us through her words and actions that we were important and our perspectives were to be believed and valued. She heard us in ways we hadn’t even thought of hearing ourselves! The non-BIPOC folks who are our supervisors were able to hear from her the ways they were practicing racism or using their power to hide from our observations. Six months down the road we are all better for having had her work and also really appreciate her tune-ups. She is direct, compassionate and has a sense of humor that is really helpful.
– Billie R.- Team Lead, non-profit organization supporting families facing poverty and with loved ones that are incarcerated.

When my Mom was dying she really wanted us siblings to have a way to stay connected and to, frankly, stop hating on each other. Ms. Barnes did some end of life mediation for us and it was mind blowing and heart warming. Of the six of us, five are still in touch and using what she taught us, almost a year after Mom’s passing away. It was not inexpensive, but we five all agree that it was one of the best gifts Mom ever gave us. We still hold a place at the table for our sibling who hasn’t linked up with us… yet. Even doing that is possible because of how Ms. Barnes worked with us on being kind instead of nice and being vulnerable instead of being guarded. Thanks Barb.

We came to Barbara to see if we could use mediation to update our parenting plan, which was about 4 years old. We have three children ages 6-15 years old. Both of us are good communicators but we really were getting angry a lot and frustrated with the changing times for our kids to be with one or the other. Barbara shifted our perspective. We now see that the times we are with our children is our time to parent first and then feel good about being with the kids. We see that we need to center the plan around what the kids need and look at how we can coparent in order to meet their needs and keep in mind our own needs as well. We found ourselves redefining some things and some norms. We both feel like we have a better understanding of each other and we both really feel relieved to be understood by each other in the coparenting relationship. When one of us would get angry or amped up, Barbara’s calm demeaner really made a difference. She taught us some techniques to stay emotionally regulated (new terms for us). We both realized that the experience with her made us look forward to our sessions because we came away with a sense of accomplishment and sometimes even humor! Finally, the renegotiation process also taught us some things about being better parents and coparents. This experience was really different from our divorce parenting plan mediation time. We are glad for the difference. Just that we could write this “thank you” to her in the form of something for her website is an example of how much impact her approach had for us. We are actually looking forward to our pre-scheduled tune-ups.
– Jill F. and Ed W. Upstate New York