RULE 31 Mediator and Attorney
Venessa started her career as an attorney, but her path to mediation started years ago—even though she didn’t know it then. Venessa was working on a protracted employment dispute. After a year of litigation, her client called to say they had worked it out. She asked how and the client said, “We met for dinner and talked it over.” She got off the phone wondering how she might have helped the parties have that conversation sooner. Fast forward to 2016 and she found herself sitting in a mediation training course and one of the phrases on the board was: “I wish we’d had this conversation earlier . . .” The dots connected.
Since that 2016 course, Venessa has completed approximately 90 hours of formal mediation training, focusing primarily on workplace, family, juvenile crime, and civil disputes.
Venessa grew up in a small Kentucky town where “everyone knew your name,” learning early on that open communications promoted neighborly goodwill. She left her roots to pursue her undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and studied law at Emory University and Samford University, Cumberland School of Law, from which she received her law degree. Her law career included work in the public sector as both a state and federal prosecutor litigating and negotiating child support, DUI, drug trafficking, and money laundering cases and in the private sector as an advocate for clients in a variety of employment and civil matters including construction disputes, insurance coverage issues, personal injury claims, EEOC claims of harassment, discrimination, and wrongful termination.
Two years ago, Venessa settled in Chattanooga with her husband, Greg, and two children, Gregory and Lily. “Being the parent of two grown children has been no small part of my education and learning.”
Venessa’s life experience, expertise, and authentic communication style, coupled with warmth and humor, allow her to help people resolve their conflicts and enjoy the benefits of communicating more effectively, making good decisions together, and moving forward. “As an attorney, business executive, mother, and wife, handling both legal and interpersonal conflict has enabled me to help people overcome communication barriers and tensions so they can resolve conflicts in a mutually acceptable fashion.”