Keynote Speaker

Anita Santos

The Hon. Anita Santos (ret.), presenting “Embracing the Tapestry: Mediating in a Vibrantly Diverse World”

In a world characterized by rapidly evolving social landscapes and interconnected global networks, the art of mediation has taken on a new dimension of significance. In this enlightening presentation, we will delve into the essential skills and understanding required to navigate the complexities of mediating across diverse cultures, backgrounds, and perspectives. As mediators, we are entrusted with the vital tasks of resolving conflicts, promoting understanding, and fostering harmony, and the success of our endeavors is increasingly linked to our ability to adapt and connect with the diverse fabric of humanity. The goals of this presentation are to empower participants with the knowledge and techniques to bridge gaps, break down barriers, and transform conflict into an opportunity for growth and unity.

Key topics to be explored:

  • Cultural Competence in Mediation: Understand the profound impact of culture on conflict resolution and develop cross-cultural communication skills to foster empathy and trust.
  • Unconscious Bias and Stereotypes: Recognize and mitigate the influence of unconscious bias and stereotypes that may impede mediation’s impartiality.
  • Inclusive Mediation Practices: Discover strategies that create an inclusive and safe environment for all parties, ensuring that everyone’s voice is heard and valued.
  • Intersectionality in Mediation: Explore the intersection of various identities (e.g., race, gender, ethnicity, religion) and their implications for the mediation process.
  • Emotion and Empathy: Learn how to navigate emotional dynamics effectively and cultivate empathy as a powerful tool for conflict resolution.
  • Leveraging Technology: Embrace digital tools and technology to facilitate virtual mediations that transcend geographical boundaries and embrace diverse participation.
  • Case Studies and Best Practices: Examine real-world mediation cases involving diverse stakeholders, and gain insights into successful approaches. Join us for this thought-provoking session as we strengthen our resolve to build bridges across differences, celebrate diversity, and forge a path toward a more harmonious and inclusive world.

About The Hon. Anita Santos (ret.)

Hon. Anita Santos (Ret.) served as a Judge of the Superior Court for the County of Contra Costa, with assignments in the Family Law Division, Felony Criminal Trials, the Juvenile Division, and a Domestic Violence Calendar. During her judicial tenure, Judge Santos presided over hundreds of contested and complex family law matters involving child custody and visitation, child and spousal support, marital dissolution, division of property, relocation, and tracing disputes. As her final assignment prior to retirement, Judge Santos presided over hundreds of domestic violence restraining order hearings and trials. These cases were both short cause and full evidentiary trials, and many included custody and visitation, property control, and child and spousal support issues.

Prior to her years as a Judge presiding over family law matters, Judge Santos served as a Child Support Commissioner for two years. As a Commissioner, Judge Santos presided over thousands of short cause hearings and hundreds of long cause hearings regarding child support, temporary spousal support, and the calculation of the same, and attorney fee requests. This included hearings and trials over income available for support, calculation of income for those self-employed, overtime and bonus income, imputation of income, earning capacity, deviation from guideline support, determining the date(s) of separation, tax exemptions, hardships, retroactivity of support, attorney fees, jurisdiction, disclosures and/or disclosure violations, alternative calculation options, parenting time determination, child care costs and reimbursements, and child health-related costs & reimbursements.

Prior to her appointment to the bench, Judge Santos was a sole practitioner in an active and successful family law practice handling dissolutions, legal separations, parentage, child custody and visitation, spousal and child support, property division, pre and post-nuptial agreements, and restraining orders. She also served as a Deputy District Attorney for the County of Contra Costa handling all levels of criminal prosecution, including sexual assault and homicide.

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