Alumnus of the Conflict Resolution Institute, Kevin Malone (MA ’13) joined Resolution Systems Institute (RSI), a court alternative dispute resolution institute based in Chicago, in November of 2013 as the Kane County Foreclosure Mediation Program Coordinator. Malone worked to help create and now administers the Kane County Mandatory Foreclosure Mediation program, which launched on January 1, 2014. Before graduation, Malone completed his internship at Singleton Strategies LLC as a program associate where he worked with local government agencies on land claims in Colorado.
Currently Malone is working in the Illinois 16th Judicial district with all the foreclosure cases. Once a foreclosure case has been filed in the court, the case automatically enters RSI’s mediation database. From there, each case goes through mediation to avoid going to court. Since Malone helped create the new program in Kane County he had to help develop many of the forms and standards under which the program operates. His other duties include managing different cases by making sure that all aspects of mediation, such as venue and the mediators involved, are organized. His responsibilities also include supporting and improving research and evaluation of alternative dispute resolution. Malone does this by providing quarterly demographics and statistics.
Malone originally learned about the conflict resolution field when he was a volunteer in the Peace Corps serving in the African Kingdom of Lesotho. While there, he served as the community health and economics volunteer where he ran a program of planting a tree every time one was cut down. In this role Malone ran into conflict as he received the local chief’s permission for the program but not the parliament. Malone learned from this that for conflict resolution to work “you must need buy-in” from everyone. During his time in the Peace Corps Malone served on the Volunteer Action Council where he worked to solve problems other volunteers were having. He cites that these two events during his time in the Peace Corps inspired him to go into the conflict resolution field as a practitioner.
In 2013 Malone was one of three new staff hired for the same position at RSI, the other two were lawyers. While RSI is geared towards law, Malone is able to add value to the organization as a result of the interdisciplinary nature of his previous training and education through CRI. The combination of theory and practice that Malone has been able to apply to his current role allows him to approach some of the problems he faces daily with creativity. Malone says that everything he learned in the Conflict Resolution program at the University of Denver has been important to being successful in the field and it has differentiated him from his lawyer colleagues.
Malone recommends that graduating students of the Conflict Resolution program should take time to look back and review everything they have learned in school, even the classes that may not pertain to their focus or future career. For him, the environmental policy class, which was not a part of his main focus, helped him understand large group conciliation. Malone also recalls that networking was a major tool he used while at the University of Denver, which helped him find his internships as well as his current position at RSI. He believes that all the tools and skills learned in the Conflict Resolution program and his time in Denver are what helped him find success at what he is doing today.
To all new incoming students into the Conflict Resolution program, Malone advises that they need to “understand people won’t line up to hire you. You need to work harder to sell yourself, show your skills are more valuable and be open on where to go.” He elaborates further with four important tips for new students. Malone first recommends that all students be flexible. Second, he says to keep in mind that every part of the program is relevant and important to the field. Third, Malone advises that each student take advantage of the cross-disciplinary aspect of the program as it creates an advantage that students on one track may not have. Lastly, he highly advises that students take every opportunity in the field that presents itself in order to find out what they might like or dislike.
Kevin Malone can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org