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Maria Simpson, Ph.D.

Executive Coaching and Organizational Consulting

Maria Simpson, Ph.D. has been an organizational conflict consultant for over 20 years, focusing on executive and leadership coaching, and team development. She has worked with C-Suite executives to develop their leadership and communications skills, and with leadership teams to develop more effective collaborative decision-making. Among her clients are Bank of America, Toyota Financial Services, and Easter Seals Southern California, as well as city agencies, other nonprofits, and universities. 


Organizational Experience

Her considerable experience in organizations includes senior management positions at The Conference Board, the New York Academy of Sciences, the New School for Social Research, the City Universityof New York, and TIAA-CREF, and has given her an in-depth understanding of organizations and how they work, informing both her consulting and her board of director service. 


Maria currently serves on the Boards of Directors of Empathia Pacific, a national EAP provider, and has been Chairman of the Board of the Southern California Mediation Association (SCMA) Education Foundation for the last three years. She has also served on the boards of the International Society for Performance Improvement (LA Chapter) and the South Bay Center for Dispute Resolution, and was an officer of the SCMA. She is a founding member, and has served for the last three years, on the SCMA Committee on Mediator Certification. 


Teaching and Mediation

Maria has taught in the graduate program on Negotiation, Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding at California State University Dominguez Hills for over ten years, and was a mediator for the Los Angeles County Superior court for over 15 years. She has also taught communications and leadership at Antioch University Santa Barbara and conflict 

resolution in the mediation certification program at the University of California Santa Barbara. She has also been a coach for the Peer Mediation Invitational sponsored by the Western Justice Center, a program she designed over ten years ago. As the chair of Youth Activities for the Southern California Mediation Association, she designed a curriculum on conflict management skills for teenagers and trained over 50 business and conflict management professionals to deliver the lesson to almost 3,000 high school students in a single semester.


Publications and Speaking Engagements

Since 2003 Maria has written a weekly email on management communications and conflict resolution called “Two Minute Training,” and published a collection called “Leading Unstoppable Teams!” In addition, her white paper titled “Is This a Good Fit? The Connection Between Organizational Culture and Communications Style” is used in 

several university classes. Her articles have appeared on the site, in ACResolution, and in the SCMA newsletter. 


She speaks often on issues of communication and conflict resolution including multiple presentations for the Association for Conflict Resolution, the ABA ADR section, and the SCMA, as well as presentations for ASTD and organizational clients. 



Maria is proud to have received the SCMA President’s Award in 2012 “in recognition and appreciation for extraordinary service and unfaltering dedication to the Southern California Mediation Association.” 


She was also recognized for her “dedicated service as Editor of the SCMA Newsletter” in 1999.



Maria received her Ph.D. in Communications from New York University, studying with social critic Neil Postman. She received her M.A. in Cinema Studies from NYU, and her B.A. from William Smith College. She received her mediation training from Dispute Resolution Services of the LA County Bar Association, and continued her professional development with James Stott and Kenneth Cloke, among others. 


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