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Maria Simpson, Ph.D.

Who I Am

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. 

Maria Simpson, Ph.D.

I’d love to work with you to support your success. Besides my own expertise, experience, and insights, here are three other good reasons for us to work together.

Organizational Experience

Maria’s 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 University of New York, and TIAA-CREF. This experience has given her an in-depth understanding of organizations, how they work, and the challenges faced by their teams and leaders, informing both her coaching and consulting services. Access the Two Minute Training Library.


Maria currently serves on the Board of Directors of Empathia Pacific, a provider of EAP and other human resource services statewide. She served as secretary while on the Board of Directors of the Southern California Mediation Association (SCMA) and chaired the board of its Foundation, Kids Managing Conflict, for six years. She is a founding member and served for three years on the SCMA Committee of Mediator Certification, which implemented the first state mediator certification program.

Teaching and Mediation

Maria was a mediator for the Los Angeles County Superior Court for over 15 years, working on hundreds of cases related to civil and business complaints. She taught mediation and conflict resolution in the graduate program on Negotiation, Conflict Resolution, and Peacebuilding at California State University Dominguez Hills for more than ten years, and courses in the mediation certification program at the University of California Santa Barbara. She also taught management communications and leadership at Antioch University Santa Barbara. 


Maria has also taught mediation and conflict resolution to high school students. 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. For almost 20 years she has also been a coach for high school students at the the Peer Mediation Invitational which she designed for the Western Justice Center.

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!” Her recent book, “Caught in the Middle: Five Crucial Insights into Mastering Middle Management,” provides an insider’s look at what managers need to know for success but no one tells them. Her next book, "Tales from the Conference Room: How Five Teams Met Their Most Serious Challenges,” will be out in February.


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. Over 60 of 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 received her Ph.D. in Media Ecology 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 Kenneth Cloke and James Stott, among others. 

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