Diversity Page

VDC’s Diversity-Related Bylaws

Diversity Committee

As an organization committed to social justice, VDC affirms a duty to embody the social justice we wish to see in the social systems with which we are inextricably interrelated. 

With compassionate and cultural humility towards ourselves and others, VDC members shall honor an unqualified commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB), as well as the principles of mutual respect, social justice and environmental protection that this commitment implies. Whenever repair is possible, desired and/or willingly received, VDC’s members work to learn the skills needed to effectively raise concerns and remediate the adverse, detrimental or injurious effects of our biased, inequitable and exclusive attitudes and behaviors on others, including those within and beyond VDC. 

Given our unqualified commitment to the principles of DEIB, a Diversity Committee shall be a perpetual Committee of the VDC Board that furthers and upholds this unqualified commitment by, for example, working to ensure our members, staff, community partners, volunteers and populations served are diverse and reflect the members and interests of our broader communities. 

The Diversity Committee’s guidance and recommendations are proactively sought whenever setting policy, hiring, making appointments, procuring goods and services, marketing, soliciting memberships and donations, providing written materials and all other actions that affect VDC’s impact on and its collaborations with the broader community. To help us keep in mind our commitment to DEIB principles, one member of each Board Committee shall be selected by that committee based on diversity-related interest, experience and/or training to serve and liaison with the Diversity Committee. 

In addition, the Diversity Committee will determine which DEIB materials to include on VDC’s website, and shall establish evolving educational materials regarding, for example: 

  1. Definitions,
  2. Identifying and distinguishing organizational values, dynamics and approaches that foster social justice, inclusion and belonging, 
  3. Guidelines for managing in-house, diversity-related concerns (with input from the Membership Committee), 
  4. An Honoring Diversity Statement, which may include bylaws pertaining to the Diversity Committee, VDC’s DEIB Mission and Vision, Approach and Goals,
  5. DEIB Learning Resources for Professionals and/or the Community, 
  6. Updated Modest Means Family Law Resources for VDC program participants who may not have access to our services, and
  7. Accountability via the transparent sharing of DEIB operationally-defined successes and failures and the tracking methods used to identify and assess these. 


As an open practice group, VDC’s Purpose includes growing our community of Collaborative Professionals, and increasing the diversity of that membership, to include younger professional members. Our aim is to also provide Student Members the opportunity to forge deeper relationships with seasoned professionals, especially via committee work, mentorship and broader community events.  

  1. Student Members are: Students who are as yet in law school, who qualify as clinical interns or associates in MHP graduate school programs, as well as financial specialists who have graduated with undergraduate degrees in financial realms and, for example, are enrolled but have yet to complete a CDFA certificate program or to pass the CPA exam. MHP clinical interns and associates must have a designated, ongoing supervisor, outside of VDC, to comply with their licensing requirements, ethics and laws. VDC Professionals will not provide hours towards MHP licensing. 
  • Students Members may apply and join VDC at no cost, must serve on at least one VDC Committee, and agree to finish their Mediation Training and Collaborative Training (if not previously completed) within their first year of membership. They may apply for Provisional Membership after being licensed and/or certified, and for Professional Membership 5 years after they are licensed, per the membership requirements herein. 
  • Student Members may not: vote on VDC or VTC matters, be listed on the website, or act in any independent professional capacity on cases while shadowing, given the liability this presents for Team Professionals on the case, and the increasing participation in Consensual Dispute Resolution (CDR) processes of high-conflict, litigious clients. 
  • Student Members shall clearly indicate their “student, unlicensed and/or uncertified status” in all matters, including but not limited to any documents, marketing materials, websites, verbal and online interactions within or outside of VDC, within any Professional Community, or with the Public, and in accordance with their regulatory licensing and/or certification Boards or Agencies,  e.g. Laura Gustavson, Law Student; Maria Rodriguez, LMFT Associate (Unlicensed); Sam Francisco, Psych Intern (Unlicensed); Mei Chung, CPA Candidate; Tisha Jones, CDFA Candidate
  • Only fully trained Student Members may ask or be invited to shadow on Mediation and Collaborative cases, provided each Student Member obtains liability insurance appropriate for their status and profession, and as required by their Mentor for mediation and/or collaborative work. VDC Professional Members are encouraged to take responsibility for mentoring a student’s participation in CDR cases. Mentoring Professionals who take responsibility for the student on a case need not be of the same profession as students who wish to learn skills associated with a different profession. 
  1. Trained Student Members may shadow on Mediation and Collaborative cases, provided they sign a Mentor-Student Contract with a specific, independent Mentoring Professional (of any of the 3 professions) regarding a Student’s participation in a given case. 
  2. VDC, as a group of independent professionals, will not be responsible in any way for any Mentor or Student Member’s participation or behavior on cases. VDC’s and VTC’s logos and names will not appear on any mentoring-related forms, permissions or releases signed by Student Members, their Mentoring Professionals or clients, except that VDC and VTC must be clearly named in the Indemnification Agreement described in “v” below of this section.  
  3. When Team Professionals from any practice group include a Mentored Student to shadow, Team Professionals will agree beforehand to follow VDC’s Conflict Management Protocols to address any concerns with Student Members. Student Members may be asked at any time to resign from shadowing a case by the client(s), a professional or the team in a manner consistent with the respect inherent in our Conflict Management Protocols. 
  4. All Mentoring Professionals will ensure they and Mentored Students both sign and share with VDC’s Membership Chair a Mentor-Student Contract that clearly delineates: the professional’s and student’s specific responsibilities, an attestation that both have read, will uphold and act in accordance with Team/Client Conflict Management Protocols, a DEIB Educational Guide, the law and ethics guiding their respective areas of professional study and practice, as well as the IACP Standards and Ethics for collaborative professionals. 
  5. They shall further agree in a Separate Indemnification Agreement that neither their relationship with one another nor membership in VDC shall create liability for VDC or VTC. This document shall explicitly indemnify VDC and VTC against any acts of the Mentor and Mentee, may not be shared with clients, and a copy will be shared with the Membership Chair.  
  6. Whenever Student Members shadow on a case, clients shall first provide written approval and assert therein clear knowledge of: the Student’s status as well as the parameters of the Mentor-Student Contract described in “iv” above in this section. Students may also sign relevant case documents, including but not limited to the disqualification and confidentiality clauses, as determined and agreed to by team professionals. Again, VDC may not be named in any case-related client approvals, agreements or documents and is not liable for Professional or Student Members’ behavior while participating in cases. 
  7. Outside of client interactions, Student Members who shadow, may: observe and ask questions of any involved professionals, be included on team correspondence, provide team feedback as solicited, and offer to contribute to case management (e.g. request the signing of client forms), provided they are diligently supervised by the specifically identified Professional Mentor.