Spelman alumna Damali Peterman answering the call of conflict resolution

Damali Peterman (Photo courtesy of Kuu Photography)

Spelman and Howard University graduate Damali Peterman was thriving in her position as attorney and mediator, but she recognized a societal shift and brewing conflict and took action. Now her company, Breakthrough ADR, leads the conflict resolution industry, sought after by Fortune 100 brands, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations.

She joined rolling out to discuss her position, why she answered this call, and her purpose.


What caused your career shift?
I decided to open my own company, instead of using my talents for someone else instead, putting it towards my own vision. It was around 2016 [during] the U.S. presidential elections between Trump and Clinton. Leading up to Election Day, I started thinking the world’s going to need some more conflict resolvers and I was right. Second, I reflected on all the things that I was doing. I love practicing law, helping people resolve conflict, and educating others to resolve their own conflicts. And so I decided, this is what I want to do, and if I can’t do that in my current position, I need to create the space.

How do you differentiate your approach to each case to get a positive result?
For me, it’s [about] making sure that the people at the table walk away with solutions that hopefully put them in a better place than they were. I focus on being the conductor. What is important is to establish trust and build a rapport with the people at the table. And then, that I’ve read the briefs, so I understand the posture of the case. There’s a different language [spoken], depending on the subject matter, or the industry. And so what’s important to do, is to speak and understand that [jargon] at play.


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