Register for CDR’s Spring 2019 — Facilitation and Mediation of Public and Environmental Conflicts

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TestimonyCDR is proud to announce that our popular public course, Facilitation and Mediation of Public and Environmental Conflicts, is available for registration. The course will take place from May 21st to May 23rd 2019 in Boulder, Colorado.

The three-day course teaches participants facilitation skills, methods of engagement, and conflict resolution theories. It is a deep-dive into practical strategies for reaching agreement with stakeholders and partners.

Email or call (303) 442-7367 for more details, and register online. Our Fall 2018 class sold out – so don’t wait! 

Introducing CDR’s newest staff member, Emily Zmak

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CDR welcomed a new Program Associate, Emily Zmak, to the team in the Fall of 2018. Emily is a stakeholder engagement specialist with a diverse background in active- and post-conflict contexts. Influenced by her work in the West Bank and Kyrgyzstan, Emily believes that addressing communication barriers is the initial step towards finding collaborative solutions for natural resource disputes. She has experience in several sectors, including transboundary water agreements and, most recently, mining community participation plans. Emily holds an M.A. in Conflict Resolution and a B.A. in Communications.  

Outside of the office, Emily is an avid traveller, a rudimentary Russian speaker, an eager reader, an amateur painter, and an expert at burning dinner. Originally from British Columbia, Canada, she is always looking for new places to explore in Colorado–so feel free to reach out to her at with recommendations.

Guest Post: Facilitating Colorado’s Conservation Districts


Colorado’s rich natural resources are a great way to enjoy the state (think hiking, fishing, rafting and the like), but those natural resources also come with considerable planning. Especially Colorado’s most precious resource, water. With a growing population and changing landscape, managing water requires folks who are dedicated to keeping Colorado a great place to live while meeting the needs of the different water users. Enter Water Education Colorado’s (WEco) Water Leaders Class, the premier professional development course for the water community in Colorado.


Among the many skills and opportunities that Water Leader provides are ‘shadow assignments’, which is the chance to identify professionals in Colorado’s water community that you are interested in and want to learn from. In my role, I look at water through an agricultural lens, specifically with Conservation Districts in mind. Colorado’s 76 Conservation Districts were founded in 1937 on the principal of locally-led conservation, a principal on which they still operate today. This idea requires stakeholder engagement and collaboration, so a lot of what I do is assist District’s in gathering this stakeholder input and buy-in, so that the District knows what priorities and projects to focus on for the coming year. I kept this in mind as I was looking through the list of possible shadowees.

A few weeks later I found myself across the table from Jeffrey Range, a Program Manager with CDR Associates. I had chosen to shadow him because I was eager to learn about the perspective and experiences of a professional facilitator. The conversation was well timed, as I was going to be facilitating a local work group for a Conservation District out of Salida a few days later. The District Board of Supervisors, made up mostly of local agricultural producers, was working on their upcoming plan for the year and wanted to gather local stakeholder input regarding priorities and resource concerns. We talked about how important it is to focus each meeting on a particular stakeholder group, rather than trying to have one big meeting for all stakeholders. Jeffrey shared his experiences that illustrated how important it is to clarify the intention of the meeting and identify the common objective of the various stakeholders groups and focus on the commonality, not the differences.


I was able to put some of my new found skills to the test at the meeting I facilitated a few days later. I started by clearly stating the goals and objectives of the meeting and encouraged everyone’s participation by asking a few general questions first. When an attendee offered some feedback, I rephrased it in a way that benefited the discussion and invited others to elaborate.  Employing these new skills seemed to improve the focus of the participants on the topic at hand, and the discussion was collaborative and productive. I have compiled Jeffrey’s advice and am using it to build a new and improved method for facilitating the meetings, especially when Districts are faced with drawing in new stakeholders or trying to ease a conflict within their District.  I am optimistic that these new abilities will enable me provide more productive assistance to Conservation Districts so that hopefully I can help them make a difference in our state’s natural resources, especially our treasured water.



Written by Rachel Theler, Conservation Specialist, Southeast and San Luis Valley Regions at the Colorado Department of Agriculture and member of the Colorado State Conservation Board.

CDR is Hiring a Program Associate

Join Us

Position Announcement: Program Associate

CDR Associates is a collaborative problem solving organization, based in Boulder, Colorado with almost 40 years of experience. Our goal is to make complex projects simpler, find solutions to conflict, and bring diverse groups together to make better decisions. We work in a variety of arenas including transportation and energy projects when federal, state and local authority compete, in the public health arena where stakeholders have diverse needs, and in the water arena where water is scarce or in need of coordinated management.  We provide facilitation, stakeholder engagement, conflict management, and training – and support all these services with our commitment to and expertise in collaboration. The binding element of our work is the pursuit of improved public planning and development outcomes by bringing diverse and sometimes conflicting perspectives together.

We’re looking for a Program Associate to join our team – someone who has good communication and organizational skills and is hardworking, reliable, creative, willing to question convention, and able to multi-task in a small, entrepreneurial organization.

As a junior member of our team, you’ll be assisting with the design and implementation of our services, assist with organizational and office needs, and lead communication with stakeholders.

Qualifications and Skills

  • A bachelor’s or master’s degree (preferred)
  • A year or more of experience in a related field of work is a plus
  • Specialized skills such as communications, public relations, and graphic design are a plus
  • Experience in project management, facilitation, training, program evaluation, and/or process design
  • Excellent writing and communication skills a must
  • Ability to manage flexible work schedule, including early mornings, some evenings, and weekend work
  • Excellent organizational skills with demonstrated ability to execute projects on time and on budget
  • Ability to work independently and take initiative in a fast-paced work environment
  • Proficient in basic computer use including managing data, reporting, Microsoft Office and designing basic outreach materials; advanced spreadsheet and data analysis are a plus
  • Ability to provide your own transportation to meetings and events outside the Greater Denver area.
  • Desire to develop conflict management, stakeholder engagement, and facilitation skills and to grow within the organization


The program associate may do any or all of the following:

  • Serve as a junior member of facilitation, mediation, and training teams. This may include providing flip-chart recording,note-taking, writing meeting summaries, handling logistical tasks, assisting with project management, and/or conducting preparatory interviews.
  • Prepare senior staff for meetings/facilitations.
  • Assist with proposals and respond to information requests from prospective clients.
  • Support the development and revision of training materials including: training offerings, curricula, and training evaluation.
  • Assure the maintenance and organization of relevant project materials and records as needed for planning, evaluation, and monitoring.
  • Maintain client database and outreach plan to ensure organized project and partner communication.
  • Research issues and substantive information related to CDR projects, on request from other program staff.
  • Prioritize and organize assigned work to ensure projects are completed on time and in scope.
  • Assist with the management of website content, newsletter and other social media.
  • General office administration and organization, including office supply inventory and purchasing.

What’s Next

Send us a (1) Resume, (2) Cover Letter and (3) Writing Sample by August 15, 2018.  We’ll be reviewing and engaging with applicants on a rolling basis. Correspondence can be send to Please write “CDR Project Associate 2018 Application_[First Name] [Last Name]” in the subject line of the email.


Register for CDR’s Fall 2018 Training – Facilitation and Mediation of Public and Environmental Conflicts: Practical Strategies for Reaching Agreement!


CDR’s Fall training program is back! CDR is holding its annual, much-acclaimed 3-day Facilitation and Mediation training in Boulder, Colorado on September 25th through September 27th. Develop essential skills to manage the complexities of multi-party conflict and discover new ways to implement inclusive processes.

To learn more about our public training opportunities or to register, click here.

Introducing CDR’s newest staff member, Melissa Rary

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CDR welcomed a new Program Associate, Melissa Rary, to the team in late February. Melissa brings her passion for engaging communities in decision-making along with her careful attention to detail managing projects. A recent graduate with an MA in International Development from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, Melissa is interested in bringing a diverse group of stakeholders to the table to address sustainable development. She has experience facilitating workshops aimed at improving working relationships for EPA and Tribal Government employees, analyzing qualitative and quantitative data for policy development, and working with international organizations to increase community outreach and awareness.

Prior to moving to Denver, Melissa attended the University of Georgia and remains a loyal Georgia Bulldog during football season each year. When she’s not working, you can find Melissa cooking up a nice meal, running around Denver’s beautiful parks, or hiking with her partner Nick and their two labs, Athena and Oak. Melissa would love to hear any recommendations for your favorite restaurant in the area (or any favorite cookbooks!), so please feel free to reach out to her at