The business arena is a tough one, and ultimately, it is all about ensuring the success and growth of an endeavor. They do not always work out. Partners go through various disputes, often very costly and time-consuming, and unfortunately, they sometimes end up in court.
I am a business mediator — a third party to disputes briefed to help resolve them amicably, long before they reach that stage.
I am the daughter of a diplomat and grew up in London before moving to Athens with my family. I majored in computer science and engineering, which led to a placement at an oil refinery company in my senior year at college. I wanted to learn and I wanted to challenge myself, and soon after graduating, when we moved to Vienna, I was offered a job at the Saudi British Bank (SABB).
Starting as a financial analyst, part of my role was managing complex relationships. I spent 14 years at SABB honing my people skills, earning the trust of clients, learning how to negotiate and to read body language. It gave me the perfect education in how to become a mediator.
I founded my company TASWEA (meaning “settlement”) four years ago, when not many people knew or appreciated corporate mediation as a concept. In modern business culture, however, managing relationships and reputations is vital, and many people would rather resolve things with a professional behind closed doors than risk damage by feuding in public. It soon caught on.
As part of our culture, we are afraid of conflict but are quick to take sides, judge and apportion blame. But we mediators have a saying: “There are three sides to every story — there are the sides of both parties, and then there is the truth.” I see stories from every angle, and I help clients collaborate to see the other sides, and reach an agreement.
A recent UK study found that 70 percent of cases that go through professional mediation find an amicable solution. We allow each party to feel empowered, to express their emotions in a safe environment instead of betting the fate of their business on a legal route.
The best people to decide solutions to conflicts are often those involved in them. This is the most important point of mediation. All I do is help facilitate that dialogue, and as a mediator I find it extremely rewarding to make clients realize they have that power.