WHO WE ARE
Before you read our biographies, we'd really like you to understand these three key facts:
1. We are Christians.
2. We aren’t trying to convert anybody to Christianity.
3. Our principles of conflict competence transcend religious, philosophical, and with few exceptions, even cultural boundaries. In fact, they’re rooted in Rocky’s years of research on cooperative/collaborative learning in general and his focused doctoral research on intercultural competence and collaborative language learning (you can find more details about this at the bottom of our “Conflict Competence” page).
Here’s the upshot of these three vitally important facts: We believe there is a God, and we believe that God wants human beings to treat each other with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience (we got that list from the Bible, in the book of Colossians, chapter 3, verse 12). We also believe that when people treat each other this way, their families, organizations, and societies thrive. We believe that this thriving is beautifully expressed by the Hebrew word for peace – shalom – which is conceptually far more than just tranquility or repose. We believe the word is best translated as “interconnected flourishing,”* and we also believe that rather than the absence of conflict, it describes the presence of constructive conflict. And finally, we firmly believe that you don’t have to belong to any faith community to benefit from developing the skills, knowledge, and attitudes of conflict competence.
So call us a little crazy for the simplicity of our beliefs, but please spend some time exploring our “Conflict Competence” page on this website before you write us off as religious nut cases. What you’ll find there can be useful to you whether you’re a member of a religious order or a committed atheist. In other words, conflict competence is fundamentally humanitarian – it isn’t the exclusive property of any belief system.
*We are deeply grateful to our dear friend Dr. Samuel Barkat for his interpretation of this word and for introducing us to the body of scholarly thinking on the topic. See for example Cornelius Plantinga, Jr., Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin, 1995, Wm. B. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI, p. 10; this passage is footnoted in the original to refer the reader to pp. 69-72 of Nicholas Wolterstorff’s Until Justice and Peace Embrace, Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1983. The writings of other analysts (e.g., Walter Brueggemann, Craig Nessan, and Ken Wytsma) confirm the elements of interconnection and thriving in the Hebrew conception of shalom.
Patrice is the Senior Director of Staff Management at Wycliffe Bible Translators USA, where her relentless focus on developing processes, policies, and tools that support authentically inclusive workplaces has resulted in her recognition as "an exemplary role model and advocate for change, diversity and (kingdom) inclusion.” She brings over 20 years of Human Resource experience in the non-profit sector, a B.B.A. (Bachelor of Business Administration), and Mediation Training Institute (MTI) ® certification as a Workplace Mediator and Trainer to her DDC role.
Patrice is one of the pioneer members of Wycliffe's Diversity Commission and served as the co-leader of the Commission's Training Task Force. In this role, and also in her role as a founding partner of Difficult Dialogues Consulting, she has developed dynamic learning experiences that equip participants to build truly inclusive organizations. These experiences provide the knowledge and skills that yield conflict competence, the key to the open and safe sharing of diverse perspectives on challenging topics.
A compelling passion to empower people to respectfully engage one another so that all (not just a privileged few) may speak the truth in love motivates Patrice. She understands – from both personal experience and research – that inclusion only happens when each individual’s uniqueness is highly valued and each group member is offered full belonging – i.e., no voices are silenced.
Rocky brings an exceptionally broad range of experience to the business of conflict competence. From educational leadership to international political-military negotiations, he has studied and practiced the principles of productive dialogue for over 30 years. Colonel Tyler is a retired Army Reserve Foreign Area Officer (FAO) who served multiple tours as a United States Central Command (USCENTCOM) senior staff officer specializing in Iraq-related issues. In 2007-2008, he deployed as one of only four uniformed service members of the US-Iraq Status of Forces Agreement negotiating team, serving as the senior USCENTCOM advisor to team leader Ambassador Robert G. Loftis.
Between his repeated post-9/11 calls to active military duty, Rocky served as a high school and adjunct college instructor specializing in learning community leadership (as opposed to traditional lecture). As a certified TRIBES Learning Communities ® trainer since 2001, he has provided the tools for building authentically inclusive collaborative learning environments to K-12 teachers and administrators, college instructors, and church staff members. After retiring from military service and prior to launching Difficult Dialogues Consulting, Rocky was the Staff Development Manager at Wycliffe Bible Translators USA, where he served as a founding member of Wycliffe’s Diversity Commission and co-leader of the Commission's Training Task Force. This experience and his Mediation Training Institute (MTI) ® certification as a Workplace Mediator and Trainer provide him with an unusually deep understanding of organizational interpersonal dynamics.
Rocky is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and earned his M.A. in International Relations at Yale University.
Scott has been a positive force in the lives of young people since the early 1990’s, serving nearly two decades as a youth minister and most recently as the Associate Director of Volunteer and Intern Placement at Wycliffe Bible Translators USA. While leading a team in developing and managing a sustainable process for employing people resources in support of global missions, he also personally coached Wycliffe’s college interns in preparing for their best next step toward their careers in ministry.
People development is not just what Scott does, it’s who he is. His passion for mentoring and his exceptional emotional intelligence empower him to journey with individuals from all walks of life. His extensive experience as a pastor, camp and conference speaker, team leader, and church small group facilitator enables him to be unusually creative and effective across the entire spectrum (individual to large group) of people engagement. Scott is currently finishing a B.A. in Biblical Studies.
For years Scott has been the acknowledged peacemaker in his extended family. After realizing the level of dysfunction in his family (and in most other families), he has embraced and pursued this calling of Shalom (the Hebrew word for peace and interconnected flourishing). Scott deeply understands that while reactive peace making is a necessary evil, the facilitation of conflict competence yields a much preferred proactive, developmental approach to Shalom. He has a passion for seeing every community fully freed and reconciled, and alive with constructive conflict. This vision is what motivated Scott to become part of the founding Difficult Dialogues Consulting team.