Mediator Cynthia McFarlane Weighs In On Inclusivity In Mediation

  • Conflicts and disagreements are an inevitable part of the modern working environment
  • 80-90% of professional disputes are believed to have a successful outcome as a result of employing the services of an experienced mediator
  • As a black female business owner with a focus on all areas of mediation, Cynthia McFarlane has played an integral role in the space of mediation.

The right to leave a legacy is something that is all too often assumed by those more privileged, However, for those who were traditionally excluded from such an opportunity, it may well be perceived as something destined for other reference groups. For Cynthia McFarlane, there are several concepts she is striving for improving the standards of black business owners. These include the introduction of a groundbreaking programme to support black CEOs to secure their wealth preservation, and the concept of taking the leadership they deserve in business mediations.


Every industry eventually reaches the point where evolution is inevitable. McFarlane recently commented: "I am striving for inclusivity in mediation. I believe that mediation suffers from a lack of awareness, especially in the black community; it should be more representative of society. I have never seen a black person, as a party in a mediation!"

What is Mediation?

Disputes are an unavoidable part of being human and are inevitable in businesses. If handled incorrectly, disputes have the potential to affect the mental and financial well-being of all involved. It is not unheard of that in extreme cases, disputes can result in the permanent dissolution of a business.

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Mediation is an important step between negotiation and litigation with the help of an impartial third party to initiate the dialogue between the two affected parties. It also creates a space that is free of impulsive decisions, focusing on finding tangible solutions that are seen as beneficial by both parties.

Experienced mediators are prominent figures in their field and their sought-after services, and more companies are realizing the benefits of mediation, making it a fast-growing option for businesses looking to swiftly and effectively deal with conflicts.

Why Choose Mediation?

Mediation is often mandated by the law, ensuring that the parties in a conflict don't have a choice. However, this approach often generates unwanted publicity. However, awareness of mediation as an option before cases reach the courts is rising, and more businesses are embracing it since all parties are given a private platform to address and solve their issues. Interestingly, for a large majority of people seeking mediation, they report complete satisfaction with the outcome.

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The Rise of Black Businesses

Black-owned businesses make a substantial contribution to the UK economy as shown in a report on research conducted by Minority Supplier Development UK (MSDUK) on the successes and challenges faced by minority-owned businesses. Minority Businesses Matter found that out of the six million companies registered in the UK, one-sixth of them are black-owned, and these businesses employ close to three million people.

This means a positive impact of an estimated income of £74 billion a year. Furthermore, the above report highlighted that eight of the UK's twenty-three unicorn start-ups, companies valued at $1 billion and over, are black-owned. However, despite these achievements, black-owned businesses face far more obstacles and challenges than others, including limited access to financing, less government support, and underrepresentation in senior leadership positions.

Gaps in the Mediation Industry and What The Experts Say

More people are identifying the gap that exists in the mediation industry. Marcie Dickson is the first black female to introduce a firm centered around dispute resolution in the United States called Alterity Resolution Services LLC (Alterity ADR), based in Atlanta. The company has a diverse and knowledgeable panel and the company revealed that these make better decisions 87% of the time, while minimizing risks to businesses by 30%.

Along with its diverse panel, Alterity ADR utilizes data to constantly refine its approach and ensure consistent results. Alterity ADR addresses the need for more inclusive and comprehensive dispute resolution options for national and international clients.

Another expert in mediation and legal coaching is Cynthia McFarlane. Besides having practised as a barrister in the UK for 16 years, McFarlane is an accredited international mediator in all aspects of law with 7 years of experience. The founder of Cynthia McFarlane Mediator was recently awarded Mediator Achiever of the Year 2020, a recognition of her extensive skills and experience ranging from working with small businesses to large corporations.

McFarlane is striving for inclusivity in mediation, and strongly believes that it suffers from a lack of awareness, especially in the black community. Through her business, she wishes to create a more inclusive space for mediation and she is passionate about drawing attention to its benefits for their businesses. Her dedication includes helping black business owners to foster generational wealth leading to the creation of an innovative program aimed at successful black CEOs.

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McFarlane has built a reputation for having an easy disposition that helps put all parties at ease during tumultuous disputes. She is also adept at taking complicated legal issues and making them easy for everyone to understand, something that is sorely needed in the world of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). She is hoping that through intensive and focussed mentorship this will help empower more black people, and as she puts it: "Secure your legacy, 90 years in 90 days!"

Cynthia McFarlaneCynthia McFarlane

Final Take

There is a growing recognition for the important role of mediation in a business, and diversity is as important in this sector as in others. Awareness of the role of mediation in disputes is vital, especially among the black business community. Choosing the right mediator with the necessary experience and emotional intelligence can make all the difference in resolving conflict and ensuring the satisfaction of all involved. Considering the historic connection of the UK to its ex-colonies, there are vast opportunities for collaborations across the Commonwealth, and McFarlane is introducing the power of mediation and the importance of legacy to people across all sectors.

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