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Women’s Negotiation Academy

groups of women talking amongst themselves at a staus workshop

Creating Skilled and Sophisticated Negotiators

Women's Negotiation Academy is expected to take place in December 2021 - Online

Please email lori.rushford@pepperdine.edu to be notified of the dates.

 We recommend using google chrome web browser for registration.

This interactive workshop is designed to present you with specific tools and techniques to increase your effectiveness as a negotiator. The three days of instruction will be offered through the lens of gender, with an eye towards the most recent research on gender issues in negotiation.  The schedule for each day is 8:30 - 1:30 p.m. 

All are welcome to attend.


Course Information

Why a Women's Negotiation Academy?

A sentiment echoed in boardrooms, council chambers, classrooms, think-tanks, and social media follows: empowering women is key to solving many of the world's most challenging problems. And yet, in American businesses, law firms, and courtrooms there is a disconnect. Despite women being half the job market, women earn less, and are represented in top management at a significantly lower rate than men. According to a NALP 2012 study, women constitute just under 20 percent of law firm partnership ranks, with 2.16 percent being minority women. While there are myriad reasons for this disparity, a body of empirical research points to a significant trend; women negotiate differently for themselves than for others.

Who Can Benefit?

The Women in Negotiations Academy is designed to expose both the beginner and the most experienced negotiator to techniques that will increase their effectiveness as a negotiator. While the role plays were designed for women in business and the law, everyone is welcome and can benefit from the tools. Past participants include entertainment executives and lawyers, a mayor and other elected officials, government department directors, partners in law firms, commercial real estate developers, the director of a roller derby team, mediators, and a law student from Moldova! If you have questions about whether this course is right for you, contact the Straus Office at 310.506.4655.

What You Will Learn?

The Academy training curriculum is usually two days of training, however, for the online program it will be held over three days.  Day One, Negotiating for Self, explores current negotiation theory through the lens of gender, with an emphasis on fostering your own gender intelligence. We will explore the psychology and cognitive biases that tend to emerge in "gendered negotiations," with techniques to stay on course. Day Two, Negotiating for Others, is intended to help each participant practice the skills employed by the most effective negotiators with emphasis on negotiating when bias is at the table.  (This schedule will take into account three days of shorter training time.) Each participant receives individual coaching from leaders in the Los Angeles legal and mediation community.

How You Will Change?

It is our intention that during the Academy you find, develop, or refine your love of negotiations. Participants report after the Academy they are more confident and more likely to engage in negotiations on their own behalf. They report they leave with good lines, and know what to say in a negotiation. We believe teaching individual women negotiation skills contributes to promoting justice, solving problems, and serving peace. We welcome you to be a part of this.

What previous attendees have said:

     "Fantastic - must do!"

     "Loved all the information and the presentation. Great teaching skills,
      information, humor, and insight."

     "I was inspired by the energy and the professionalism."


Stephanie Bell Blondell

Stephanie Blondell is an assistant professor of law and practice and associate director of the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution. She supervises the Mediation Clinic and teaches Mediation Theory and Practice and Criminal Law. Prior to joining Pepperdine, she served as the manager of the King County Alternative Dispute Resolution Program and Inter-Local Conflict Resolution Group, a tri-county labor-management and public policy mediation program in the area around Seattle, Washington. Prior to this she was the alternative dispute resolution coordinator for the City of Seattle where she designed and implemented a labor and employment mediation program for city government. Before joining Straus full-time, Blondell served as an adjunct professor at Straus, the Seattle University School of Law, and the University of Washington master of public administration program. Blondell earned her BA with honors in American civilization from Brown University, and her JD from the University of Washington School of Law.

Denise R. Madigan

Denise R. Madigan has been mediating full-time for over 20 years. She entered the field as associate director for the Harvard-MIT Public Disputes Program in the early 1980s, and after practicing law at Arnold & Porter in Washington, D.C, joined the pioneering ADR firm, Endispute, Inc., (which later merged with JAMS). The breadth of her practice is extraordinarily broad, and includes complex commercial, entertainment, intellectual property, insurance, mass accidents, public policy and health care, among others. In addition to her full-time mediation practice, Madigan has taught at the Straus Institute since the mid-1990s, and now serves as director of its Public Disputes Project. She also has designed and/or taught hundreds of tailored negotiation and ADR courses for courts, law firms, government agencies, universities, nonprofits and corporations in the United States, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.



Registration for Women's Negotiation Academy is $1,395 and Governmental or non-profit is $1,095.00.

Registration includes course materials. Because enrollment will be limited, participants should register early.


  • Should a paid participant be unable to attend, the registration payment, less a $300 cancellation fee, will be refunded or a substitute may attend the program. (Refunds for registrations paid by check will require a W-9 form submitted to the University. This is for internal purposes only to generate a refund check. The refund is not taxed nor would a 1099 be issued.)
  • There is a $100 administrative fee for transferring to another program.

 MCLE Credit

These activities have been approved for 13 hours of MCLE credit by the State Bar of California. Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law certifies that the activity conforms to the standards for approved education activities prescribed by the rules and regulations of the State Bar of California governing MCLE. Participants from outside of California should submit the California MCLE form to their state bar for approval after the program is completed.  Please be sure to sign in each day in the CLE sign-in forms located in the classroom. Straus programs have been accepted for MCLE credit across the nation.


All programs of the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution are offered with a satisfaction guarantee. If a participant completes the program and is dissatisfied with the course content or performance of the faculty, the tuition fee will be refunded.

 Tax Deduction

Education expenses (including enrollment fees, course materials, and travel costs) may be deductible if they improve or maintain professional skills. Treas. Reg. 26 D.F.R. Sec. I 162-5.

 Locations, Times and Hotels



Classes are conducted via Zoom between 8:30 AM and 1:30 PM. 


 Contact Information

For more information, please call Lori Rushford at 310.506.6342 or email lori.rushford@pepperdine.edu.