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Ellen Cowell Leadership Award

Ellen Kaye Cowell, a highly skilled mediator with the Family Court of St. Louis County for fifteen years, was a driving force to establish a Missouri chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (MO-AFCC). She envisioned that MO-AFCC would bring cutting edge interdisciplinary educational programs to our state, and generate ideas among professionals working with family court issues that would benefit high conflict families in the Missouri Courts system. In 2000, as a member of the Chapter Organizing Committee, she had the idea to start a series of quarterly brown-bag seminars called Lunch and Learns that have become an ongoing continuing education program in the St. Louis and Kansas City areas. Ellen also helped persuade the AFCC parent organization to hold its Fall Regional Conference in St. Louis in 2003. Later, as the first president of the newly chartered chapter, she oversaw the establishment of an annual spring conference that was a collaboration between MO-AFCC and MARCH Mediation. Ellens work with MO-AFCC was cut short in 2007 when she was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer, and her untimely death came three years later, at the age of 42.  In recognition of her dedication, initiative and vision, Missouri AFCC is establishing the Ellen Cowell Leadership Award, to be given each year during the annual spring conference.

The Ellen Cowell Leadership Award shall be given to a Missouri judicial officer, attorney, or mental health professional working with families experiencing child custody disputes who demonstrates the following qualities:

♦ Leadership  Motivates and inspires others to accomplish a specific goal or objective. This involves an element of risk in order to benefit others.
♦ Initiative  Demonstrates ability to take charge by creating or developing a program, project, or activity that impacts the community. Has a personal commitment to see the project through to its resolution with determined effort.
♦ Creativity  Develops or proposes creative ways to accomplish the goals and objectives of the project.
♦ Dedication  Is recognized by others for being dedicated to achieving the desired results. Accomplishes much within the community by his or her pursuit, courage, enthusiasm, and zeal.

1. Nomination for the award will be made by a member of AFCC.
      a. Nominating letter to be submitted to the Awards Committee Chairman.
      b. Nominating letter will describe how the stated criteria for the Ellen Cowell Leadership Award have been met.
2. Nominating letter will include the names and contact information of two additional references who can attest to the nominees credentials.
3. Current members of the Missouri AFCC board and advisory board are not eligible to receive this award.

Award decisions will be made by the board and advisory board of Missouri AFCC. The recipient of the award will receive a complementary registration to the MO-AFCC Spring conference and a one year AFCC membership.  Recipient must be present at the Spring Conference in order to receive this award.

Please send questions & nominations to andrea.clark@courts.mo.gov and/or lvswall@aol.com


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