My name is Leo Barrera. My formal training in conflict resolution began in the United States Army where conflict is resolved through direct confrontation and violence. After leaving the Army, I learned that the destruction of your enemy, even the idea that an opponent is your enemy, can be detrimental to the negotiation and resolution of smaller, everyday conflicts. This put me on the path to seeking out better ways to deal with conflict.
Since that time I have let my experiences inform my interest in conflict management and resolution. Interactions with clients and colleagues, both in the public sector and the private sector, have provided numerous opportunities for learning. I have worked with community-based organizations and addressed professional organizations on topics such as conflict resolution, leadership, effective communication, and groupthink. I have served as a union steward and been a member of the bargaining unit in contract negotiations between the Service Employees International Union Local 721 and the County of Los Angeles.
I have been a Child Support Officer with the County of Los Angeles since 2007. I have a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration with a concentration in Administrative Management and a master’s degree in Negotiation, Conflict Resolution, and Peacebuilding, both from California State University, Dominguez Hills. My academic interests include community activism, structural violence, leadership, and social capital.