Meet the Founder,
Joyce Lynn Elder, JD



My Story

When I started studying law and had some close calls as a mediator, I knew the risk of conflict and confrontation was higher, but I didn't expect threats and a hostage incident! But there I was, with my back turned to the door, when others looked past me. Color drained from their faces, and their jaws dropped. Curious, I turned around.


An arm's length away was a person we knew was hostile and carried multiple weapons. He had stormed the front desk in his furious efforts to find me. So when he made a threat, we had to take it seriously and act quickly. But what do you do when someone's blocking the door, has already seen you, and is more likely to win in a fight?

“Run. Hide. Fight” (aka “Avoid. Deny. Defend”) wasn't going to work. That was designed for active shooter incidents, and my goal was to avoid that. The best strategy I had, then, was to listen first and use the best communication and change strategies I had.


I had a lot to draw from, but nobody told me they were training me to handle a hostage incident. I set out to stall for time. But when nobody was able to call police, my stall tactics were repurposed as hostage negotiation strategies. Fortunately, they worked, and the incident inspired me to make a change in a company I was building.

As a nursing major, I was diagnosed with 2 bone marrow failure syndromes, which led to a transplant with complications. That drove me to want to make my greatest difference. I wasn't sure how until that incident occurred.


By the time this incident arose, I had gained formal education in nursing and counseling. I also had degrees in psychology/ sociology, and law as well as certifications in mediation, coaching, and consulting.

With an artistic eye for unique perspectives and an attorney’s skill in spotting issues, I have a proven track record for helping people find options in the face of "impossible" situations. I have:

  • advocated as an attorney, Dependency CASA, witness, and legislative action committee member;

  • coached people through crises such as suicidal thoughts, grief, and anxiety; leaving abusive relationships, and health challenges;

  • mediated workplace, small claims, and neighborhood disputes;

  • taught martial arts and English as a Foreign Language. I've also trained professionals in communication strategies around rapport and collaborative negotiation; and

  • facilitated discussions involving grievances and EEOC complaints and highly charged meetings

After the incident, I designed a communication process based on that, and today it is part of what I use to help legal and medical professionals develop collaborative and sustainable practices.

“When people think they're backed against a wall, they feel hopeless. That may cause them to shut down or strike out. The solution is to discover more safe and sustainable options, and new perspective helps," says Joyce.


She creatively draws from an eclectic knowledge base to accomplish that; it includes areas such as training, crisis counseling, non-profit leadership, coaching, research interviewing, neurolinguistics, and legislative advocacy.

Some of her pastimes involve creative problem-solving, too. When she's not spending too much time on Facebook, Joyce can be found caring for her paraplegic cat; doing one of many crafts such as knitting; teaching English; or supporting people as a volunteer Crisis Counselor.

And while that skill in utilization comes in handy in Joyce's work, her natural trustworthiness, determination, humor, and curiosity are also key. She has received acclaim repeatedly for rapidly gaining trust and helping people feel calm and capable in the presence of seemingly impossible chaos. Animals, too. She once wrangled 3 unbridled horses she didn't know at a busy intersection while wearing heels.

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