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A Shawnee businesswoman has found a rather unusual way to help the community.

Julie Landes volunteers her time as a mediator through Early Settlement Mediation, a process that allows both sides in a dispute to develop an acceptable resolution without going to court.

Early Settlement, part of the Oklahoma Dispute Resolution Program, provides an important service to local communities throughout Oklahoma in both community and court-related disputes. The resolution program is funded by the court system and trains volunteers such as Landes to act as mediators.

Landes is certified in Basic as well as Family and Divorce Mediation.

“Mediating with Early Settlement provides an outlet for me and other volunteers to help the community in a substantial and meaningful way,” she said. 

Although she lives in Little Axe, she has chosen to use her mediation skills in Pottawatomie County. She and her husband Stephen are owners and operators of The LandRun Group LLC in Shawnee. 

Mediation allows the parties in a dispute a chance to develop a resolution that is win-win for everyone involved, Landes said.

“In all cases, whether small claims, civil, or family and divorce, the parties have the opportunity to find agreements that work for both sides,” she said. “If left up to the court, there would be a winner and a loser. Mediation helps people find agreements they may not have considered before that fit everyone’s needs.”

When people come to mediation with an open mind, she said, they will almost always find a way to reach agreement.

The Early Settlement Program serving the East Central Oklahoma area is sponsored by East Central University in Ada. It is located in ECU’s Center of Continuing Education and Community Services.

Persons interested in training to become a volunteer mediator through the program should contact the Early Settlement office at 580-559-5674, or email Kathy King, director of Early Settlement East Central, at For more information about the Early Settlement Mediation Program visit

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