Meet our member: Roel Simon

Tribes Inspiring Workplaces
31 Jan 2020

Meet our member: Roel Simon

by Tribes Inspiring Workplaces, on 31 Jan 2020


Roel Simon is a well known member at Tribes Rotterdam for three years now. Before our appointment, he enjoys a cup of coffee while chatting at our reception. Roel Simon is 54 years old, lives in Berkel, is married and is father of three children. His career began with a Law degree and then moved on to a Psychology degree at Utrecht University. He is self-employed and is very happy with Tribes. He uses our meeting rooms for conversations with his customers. Roel is an MfN-registered mediator. He likes to emphasize that, because some Dutch people are not aware of what a mediator does, so Roel explains: a mediator, or in everyday language, a conflict mediator, is a professional who guides parties in resolving their conflicts.

Simon Mediation

He established his own secondment company in 1994, where he gained work experience as a manager and HR Director. In 2001, he took a different path and started specializing in mediation as a Social and Organizational Psychologist. Since then, he runs Simon Mediation. He specializes in family mediations focused on divorces and arrangements for parental access. In addition, he conducts employment mediation in which industrial relations and labour relations are central. He obtains business through word-of-mouth advertising and, indirectly, through the Occupational Health and Safety services. For issues between parties, a third neutral person (the mediator) is called in if they cannot come to an agreement with each other; Simon Mediation works with both parties towards a solution.

His personal approach makes his Simon Mediation so unique

Roel Simon believes that a conflicts origin is most of the time in a person's feeling. That can be frustration, anger, injustice, distrust or something else. This then leads to an issue in which all kinds of legal aspects can be added, such as labor law and personal and family law. He believes that when parties can work on their relationship, allowing them to discuss their affairs as adults, many conflicts can be resolved. A keyword here is "want". In his own personal way, he stimulates parties in the conversation to think about themselves and to create reflective capacity.

By now, he has more than four hundred completed mediations to his name, and he belongs to a select group of highly experienced MfN register mediators. From the beginning, he has been registered with the recognized quality register of mediators in the Netherlands: the MfN register. This is the only register of mediators in the Netherlands recognized by the Council for the Judiciary, the Council for Legal Aid and the Ministry of Justice. As an MfN-registered mediator, he is on the list of the Legal Aid Board, which allows him to perform work on an add-on basis (funded legal aid) for private individuals. In addition to the family and labor issues, Roel makes references from the Rotterdam, Dordrecht and Dordrecht District Courts and Court of The Hague. These are often highly escalated conflicts of people who have been involved in legal (judicial) proceedings for years. As an experienced behavioral scientific mediator, he has held various management positions and has participated in several committees and working groups within the mediation country, focusing on the quality of mediation and mediators. From April 2012 to May 2016, Roel Simon Peer Reviewer was closely involved in the quality assurance of MfN register mediators. He also advises and teaches about conflict management and mediation. Now, he is also sub-project leader in addition to his work as a mediator in an EU project on Interdisciplinary cooperation and conflict management.

Empathizing with the other and solving a problem gives me satisfaction

The psychologist mediator is rare in the MfN register, the largest group of mediators have a legal background.

My point of view: involvement with people who have a conflict, helping them and creating insight into their own actions. Knowledge of people and empathy is important. By using this, you won't approach an issue from a legal point of view, but you'll be able to focus on the people and their wishes, needs and interests”.

By now, he has had 20 years of experience and has seen a lot of cases pass by. The best thing about his work is; "Making people think and creating an awareness of their own role in a conflict situation". Adults are very good at playing a role and saying different things than they mean. “If you pay close attention and listen carefully, you can extract many things or signals. You are involved in conflict diagnosis”. Whether it concerns labor matters, family matters or other issues in which relationships play a role, the approach remains tailor-made, but the people are central.

The best thing about his work is that it gives him a lot of satisfaction when a case is resolved. It has happened several times that a former couple were in trouble for years with lawyers on the sidelines. And when they sit at my table, they will say; “If we had met you four years earlier, we would not have been in this conflict situation. " 

What he especially remembers in the positive sense of an employer: a director who called because his secretary had relationship problems at home. His vision was: when she gets divorced, it will cause problems for my company. Soon I will lose her, and I really need her. Looking for someone else takes time, money and energy. You can imagine that it's wonderful to solve this problem (on an initiative of the employer) and to prevent the employee from falling sick or leaving. Preventive response to the situation to prevent problems.

Tribes is the perfect place to receive my clients

The court's mediation office was on the second floor in the same building as the Tribes location Rotterdam Wilhelminatoren. He had to be at the Rotterdam court a lot, and that's also the reason why he met Tribes. The mediation officers of the mediation agencies within the courts know him and know where to find him at Tribes. As a mediator you often need a meeting room and preferably close to the court, and therefore he often uses our meeting rooms. 'Tribes gives me the opportunity to book a meeting room, being right next to the court in Rotterdam. It's an ideal combination for me.  In addition, Tribes has several locations in Rotterdam. If there is no meeting room available on that location, I can always move to another Tribes. The nice thing about Tribes Rotterdam Wilhelminatoren is that this location is close to a subway and the other locations are not far apart and I think that is fantastic.

Roel has been at various co-working places for Tribes. Because he also conducts business conversations, he believes that Tribes has a good professional image. Of course, he wants to make a good impression on business relations and want his clients to think, "Oh, that looks good." In addition, Tribes has a nice concept; you belong to something, it's a real community. And that feels good for both the professional mediator and his clients.