• Dispute Resolution Center

    Mediation: It's your solution
  • 1

Executive Director

Executive Director Donna Phillips is a Texas licensed Attorney and Credentialed Distinguished Mediator1 On behalf of the DRC, Donna mediates 75-100 cases each year.

Donna has specialized/advanced training in Family Mediation, Juvenile-Offender and Victim Mediation, and Child Protective Services Mediation, in addition to the Basic 40-hour training required for all Texas mediators.

Prior to becoming Executive Director of the Dispute Resolution Center (DRC) in January, 2012, Donna had a private practice in Arlington, Texas, and represented clients from Dallas-Fort Worth and surrounding areas. In her solo practice, she served in roles as Attorney Advocate and as Mediator for Probate, Landlord/Tenant, Family Law, Court-Appointed Parent, Court-Appointed Child (for CPS and for private cases), Contract, Employment Discrimination, Debt Collection, and Real Estate/Property/Construction clients. She was an active volunteer Attorney-Mediator for Dispute Resolution Services of North Texas (DRS, Fort Worth), prior to moving to the Waco area. Since Donna had experienced being the client in a landlord/tenant mediation and in a divorce action prior to becoming a mediator herself, she is literally a veteran of all sides – client, attorney representing client, and mediator!

Committed to the advancement of the profession, Donna has been a subject-matter expert presenter in Basic Mediator Training, Child Protective Services Mediator training, and Family Mediator training for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) programs at DRS Fort Worth, DMS, Dallas, Texas Women’s University, Denton, Texas, and Texas A&M University School of Law, Fort Worth. She acts as a Coach for Texas A&M Law School traveling competition teams in the categories of Representation in Mediation (she was American Bar Association Student Regional Champion as a student herself), as well as Client Interviewing and Counseling (a category she also won Regional Championship as a student.) She has also served as Judge for Student competitions for Texas A&M and Baylor Law Schools.

Donna developed and made interactive presentations on topics including Dealing with Negative Emotions, Client Counseling, Representation in Mediation (The Lawyer’s Role), Accommodating Children’s Ages (Child Development) in Developing Parenting Plans, and Maximizing Use of Your Strengths in Negotiation.

Donna is a member of the Association of Attorney Mediators (AAM), the State Bar of Texas ADR, Probate and Family Law Sections, Texas Association of Mediators (TAM), Texas Mediation Trainers Roundtable (TMTR), American Bar AssociationAdvisory Panel on Family Law and ADR, the Waco-McLennan County Bar Association and the Texas Mediator Credentialing Association (TMCA). In addition, she currently represents the Dispute Resolution Center Directors Council to the State Bar of Texas ADR Section Council.

Prior to entering law school, Donna earned a Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW) and worked in several capacities for the State of Texas, including caseworker for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF, formerly AFDC) and for Child Protective Services (Home Studies and Investigations), CPS Adoptions Supervisor for 9 counties, and Program Director II of Child Care Licensing for 10 counties.

Donna also has extensive career experience in business and in senior management, having worked for a large company as Director of Computer Operations, Advertising Billing, Credit and Collections, Customer Service, and Human Resources Organizational Training and Development departments.

[1]Texas Mediator Credentialing Association


Current Goals

On behalf of the DRC, Donna conducts approximately 75-100 mediations each year, though both she and the DRC Board of Directors are working to increase mediation by volunteer mediators so that she can devote more time and energy to administration of the DRC. This, includes increasing the number of mediations the center can offer, marketing services to broader audiences, mentoring volunteer mediators, offering additional training programs (including continuing education), and raising funds so that the DRC may continue to offer mediation at affordable rates while staying current with equipment and furnishings necessary for day-to-day operations.



Donna has been married to Jerry Phillips for 23 years, and together they have four young-adult children – Andy, Matt, Aaron and Audrey, and three young grandchildren – Naomi, Sam and Karina. Now that the kids are out on their own, Donna and Jerry’s chow-shepherd mix rescue dog, Jazz, believes he is the master of the Phillips’ home; however the cats (also both rescue), Mister Magoo and Slim know better...


[1] Texas Mediator Credentialing Association