The Florida Academy of Professional Mediators (TFAPM) is pleased to announce the recipients of the Mel Rubin Memorial Award of Merit and the Susan Dubow Service Award for 2021.

Deborah Beylus is the winner of the Mel Rubin Memorial Award of Merit. Ms. Beylus has been certified by the Florida Supreme Court for over ten years. She is certified in Family, Circuit Civil, County, and Dependency. A former senior equity analyst for one of the largest financial firms, she is also a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst. In addition to her mediation practice (South Florida Mediation Services), she has served as a guardian ad litem, a primary mediation trainer, a member of the Florida Supreme Court’s Mediation Qualifications Discipline and Review Board (MQRDB), and as a FINRA arbitrator. She is also the current president of the TFAPM.1 There, she has worked tirelessly to strengthen TFAPM, making it more efficient and effective.

The Award is named in honor of Mel Rubin. Mel was a litigator for fourteen years before discovering a passion for mediation, and by 1985 had become a full-time mediator. He trained thousands of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) professionals and taught mediation classes at the University of Miami. He designed ADR systems to deal with disputes and claims arising out of disasters, including Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Known for his joie de vivre and gentle demeanor, Mel was a mentor to many in the Florida mediation community. The Award is presented each year to the person who has contributed to the strength of that community.

Jeanne Pothoff is the winner of the Susan Dubow Service Award.

Jeanne has worked for Court Administration’s Court Mediation and Arbitration Program in the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit for over 20 years and has been the court’s ADR Director since 2008. Jeanne was involved in implementing the first dependency mediation program for the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit in the mid-1990s. In 2017, Jeanne collaborated with the administrative judge to expand dependency mediation services for visitation and other issues during the TPR process. Ms. Pothoff has received multiple awards for her contributions to child welfare. She oversaw the grant for instant family mediation, in which family cases are sent to mediation directly from any phase of a hearing or trial process. Jeanne has helped coordinate mediation services at credit card docket blitzes and pro se divorce days. During the remote work of the State Courts,

Jeanne worked with Court Administration and the Judiciary in establishing and implementing remote ADR operations. This included testing the pretrial docket remote operations. Jeanne is the past president of both the Association of South Florida Mediators and the Florida Academy of Professional Mediators. Jeanne is certified in the areas of Family, Dependency, County, and Circuit Civil Mediation and is a primary trainer in the areas of Family, Dependency, and County Mediation. She has served on the MQDRB and currently serves on the ADR Rules and Policy Committee.

The Award is named in honor of Susan Dubow. Susan served as the Director of the ADR Division of the 17th Judicial Circuit for over 20 years. In addition to being a mediator and trainer, she was an adjunct professor at Nova Southeastern University’s law school and served as president of the Association of South Florida Mediators and The Florida Academy of Professional Mediators. The Award is presented to a person who has gone beyond the call of duty in furthering mediation in Florida.

1 Deborah took no part in her nomination or selection for this Award, and voting for it was not shared with her.