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IACP 24th Annual Networking & Educational Forum

IACP 24th Annual Networking & Educational Forum Change the Future Collaborate: How Global Change and Networking Matters by Betsy Vázquez, Esquire

The International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP) Forum was held on October 19 – 22, 2023 at the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and was a huge success. This is a time where IACP members around the globe come together on a yearly basis to share new ideas and thoughts on how “we” as a united community can spread the word of collaboration. It is a time for us to share, grow and learn from our fellow colleagues. However, exciting changes are in the forefront for IACP.


What exactly is change? Change is defined as undergoing transformation, transition, and substitution. With that said, one change that IACP is instilling is that there will be no future gatherings as traditionally done in the past. Rather, IACP will commence regional conferences around the world. Moreover, on the IACP’s website, one will be able to click on a pin on a map for dates, times, and registration links. Although change can be hard for many, change is a good thing with the right, forward-thinking vision, and with the right team. Brian Galbraith, LL.B., IACP President turned over the reins to IACP’s new President, Julia McAninch, Psy.D., who shared exciting news of IACP’s future happenings. Julia expressed her gratitude to Brian for his mentoring in preparation for her new role. Brian successfully weathered the storm that impacted IACP due to the unprecedented Covid pandemic worldwide and all members were and still are very appreciative for his exceptional leadership skills. IACP continues to forge ahead to bigger and better things in the future.


Some of the benefits that IACP offers are:

  1. Flexibility to travel to yearly regional conferences at different geographical locations. In other words, you would choose which regional conference is best for you at different designated locations.
  2. Celebration Gatherings conducted via Zoom with well thought out time zones affording all IACP members the ability to unite globally virtually. The following events are currently scheduled:
    • World Creativity and Innovation Day – April 5, 2024 (5 a.m. – 6:30 a.m. US Pacific Time)
    • UN International Day of Peace – September 10, 2024 (2 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. US Pacific Time)
  3. Strides being made for further international growth and alliances around the globe.
  4. Learning about different Collaborative trainings to further strengthen Collaborative practice groups worldwide.
  5. Growth in training for professionals by Collaborative trainers from a broad spectrum of locations to choose from.

And, so much more.


The forum allowed for many networking events giving the members time to catch up not only professionally, but also on a personal level. Collaboration is all about persons working together especially in an intellectual endeavor. IACP takes it to a whole new way making each and everyone feel like they are part of a bigger and better way in life. It’s almost like we are all one big happy family. Many members were so excited to finally meet in person people they had been communicating with only virtually. Others made new friends and learned about how Collaborative law is practiced in other countries. One of the beauties of collaboration is that it allows for interdisciplinary teams to come together from all parts of the world and be creative in helping resolve differences. Currently, the IACP members around the world include: Australia, Austria, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Panama, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, and growing. Independently we make small differences, but together we form strong alliances and trigger big change.


IACP’s Keynote speaker was Dr. Brian Goldman and his presentation was very insightful for many. He used the analogy of a group of medical professionals to explain the importance of collaboration. Dr. Goldman also spoke about how games can foster stronger relationships amongst professionals. Imagine that something as simple as a team-building game can generate unity and collaboration.

It is not uncommon for many professionals to give generously of their time as presenters at these forums. The presentations ranged from a broad array of collaborative topics. For example, the “Creating and Maintaining a Successful Practice Group: Leadership Skills for Practice Group Leaders” workshop presented by Loretta Gephart, M.A. and Ross M. Evans, Esquire provided a small group setting where different practice group leaders exchanged their thoughts and ideas that benefited everyone. They empowered different Practice Group Leaders with knowledge, practical skills, and resources to further advance their leadership abilities and facilitation of their Practice Group growth. The end goal was to be able to take small nuggets from these presentations and take it home with you to apply it in your professional practice. What’s even better is that members were always open and willing to help each other when needed. For example, being able to pick up the phone and make a quick call to ask for help on a difficult issue in a case. Truly a “win-win” for all. Most importantly, the ability to foster deep connections with other like-minded Collaborative professionals while igniting change is mind-boggling.


During one of the gatherings, special accolades were given to Kevin Scudder, Collaborative Lawyer, may he rest in peace. All the members stood up in his honor and sang a song in his memory which gave rise to many heartfelt emotions. To top off the forum, a fun-filled night generated a lot of laughter and dancing to live music while enjoying a cross culture of foods for dinner. What better way to finish off the IACP’s forum and capture memories for a lifetime. Join us as we travel around the globe, in a whole new way!

Special thanks to Dolores Puppione, Jasmine Polk, Lynda Robbins, and Shannon Grossi and others for their unwavering support in making sure everything ran smoothly throughout the Forum. And, when a request was made, without hesitation they were ready to provide exceptional service.


If you’re ready to move forward to resolve your conflict in a respectful, dignified, and private way, reach out for more information at: www.bvazquezlaw.com or call 305.440.1888.

Betsy Vázquez

Betsy Vázquez is fluent in Spanish and English, a Collaborative Family Law Lawyer, Personal Family Lawyer® and Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator since 2010. In addition, she practices in the field of Estate Planning before, during and after divorce, Elder Law, is a Parenting Coordinator, and a Florida Supreme Court Certified County Mediator. Betsy is the Founder and President of Vázquez Law, PLLC law firm, Mediate4Peace, LLC mediation practice and Hispano Collaborative Professionals™ (HCP) practice group in Doral (Miami-Dade County), Florida. HCP is a nationwide, not-for-profit Collaborative organization and the first Hispanic Collaborative practice group in the state of Florida dedicated to providing legal services by way of the Collaborative process to the Hispanic community. Betsy is an active member and co-Chair to the educational Pod meetings for the Collaborative Family Law Institute (CFLI), a member to the Collaborative Professionals of Southwest Florida (CP), the Florida Academy of Collaborative Professionals (FACP) and the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP). She works with clients throughout the state of Florida to help with divorce, temporary wills, ancillary documents, trusts post-divorce, pre-marital and post-nuptial agreements, parenting plans and other matters impacting families. On a personal note, Betsy is a native Floridian of Hispanic descent, mother and enjoys Zumba workouts.

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