Author, speaker,
conflict TRANSFORMATION specialist

Brave Talk

September 2020 • Broadleaf Books

A book about building resilient relationships in the face of conflict.

Teaching conflict transformation

Melody Stanford Martin offers a unique approach to navigating disagreement, with the following key focus areas:

Courageous Dialogue

To learn the skills of passionate, articulate, respectful disagreement, we must learn to internalize the idea that we need disagreement to have strong ideas and relationships.


In difficult conversations, sharing power is challenging yet critically important to creating spaces where everyone can be seen and heard.

Emotional Regulation

Conflict and impasse tend to dredge up complex emotions. To transform impasse, we must learn to put aside animosity and deal with our emotions in healthier ways.

Building Resilient Relationships

Can your relationships handle the weight of conflict, or do they fracture? Moving past the "walking on eggshells" dynamic means learning to engage each other with appreciation for the ways disagreement and conflict make our ties stronger.

Conversation Effectiveness

Open, honest, and curious questions are at the heart of disagreeing well. Learning to ask great questions is crucial to engaging conflict and impasse.

Effective Argumentation

Mastering the art of argumentation means embracing balanced and accountable rhetoric. It's important to learn the art of crafting passionate and articulate opinions while dignifying our conversation partners and appreciating the consequences of our words.

Brave Talk Base Camp

Brave Talk

Base Camp

A difficult conversation game created by Melody Stanford Martin


In her work, Melody draws from both academic training as well as personal experience with conflict. Working on a strong belief that everyone deserves to be well-trained in the skills of conflict transformation, Melody holds a high commitment to “real talk,” making her work accessible to all ages and all levels of education. 

Drawing from leading sources in restorative justice, communication, psychology, and ethics, Melody’s passion is creating spaces where people can practice courageous dialogue, grow together in resilience, and build relationships that can handle the weight of conflict. She uses an intersectional lens that is approachable to people across the political and religious spectrum.

Melody’s conflict transformation approach is especially pertinent in situations of impasse where resolution or agreement is unlikely. Her framework is based on resisting “cheap peace”, animosity, and othering. Instead, she teaches audiences to internalize core values that are summarized by the idea of “engaging impasse”. Through embracing the paradox of non-resolution, and by learning to appreciate our fundamental need for healthy disagreement, we unlock important opportunities:

“Something powerful happens when we treat every disagreement and every conflict as if it is an impasse — when our approach is to deeply understand, to deeply relate, instead of trying to change someone’s mind. When we take the time first, before anything else, to truly see others, we will learn some vitally important things about their world. Even if we can’t find resolution, we will gain chances to truly connect and dispel myths and fear. We will build trust, empathy, and collaboration.”

— An excerpt from Brave Talk by Melody Stanford Martin | Broadleaf Books, 2020



Melody Stanford Martin is an author, speaker, and conflict transformation specialist.

AUTHOR Melody’s book Brave Talk: Building Resilient Relationships in the Face of Conflict will be released in 2020 by Broadleaf Books. She is also the creator of Brave Talk Base Camp, a skill-building conversation exercise that helps people practice difficult conversations.

CONFLICT TRANSFORMATION SPECIALIST Melody holds a Masters of Divinity with a concentration in social ethics from Boston University School of Theology (BUSTH). She is a graduate of the Religion and Conflict Transformation Program at BUSTH, and during her tenure, co-founded an annual academic conference on rhetorics of violence and healing. She works as a consultant and coach for groups experiencing interpersonal strain.

COMMUNICATIONS EXPERT Melody is the Founder & CEO of Cambridge Creative Group, a design and marketing strategy agency where she has spent over ten years helping humanitarian organizations tell their stories.

PODCAST HOST For over two years and 100+ episodes, Melody was a founding co-host of the show Irenicast: Conversations on Faith and Culture. She worked under the pseudonym “Mona.” The show was featured on iTunes New and Noteworthy and has been downloaded in over 50 countries around the world.

EDUCATOR Melody hosts courses on courageous dialogue and power at She is also an anti-racism educator.

BLOGGER Melody blogs on conflict transformation, courageous dialogue at

Melody lives in Portland, Maine with her husband Corey and their dog Benedict Cumberbatch. When she is not working, she is making rock and jazz music.



"As a state representative in the swing state of Iowa, I have a front row seat to the growing political divide. In a time where divisions not only threaten our country but our very families, we need a new approach to dealing with conflict. Melody Stanford Martin brings that new approach."
Lindsay James
Rep. Lindsay James
Iowa State Representative & former Chaplain
"Both creative and practical, Melody's work inspired me to work more intentionally at my own growth while guiding me into new ways to think about conflict, differences, power, anxiety, and navigating relational impasses."
Dr. Stephen Sandage
Psychologist, Director of Clinical Research at the Danielsen Institute
"With both rigorous analysis and deep compassion, Melody Stanford Martin shows how it is possible to reach a point of empathy and understanding, even in deep-rooted conflicts."
Diana Francis
Peace Activist and Former President of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation
"Melody Martin brings her skills as a communication expert and social ethicist to share with us understandable and memorable stories, images, examples, and wisdom."
Tom Porter
Attorney, Founder of the Religion and Conflict Transformation Center at Boston University



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