Conflict Specialist

Melody Stanford Martin is a social ethicist and communications expert focusing on rhetorical innovation, courageous community engagement, and out-of-the-box thinking to solve social problems. She is the author of Brave Talk: Building Resilient Relationships in the Face of Conflict and a co-host of Brave Space Live, a podcast about anti-oppression and communal healing. Melody is also a TEDx speaker, executive coach, and mediator. Her current research centers on cognitive dissonance and the art of practicing courage and compassion amidst shifting beliefs and values.

Brave Talk

by Melody Stanford Martin

A book about building resilient relationships in the face of conflict (Broadleaf Books, 2020)

Teaching the Skills of Conflict Transformation

Melody Stanford Martin offers a unique approach to navigating disagreement and impasse in multiple key focus areas:

The Art of "Brave Talk"

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.

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.

Sharing Power

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

Intersectional Literacy

Anti-oppression is a critical element of conflict transformation as it shapes the enactment of justice and equity. Co-collaborating with diverse practitioners, conflict is an opportunity to raise the bar for inclusion.

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.

Unleashing Curiosity & Creativity

Open, honest, and curious questions are at the heart of disagreeing well. Learning to master conflict means lowering fear and anxiety and improving the quality and strength of relationships so teams can go from a state of fragility to a state of collaboration and exploration.

Rhetorical Ethics

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.”

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


Melody Stanford Martin is an author, speaker, coach, activist,
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 the creator of Brave Talk Project and 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. 

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.

KEYNOTE SPEAKER Melody is a TEDx speaker (TEDx Heritage Green and TEDx Santa Barbara) and keynote speaker and lecturer for corporate, nonprofit, faith-based, and municipal organizations.

COACH & MEDIATOR For groups who are both experiencing interpersonal strain and groups who want to build skills before conflict becomes an issue, Melody works as a consultant, coach, and conflict mediator.

BLOGGER Melody contributes regularly to and blogs on conflict transformation, courageous dialogue at

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

PODCAST HOST Melody is the co-host of Brave Space Live, a podcast about anti-oppression and communal healing. 

Melody lives in Maine with her husband Corey and their dogs Baxter and Benedict Cumberbatch. When she is not working, she is gardening and playing rock and jazz.



"I can’t tell you how much Melody's intervention has meant to me and our entire HR team. Impressive and enlightening are the words that I would use to describe how we started and where we ended up working with her. I have incredible appreciation for the deep and meaningful learning environment she created. There are conversations between people in our department that would not have happened without her – BraveTalk is occurring! "
Doreen Kemper
Talent Development Manager, Municipal HR Department
"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 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



955 Massachusetts Ave. #416
Cambridge, MA 02139