Meet Afsana Gibson-Chowdhury Q.Med

Afsana is the founder of Gibson Chowdhury, Clear Collaborative Mediation. She is a designated Qualified Mediator (Q.Med); a roster mediator for the Ministry of the Attorney General's office on the Ontario Mandatory Mediation Program and an Adjudicator for the Property Standards Committee in the City of Toronto. Originally from Britain, Afsana was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 2007 and entered the Roll of Solicitors in 2010. Her areas of practice include personal injury, medical malpractice and insurance defense. Following her move to Canada in 2012, Afsana established her mediation practice in 2019 and now mediates in Canada and Britain.

CONTACT

Education and Experience

Volunteer and Current Positions

Afsana is a full-time mediator and continues to make time to volunteer and serve her community.

  • The OBA. Afsana is currently a member of the Ontario Bar Association, serving as the CPD Liaison for the ADR Section. Afsana helps to develop CPD programming for the ADR section to help members with continued education. Afsana is also a member of the Diversity Committee and is currently the co-chair of the Neutrals Diversity Report, which a research project to help increase diversity in the ADR field.
  • Diversified Dispute resolution Institute of Canada. Afsana is the co-chair of the Advisory Committee at the Diversified Dispute Resolution Institute of Canada. www.DDRIOC.com. DDRIOC is a non-profit organization that is helping to build a platform to increase diversity in the ADR field. The organization provides a roster of experienced BIPOC and female mediators and arbitrators; mediation training courses and internships for new practitioners. Afsana has also developed the Intercultural Communication and Diversity for Professionals course, which is a four-day course with tools to encourage inclusion and intercultural communication strategies.
  • She is a coach at the Osgoode Hall Law School Mediation Clinic, where she helps students to practice their mediation skills.
  • Adjudicator. Afsana was recently appointed by the Property Standards Committee to adjudicate appeals of orders issued by the City Property Standards Officer.
  • International Academy of Mediators. In April 2021, Afsana was selected to become a mentee at International Academy of Mediators (IAM) where she continues to enhance her learning and experience with her mentor Alicia Kuin from ADR Chambers. The IAM houses some of the world’s most successful commercial mediators on an invitation-only basis. Afsana is working toward becoming a full member of IAM.

 

Education

Afsana attended the University of The West of England in Bristol, where she trained to become a Barrister. The year-long vocational course was followed by her undergrad degree in Law and Business in the city of Sheffield, where she was born. During the BVC (Bar Vocational Course), Afsana was required to actively practice her skills in subjects such as Advocacy, Negotiation and Conferencing, to name a few. “The course was very practical and I was expected to perform like a professional barrister from the very first week that I started. It gave me the opportunity to conduct mock trials on a daily basis and hone essential skills a barrister should have”, says Afsana.

Afsana was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 2007 at the prestigious Lincoln’s Inn, where she remains a life-long member. She qualified as a Solicitor in 2010 and worked for a large city law firm for a number of years. During her education, Afsana entered national competitions for her excellence in Advocacy and Negotiation skills. She has a remarkable ability to understand what each party needs to be able to compromise and walk away with a fair settlement. She devoted several years developing relationships with U.K.  Insurers to gain a better understanding of their business model and used this to advance her own settlement negotiations. She found this was a fair and most reasonable practice for the insurers and her clients.

As a Solicitor, Afsana’s practice focused on personal injury claims arising from medical malpractice, road traffic accident, employment liability and product liability and various commercial matters.

During her time in Canada, Afsana completed her National Committee on Accreditation examinations, as a step toward gaining her Canadian legal practice license.

Afsana completed the Stitt Feld and Handy course on Alternative Dispute Resolution at the University of Windsor. The course enabled Afsana to reacquaint her substantive knowledge and skills in both negotiation and ADR. As result, Afsana has received her designation as a Qualified Mediator from the Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute of Canada.

Personal 

Afsana places the utmost importance on family and raising her three young children with her husband while combining meaningful work in mediation. She believes there is nothing more important to young children than the presence of parents. She feels incredibly lucky that she has the opportunity to spend quality time with her family. One of her favourite pass times is baking and decorating sweet treats with her children.

Afsana has a passion for creative arts and design. She trained as a silversmith and frequently exhibited her work in the U.K. whilst keeping on top of her career as a lawyer.

Afsana is fluent in Bangla and can conduct mediation in this language where necessary. Bangla is Afsana’s second language as both her parents are Bangladeshi. She was born and raised in the north of England where her parents emigrated from Bangladesh in the 1960s. Afsana’s parents and her late father in particular was a big influence on her during her education and career, thereafter. He allowed her to believe that nothing is out of bounds so long as she is ready to fight the battles along the way. Sadly, Afsana lost her father just weeks before she graduated from law school but she knows her father would have been proud of what she has managed to achieve today.

Approach to Mediation

Mediation is a link between two or more disputing parties, wishing to settle their differences.

Afsana’s approach to a successful mediation is to ensure that the needs and interests of each party are adequately met. She is methodical during her mediations, which helps her to understand and acknowledge the reason for the conflict. She is committed to ensuring each party has an opportunity to convey their issues without criticism or intimidation, which leads to more open and productive conversations. She brings collaborative thinking and over a decade of negotiation experience to every mediation. When parties are not able to find a resolution meeting their expectations, Afsana will demonstrate her creativity and thorough understanding of the situation to suggest a fair resolution.

Afsana encourages parties to actively listen to each other to gain better engagement, understanding and perspective. She ensures cultural issues and sensitivities are acknowledged with respect and humility. Read the steps Afsana follows during her mediation.

Afsana can provide facilitative and evaluative mediations. She assesses and adapts her mediations as they progress.  Afsana’s style, approach and creativity has already proven to be successful as she has helped settle many mediations to date.

Afsana strongly believes in access to conflict resolution. She understands the needs of the various communities in the Toronto area and is often volunteering her services where there is a need.  Offering mediation services in both English and Bangla Afsana has a deep understanding of diverse cultural backgrounds and the challenges this can bring. She ensures her clients feel comfortable and have a full understanding of the mediation process.

Book a mediation with Afsana by contacting her on 647 518 3166 or email afsana@gcmediation.com, or please use the online calendar booking system.