Dan Simon, from Simon Mediation, grew up in St. Paul but left the Twin Cities for college at UC Berkeley. He returned to obtain his J.D. and MA in Counseling Psych. from the University there.
He says that starting his own business in Minneapolis made sense because “it was home.”
He tells us more about his business and shares a bit about his personal story.
“I help people resolve conflicts in a way that is far more satisfying than the legal system… I noticed as a lawyer that clients were usually dissatisfied with litigation and that the core of their conflict was never addressed. I also noticed that there was no one else in the Twin Cities practicing transformative mediation, so in 1998– when I was already licensed to practice law and had also completed my Master’s in Counseling, I opened my mediation practice in my apartment on Grand Av. in St. Paul,” says Simon.
“In 2000 I moved to an office that was also my home on Lake Street, between James and Knox in Uptown,” says Simon.
Fast forward to now, and Simon says that due to an increase in the number of business cases he mediates, he’s decided to relocate once again, this time to downtown Minneapolis.
Downtown Minneapolis for a Small Business
“I mediate all types of disputes, including business, divorce, employment, and adult sibling disputes. I’m now known internationally as a transformative mediation trainer and writer (I write the blog for the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation) [and] I’ve taught my mediation course at the law schools of Hofstra University and the University of North Dakota. I’m a regular speaker at all four of the Twin Cities law schools,” explains Simon.
And as an entrepreneur, we asked Simon to provide some tips for those looking to do the same in the Minneapolis area– regardless of your field of interest.
“Minneapolis has a surprisingly open-minded atmosphere for the midwest. There are many people who are open to being early adopters of innovative services. I can only speak to my experience as a transformative mediator, but people here have been very receptive to the idea that there is a better way than litigation or legalistic mediation,” says Simon.
He also shares that in his opinion, Twin Cities’ people also seem especially open to handling things in a way that takes others into consideration.
“’Minnesota Nice’ includes an attitude of kindness, and a tendency not to be cut throat in competition,” says Simon.
So no matter the challenges he has faced, Simon says he’s found Minneapolis to be very supportive of his business.
Lastly, Simon asks a question that could make or break your decision when moving to Minneapolis:
“Can you handle the winter? It’s long, cold and dark…if you can handle it– or even enjoy it, there’s nothing else not to like about Minneapolis,” says Simon.