Tabitha Joy Liburd was born in Guyana and raised in Campbellville, having also lived in Meadow Brook Gardens and Alberttown, Georgetown. Her father Fitz Roy Philander hails from Mahaicony and her mother Shirley was born in Buxton and is one of the Marshall clan. Always a highly motivated academically inclined student, she was educated at the New Comenius Primary School and entered Queen’s College where she completed CXC/GCE O’Levels before moving to The Bishops’ High School for GCE Advanced Levels. A stellar track athlete, Tabitha won the championship cup in every age division each year she attended Queen’s College.
Tabitha earned a Master’s Degree in Conflict Management at the Lipscomb University Institute for Conflict Management in Nashville, TN. Prior to that she earned a law degree from the University of the West Indies (1992), and a Legal Education Certificate from the Council of Legal Education at the Hugh Wooding Law School, Trinidad and Tobago (1994). Tabitha was admitted to the Bar in Guyana in 1994, and in The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis in 1996.
Tabitha worked briefly in Guyana after admission to the Bar then moved to St. Kitts and Nevis, working in both islands of the Federation. Her specialties included corporate commercial law, civil litigation and family law. Then, in 2000 and in keeping with her family tradition of a commitment to public service, Tabitha transitioned to work in The Bahamas in 2000.
While in The Bahamas, Tabitha was Assistant and Deputy Registrar/ Master of the Supreme Court of the Bahamas. While working there, Tabitha also served as both course director and tutor at the Eugene Dupuch Law School. She subsequently moved to a more senior public service legal role as Clerk of the Court of the Cayman Islands reporting to the Chief Justice of the Cayman Islands and the Court Administrator. Those roles netted her more than 15 years’ experience managing multi-tier groups while enabling Courts to achieve legal and regulatory compliance. In those roles, she led the implementation of internal policies and procedures to ensure operational efficiency, while maintaining best practices throughout court administrative processes. She was also designated as an Experienced Practitioner member (MICA) of the International Compliance Association.
Tabitha also has a successful track record of managing complex legal matters as Trustee in Bankruptcy for the Cayman Islands, and working with the Judiciary and public and private sector entities. In 2015, as a testament to her significant expertise in legal and conflict management matters, the courts in the Cayman Islands appointed Tabitha to be guardian ad litemin a matter involving an adult. She was called upon to leverage both her legal and her conflict management skills to liaise with all stakeholders, and mediate the human factor path to achieve desired outcomes.
Years of working in law and the courts gave Tabitha perspective on the challenges brought on by litigation. Having invested their time and money, parties to litigation relinquished control over the outcome of the case and, regardless of outcome, there usually was a breakdown of relationships. Tabitha saw that mediation could effectively fill this gap, and she pursued it, earning a Certificate in Mediation from the Dispute Resolution Foundation of Jamaica (2006), an Advanced Certificate in Mediation from the Strauss Institute, Pepperdine University Law School (2007), and an Accredited Mediator Certificate from the London School of Mediation (2016). Tabitha is also a Rule 31 listed Mediator in Tennessee where she now resides.
A move to the USA presented Tabitha with the opportunity to devote more time to what was fast becoming her first love – conflict management. Lipscomb University, a leader in this field, had been beckoning for ten years, and she answered.
Throughout her entire legal career, Tabitha learnt that unresolved systemic conflict can linger and continue to destroy the inner workings of organizations and relationships if both parties didn’t agree to mediation. She also saw that while mediation is an extremely effective conflict resolution tool, it did not always result in complete resolution of all issues.
A lightbulb moment for Tabitha was understanding that conflict management reached further and deeper than conflict resolution. Tabitha is fueled by a desire to help people resolve conflict through mediation, negotiation or other conflict resolution tools, and also to help them manage any residual unresolved conflict. This is what guided her choice of specialty for her Master’s degree at Lipscomb.
Upon graduation, Tabitha founded Marshall Duke Consulting, to provide conflict management solutions that go beyond just mediation, helping her clients cultivate and maintain constructive relationships with colleagues, teams and the community. Elite Resolution Academy is her signature coaching package, empowering clients to cultivate and maintain productive relationships at home, with colleagues, teams, and the community. Coaching sessions curate customized conflict management solutions appropriate for her clients’ personality, behavior style, and leadership needs.
Tabitha describes herself as “compassionate” and says that people are always surprised to learn that she grew up without television in their home, having been raised by a mother who said “I learned everything I know from books, and so will you”! To this day, she remains grateful for being steered to books.
The most important life lesson Tabitha learned is to move without hesitation when God gives her clear direction.
Her advice to girls and women wanting to pursue conflict management as a career is to learn to ‘read the room’ – understand the mood, emotions and motivations of the people around you, and to ‘stay woke’ to the underlying issues and metamessages in your spheres.
“The epitome of a woman who rocks is one who builds and sits at her own table if no one offers her a seat at theirs.” ~Tabitha Joy Liburd
Tabitha is fascinated by the concepts of intergenerational trauma, epigenetics and trauma, collective trauma and collective memory, and how they affect conflict responses. She is excited to research and write on these concepts. Tabitha also wants to write conflict resolution books for children.
Tabitha is also the Human Resources Manager at Juice Analyticswith offices in Nashville, TN and Atlanta GA. Tabitha has beenfeaturedin a Lipscomb University publication. In her downtime, Tabitha loves dancing and traveling, is an avid reader, and also loves cats.