Since 2017, iBme has been engaged in shifting our organizational structure, moving away from a typical hierarchical, top-down power structure which ultimately ends with the Executive Director being the ultimate decision-maker, and managers making decisions and having their employees carry out those decisions.
We have instead shifted to a collaborative leadership model with shared decision-making, meaning that staff distributes decisions based on each person’s roles and responsibilities, willingness, and resources. This collaborative decision making also extends to the Board, who have opted into working groups based on interest and willingness and who work with staff to tackle big decisions. We are also engaged in a robust feedback system which extends beyond core staff to include retreat staff teams, volunteers, and the Board.
Amanda Ferrari Operations
Amanda leads Operations at iBme. Joining the team in early 2018, she has spent the last 10 years working in administrative roles for various local nonprofit organizations, beginning as an AmeriCorps*VISTA volunteer. With the ultimate goal of trying to help people, Amanda is excited and inspired by iBme’s mission and vision, and is looking forward to contributing to the exposure and growth of mindfulness in teens, young adults, and service providers. In her spare time, she enjoys yoga, traveling, music, and lots of chocolate. Amanda holds a BA in Communications from Boston College and a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Northeastern University.
Arielle Pierre Development & Communications
A child of two Haitian immigrants, Geraldine ‘Arielle’ Pierre plans to draw upon her lived experiences and passion for social equity as she takes on the Development & Communications at iBme. The unmatched teachings of womanhood observed in women like her mother, sister, and neighborhood caretakers remind Arielle to keep community at the core of her sense of collective liberation and holistic wellness. To support iBme’s Development and Communications sectors, Arielle is excited to be a liaison between iBme as it exists today and its infinite potential to impact the lives of teens of color and other underserved communities.
A member of the class of 2019 at Clark University, Arielle holds a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science with a concentration in Ethics and Public Policy. She is continuing her education at Clark in the Masters of Public Administration program with a specialization in Non Profit Leadership.
David Macek Development
David leads Development at iBme. Since 2007, he has led dynamic organizations dedicated to personal and social transformation. His diverse experience has spanned retreat and spiritual centers, online action platforms, and various educational settings. In his most recent role, David was Executive Director of Ecochallenge.org, a digital nonprofit that activates sustainability solutions in schools, communities, and businesses. From middle schools to Fortune 100 companies, 4,500+ organizations in 139 countries have taken 2+ million actions through the Ecochallenge Platform. Prior to Ecochallenge.org, he worked with PassageWorks Institute, a leader in supporting school communities to become places of connection, compassion, equity, and excellence. PassageWorks’ professional learning programs include a suite of evidenced-based mindfulness programs designed specifically for faculty and staff working in ECE-12 settings. David holds a BS in Mathematics and Economics from Stonehill College and an MA in Environmental Leadership from Naropa University, an interdisciplinary, contemplative-based program. He is a “retired” yoga instructor and a meditation practitioner of 15+ years. David lives with his wife and daughter in the beautiful Chagrin Valley outside of Cleveland, Ohio.
Jessica Morey Teaching & Program Strategy
Jessica Morey, MA is a lead teacher and supports program strategy for iBme. She began practicing meditation at age 14 on teen retreats offered by the Insight Meditation Society (IMS). She returned every year for 6 years and then participated for 10 years in an IMS young adult mentoring group. Jessica has attended longer retreats (1-3 months) in Asia and the U.S., and is a founding board member and lead teacher for iBme teen retreats. Before joining iBme, Jessica worked in clean energy and climate policy and finance. She holds a BA in Environmental Engineering from Dartmouth and Masters degrees in Sustainable Development and International Affairs. Her published works range from the chapter ‘Ordinary Awakening’ in Blue Jean Buddha to Conflict Resolution of the Boruca Hydro-Energy Project: Renewable Energy Production in Costa Rica. Her experience of bringing mindfulness into her work and life was described in a 2012 Shambala Sun article ‘Dharma 2.0.’ More recently she wrote an article in the February 2014 Mindful Magazine, ‘Finding My Way,’ about her experience learning and benefiting from mindfulness throughout her young adult years. She is an avid yoga practitioner and skier and loves dancing in any form.
Sarah Wrean Programs
Sarah is currently responsible for management of all program activities and logistics, and works with Jess on program strategy and new program development. Sarah works with retreat centers, staff teams, and families to ensure retreats run smoothly and is grateful to be able to contribute to this work. Sarah truly believes that the best way to prepare humanity for the challenges ahead is to help teens discover compassion, inner wisdom, and authentic connection. Sarah has spent the past 10 years career working in administration and fundraising for mission-driven nonprofits. Sarah received a BA and MA in Government and Comparative Politics from Connecticut College and then Northeastern University, and focused her studies on the intersection of politics and gender through a feminist lens. Sarah spent formative time as a teen in the White Mountains at an outdoors and wilderness camp, which was the catalyst for wanting to join a similar organization. When Sarah isn’t planning retreats, she can be found singing, gardening, snuggling her three fur babies, hiking with her wife, and devouring all the live music she can!
Tom Rocco Outreach, Marketing & Communications
Tom Rocco leads iBme’s Outreach, Marketing & Communications. He is a career marketing professional possessing rich and varied experience with top-notch organizations, many in the non-profit arena. Immediately prior to joining iBme, Tom spent almost five years leading Marketing for Rhode Island School of Design’s Continuing Education Division. Prior to that, Tom was the first Vice President of Marketing for Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, participating in re-branding the center, as well as, establishing many of the marketing processes and systems that are still being used today. In addition to Kripalu, Tom has consulted with a wide range of retreat centers, both domestic and international. He has an MBA in Marketing from Adelphi University. At iBme, he is responsible for recruitment for program participant growth and retention for all programs; building strong and authentic relationships with strategic partners; creating impactful and authentic communications and marketing campaigns; and managing regional outreach coordinators, consultants and vendors. As a decades-long practitioner of yoga and meditation, Tom embraces iBme’s mission and is dedicated to making a positive impact.
Justin Wilson IT
Justin Wilson has been helping to support iBme’s digital infrastructure since 2011. He is dedicated to providing mindful digital solutions for individuals and organizations. In addition to his time in the technology and development sphere, Justin has a background in educational travel, indigenous community outreach, and rainforest conservation. He holds a B.A. in International Relations from Brown University and an A.A.T. in Web Development from Boston University’s Center for Digital Arts. Justin has been practicing meditation and studying mindfulness for over 15 years, and he is ever inspired to help support the sharing of these integral practices around the world.
Lindsay Noll Finance
Lindsay Noll studied languages and theater as an undergraduate at NYU, and then completed a MBA at Simmons College in Boston. She has worked in process improvement in health care, and in finance and operations for many small businesses. She is COO of New Leaf Legal, a boutique law firm that specializes in business and intellectual property law; and CEO of StandStand, the only truly portable standing desk. For fun, Lindsay likes to race yachts and dance.
Austin Thoren Teen Director
Bio coming soon!
Beatriz Meza-Valencia, MD, is a mom of young children, a pediatrician, and a mindfulness educator. She is a US Army veteran who started practicing mindfulness during her early military career. Her passion for the well being of children and families, and for reducing stress in schools led her to become a mindfulness educator. She is trained in several classroom mindfulness curriculums to include Mindful Schools, and .b (dot-b). Since 2013, she has taught mindfulness to students in pre-K to 8th grade in the Cambridge Public Schools and in the East Boston Public Schools. In collaboration with the Cambridge Health Alliance Center for Mindfulness and Compassion she has led workshops for parents and adults working with children and youth. Her joy is in planting many mindfulness seeds and watching them bloom.Beatriz Meza-Valencia, MD, es mamá de niños en primaria, pediatra, y educadora de la conciencia plena. Ella es veterana del ejército estadounidense y comenzó a practicar la conciencia plena al comienzo de su carrera como pediatra del ejército. Su pasión por la salud de niños y jóvenes, por el bienestar de familias, y por reducir el estrés en las escuelas la guió a volverse educadora de la conciencia plena. Ella está entrenada en varios currículos de conciencia plena que incluyen Mindful Schools y .b (dot-b). Desde el año 2013, ella ha enseñado la conciencia plena a estudiantes desde el grado pre-escolar asta octavo en las escuelas del distrito de Cambridge y East Boston. En colaboración con Cambridge Health Alliance Centro de Conciencia Plena y Compasión, ella a dado talleres para padres de familias y para adultos que trabajan con niños y jóvenes. A ella le trae mucha alegría sembrar semillas de conciencia plena en sus pacientes, familias, y escuelas, y disfruta verlas florecer.
Charisse Minerva Spencer
Charisse Minerva Spencer brings to the Mindfulness arena a background in Arts, Science, and Youth Development. She earned a B.S. Degree in Medical Technology from the Medical College of Virginia/VCU. However, her love of the Arts led her to divert her path in order to live her passion for dance and choreography. Later Charisse returned to school to get a Masters in Performance Studies with a concentration in Dance Anthropology from Tisch School of the Arts/New York University. Her eclectic professional experience coupled with more than 30 years of practice in the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) Buddhist organization led to her interest in Mindfulness. Charisse brings a scientific and artistic approach to the field investigating the existence of contemplative practices, its individual and cultural significance, as well as how these practices can be introduced in ways that are broad-based. She has worked with Mindfulness in Schools Project (MiSP), iBme, is Mindfulness Coordinator at Friends School of Virginia Beach, and has done workshops in schools, festivals, corporate offices, detention & treatment centers.
Chris is currently the Mindfulness in Education Program Officer at the Foundation for a Mindful Society – the foundation arm of Mindful Magazine / Mindful.org. He also offers one-on-one work, online practice intensives, and small group retreats with his wife Megan Cowan at risingfalling.co. Previously, he was Program Director & Guiding Teacher at Mindful Schools, one of the leading organizations integrating mindfulness into education and youth mental health. He also served as Executive Director of the Mind Body Awareness Project, a nonprofit that pioneered the development of mindfulness-based interventions for high-risk adolescents with complex trauma. He has been a curriculum and program advisor to many organizations including Dalai Lama Fellows, Project Wayfinder, Mindful Muslims, and Veterans PATH. He lives with his family in the Gulf Islands of British Columbia.
Dan Scheibe, M.Div., M.A.L.S.
Head of School, Lawrence AcademyDan became the 45th Head of School at Lawrence Academy (founded in 1793) in 2012. Prior to joining the Lawrence community, Dan was the Assistant Head of School at Middlesex, having worked there for 14 years in a variety of roles, including leading the chapel program, teaching, coaching, and enjoying the usual expressions of life in a residential high school community. During his time at both schools, Dan was intimately involved in the introduction of mindfulness programs. Each came to fruition in very different culturally-sensitive ways that balanced the organic with the systematic. Dan holds a M. Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, a M.A.L.S. from Wesleyan University, and a B.A. from Yale University.Dan’s wife Annie has deep experience in school communities as well, and they happily live on campus with their sons Tad, Peter, and Hans and their daughter Lilly (now in college). Dan sees mindfulness work as having profound effect from personal levels to professional levels to the broadest levels of educational principle and practice.
Dawa Tarchin Phillips is the founder and board member of The Institute of Compassionate Awareness (TICA), a 501c3 registered public benefit initiative that provides secular meditation training to school children and youth. He is a visiting researcher in the Department of Psychology at the University of California Santa Barbara, where his research focuses on the benefits of meditation in school children, and is sponsored by the U.S. Office of Education. Dawa is a classically trained meditation teacher who speaks English, German and French fluently. He is also an author, progressive scholar and lecturer, and a social entrepreneur. His other interests and activities include furthering research in progressive Mind Science, socially responsible entrepreneurship and the development of conscious business practices.
Jake Davis President
Jake H. Davis began practicing mindfulness meditation at age 14, with Steven Smith and Michele McDonald. He went on to train in Buddhist theory and practice under the meditation master Sayadaw U Pandita of Burma, and served for a decade as an interpreter between Burmese and English at meditation retreats. He currently teaches with Vipassana Hawai’i as well as at Brown University, as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Contemplative Studies. Jake holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Philosophy and has authored and co-authored articles at the intersection of Buddhist philosophy, moral philosophy, and cognitive science.
Khalila Archer worked for over a decade as an outdoor educator with extensive experience facilitating groups of teenagers and young adults on multi-day wilderness excursions. She holds a B.A. in Adventure-based Environmental Education from Prescott College and has worked for a variety of educational programs throughout the United States. Introduced to mindfulness meditation at a teen retreat when she was 16 years old, Khalila has cultivated a daily practice and endeavors to sit yearly retreats. Through blending her passions of community engagement, meditation, and exploration of the natural world, she has found supporting iBme’s transformative programs to be deeply satisfying.
Lewis Collins is General Counsel at GW&K Investment Management, a Boston-based investment management firm. Lewis previously served as Senior Vice President and Senior Counsel at Affiliated Managers Group, Inc, a publicly traded asset management company (NYSE: AMG), and was also an attorney at Ropes & Gray. In his younger days, he served as Special Events Supervisor for the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he ran special events and promotions at Dodger Stadium. Lewis received a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School and a B.A. from Williams College. He currently serves on the Board of Good Sports, a non-profit organization that provides sports equipment to kids throughout the United States, and is active with the Williams College Alumni Association. He has also served on the Board of the Wellesley Little League and Wellesley Trails Committee. Lewis enjoys family activities with his wife Cary, and their daughter Taylor and son Luke. He also enjoys outdoor activities of all types, including cycling, hiking, skiing and gardening. He is active in local masters cyclocross and road cycling races, is a novice chicken farmer, and is an imperfect but enthusiastic meditator.
Shoshana Perry is a mom to two teens, Jack and Lia, and post her life as a writer and documentary filmmaker, has been working as a kundalini yoga instructor and mindfulness educator. Shoshana has been teaching in schools, to parents, children and teens, and to adults. Currently Shoshana teaches to men just out of prison or off the streets from homelessness at the Doe Fund, to those recovering from substance abuse issues at Weill Cornell Hospital, to therapists in Bellevue Hospital’s adolescent psychiatric unit, and at Morgan Stanley’s Hospital to families in the Pediatric Intensive Care unit. Shoshana co-leads a weekly Sangha in Brooklyn. As well, Shoshana is a facilitator, trainer, and Master Practitioner at Narrative 4, an international organization that engages in personal storytelling for the purpose of empathy building. Shoshana recently completed the MMTCP training with Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield, the Lineage Project training, and Google’s Search Inside Yourself Training. Shoshana is also actively involved with Extinction Rebellion, an organization of non-violent civil disobedience addressing the Climate Emergency.
Taeya Boi-Doku Teen Director
Taeya first began meditating at 13, her freshman year in high school. After having such an introspective experience, she continued on to take extracurricular workshops on Loving-kindness and Guiding practices. She ventured out to one of iBme’s summer programs and really elevated her practice to a new height. From these experiences blossomed a love for meditation and mindfulness that she incorporates in her daily life. She now helps lead an introductory mindfulness course at her school as well as being a Teen Director on the iBme Board.
Brian Galla, Ph.D., is an assistant professor and research scientist at University of Pittsburgh’s School of Education and Learning Research and Development Center. He holds degrees from the University of Notre Dame, Syracuse University, and a Ph.D. from UCLA. Brian’s research combines laboratory and field research to better understand motivational factors that support academic achievement and mental health. He focuses in particular on the study of self-control. Known colloquially as willpower, self-control refers to the mental process of pursuing enduringly valued goals despite conflicting impulses. Brian also has a strong interest in mindfulness-based approaches to enhancing self-control and their potential to improve health and academic achievement.
Diana Winston has been the Director of Mindfulness Education at UCLA Semel Institute’s Mindful Awareness Research Center (www.marc.ucla.edu) since 2006. She is the co-author (with Susan Smalley, Ph.D.) of Fully Present: The Science, Art, and Practice of Mindfulness, the author of Wide Awake: A Buddhist Guide for Teens, and the CD, ‘Mindful Meditations’. She is one of the early teachers and developers of the Teen Retreats at Insight Meditation Society. She has also founded and developed UCLA’s Training in Mindfulness Facilitation, one of the leading mindfulness teacher training programs, and is the founder of the Mindful Awareness Practices (MAPs curriculum). She has been teaching mindfulness nationally and internationally since 1993 and has brought mindful awareness into schools, hospitals, businesses, and nonprofits, as well as to leaders, educators, adolescents, and health professionals in the US and Asia. Her work has been mentioned in the New York Times, Newsweek, O Magazine, Women’s Health Magazine, CBS and ABC News, and the LA Times, among others. She has been called by the LA Times: ‘one of the nation’s leading mindfulness teachers.’ She is also a member of the Spirit Rock Teachers Council and the mom of a first grader.
Gretchen N. Rohr
Gretchen N. Rohr’s first trainings in meditation were in 1994 while working alongside formerly imprisoned activists who developed techniques to liberate their minds from conditions of solitary confinement. These teachings in interdependent awakening supported her professional life restoring justice within communities in need of healing; they ultimately led to her appointment to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Judge Rohr has lectured extensively across the country on effective workforce and leadership development for incarcerated youth and adults, reconciliation and restorative practices for building safe communities, and trauma-informed police, correctional and judicial crisis responses. In her free time, she supports integration of contemplative practices while teaching at Georgetown University Law Center, hosting educational exchanges for local restorative justice practitioners and helping facilitate Insight Meditation Community of Washington’s People of Color (POC) and Insight on the Inside(incarcerated people’s) Sanghas. She participates in the Community Dharma Leadership training program and was one of 120 Buddhist leaders nationwide called to participate in the first Whitehouse Buddhist Leadership Conference in 2015. Since 2013, she has been leading IMCW’s creation of accessible spaces in D.C. where meditation practitioners can take refuge after exiting jail and prison and train to become the next generation of teachers. Her work, in partnership with organizers in the reentry community, has culminated in a meditation and reconciliation series integrated within DC neighborhoods experiencing a spike in gun violence. Justice in Balance is a free monthly event where community members share meditation and mindfulness practices to restore personal balance and open-hearted healing. Each forum is co-facilitated by a survivor of violent crime, of incarceration, or of other contacts with law enforcement.
John Braman was a U.S. Air Force Survival Instructor during the Viet Nam era, an experience that turned him into an anti-war activist. Since that turn of events, he’s been dedicated to youth leadership development, interfaith understanding, and developing the interior life. From 1979 to 1989 he was director of the department for experiential education at Albuquerque Academy, leading hundreds of wilderness solos for teens, while teaching tracking, ecology, and creative writing – for which he was awarded the Klingenstein Fellowship for excellence in teaching. Later, was appointed as the Heinz Fellow for Ethics at Polytechnic School in California. In 2003, as president of the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS), he created Global Youth Leadership Institute (GYLI), a three-year sequence of learning with wilderness solos in northern New Mexico. He is past vice president of Thompson Island Outward Bound and past executive director of Upaya Zen Center, where he co-taught the famous 10-day wilderness quest. He also founded Global Leadership Forum of the United World College-USA, which incorporates yogic practices. He maintains all these commitments to social progress through Braman Group International, working with schools and colleges dedicated to making the world a more sane and safe place. John is a student of Henry Shukman of the Mountain Cloud Zen Center in Santa Fe. He is a magna cum laude graduate of Brown University with a masters degree in educational administration from Teachers College at Columbia University.
Lauren Hall is the Chief Development Officer at the National Brain Tumor Society. A senior development professional with nearly two decades of experience at some of the world’s leading institutions – including Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the University of Pennsylvania, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital – Lauren has served as a frontline fundraiser for three multibillion-dollar campaigns. She has secured transformative funding from individuals, corporations, and foundations, built and managed boards and committees, and led highly successful fundraising teams. She previously served as Assistant Vice President of Development at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where she directed fundraising for the neurosciences and played a key role in launching the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases.
Linda Lantieri, MA has been in the field in education for over 40 years in a variety of capacities: classroom teacher, assistant principal, director of a middle school in East Harlem, and faculty member at Hunter College in New York City. She is a Fulbright Scholar and internationally known speaker in the areas of Social and Emotional Learning and Mindfulness in Education. Currently she serves as the Director of The Inner Resilience Program whose mission is to cultivate the inner lives of students, teachers and schools by integrating social and emotional learning with contemplative practice. Linda is one of the co-founders and presently a Senior Program Advisor for the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL). She is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Psychology Department of Columbia University, Teachers College. Linda is the author of numerous articles and book chapters and coauthor of Waging Peace in Our Schools (Beacon Press, 1996) editor of Schools with Spirit: Nurturing the Inner Lives of Children and Teachers (Beacon Press, 2001), and author of Building Emotional Intelligence: Practices to Cultivate Inner Resilience in Children (Sounds True, 2008, 2014).
Patricia Broderick, PhD, is a Research Associate with the Prevention Research Center at Penn State University and former director of the Stress Reduction Center at West Chester University of PA. She holds a Master’s degree in Counseling from Villanova and a Ph.D. in School Psychology from Temple University. She is a licensed psychologist, certified school psychologist (K-12), certified school counselor (K-12). and certified teacher. She was trained in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) at the Center for Mindfulness (CFM) at UMASS Medical Center and has taught MBSR since 2003. Her developmental psychology textbook, The life span: Human development for helping professionals is now in its third edition. She is also the creator of Learning to BREATHE, a school-based mindfulness curriculum for adolescents. Visit her website at learning2breathe.org.
Philip Murphy is a founding principal of the Commonwealth Mindful Philanthropy Group, a philanthropic advisory firm that provides institutional advancement solutions for nonprofit organizations in the US and the UK, with an emphasis on serving organizations in the contemplative sector. Following a successful tenure as an independent music record label executive, Philip embarked on a career in the advancement field and has served in senior leadership positions at several research universities including the University of Southern California, the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he directed the $500 million Campaign for Students fundraising initiative. Philip earned a degree in social and behavioral sciences from Johns Hopkins and also hold a professional designation in authentic leadership from the Authentic Leadership Center at Naropa University. He is certified as a mindfulness facilitator by the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center. Philip currently serves on the board of directors of the Insight Meditation Center of Pioneer Valley (Easthampton, MA) and the Hope House recovery home (Boston, MA), and is a former board member at the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center. He resides in western Massachusetts with his wife Anne, and their four rescue greyhounds.
Spring Washam has practiced meditation in various traditions since 1997. She is a founding teacher of the East Bay Meditation Center, located in Oakland, CA. She is a graduate of the Community Dharma Leaders program and is in teacher training with Jack Kornfield. Spring is considered a pioneer in bringing mindfulness-based meditation practices to inner city communities. She currently leads retreats and workshops throughout the US and teaches a weekly sitting group in Oakland, CA.
Tara Brach, PhD, is a beloved dharma teacher and the founder and senior teacher of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, and teaches Buddhist meditation at centers in the United States and Canada (such as Kripalu and Omega). A clinical psychologist and author of Radical Acceptance, Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha. She has taught extensively on the application of Buddhist teachings to emotional healing. Visit her website at tarabrach.com.
Tempel Smith has been practicing mindfulness and loving-kindness meditation since 1989. Tempel launched the West Coast teen retreat program and helped to launch the teen retreats in Virginia. He is a graduate of the teacher-training program at the Spirit Rock Meditation Center in California and regularly leads teen and young adult retreats in California and Virginia.
Vijay Sinha holds an MBA in Business Strategy and Analysis and Organizational Development from Boston University Questrom School of Business and BS in Electronics Engineering from Bangalore University, India. He is a strategy consultant with Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, providing strategic advice and direction on Information Technology to customers based on their organization’s IT business strategy. Vijay is a strong believer in the power of meditation, as it helped him to become more self-aware and to advance in his own life. Realizing the benefits of meditation, Vijay got involved with iBme to help them promote their mindfulness educational programs to help improve the lives of many other individuals. Vijay lives in Massachusetts with his wife and teenage daughter.
Willoughby Britton holds a B.A. in Neuroscience and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, and is currently an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Public Health at Brown Medical School and Research Director of the Brown University Contemplative Studies Initiative. She received sleep/EEG training at Harvard Medical School and was a Research Fellow at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA/NIH) and Andrew Weil’s Program in Integrative Medicine. She spent several years in Asia studying meditative techniques and received her mindfulness instructor certification training at the Center for Mindfulness at the UMASS Medical School. With the aim of investigating the link between contemplative practices, brain function, sleep, attention and affective disturbances, she has conducted federally funded RCTs on the neurophysiological effects of MBCT in depression; and education-based mindfulness training in middle school and university students in comparison to music and dance.
Guiding Teachers Committee
Charisse Minerva Spencer
Charisse Minerva Spencer brings to the Mindfulness arena a background in Arts, Science, and Youth Development. She earned a B.S. Degree in Medical Technology from the Medical College of Virginia/VCU. However, her love of the Arts led her to divert her path in order to live her passion for dance and choreography. Later Charisse returned to school to get a Masters in Performance Studies with a concentration in Dance Anthropology from Tisch School of the Arts/New York University. Her eclectic professional experience coupled with more than 30 years of practice in the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) Buddhist organization led to her interest in Mindfulness. Charisse brings a scientific and artistic approach to the field investigating the existence of contemplative practices, its individual and cultural significance, as well as how these practices can be introduced in ways that are broad-based. She has worked with Mindfulness in Schools Project (MiSP), Inward Bound Mindfulness Education (iBme), is Mindfulness Coordinator at Friends School of Virginia Beach, and has done workshops in schools, festivals, corporate offices, detention & treatment centers.
Chas DiCapua started practicing meditation in the Soto Zen tradition in 1989. He sat his first Vipassana retreat at IMS in 1995. Since then he has practiced in both the US and Asia. A recent graduate of the Spirit Rock/IMS Teacher Training Program, Chas is currently the Resident Teacher at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts. He also teaches regularly at various sitting groups and centers.
Dawn Scott has been practicing meditation and mindfulness since 2008 and now serves as the Family Program Coordinator at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. Dawn coordinates classes, daylongs, benefits, and residential mindfulness retreats in which the practice and teachings of mindful awareness are offered in order to support the development of wisdom and compassion for children, teens, whole families, and the wider community.
Dori Langevin began the study and practice of meditation in 1997 with Tara Brach and the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, where she served on the Teachers Council from 2003-2007. In 2007 she and her husband Ted moved to Spokane Valley, WA, where she now teaches classes and retreats (www.mainstream-mindfulness.com). Dori teaches residential retreats at Spirit Rock Meditation Center (Young Adult Retreat) and Insight Meditation Society (Family Retreat) and completed the centers’ four-year teacher training program in Meditation. She has also taught dozens of retreats elsewhere. She has special interests in the dance between mindfulness, addiction recovery and emotional healing, grounded in the sacred feminine and embodied presence, and integrating creative expression and relationships into retreats. Dori also volunteers at Airway Heights Corrections Center (men’s medium security) teaching a weekly mindfulness meditation class through the Religious Activities Center.
Enrique Collazo has been practicing Meditation since 2005. In 2009, he started staffing teen retreats and has offered classes as a facilitator and meditation instructor for youth and adults in Los Angeles and the Bay Area. He’s currently teaching in the Bay Area with youth as mindfulness instructor with the Mind Body Awareness Project. Enrique shares the practice in a straightforward and practical manner and loves working with youth and supporting their transformation.
Originally a secondary school teacher, Jem has been practising meditation for many years and teaching mindfulness for over five. He has personal experience of the effectiveness of mindfulness practice in helping to alleviate stress and improve general wellbeing. After visiting the United States and seeing the impact iBme Retreats have on young people, he was convinced of the need to have iBme Retreats in the UK. Jem delivers a range of mindfulness courses to the general public both privately and in the NHS. He is also Mindfulness Lead at a large rural comprehensive school in north Dorset, helping young people use mindfulness as a way to flourish in their lives. He is also a Mindfulness in Schools Project Trainer Consultant teaching teachers and is registered with the UK Mindfulness-Based Teachers’ Network.
Jessica Morey began practicing meditation at age 14 in the Insight Meditation Society teen retreats. She returned every year for 6 years and then participated for 10 years in an IMS young adult mentoring group. Jessica has attended longer (1-3 month) retreats in Asia and the US and is a founding board member and lead teacher for iBme teen retreats. Before joining iBme, Jessica worked in clean energy and climate policy and finance. She holds a BA in Environmental Engineering from Dartmouth and Masters degrees in Sustainable Development and International Affairs. She wrote an article in the February 2014 Mindful Magazine, “Finding My Way,” about her experience learning and benefiting from mindfulness throughout her young adult years. She is an avid yoga practitioner and skier and loves dancing in any form.
Jose Shinzan Palma
Jose Shinzan Palma was born in Veracruz, Mexico. He is a Zen Buddhist Priest. He has been practicing Zen since 1996. He did a residential training for 4 years at the Zen Buddhist Temple in Toronto, Canada. He lived and trained in Upaya Zen Center for over 8 years. He is a Dharma Successor of Roshi Joan Halifax. He has taught Zazenkais and Sesshins at Upaya and has staffed Teen Retreats for Spirit Rock Center and iBme. He is a guest teacher in a Zen Buddhist Temple in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Shinzan left the residency of Upaya to return to Mexico and start a community spreading the Dharma in Mexico. His vision is to work with youth and also create a Zen Hispanic community in the USA and Mexico.
Marvin G. Belzer
Marvin G. Belzer, PhD, has taught mindfulness meditation for over fifteen years and is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center. For many years he taught a semester-long meditation course in the Department of Philosophy at Bowling Green St. University, where he was a Professor of philosophy. He and Diana Winston were instrumental in developing week-long mindfulness retreats for teens in the mid-1990s.