Local Leaders

The Shambhala Council is the governing body of the Shambhala Meditation Center of Los Angeles. It is comprised of the heads of all the areas in which Shambhala offers programs and events. It takes many individuals to create our LA Shambhala world.  Here’s who we are. To contact anyone on the list please check your Members/Friends Directory or leave a voice message at the Center.

*denotes membership in the SMCLA Council

Regional Acharya – Allyn Lyon
Center Director – Cynthia MacKay* director@lashambhala.org
Shastri – Pamela Bothwell
Chagdzo – Jennifer Wang*
Corporate Secretary — Patsy Brown
Center Administrator — Alice Toohey
Southwest Regional Representative of the Shambhala Office of Culture and Decorum — Guy Blume*
Local Representative of the Shambhala Office of Culture and Decorum — David Fraioli*

Shambhala Buddhist Education

Director – Kim Christensen*
Deputy of Education –  Open
Supervising Coordinator of Shambhala Training (Heart of Warriorship) — Open
Supervising Coordinator of Way of Shambhala I Weekly Classes — Jennifer Gilman ER, Elaine Welinder WS
Supervising Coordinator of Sacred Path — Patsy Brown
Supervising Coordinator of Way of Shambhala II and Buddhist Studies Weekly Classes — Barbara Vanek
Special Programs Coordinator — Kim Christensen
Open House and Thursday Night Public Programs Coordinator —  Malcolm Dysart
Open House and Thursday Night Hosts Coordinator – Patrick Knisely
Kitchen Sink Dharma and Wednesday Night Public Program WS Coordinator — Lisa Oxley
Kitchen Sink Dharma and Wednesday Night Public Program WS Hosts Coordinator — Anne Saitzyk
Vajrayana Education Coordinator – Open
Visiting Teacher Coordinator – Alex Lippman


Director: Marian English*
Westside Practice Coordinator: Sheryl Beard
Vajrayana/Ngöndro Practice Intensive Coordinator: Patsy Brown and Marian English
Feast Coordinators: Gail Whitacre ER and Alex Milson/Kate Summers WS
Head Shrine Keeper: Open
Meditation Instructor Coordinator: Chris O’Hare
Meditation Instructor Assignment Coordinator: Nancy Gillis
Ashe Society: George Gomez
Ashe Society Mentor: Marcy Henry-Fink
Umdze/M.I. ROTA for Open sitting: Alicia Vogl Saenz ER
M.I ROTA for Weekly Dharma Gathering talks: Malcolm Dysart
ROTA Reminder: Renee Klang
Liturgy Librarian: Open

Contemplative Arts

Director – Anne Saitzyk
Deputies – Alicia Vogl Saenz
Kado and Ikebana – Guy Blume
Kyudo, Coordinator – Marian English
Miksang (Contemplative Photography) – Darryl Burnham
Contemplative Writing – Alicia Vogl Saenz and Debra Dysart
Shambhala Arts Festival – Guy Blume
Shambhala Art – Anne Saitzyk
Shambhala Film Society – Harish Rao

Societal Health and Well Being

Director – Marguerite Stouthamer*
Membership Coordinator – Joel Wachbrit* membership@lashambhala.org
Membership Assistants – Jason Elias WS, Gil Figueroa OC, Jane Wiatt ER
Families and Children ER – Laura Burnham, Laura Landau
Care Team Coordinator – Jennifer Gilman
Volunteer Coordinator – Open
Work Study – Brooke Stevens
Head of Diversity – Alicia Vogl Saenz
Hospitality Coordinator – Open
Mental Health – Katie Bainbridge
Culture and Decorum – David Fraioli*

Community/Social Transformation

Heart of Recovery ER – George Gomez, Carter Smith, Stephanie Miller
The Healing Circle ER — Darryl Burnham, Laura Burnham, Chris O’Hare, Alice Toohey, and Dustin Rubin
Meditar en Español – George Gomez, Lisa Oxley, Alicia Saenz
Ziji Collective (Young Sangha) WS – Danny Pugh and Mo Summers
Ziji Collective (Young Sangha) ER – Alex Rodriguez, Marina Kantarovich, Paulina Trujillo, Ricardo Olivas, Jenny Hannah, and Alexandra Lippman
Ziji Collective Regional Coordinator – Alexandra Milsom
Prison Dharma – Cynthia MacKay, Kate Summers, and John MacAdams
Salons – David Fraioli, Lisa Oxley, Karen Schwarzman, Jason Elias
Running Group – Cynthia MacKay, Alicia Saenz
Food Bank ER – Lynn Kelley-Piper
Slow Dating (Developing) – David Fraioli
Mental Health Consultation Group for MIs (Developing) – Open

Media and New Media

Shambhala Film Festival (Developing) – David Fraioli, Karen Schwartzman, Jason Elias
TheDailyGround.com (Developing) – Open
ShambhalaMediaLab.org (Developing) – Open
Shambhala Filmmakers Forum (Developing) – David Fraioli, Harish Rao
Shambhala Film Night – Sharon Owyang, David Fraoli, Harish Rao
AwakeLA.org – TBD


Regional Director for the Windhorse Regiment – Darryl Burnham
Regimental Desung Commander — Laura Burnham
Rusung – Ed Anolin* and Justin Basch (WS)
Khenchung – Open
Desung – Alicia Vogl Saenz
NCO Trainee – Alex Milsom
ROTA coordinator WS – John Beard


Director – Jennifer Wang*
Assistant – Open
Development – Patsy Brown
Council Secretary – Alice Toohey*
Bookstore Manager – Amanda Tasse
Master of Environment – Guy Blume
Facilities – Tom Gottlieb, Richard Demlow

Communications Mandala

Director of Communications – Jenny Hannah* communications@lashambhala.org
Publicity Leads – Open
Head of Outreach – Harish Rao
Web/Graphic Designer – Sara Apelkvist
Blog – Alicia Vogl Saenz
Website – Debra Dysart (Editor), Claude Zachary (Maintenance) and George Gomez (Consultant)
Email Newsletter – Isaac Wostrel-Rubin
Graphic Arts – Danny Pugh and Elaine Welinder
Social Media – Jenny Hannah, Bruce Oglesby, and Ezra Herman
Press Releases – Open
Analytics – Open

Information Systems

Archives – Claude Zachary
Audio Visual – John MacAdams
Database Management – Alice Toohey
Digital Audio Archives Supervisor — John MacAdams and Joel Wachbrit

Eagle Rock Meditation Group

Coordinator – Deirdre Waters*
Eagle Rock Meditation Steering Committee – Open
Practice liaison – Marian English
Feast coordination – Gail Whitacre
Shrine Keeping – Open
Umdze/M.I./Kasung ROTA – Kathy Gronau

Westside Meditation Group

Coordinator – Jason Elias*
Deputy Coordinator – Chris Best
Westside Meditation Steering Committee – Claude Zachary, Anne Saitzyk, Tom Gottlieb,  Kathy Gronau, Kate Summers, Jason Elias, Alex Milsom, Justin Basch, Jennifer Wang, Chris Best, Fred Cassidy, Natalie Mann
Practice liaison – Marian English
Rusung – Justin Basch
Environment Mandala – Fred Cassidy
Social Coordinator – Natalie Mann
Shrine Keeping – Open
Umdze/M.I./Kasung rota – Kathy Gronau, Nancy Sander and James Moore

Orange County Meditation Group

Co-Coordinators – Gil Figueroa and Marilyn Moore
Steering Committee Chair – Barbara Vanek*
Steering Committee — Elaine Welinder, Gil Figueroa, Marilyn Moore, Harish Rao, Sterling Carter, Rhona Lebner, Steve Savlov, David Dike, Deirdre Waters, Eric Chen

Email la@shambhala.org for more information.