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 Shambhala Los Angeles Council

Center Director: Sharon Owyang * director@lashambhala.org
Shastris: Pamela Bothwell, Marcy Fink, Marilyn Moore and Joel Wachbrit
Chagdzo: Justin Basch*
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: Carolyn Sykes

Practice and Education

Director: Open*
Deputy of P&E: Open
Westside Practice Coordinator: Sheryl Beard
Vajrayana/Ngöndro Practice Intensive Coordinator: Open
Feast Coordinators: Gail Whitacre ER and Sharon Owyang/Kate Summers WS
Head Shrine Keeper: Open
Meditation Instructor Coordinator: Chris O’Hare
Ashe Society: George Gomez
Supervising Coordinator of Shambhala Training (Heart of Warriorship): Open
Supervising Coordinator of Way of Shambhala I Weekly Classes: Jennifer Gilman ER, Open WS
Supervising Coordinator of Sacred Path: Open
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: Ron Schultz
Open House and Thursday Night Hosts Coordinator: Patrick Knisely
Kitchen Sink Dharma and Wednesday Night Public Program WS Coordinator: Ron Schultz
Kitchen Sink Dharma and Wednesday Night Public Program WS Hosts Coordinator: Candace Peterson Kahn
Vajrayana Education Coordinator: Open
Visiting Teacher Coordinator: Alex Lippman

Contemplative Arts

Director: Anne Saitzyk*
Deputies: Alicia Vogl Saenz
Kado and Ikebana: Elayne Rail
Miksang (Contemplative Photography): Darryl Burnham
Contemplative Writing: Alicia Vogl Saenz and Debra Dysart
Shambhala Art: Anne Saitzyk
Creativity Lab: Darryl Burnham, Debra Dysart, Laura Landau, Angela Lloyd, Anne Anderson Saitzyk, Steven Saitzyk, Elayne Rail, Harish Rao, Franny Smith, Carolyn Sykes, Amanda Tasse, Alice Toohey, Elaine Welinder

Societal Health and Well Being

Director: Jenny Hannah*
Membership Coordinator: Open* membership@lashambhala.org
Membership Assistants: Rhona Lebner OC, Open WS, Open ER
Families and Children ER: Laura Burnham, Laura Landau
Care Team Coordinator: Jennifer Gilman
Volunteer Coordinator: Open
Head of Diversity: Harish Rao
Hospitality Coordinator: Open
Culture and Decorum: Carolyn Sykes*

Community and Social Transformation

Heart of Recovery ER: George Gomez, Carter Smith, Stephanie Miller
Healing Circle Coordinators ER: Darryl Burnham, Laura Burnham, Chris O’Hare, Alice Toohey, and Dustin Rubin
Meditar en Español: George Gomez, Lisa Oxley, Alicia Saenz
Group on Aging Coordinators: Marilyn Moore and John MacAdams
Ziji Collective (Young Meditators) WS: Mo Summers
Ziji Collective (Young Meditators) ER: George Gomez and Alexandra Lippman
Prison Dharma: Cynthia MacKay, Kate Summers, and John MacAdams
Running Group: Cynthia MacKay, Alicia Saenz
Food Bank ER: Lynn Kelley-Piper
Mental Health Consultation Group for MIs (Developing): Open

Media and New Media

Shambhala Film Festival (Developing): Karen Schwartzman, Jason Elias
Shambhala Filmmakers Forum (Developing): Harish Rao
Shambhala Film Night: Sharon Owyang, Harish Rao


Regimental Commander for the Windhorse Regiment: Darryl Burnham
Regimental Desung Commander: Laura Burnham
Rusung: Ed Anolin* (ER) and John Beard* (WS)
Khenchung: Steven Whitacre (ER) and Marcus Teply (WS)
Desung: Alicia Vogl Saenz
NCO: Open
ROTA coordinator ER: Steven Whitacre
ROTA coordinator WS: John Beard


Director: Justin Basch*
Assistant: Open
Development: Open
Council Secretary: Open*
Bookstore Manager: Amanda Tasse

Communications Mandala

Director of Communications: Sara Apelkvist* communications@lashambhala.org
Publicity Leads: Open
Head of Outreach: Open
Web and Graphic Consultant: Open
Website: Debra Dysart (Editor), Claude Zachary (Database/Calendar) and Larry Jordan (Webmaster)
Email Newsletter: Isaac Wostrel-Rubin
Graphic Arts: Elaine Welinder
Social Media: Bruce Oglesby

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: Open*
Deputy Coordinator: Open
Eagle Rock Meditation Steering Committee: Open
P&E liaison: Debra Dysart
Environment Mandala: Derek Nowicki
Shrine Keeping: Open
Umdze/M.I. ROTA: Renee Klang

Westside Meditation Group

Coordinator: Chris Best*
Deputy Coordinator: Open
Westside Meditation Steering Committee: Claude Zachary, Anne Saitzyk, Tom Gottlieb,  Kathy Gronau, Kate Summers, Jason Elias, Alex Milsom, Justin Basch, Jennifer Wang, Chris Best, Nancy Sander, Fred Cassidy
P&E liaison: Sheryl Beard
Environment Mandala: Fred Cassidy
Social Coordinator: Jason Elias
Shrine Keeping: Shirley Hamstra
Umdze/M.I. ROTA: Kathy Gronau, John Beard

Orange County Meditation Group

Coordinator: Sepi Tabai*
P&E Liaison: Elaine Welinder
Culture & Decorum Liaison: Elayne Rail
Membership Liaison: Rhona Lebner
Communication Liaison: Harish Rao
Finance Liaison: Marilyn Moore
Health & Well-Being Liaison: Open
Steering Committee: Elaine Welinder, Gil Figueroa, Marilyn Moore, Elayne Rail, Harish Rao, Rhona Lebner, Steve Savlov, Pablo Nardi, Steve Pool, Shauna Eheler, Tony Nadratowski, Claire Fisher and Sepi Tabai
Steering Committee Secretary: Shauna Eheler
Film Night Coordinator: Claire Fisher and Harish Rao
MeetUp Coordinators: Gil Figueroa and Marilyn Moore
Healing Circle Coordinators: Tony Nadratowski and Rhona Lebner
General Environment: Open

Email la@shambhala.org for more information.