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Dear Worldwide Shambhala Community,

We are pleased to announce the eight member Shambhala Interim Board of Directors. These individuals will be seated as of Wednesday, October 17, when they become the official governing board of Shambhala and responsible for the organization’s financial stability and legal structures. With this, all members of the Kalapa Council will officially step down from their former governing board responsibilities, though some of the Kalapa Council members continue in their pillar roles and other capacities.

In our search for an Interim Board, the Transition Task Force encouraged a wide range of applicants, including those of diverse social identities, different geographic locations, as well as students of the Dorje Dradul, Chögyam Trungpa who have not been involved in Shambhala over the past years. While we did not receive applications for the Interim Board that reflected the hoped-for range of diversity, we nevertheless received dozens of nominations from around the world, and 39 final applications for the Board. All of the candidates offered an excellent variety of skills, expertise, and qualities, and we thank each and every person who stepped forward to apply.

We are confident that the group of skilled and qualified leaders we have chosen are excellent representatives of different aspects of our wider Shambhala community, and, most importantly, have the strengths, dedication, and full heartedness to meet current and future challenges during their one-year term. Each person holds a broad range of the skills and qualities we sought, and together, we trust these individuals will form a strong, harmonious, and well-balanced team for the tasks and decisions ahead.

The Shambhala Interim Board of Directors:

  • Veronika Bauer
  • Martina Bouey
  • Mark Blumenfeld
  • John Cobb
  • Jennifer Crow
  • Sara Lewis
  • Susan Ryan
  • Paulina Varas

(Bios and photos can be found at the end of this letter)

We would like to personally thank each member of the new Interim Board for coming forward with bravery and inspiration to be of service to Shambhala. This is a volunteer board; no one will receive remuneration for their time, energy, resourcefulness, and service. We offer our gratitude and deep appreciation for all they bring to this position.

We are also very pleased to announce that Kasung Shastri Andrew Sacamano, member of the Transition Task Force, will be advisor and liaison to the InterimBoard for two months. This is intended to be a supportive bridge between the Task Force and the Interim Board, bringing forward the wealth of information the Task Force received, learned, and discovered in the fulfillment of its duties.

Now that the Interim Board is chosen, the Transition Task Force will turn our focus to the Process Team. We are pleased that we have received 90 applications for the PT, from warriors around the world reflecting more diversity. You will hear more from us about this next task soon. For further information about the qualities and skills we are seeking in the PT members, please see our website. As always, you may continue to contact us at transitiontaskforce@shambhala.org. Starting Oct 17, you can contact the Interim Board at board@shambhala.org.

In conclusion, we offer our thanks to you and the community for supporting our work, and know that you will extend your welcome, gratitude, and support to the incoming board.

With gratitude and appreciation,

Ani Pema Chödrön, Acharya
Arawana Hayashi, Acharya
Charlene Leung, Acharya
Suzann Duquette, Acharya
Katrin Stelzel, Interim European Governing Body Member
Andrew Sacamano, Kasung Shastri
Sharon Owyang, Regional Director
Basia Solarz (Facilitator)


Dr. Veronika Bauer

Dr. Veronika Bauer photo Veronika has studied electrical engineering and computer science. She has worked in management consulting, as an industrial line manager and a business owner. She is now freelancing in these fields, with a passion for bringing mindfulness to the workplace. She lived in the US, Hong Kong and currently in Germany. She joined the Shambhala community over 20 years ago, served several years as center director in Munich, heads the European Donor Group and since this fall serves as the Interim Co-Director of Shambhala in Europe.

Martina Bouey

Martina Bouey photo Martina is a student of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and has been an active member of the Shambhala community for over 15 years. In her working life, Martina consults with local, national and international nonprofits and philanthropists on board governance, charitable advising, communications, operations, financial management, and program development.

Shastri Mark Blumenfeld

Shastri Mark Blumenfeld photo Mark became a Shambhala student in 1979 and was an active member of the New York City Shambhala Center before moving back to his hometown of Madison, Wi in 1990. He was a founder of the Shambhala Center of Madison Wi, was appointed by the Sakyong as a Shastri in 2012 and is currently Chair of the Shastri Council. He is retired from a successful career as a technology executive and management consultant, and brings experience in organizational development, project management and administrative systems. He is married to Dr. Lora Wiggins and has three adult children.

John W Cobb

John W Cobb photo John attended Harvard College, AB 1966 and Columbia Law School, JD 1969. He practiced law in both the public and private sectors for 23 years until 1992, when he was appointed President of Naropa University in which role he served for eleven years and where he currently serves as an Adjunct Professor teaching "Law, Human Rights and Social Change". He holds an honorary MFA from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University and is the author of two books of poetry, the most recent being "Footnotes to the Inexplicable: A Memoir in Verse". He is an avid birdwatcher. He and his wife, Bayard, live in Denver Colorado.

Jennifer Crow

Jennifer Crow photo Jen is a Scorpion Seal practitioner whose home sangha is Austin, Texas. Her career has been in Business Operations and Process Improvement, doing things like M&A Integrations, Organizational Development, Budget Management, Labor Planning, Global Footprint Strategy, Consulting and Coaching. Jen loves to travel, exercise, eat and walk her dog Lucy Blue Crow.

Dr. Sara Lewis

Dr. Sara Lewis photo Sara is an anthropologist of religion and medicine specializing in Tibetan Buddhism. As a feminist scholar, her work investigates memory, cultural trauma, and resilience; she is also a licensed psychotherapist. Sara has been a member of Shambhala since 2006 and has served within all three arms of the Dorje Kasung as the Trident Executive Officer, a member of the Desung Arm, and a Shabchi in training. In 2019 Sara begins a faculty position at Naropa University in the Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology program in Boulder.

Susan Ryan

Susan Ryan photo Susan is a long-time businesswoman and practitioner. After receiving her MBA from Kellogg School of Management, she went on for 22 years to be a banking executive for a number of major corporations and then for 13 years until the present, run a family commercial real estate company. Her experience as a dharma practitioner began after meeting Trungpa Rinpoche in 1974. She subsequently served the sangha as Co-coordinator of the Chicago Dharmadhatu, Kasung, Co-Ambassador of the Vancouver Dharmadhatu, Senior Teacher, Chair of the Boston Design Committee, Member of the Boston Shambhala Board of Trustees and Core Member of the Shambhala Trust. She is a member of both the Boston and New Haven, CT Shambhala Centers, dividing her time between the two cities.

Paulina Varas

Paulina Varas photo Paulina has a Business Administration Degree and has worked most of her life in the financial field. She has a strong background in risk assessment for banks and credit and bond insurance companies. She lived in Johannesburg, South Africa and Toronto, Canada, for more than 6 years, coming back to her home country, Chile, in 1995. She is a Scorpion Seal practitioner, and joined the Shambhala community in 2002, serving as Chagdzö for several years.