Board of Directors

Meet our highly qualified board of directors. They are all sangha members and at the same time deeply experienced in financial management and the realities of operations and governance:

Rachel Belash, Board Chair

Rachel has a BA and MA from Oxford, UK, and a Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky, and has been a lifelong educator. She has taught Spanish and Latin American Literature at Dartmouth College and Vassar College. She has been an administrator at Milton Academy, and Head of School at Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, CT, and at Branksome Hall School in Toronto. She has been a search consultant for Carney Sandoe and Associates, and served for a few years as Vice President at the Bank of Boston.

Michael Waldron, Treasurer

Michael is a partner at Mt. Tam Capital Management, a firm investing in a broad array of public and private securities. From 1997-2009, he was a partner at Cadogan Management, where he served as Director of Research while helping to manage several portfolios. Michael was closely involved in all aspects of managing the firm, where assets under management grew to over $7 billion during his tenure. Prior to joining Cadogan, Michael was a portfolio manager at the asset management firm L.J. Altfest & Co. in New York. Michael graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California at Santa Cruz, with BAs in Chemistry and Art History. He is also a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), and has aided several non-profit organizations and foundations in New York and Santa Fe with finances and planning for growth while serving on their boards.

Damon Altomare

Damon Altomare is the founder of ThisWay Development, a software development firm in Santa Fe, NM. Prior to opening the firm, Damon worked as a software developer across a variety of professional sectors including financial services, healthcare and fine arts preservation. Damon received his Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Pittsburgh

John Braman

John is co-director (with Henry Shukman) of the Rio Grande Mindfulness Institute (RGMI). He is also on the staff and advisory board for Inward Bound Mindfulness Education (iBme), the leading national provider of meditation training for teens. His career in education is highlight by the award of the Klingenstein Fellowship for excellence in teaching and the Heinz Fellowship for Ethics before becoming president of the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS). He is the founder of Global Youth Leadership Institute (GYLI), which features a contemplative approach to leadership development. He is also the past vice president of Thompson Island Outward Bound and past executive director of Upaya Zen Center. He is a magna cum laude graduate of Brown University and holds a MA in Educational Administration from Teachers College, as well as a certificate from Harvard’s Pluralism Project and St. John’s College.

Sondra Byrnes

Sondra J. Byrnes has had an extensive career in business and the law—working primarily in banking and utilities in Boston, Detroit and Chicago in the areas of general counsel, strategic planning, corporate communication, marketing and advertising. For twelve years, she taught at the University of Notre Dame Law School and Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. In the late ‘80s, she was the Director of Public Affairs at Los Alamos National Laboratory. She is a long-time Zen practitioner, who led a meditation group at Notre Dame for roughly ten years.  More recently, she served as Secretary of the Haiku Society of America, Committee member to bring Haiku North America to Santa Fe, and leader of the Santa Fe Haiku Study Group.  Sondra’s personal interests include chanoyu (tea ceremony), haiku and ikebana.

Jay Coghlan 

Jay Coghlan is Executive Director of Nuclear Watch New Mexico, a nonprofit organization that watchdogs the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Department of Energy’s nation-wide nuclear weapons complex. He has worked successfully against radioactive incineration at the Los Alamos Lab and in Clean Air Act, Freedom of Information Act and National Environmental Policy Act lawsuits against the Department of Energy. Among other things, he prompted a 2006 independent study that concluded that plutonium pits (the fissile “triggers” of nuclear weapons) last at least a century, leading to congressional rejections of new-design nuclear weapons and their production. He also sits on the board of directors of the Bodhi Mandala Zen Center in Jemez Springs, NM, and is an avid skier and climber.

Chris Hebard

Chris Hebard is the founder of Pruett Media, LLC, which specializes in film, media, and international direct response advertising both online and offline. He has over 30 years experience in development, marketing, international distribution and team building for businesses including internet services, bank credit card issuance, catalog and online store development, and nonprofit enterprises. A member of the leadership committee for the nonprofit trade association GATE (Global Alliance for Transformational Entertainment), Chris founded, a web-based not-for-profit aggregating text, audio and video of teachers of non-duality and self-inquiry, and was a board member of Peacelink Live. He has spoken, written and filmed on spirituality throughout the US and Europe.

Stephen Hughes

A New Mexico native, Steve received his BA at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, his MA at the University of Wisconsin and his JD at Southern Methodist University. Prior to opening his private law practice in 1978, he worked in education and research at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf in Rochester, NY. As an early student of Kapleau Roshi in Rochester, Steve was a founding member of MCZC. When the idea of a Santa Fe center arose back in the early 1980s, Steve was instrumental in all aspects of its creation. Steve’s energy and generosity made the beautiful land available for the initial building of MCZC. Steve closed his private law practice after 15 years and served as Associate Counsel to the New Mexico State Land Office. He is now retired and volunteers at a Homeless Law Clinic in Santa Fe.

Henry Shukman (Ex-officio)

Henry is an Associate Zen Master of Sanbo Zen and continues his training under Abbot Yamada Ryoun Roshi. He has an MA from Cambridge (UK) and an M.Litt from St Andrews University. He has worked as a writer and poet for many years, publishing extensively, as well as teaching in various institutions in Britain and America, including Oxford Brookes University and the Institute of American Indian Arts. He is the Guiding Teacher of Mountain Cloud Zen Center.

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