Meet our highly qualified board of directors. They are all experienced in financial, high-tech, government or education management and knowledgable about the realities of operations and governance. Most are sangha members of Mountain Cloud Zen Center
Sondra Byrnes, Board Chair
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.
John Braman is principal at Braman Group International (BGI), a consultancy based in Santa Fe. He also co-directs (with Henry Shukman) the Rio Grande Mindfulness Institute (RGMI), a division of Mountain Cloud Zen Center. He is past president of the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS), where he oversaw the accreditation of 250 schools in 14 states. Prior to that, he was a division director at Albuquerque Academy for 10 years, was executive vice president at Thompson Island Outward Bound, Boston, MA, and director of the Center for Peaceable Schools at Lesley University, Cambridge, MA. He graduated from Brown University, and has a master’s degree in Educational Administration from Teachers College at Columbia University, where he was a Klingenstein Fellow. He holds a certificate from Harvard’s Pluralism Project, and is a 2018 graduate of Inward Bound Mindfulness Education’s year-long teacher certification program.
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.
Laura is a librarian at St. John’s College Meem Library in Santa Fe, where she has worked since 1995. She graduated from St. John’s College in 1992 with a B.A. in liberal arts and in 1998 with an M.A. in eastern classics. She earned a master’s degree in library science from the University of Michigan in 1994, and worked as a reference librarian at the Colorado College Tutt Library for a year. She and her husband Paul, also a member at Mountain Cloud, have raised their children in Santa Fe.
Josué is an artist, government relations professional and entrepreneur who is passionate about empowering younger, disadvantaged populations. His professional role is that of Senior Client Solution Associate with GLC www.glginsights, in Austin, Texas, where he helps clients connect to varied sources of expertise, including foremost subject matter specialists. He learned about Mountain Cloud through his involvement in RGMI via the Davis Scholars program.
A graduate of the Academy for Technology and the Classics in Santa Fe, New Mexico, he earned a B.A. from Saint Edward’s University in Austin, Texas in 2017. Josué has extensive experience in our local community through work with organizations such as Earth Care, Breakthrough Santa Fe, and the Davis New Mexico Scholarship. Josué’s dream is to empower disadvantaged youth in Santa Fe by establishing a youth center to provide a safe, creative and academic space for students too often forgotten by the educational system. Besides this experience, Josué and his mother co-founded MariCumbia Nutrition, a Zumba studio located on the South Side of Santa Fe. Their commitment to bringing health education and services to marginalized communities motivated this initiative. Additionally, Josué gained experience in federal government relations through the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), where he lobbied on behalf of Hispanic-serving institutions.
Peg has an associate degree in Oral Hygiene from the University of Pittsburgh and spent years working with patients in various locations. She later graduated from Wright State University with a BS degree in Environmental Health Science. In her second career she oversaw compliance with OSHA, MSHA, RCRA, DOT and health and safety regulations. Following her contract work for EPA Region 5, she moved to New Mexico and began practicing Zen, receiving lay ordination as a Rinzai nun in 1998. She officially became a student at Mountain Cloud in 2014. In addition to serving on other boards, she is currently Chair for the Supervisory Committee of the Jemez Valley Credit Union.
Sarah Giffin (she/her) joined the Mountain Cloud Community as a resident zen student in 2017, before serving the sangha as residential Site Manager and Program Coordinator. During this time, she joined the Rio Grande Mindfulness Institute faculty as an Experiential Specialist, bringing her joy of play and embodiment to the team. Before coming to Santa Fe, Sarah lived in New York City and her hometown, Washington, D.C., where she was deeply engaged in community-based racial justice and art initiatives. There, she practiced Theater of the Oppressed, experiential learning, and critical pedagogy in her roles at youth development and professional development organizations, and art collectives. She is a graduate of D.C. Public Schools, The New School University, and holds a certificate in Creative Arts Therapy. She now works as a Program Effectiveness Manager at Homewise in Santa Fe.
Karen Klinefelter has been a clinical social worker since receiving her MSW from St Louis University in 1971. Her direct clinical work has included provision of individual, family and group therapies in both inpatient and outpatient settings for underserved popularions. She has been a clinical supervisor for graduate school interns and guest lectured at the community college and university level. Karen has worked in program development, grant-writing and administration in both public and nonprofit agencies with an emphasis on engaging local leaders and volunteers in focused multi-disciplinary responses to issues affecting vulnerable segments of the community. She currently maintains a small clinical practice, with a particular interest in aging and what it really means to be an elder in this culture. She has had a zen practice for the past 17 years.
Mark Paul Petrick
Mark Petrick earned his undergraduate degree in fine art from the University of California at Berkeley, where he also did graduate work in architecture. He earned his MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where he was a Mellon Fellow at the school’s Center for Art and Technology. He taught college art and photography, and exhibited as an artist and photographer at major institutions such as SFMoMA, the Chicago Art Institute, the Walker Art Center, and the Des Moines Art Center. His varied career also included work as a magazine publisher, writer, commercial photographer, and work in industrial and public relations. He retired in 2014 after working as a director of marketing communications for a manufacturing firm. Mark is a student at Mountain Cloud. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he continues to pursue his creative interests.
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.