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Shambhala Interim Board

Introduction

The Interim Board is a group of eight Shambhala students selected by the Shambhala Transition Task Force to serve for a for a period of 12 months, starting on October 17, 2018.  The Interim Board holds the legal and fiduciary responsibilities to govern Shambhala USA and Shambhala Canada and to work closely with the governing body of Shambhala Europe. The Sakyong has pledged to support the Interim Board and has waived his right to suspend or appoint directors to the board during the twelve months of our term.

The primary focus of the Shambhala Interim Board is on the financial health of Shambhala, responsible management of Shambhala resources and the ongoing care of our community.   The Interim Board will work closely with the Process Team, a group created by the Transition Task force to work on Shambhala community, healing, culture, governance, and learning.

Your support and input is greatly appreciated. You can contact us at board@shambhala.org.  We will be providing regular updates through this website and in letters to the community. We have started a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) which you can find below to address the most common questions that we receive.

We are humbled and honored to help Shambhala in this period of transition.

Yours in the Vision of Shambhala,

The Shambhala Interim Board
Veronika Bauer
Martina Bouey
Mark Blumenfeld
John Cobb
Jennifer Crow
Sara Lewis
Susan Ryan
Paulina Varas

This website will be maintained as an ongoing community resource for information, updates and support.

Scope of Work 

Interim Board Mission from the Transition Task Force:

  • Keeps the Shambhala organizations compliant with their legal obligations.
  • Keep the Shambhala organizations financially solvent.
  • Support the work of the Process Team and collaborate with them when appropriate.
  • Support Europe by approving an appropriate leadership team for Shambhala Europe, reflecting the wisdom and aspiration of the European Shambhala sangha.
  • Support the regions and the centers around the world in continuing their work.
  • Support the ongoing work of Shambhala central services, the various employees, and the ongoing work of the pillars.
  • Be in communication with the community about important developments and decisions in Shambhala.
  • Report to the community on the results of the collaboration with An Olive Branch, in particular the new Care and Conduct policy that was developed with An Olive Branch.
  • Release to the community as much of the Wickwire Holm report as is legally and ethically possible while respecting confidentiality.
  • Keep the Sakyong apprised of your work even though he is not responding to any administrative aspects of Shambhala or the Interim Board.
  • Work with the Transition Task Force.

Please click here to read the Interim Board Oath which was taken on October 17, 2018.

E-mail Communications

Please use this button to access a folder of communications from the Shambhala Interim Board, beginning in October 2018. We will continue to update this folder with translations in as many languages as possible.

Questions?

If you have questions about this initiative, please use the button below to submit them via e-mail. Please note that we are receiving a high volume of questions at this time, and will do our best to respond in a timely manner.

Interim Board Members

Dr. Veronika Bauer

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 is a Scorpion Seal practitioner and has been an active member of the Shambhala community for almost 20 years. She has served the Sangha in many ways including being a member of the Boston Council and holding the seat of Societal Health and Wellbeing in Boston.  Currently, Martina teaches, is on the People of Color Council, and the Councils of Sky Lake and the Boulder Shambhala Center.   In her working life, Martina has over15 years experience successfully managing and scaling up operations for mission driven organizations on a national and international level.  She currently consults with local, national and international nonprofits and philanthropists on board governance, charitable advising, communications, operations, financial management, and program development.

Shastri Mark Blumenfeld

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, and 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 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

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

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 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 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.


Frequently Asked Questions

Shambhala leadership has received several frequently asked questions by community members and leaders. We will continue to update this section as new themes and questions emerge.

What is the difference between the Interim Board and the Kalapa Council?

  • Members of the Kalapa Council were chosen and appointed by the Sakyong. The members of the Interim Board were selected by the Shambhala Transition Task Force.
  • Kalapa Council members served until they voluntarily stepped down or were asked to by the Sakyong. The Sakyong cannot remove members of the Interim Board during the twelve months of their service commitment to Shambhala
  • Several of the Kalapa Council members were salaried employees of Shambhala.  None of the Interim Board members are employees of Shambhala.
  • The pillar heads of Government, Kasung, Economy and Practice and Education were members of the Kalapa Council. The Interim Board has no members who are also pillar heads.

What is the relationship between the Interim Board and the Sakyong?

  • Unlike the Kalapa Council which acted under the direction of the Sakyong, the Interim Board acts independently, in consultation with the key constituencies of Shambhala; the members, center leadership, teachers, the Shambhala Process Team(s) and the Sakyong.  Accordingly, the Interim Board will keep these constituents informed of its activities with the intention to create a stable and sustainable financial and governance environment for Shambhala.
  •  It is the intention of the Interim Board to support the role that the community and the Sakyong feel is appropriate for the Sakyong, both during the period of time that the Sakyong has stepped aside, and in whatever transition may be worked out with the Shambhala Community, the Shambhala Process Team, and the Sakyong at the end of our term.

How will the Interim Board communicate to the Sangha?

  • We plan to make regular updates to this website and provide at least regular communications of our activities and plans through emails to the Sangha.
  • We are investigating other ways we can communicate with the global sangha.
  • The Process Team will be a critical conduit of feedback from the Sangha to the Interim Board.

What decisions can the Interim Board make?  What can’t they make decisions about?

  • The Board can make all operational,  financial and legal decisions necessary to manage the organization of Shambhala International.
  • The Board cannot make decisions for the Potrang, although we will make recommendations and collaborate where appropriate.
  • The Board will not rule or decide on matters of doctrine, curricula or liturgy. The Shambhala Terma, and its supporting teachings are the purview of the Sakyong.
  •  The Board has no authority to appoint Acharyas, Shastris, or any dharma teaching positions or to make appointment of positions in the Dorje Kasung.  However, the Board reserves the authority to remove or censure such teachers for reasons of findings of misconduct pursuant to Shambhala policies.
  • The board cannot amend the Articles and Bylaws of Shambhala.

What happens to the Interim Board after 12 months?

  • The Interim Board members have committed to serve for 12 months. During this time the Shambhala Process team(s) will be looking at and suggesting appropriate structures to govern Shambhala.
  • The Sakyong has expressed his support for the Interim Board members. The Interim Board expects that through ongoing communication with him, they will learn of his intentions for the Board at the end of their 12-month term.

How does the Interim Board relate to the Shambhala Process Team(s)?

  • The Interim Board will work closely with the Shambhala Process Team on issues related to governance and community care, particularly on those suggestions that require funding or legal review.
  • The Interim Board may choose to implement suggestions by the Process Team, based on community input.
  • We plan to have regular updates and communication with and to the Process Team.
  • If requested, the Interim Board may facilitate communication between the Process Team and members of the Shambhala community.

How does the Interim Board relate to the four pillars? Does the Interim Board act as the heads of the four pillars?

  • The Interim Board  does not operate as a replacement for the Pillar Heads that were members of the Kalapa Council.  However, at this point, in the absence of an board level leader, the heads of the four pillars report directly to the Interim Board through the relevant committee of the Board.
  •  The Interim Board has work groups that have identified key leaders within each pillar to have ongoing communication with and to represent issues from the pillar that may need Board interaction, such as matters that require funding or legal guidance.

How does the Interim Board relate to the Sakyong Potrang?

  • The Sakyong Potrang mission is to hold and protect the intellectual property of the Sakyong Lineage and to support the Sakyong Lineage by supporting the activities of the current Sakyong.  The Sakyong Potrang is legally separate from Shambhala International, but closely aligned, as it holds the source of  many of our teachings.
  • The organization of Shambhala interacts on a regular basis with the Sakyong Potrang. The Interim Board oversees matters that have bearing on our financial and legal responsibilities.
  • The Interim Board works closely with the Directors of the Potrang to keep in good communications about community needs, programming and lineage teachings.

Is there a legal basis for the Interim Board’s authority?

  • Yes, purusant to the Bylaws of Shambhala, the Interim Board has been legally appointed, and by resolution of the voting Member.  The Interim Board’s authority is granted by for a period of 12 months.

How will the Interim Board address sexual harm in Shambhala?

  • The Interim Board acknowledges that the Shambhala community has a history of improperly and inadequately relating to sexual harm. We are committed to the ongoing support of the community as the unfolding of work in this area continues.
  • We are especially sensitive to resisting a top-down approach that seeks to polish or smooth over harm that has already occurred and further pledge to be in dialogue with the Process Team and the community at large to reflect on our next steps as a community.
  • We have received a proposal, The Code of Ethics, which was written by The Olive Branch and a working group that we will share with the community.
  • We also hope to encourage and support processes that consider how all forms of structural violence reinforce harmful power structures that benefit some community members over others.  

When will the findings of the independent investigation conducted by Wickwire Holm be given to the community?

  • The investigator received information through the end of the reporting period which closed on November 16.  She will continue work on investigating the information received for several weeks, and then compile her findings in a report to the Interim Board.  The Board will review the report primarliy to insure that a public release of the findings maintains the confidentiality requested by individuals  she interviewed.    Our intention is to make the findings available in January.

When will the Sakyong address the community?

  • We understand from the Sakyong’s July 10 letter to the community that he is in a period of self reflection, listening and learning.  We have been told that he has an intention to communicate further after the findings of the independent investigation are made available to the community.

 

Latest Updates

We will provide ongoing summaries of our weekly board meetings in this section of the site.

November 28, 2018

  • Planning of Halifax meeting
  • Next steps Code of Ethics and Care and Conduct policies
  • Update and next steps on financials
  • HR topics

 

November 26, 2018

  • IB communication to leaders and community – format and scheduling

  • Planning for Halifax meeting

  • Finances update

 

November 21, 2018

  • Status on Process Team
  • Center contribution fundraising campaign
  • Next communication with the community

November 19, 2018

  • Planning of IB Halifax meeting in December
  • HR topics
  • Next steps on WH investigation

November 14, 2018

  • Update from the TTF on Process Team status
  • Staffing issues
  • First budget resolutions for 2019 (P&E)
  • Discussion on Shambhala Day 2019 campaign
  • Discuss process on center transfers and Unified Giving
  • Next steps on Code of Ethics, Care and Conduct

November 11, 2018

  • Staffing issues
  • First budget resolutions for 2019 (P&E)
  • Manage process on center transfers and Unified Giving
  • Next steps on Code of Ethics, Care and Conduct

November 7, 2018

  • Meeting logistics and support for decision making
  • Interaction with the Process Team
  • Halifax meeting – planning
  • Communication support for the upcoming release of the Wickwire Holm investigation report
  • Discussion on funding staff support for International Assemblies
  • Work team updates


October 30, 2018

  • Collaboration of the IB with the TTF, developments with regards to establishing the Process Team
  • Human relations/staff topics
  • Updates from the different work areas of the IB
  • Planning of a meeting of the IB in person in December in Halifax, NS


October 24, 2018

  • Extensive check-in and introductions (getting to know each other)
  • Review of work areas – Care & Conduct, Communications, Finance, Government, Legal, and P&E
  • Review of critical topics by work area – status and next steps
  • Discuss initial communication from IB to the community


October 17, 2018

  • Introductions and greetings between the members of the Kalapa Council and the incoming members of the Interim Board.
  • Members of the Interim Board took their oaths and were seated as the managing board of Shambhala International. After mutual expressions of appreciation and positive aspirations, Kalapa Council members left the meeting.
  • Discussion of meeting and organizational logistics by new Interim Board members
  • Need for an initial communication to the community

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