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Spirit Rock Board of Directors

Matthew Brensilver

Matthew Brensilver, PhD, served as a Buddhist chaplain at USC and teaches about the intersection of mindfulness and mental health at UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center and with Mindful Schools. He serves on the Spirit Rock Teachers Council, the Guiding Teachers Committee, and completed the Spirit Rock/IMS teacher training program and regularly offers retreats at Spirit Rock and the Insight Retreat Center. He spent years doing research on addiction treatment at the UCLA Center for Behavioral and Addiction Medicine and continues to be interested in the unfolding dialogue between dharma and science. Matthew is on the board of Buddhist Insight Network.

Michael Dart

Michael Dart serves as a strategy consultant. As a partner in leading management consulting firms for over 30 years, he has advised private equity funds and leading retailers on the future of the economy and the consumer. He co-authored two books, The New Rules of Retail and Retail’s Seismic Shift, where he explores the concept of "rational altruism” as being critical for long-term business success. Michael has been a longtime meditation practitioner, starting in the Korean/Japanese Zen traditions before discovering Spirit Rock and the Theravada Thai Forest tradition. During the summer of 2023, Michael will celebrate his 32nd residential retreat at Spirit Rock. He was also a student in Spirit Rock’s Dedicated Practitioners Program (DPP6) and Advanced Practitioners Program (APP2) as well as completed training with Phillip Moffit at the Life Balance Institute. An avid trekker, Michael has had multiple visits to Bhutan, Nepal, and the Himalayas and recently sat retreats in Yangon, Burma, and Suan Mokkh, Thailand. He is also a black belt in Korean martial arts and enjoys yoga. Michael lives in San Francisco with his family. He holds a BA from the University of Oxford and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania.

Dana DePalma

Dana DePalma teaches Insight Meditation retreats at Spirit Rock and online through Dharma Ground, an organization she co-founded. She specializes in teaching Nine Bodies Insight, a method of practice which utilizes specific teachings on the structure of consciousness to balance, refine, and empower one’s Insight Meditation practice. Dana began her Vipassana practice in 1993, when she was a psychology student at UC Berkeley. She graduated from Spirit Rock’s first Community Dharma Leaders (CDL) Program in 2000, completed Spirit Rock’s four-year retreat Teacher Training Program, and joined the Spirit Rock Teachers Council in 2010. She serves as a Board member and Guiding Teacher at Spirit Rock, and recently completed a four-year term as Co-Chair of the Guiding Teachers Committee (2018 - 2022). Dana holds a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology from California Institute of Integral Studies, and a Marriage and Family Therapist license, and is most influenced by Relational psychology, Depth psychology, and Jungian perspectives. She is a Bay Area native, married, mom to an awesome teen, and grateful to call the ancestral Coast Miwok Land also known as Marin County, with Mount Tamalpais and its rugged coast, home.

Randima Fernando

Randima Fernando is a Co-Founder at Center for Humane Technology, which is dedicated to realigning technology with humanity’s best interests. For 7 years he was Executive Director at Mindful Schools, a nonprofit that has brought mindfulness training to millions of children and tens of thousands of educators worldwide. Prior to that, Randima ran several award-winning projects over 7 years at NVIDIA, including authoring three books on advanced 3D graphics. He has been a dedicated Buddhist practitioner for many years. He has taught a daylong Spirit Rock with Matthew Brensilver: “Technology as an Existential Threat to Mindfulness”.

Jack Kornfield

Jack trained as a Buddhist monk in the monasteries of Thailand, India and Burma. He has taught meditation internationally since 1974 and is one of the key teachers to introduce Buddhist mindfulness practice to the West. He is a founding teacher of the Insight Meditation Society and Spirit Rock Meditation Center. He holds a PhD in clinical psychology, and is a father and activist. His books include A Path with Heart; Buddha's Little Instruction Book; Teachings of the Buddha; Seeking the Heart of Wisdom; Living Dharma; A Still Forest Pool; After the Ecstasy, the Laundry; The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness and Peace; The Wise Heart: A Guide to the Universal Teachings of Buddhist Psychology; and Bringing Home the Dharma: Awakening Right Where You Are.

John Martin

During his professional career, John Martin served as CEO of the San Francisco Airport (SFO) for 20 years, a role for which he won many awards, including the 2015 ACC Aviation Award of Excellence. He has also been devoted to dharma practice since 2001. His practice includes both long retreat practice and an engaged practice in the world. In his teachings, he emphasizes the aliveness of practice in everyday life, as well as the cultivation of the beautiful heart qualities (brahmaviharas). John teaches Vipassana, Metta and LGBTQI-themed meditation retreats. John's spiritual path has also included volunteer service work, including over 12 years as a hospice volunteer. He completed the SRMC/IMS/IRC 4-year teacher training in 2016. Currently, John serves as well on the Spirit Rock Teachers Council and Guiding Teachers Committee.

Niki Mirghafori

Nikki Mirghafori

Nikki Mirghafori is an Iranian-American Artificial Intelligence scientist and Dharma teacher. She received her PhD in Computer Science from UC Berkeley in 1998 and has had an active career in academia and industry. She has directed international research programs, authored over 40 scientific articles, taught classes at UC Berkeley, and mentored post-docs and graduate students. She holds multiple patents and has served as the scientific advisor to Silicon Valley technology startups. Since 2003, Nikki has practiced in the Theravada tradition with a keen interest in intensive long retreat practice. She was instructed by her Burmese teacher, the renowned meditation master Venerable Pa Auk Sayadaw, to teach jhanas and a detailed analytical method of vipassana in 2008. She is a Stanford trained compassion cultivation instructor, a UCLA certified mindfulness facilitator, and a graduate of the Spirit Rock/IMS/IMC Teacher Training. She teaches nationally, and in particular, at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and Insight Meditation Center, where she also serves on their Boards.

Bill Park

Bill Park 

Bill Park joined DeepDyve, an online rental service for academic research, as Chief Executive Officer in 2008. Prior to DeepDyve, Bill served at Acxiom Corporation, a global leader in information management, where he led the company's data, digital and direct organization and oversaw all aspects of sales, services, development and operations domestically and internationally. Previously, Bill founded and served as chairman and CEO of Digital Impact, a leader in online direct marketing solutions for Fortune 1000 companies, which he sold to Acxiom in 2005. Before founding Digital Impact in 1997, Bill held numerous management positions at technology and enterprise software companies. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and earned an MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. Bill is on the Board of Advisors for the Asian Pacific Fund, was formerly an officer in Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and is a founding board member of the Korean American Society of Entrepreneurs. Bill is interested in everyday applications of mindfulness and has been coming to Spirit Rock for about 10 years.

Demarris Evans

Demarris Evans has worked as a trial attorney at the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office for 20+ years, where she leads a weekly sitting meditation practice. She is currently working as the Racial Justice and Equity Attorney for the office as well as the Chairperson of the Racial Justice Committee. Demarris is also a member of the San Francisco Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Task Force, where she chairs the Bias and Policing Subcommittee. She is a graduate of the Gerry Spence Trial Lawyers College and the Warrior One Mindfulness in Law Teacher Training Program of 2016. She has been practicing mindfulness since the late 1990s. Demarris is currently enrolled in Spirit Rock’s Dedicated Practitioner Program and the Communities Rizing Yoga and Meditation Teacher Training Program for People of Color. She has led several mindfulness trainings and teaches mindfulness through the lens of healing and human potential. Demarris also serves on the Board of Directors for the Mindfulness in Law Society and is the Head of the Criminal Law Division.


Tuere Sala

Tuere Sala is a Guiding Teacher at Seattle Insight Meditation Society and Spirit Rock Retreat Center, who has practiced Vipassana meditation for over 30 years. Tuere is committed to lay practice and inspired by bringing the Dharma to nontraditional places. She is a strong advocate for practitioners living with high stress, past trauma and difficulties sitting still. Tuere has been teaching since 2010 and has a long history of assisting others in establishing and maintaining a daily practice.


Desmund Shirazi

Prior to joining Oaktree as a Portfolio Manager in 1995, Desmund spent eight years at Citicorp in credit research. While at Citicorp, he was responsible for reviewing the credit quality of prospective borrowers and monitoring existing loans. Desmund has since retired from the financial industry and lives in LA where he frequently attends retreats and classes offered by InsightLA. He has studied with Phillip Moffitt, has attended retreats at SR and served on a public company board and another non-profit boards.

Board Emeritus/Emerita

Sylvia Boorstein

Sylvia has been teaching since 1985 and teaches both Vipassana and Metta Meditation. She is a founding teacher of Spirit Rock Meditation Center and a psychotherapist, wife, mother, and grandmother who is particularly interested in seeing daily life as practice. Her books include It's Easier Than You Think: The Buddhist Way to Happiness; Don't Just Do Something, Sit There: A Mindfulness Retreat; That's Funny, You Don't Look Buddhist: On Being a Faithful Jew and a Passionate Buddhist; Pay Attention for Goodness' Sake: The Buddhist Path of Kindness; and Happiness Is an Inside Job.

Carolyn Zecca Ferris

(Board Emerita) Carolyn first joined the Spirit Rock board in 1987. She is an artist and lives in San Francisco near her children and grandchildren.


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