Executive Director

Geoff Shōun O’Keeffe

Executive Director (Colorado, USA)

Geoff Shōun has been practicing in the White Plum lineage for many years. His first introduction to practice was at ZCLA in 1975. He lived and practiced at ZCLA with his family from 1984-'86, studied with Joko Beck in San Diego into the early 90's and has been a student of Gerry Shishin Wick, Roshi and Roshi Ilia Shinko Perez of Great Mountain Zen Center and Paul Gyodo Agostinelli, Sensei of Eon Zen Center, near Boulder Colorado.


OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Barbara Salaam Wegmüller, Roshi (Switzerland)

President, Board Member

She met her teacher, Roshi Bernie Glassman in 1999 and was recognized as a Roshi in his lineage in 2015. Since 2005 she has been part of the group of Spiritholders at the retreat in Auschwitz-Birkenau. As well as facilitating the Spiegel Sangha in Switzerland, Barbara trains Zen Peacemakers Stewards, leads workshops on the Mandala of Five Buddha Families, and teaches the method of Council.

Wendy Egyoku Nakao, Roshi

Board Member

Roshi Wendy Egyoku Nakao is the Abbot Emeritus (1999-2019) and Head Teacher and Head Priest at ZCLA. She is currently developing the Open Palm School of Zen at ZCLA. In 1983, Egyoku was ordained as a Zen Priest with Maezumi Roshi and trained with him until his death in 1995. She continued her training in Yonkers, NY, with Roshi Bernie Glassman from whom she received Preceptor and Dharma Transmission (Shiho) in the White Plum Lineage in 1996, and the Seal of Approval (Inka) in 2004. She is a founding teacher of the Zen Peacemaker Order.

Willie Mukei Smith

Board Member

Willie Mukei Smith is a Zen student at The Village Zendo, where he co-leads the People of Color Sitting Group. He is also a psychoanalyst with a private practice and a member of both the Buddhist Council of New York and New York Disaster Interfaith Service and Episcopal Priest.

Francisco Paco Lugoviña, Roshi (USA, Puerto Rico)

Board Member

Francisco is the co-founder of the Hudson River Peacemaker Center: House of One People, in Yonkers, New York. He works with gang members and youth and has participated in Bearing Witness Retreats and pilgrimages to Tibet, Auschwitz-Birkenau, India, Sri Lanka, Rwanda, as well as on the streets of New York City and other US cities.

Grant Couch, Sensei (USA)

Board Member

Grant Couch worked for over 40 years in the financial services industry, with a focus on commercial and investment banking. In 1990 Grant began to explore various spiritual paths and eventually studied with many Tibetan, Zen and Vipassana teachers. After attending the 2010 Bearing Witness Retreat in Auschwitz he began working closely with Bernie. Grant graduated with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA from Lehigh University. Now retired, Grant is focused on finding a bi-partisan solution to the challenging nexus of energy and global warming.

Cornelius v Collande, Roshi (Germany)

Board Member

Since 2000 Dr Cornelius v Collande has worked in Gestalt Psychotherapy, Mindfulness and Zen-training. He has a European Certificate of Psychotherapy (EAP), is a teacher of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), and teaches Taiji at the Taiji Chan school. He was also appointed as Zen teacher of the Zen school “Empty Cloud” by Willigis Jäger Kyoun Roshi in 2009. Roshi Collande serves as a Spirit Holder in the Auschwitz-Birkenau Bearing Witness Retreat.

Christopher Panos, Sensei (USA)

Chairman

Chris Panos, a sensei in the Zen Peacemakers, is currently a founder and principal of Fundamental Investment Advisors. He has studied Tibetan Buddhism, Korean Zen, and American Japanese Zen since 1975 and recently became a Dharmaholder in the Zen Peacemakers lineage.

Tani Katz (Israel)

Treasurer, Board Member

Tani is an expert in conducting, consulting and leading organizational development processes such as growth, excellence, data management and innovation. He is a lecturer in the master’s program of organizational development, Business School, Tel-Aviv University.


OUR STAFF

Holly Ferguson

Program Director

Holly was ordained as a Buddhist reverend by Venerable Guan Zhen. She earned her doctorate in educational leadership with a concentration in educational psychology and a master’s degree in applied psychology, counseling and guidance. Holly has guided and supported organizational leaders in bridging theory, research, practice, and policy.

Jim Hōden Fricker

Media Director

Jim Hoden Fricker grew up near the Zen Mountain Monastery where he first began studying under John Daido Loori. With a bachelor's degree in Jazz Performance and Pedagogy, and a life long interest in media production (audio engineer, podcast producer, website management), Hōden is currently studying with Paul Gyodo Agostinelli and the Eon Zen Center Sangha.


Year Long Volunteers, Auschwitz Retreat

Lilli Mösler

Auschwitz Retreat Coordinator (Germany)

Lilli first came to the Auschwitz Bearing Witness Retreat with her two siblings after her father had been to the retreat. Since her first attendance, she has come back almost every year since.

Joanna Jakubowicz

AUSCHWITZ RETREAT COORDINATOR (POLAND)

Joanna has been practicing Zen since 1996 within the Kanzeon Sangha in Poland and recognized as a Dharma Holder from her teacher Małgosia Braunek Roshi. Her first Auschwitz Retreat began in 2011, eventually became a staff member. Joanna spends much of her time working as a Home Affairs Manager within a graphic design studio in Warsaw, Poland.