The Center for Mindful Self-Compassion was founded in 2012 by the developers of Mindful Self-Compassion, Christopher Germer and Kristin Neff, and is now an international nonprofit organization.

Mission and

Board of


Advisory Board

Mission and Vision

Vision Statement:

We aim to be the global leader in self-compassion training and to offer the highest quality programs to diverse populations, based upon scientific research and established teaching methods. CMSC is committed to building an equitable, inclusive, and caring global community supporting the practice of self-compassion where each person matters and everyone belongs.

Our Mission:

Our purpose is to alleviate human suffering and improve the collective well-being of the planet through the practice of self-compassion. We will accomplish this mission by:

  • Providing resources and training opportunities to anyone wishing to learn and practice self-compassion
  • Disseminating Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) and adaptations of MSC in an effective, accessible, flexible and affordable manner to the widest range of participants
  • Providing quality training and continuing professional support to teachers of CMSC programs
  • Supporting and extending diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in all activities of the organization and through our partners around the world
  • Collaborating with other mindfulness and compassion-based organizations to pursue our common purpose of a more compassionate world through intentional practice
  • Actively engaging with systems (e.g., healthcare, education, business, government, military) that would benefit from self-compassion training
  • Fostering a worldwide community of practice to support everyone who wishes to be more self-compassionate
  • Encouraging scientific research to enhance our understanding of self-compassion and MSC

Our Values:

  • We believe that mindfulness and self-compassion are basic human capacities that can be cultivated to support well-being and reduce suffering
  • CMSC is committed to upholding the integrity, quality, and consistency of the MSC program and adaptations, and to support the training and continuing education of MSC teachers
  • We believe that the foundation for effective teaching of MSC is the teacher’s regular personal practice of mindfulness and self-compassion in daily life
  • CMSC is committed to empirically supported training grounded in scientific evidence on mindfulness and self-compassion
  • We understand the centrality of community in our individual lives and the life of the organization and strive to encourage compassionate connections in all aspects of the organization
  • CMSC is determined to be an inclusive, caring, multi-cultural community, based on mindfulness and self-compassion, that respects and allows each individual to thrive

Financial Report 2021:

  • Financial Statement including Accountant’s Compilation Report and Statement of Financial Position, Activities, Functional Expenses, and Cash Flow
  • 2021 Form 990 (Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax)

Board of Directors

Kristin Neff


Kristin Neff, Ph.D., is co-founder of CMSC and co-developer of MSC. She is Associate Professor in the Educational Psychology Dept. at the University of Texas at Austin. She is a pioneer in the field of self-compassion research, being the first person to operationally define and measure the construct.  She has published widely including numerous academic articles, book chapters and the popular book Self-Compassion:  The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself.  She is also Associate Editor at the journal Mindfulness.  Kristin’s work has received extensive media coverage, including the New York Times, MSNBC, National Public Radio, Scientific American, and Psychology Today.  Kristin is an MSC teacher trainer, and leads MSC intensives and workshops around the world.

Christopher Germer


Christopher Germer, Ph.D., is a co-developer of the MSC program and a co-founder of the Center for MSC. He is the author of the popular book, The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion, and co-author (with Kristin Neff) of the professional text, Teaching the Mindful Self-Compassion Program, and a workbook, The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook. Chris is an MSC Teacher Trainer and leads MSC intensives and workshops around the world.

Chris is also a clinical psychologist and lecturer on psychiatry (part-time) at Harvard Medical School. Chris has been integrating the principles and practices of meditation into psychotherapy since 1978. He has co-edited two influential volumes –Mindfulness and Psychotherapy, and Wisdom and Compassion in Psychotherapy – and he is a founding faculty member of both the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy and the Center for Mindfulness and Compassion, Cambridge Health Alliance, Harvard Medical School. Chris maintains a small private practice in Arlington, Massachusetts, USA, specializing in mindfulness and compassion-based psychotherapy.

Deirdre Maloney

Board President

Deirdre Maloney helps organizations exceed their goals and helps their leaders sleep better at night. She does it through her work as an international speaker, published author, and president of her company Momentum LLC. Deirdre has been a contributing writer for such publications as Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc. and Thrive Global. Her books include Bogus Balance, The Mission Myth and the Tough Truths series. Deirdre has used her brand of “mild audacity” to help inspire positive change around the world, presenting and facilitating sessions for hundreds of organizations. In addition to running her own company, Deirdre’s experience includes serving as CEO of a multi-million-dollar nonprofit organization, working as a broadcast news producer, and teaching marketing at the University of San Diego. Deirdre is a member of San Diego Rotary and is an ongoing meditation practitioner/facilitator.

Mark Rovner

Board Vice-President

For more than 30 years, Mark has served the nonprofit community as a communications strategist, a fundraiser, and most recently as a leadership coach. Mark has taught, studied and practiced meditation and compassion in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition since 1995. An experienced board member, Mark chaired the board of the international Campaign for Tibet and more recently served on the board of the Coral Reef Alliance and the Central Caribbean Marine institute. He is an MSC teacher in training and expects to teach his first MSC course in early 2022. Mark is an avid diver and marine conservationist.

Sydney Spears

Director of DEIB

Sydney Spears, Ph.D., LCSW is a certified Mindful-Self Compassion teacher and Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging for the Center of Mindful Self-Compassion. She also works part-time at the University of Kansas-School of Social Welfare specializing in teaching diversity, anti-oppression, social justice and clinical social work courses. Sydney has deep passion for advancing social equity for racialized people and all other underserved populations experiencing systemic injustices. Additionally, Sydney is highly committed to providing and integrating anti-oppressive and trauma-sensitive practices within her psychotherapy practice as a licensed clinical social worker. Her counseling service specializes in working with survivors of chronic stress and trauma generated from family relationships and sociocultural trauma.

Marta Alonso

Marta Alonso is Licensed Clinical Psychologist specialized in mindfulness and compassion treatments and European Expert in Psychotherapy by the EFPA having obtained Europsy certification. She is MSC Teacher Trainer and Mentor and the first certified teacher in the Spanish language. She has taught more than 40 MSC courses, which she introduced in Spain. She is a founding member of the Spanish Association of Mindfulness and Compassion and has been its president until 2017, and is currently a member of the honorary council.

Gabriel Menegale Wilson

Gabriel Menegale Wilson (MEd), founder of Freedom & Fairness, is helping us unlock the power of radical collaboration in service of enacting greater freedom, fairness and compassion. He is a facilitator, advisor, and co-author of Compassionate Conversations: How to Speak and Listen from the Heart. His work takes us to the intersection of social justice and purpose driven enterprises, design thinking, human psychology and group dynamics.

Gabe studied adult developmental psychology and leadership through Stanford’s Masters program in Policy, Organization, and Leadership Studies (POLS). He was a lecturer at Stanford University for the innovative program, Designing Your Life, where he taught undergraduate and graduate students the principles of design thinking as applied to personal and professional development. He is a certified Integral Facilitator and an associate at Delta Developmental, a leadership and organizational development consultancy. He is a practitioner of meditation in the Zen lineage at the Two Arrows Zen Center.

Ni-Cheng Liang

Ni-Cheng Liang, MD is a pulmonologist and mindfulness teacher who was recognized by Mindful Magazine as one of the 10 Powerful Women of the Mindfulness Movement 2021. She was the recipient of the American Lung Association San Diego Lung Health Provider of the Year Award in 2019 and has been named numerous years as a Top Doctor San Diego. She is the Director of Pulmonary Integrative Medicine for Coastal Pulmonary Associates and holds a Voluntary Assistant Professor of Medicine appointment at UCSD. She founded the Mindful Healthcare Collective, an organization that has been providing free mindfulness based wellness sessions for healthcare professionals and the general public since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in an effort to reduce the collective suffering that has been experienced. She also co-hosts the Mindful Healers Podcast. Dr. Liang is a leader and international speaker on physician wellness, mindfulness, anti-racism, integrative and pulmonary medicine. She co-hosts the Mindful Healers Podcast.

Petri Pennanen

Petri looks back at a 25-year career in Financial Services in Europe where he held various executive positions, mainly at GE Capital. He was based in major centers in Germany and in London. Experiencing the inevitable ups and downs of a high-intensity environment he learned to value the power of mindfulness and self-compassion practices. He became a firm believer that these practices have a lot to offer for individuals and also have a big role to play in resolving the challenges humanity is currently facing. Following this insight, Petri moved full time into the Center for Mindfulness/Finland, which he co-owns, and now devotes his full energy to teaching mindfulness, self-compassion and emotional intelligence (EI) to corporate clients and to the general public.

Petri holds an MBA from INSEAD/France and a M.Sc. in Engineering, he is a Mindfulness MBSR teacher, a certified Search Inside Yourself (SIY) teacher and a certified GENOS Emotional Intelligence (EI) practitioner. His position as the CMSC Board Treasurer allows him to ideally leverage is long experience in the financial sector and combine this with his calling to help making this world a better place by making mindfulness and self-compassion trainings widely accessible to all. 

CMSC Core Staff

Kevin Eyres

Kevin Eyres

CMSC Executive Team

Interim Executive Director

With an agile heart, Kevin Eyres helps executive leaders be fearlessly human by discovering that the real challenge often lies in limiting beliefs, and the lack of emotional connection within. He combines his deep business leadership experience as the former Managing Director of LinkedIn Europe, MD for AltaVista and SideStep/Kayak with spirituality, mindfulness, and psychology to amplify love and self-kindness, which ultimately results in leading with courage, agency, and purpose. 

Kevin has been a long-time member of YPO and expresses his talent for guiding others through his work as a teacher at the Hoffman Institute, an executive coach, as well as through his service on corporate and non-profit boards.

Kevin loves being a husband and dad most of all. Extra fun activities are ice hockey, singing, cycling, meditation, and geeking out on all things tech and design.

Aly Waibel

CMSC Executive Team

Associate Executive Director for Professional Training & Operations

Aly Waibel, PhD is Associate Executive Director (AED) for Professional Training and Operations at CMSC. She collaborates with the Executive Team to develop and manage professional training programs and operations. Aly has been in nonprofit leadership roles since 2015. She received her PhD in Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Studies at the University of Arizona College of Education with a focus on contemplative education and lifelong learning. She is a Senior Certified Teacher of the Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT) course developed at Stanford University. She founded the nonprofit organization Compassion Education Alliance, a global collective that offers courses and support to compassion practitioners, educators, activists, and researchers.

Mary Marcdante

CMSC Executive Team

Director of Communications

Mary Marcdante is Director of Communications for CMSC and an MSC Trained Teacher. She is responsible for overseeing marketing strategy of programs and professional training and nurturing strategic partnerships to increase visibility of CMSC worldwide. Before joining CMSC, her experience includes the previous decade working as a marketing consultant with business, government, nonprofit, and community organizations to create and complete mission-driven collaborative projects and events, and a 30-year career traveling internationally as a communication and stress management speaker and author. She lives in San Diego, California and loves leading walking meditations and self-compassion retreats at Torrey Pines Reserve and Beach.

Natalie Bell

CMSC Executive Team

Associate Executive Director for Public Programs

Natalie Bell, PT, CMF is Associate Executive Director (AED) for public programs at CMSC. She works with the ED to provide planning, vision, development and direction of public programs and events. Natalie directs the Live Online Mindful Self-Compassion (LOMSC) program and co-developed the Teaching Self-Compassion Online teacher training to help MSC teachers cultivate safety and embodied presence online. Natalie worked in hospitals for 17 years as a Physical Therapist and Director of Rehabilitation and helped Kristin Neff and Chris Germer develop the Self Compassion Training for Healthcare Communities (SCHC) program which she now directs as lead teacher trainer. Natalie founded Mindful Wellness, a mindfulness training and coaching business, is a mindfulness teacher for UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center, and served as the Director of corporate mindfulness programs for Unplug Meditation in Los Angeles, Ca. She has been teaching globally as a certified mindfulness and MSC teacher and trainer. She loves to practice the art of savoring in nature, to hike, swim, and dance to embody these transformative practices.

Gail Stein

Director of Operations

Gail Stein, MA (Art History) lives in San Diego, California, where she managed a yoga and bodywork studio for many years. She has an administrative background and has run several independent businesses with her husband. She now provides administrative support for the Executive Director, manages the finances of the organization, and coordinates CMSC-sponsored events. She answers most general public inquiries, and is often the first point of contact for people wanting to learn more about CMSC.

Maria Paula Jimenez

Online Learning Manager

Maria Paula Jimenez is a Colombian contemplative instructor and therapist who serves as the LOMSC administrator. Maria Paula is an MSC teacher in training and a Senior Instructor and supervisor of future instructors in the Compassion Cultivation Training Program developed by the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University. She is also a lecturer, organizational consultant and advisor to groups and individuals on topics related to well-being/ whole-being, change, contemplative practices, mindfulness, and compassion. Maria Paula studied Psychology at Los Andes University, with a minor in business. She is an expert in Corporate Social Responsibility from Sergio Arboleda University and in Integrative Therapies from the Faculty of Medicine of the Universidad del Rosario.

Catherine Magner

Program Manager for MSC Teacher Training

Catherine Magner is the Program Manager for CMSC’s MSC Teacher Training. She manages the in-person and live online MSC Teacher Training Programs in the United States, as well as the Teacher Training Practicums. As a trained MSC teacher, she teaches MSC to the community at Ramapo College of New Jersey and is an adjunct professor teaching MSC to Ramapo students. Gardening and healthy cooking are two of Catherine’s most beloved pastimes. She also delights in parenting her teenage son; connecting with neighbors, family, and friends; and deepening her mindfulness practice, particularly through sitting and walking meditations. Previously, Catherine worked as the manager of a creative studio in an advertising agency, a marketing and program coordinator for an Integrative Medicine Center at Morristown Hospital, and the managing director of a Mindfulness Center at Ramapo College of New Jersey. When her schedule allows, she is a peer leader for the New York Insight Meditation Center New Jersey Sangha.

Rachel Tayse

Program Support & Systems Manager

Rachel Tayse (she/her) coordinates technical and project management systems across CMSC and supports the Self-Compassion In Psychotherapy (SCIP) program, silent retreats and DEIB course. She is a trained conflict mediator, social justice advocate, and hospice volunteer. Prior to joining CMSC, she initiated and managed creative sustainable agriculture and food system projects for non-profits throughout Ohio. Passionate about seasonal eating and Appalchian foodways, Rachel considers herself a ‘mindful farmer’, tending her two-acre organic homestead with her teen in Columbus, Ohio.

Chandni Karmacharya

MSC Teacher Training Coordinator

Chandni Karmacharya supports participants throughout their Teacher Training journey at CMSC. She was born and raised in Kathmandu, Nepal, and has been living in Vancouver, Canada since 2007. She has a diverse work experience background in public health mixed-methods research, yoga teaching and administrative coordination. These various experiences have allowed her to develop a holistic understanding of individual well-being. Her vision is to cultivate a person-centred and trauma-conscious world that empowers and enables people to thrive. Enthusiast of forests, ocean dips, all things October (fall, halloween and Dashain) and weekly art nights.

Teresa Markray

Senior Bookkeeper

Teresa Markray currently lives in Princeton, LA with her husband and children. She enjoys hiking, fishing, camping and spending time with her family. Before joining CMSC, Teresa was a full charge bookkeeper for a small Sheetmetal and HVAC Company. Teresa comes to the team with over 10 years of bookkeeping experience as the Senior Bookkeeper. She is a Veteran from the US Army where she trained as a Military Police Correctional Officer. Due to an injury, she decided to go into the Accounting field as she has always enjoyed and been good with numbers. Teresa has an AAS in Accounting and am a Certified Pro-Adviser in QBO and is passionate about bringing her skills and abilites to an organization that values both mental health and sound accounting.

laura stein cmsc staff

Laura Stein

Online Learning Assistant

Laura Stein supports the Online Learning Programs team at CMSC and is currently living in Denver, CO. For her role at CMSC, Laura works directly with participants interested in taking an online, open to public course, as well as supporting participants currently enrolled and our wonderful LOMSC teachers during their course, to try and ensure the best experience possible. Laura has been with CMSC since 2016, and so she also assists with general inquiries and our larger workshops. She has a background in History, and is deeply committed to and passionate about Social Justice. In her free time, Laura enjoys cooking, nature, gaming and being with loved ones..and her cat!

CMSC Part-time Staff

Aimee Eckhardt

Director of the Community for Deepening Practice

Aimee Eckhardt is a Mindful Self-Compassion teacher and co-developer of the 8-month MSC Community for Deepening Practice. She is also a co-founder of the Midwest Alliance for Mindfulness in Kansas City and is a chaplain-in-training at Upaya Zen Center.

Cecilia Fernandez-Hall

Coordinator of Circles of Practice of MSC Graduates

Cecilia Fernandez-Hall, PhD, is a Cuban-American living in New Hampshire. She is a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in mindfulness-based psychotherapy, a Mindful Self-Compassion teacher, and a Circles of Practice facilitator. Cecilia manages the day-to-day operation of the Circles of Practice and co-coordinates Circles of Encouragement, the weekly emails designed to help support the mindfulness and self-compassion practices of our ever-growing MSC graduate and teacher communities.

Ben Weinstein

Co-Coordinator of Circles of Practice Public Offering

Ben Weinstein, PhD is a licensed Clinical Psychologist, certified MSC teacher and life-adventurer who has been living in Thailand as an expatriate since 2003 serving local and expat communities across the region. Ben has worked for more than 20 years to facilitate growth and development in many contexts and cultures. He has been profoundly inspired by the remarkable, transformative alchemy of mindfulness, purpose-guided engaged living, self-compassion and community. Ben loves to share MSC and feels honored to co-coordinate circles of practice-public offering alongside Laila Narsi as well as being expert faculty for the SCIP program. He regularly teaches self-compassion and resilience in English and Thai. Ben is also an adjunct lecturer in the Department of Psychology at Chiang Mai University. When he’s not working, he loves to travel!

Markus P.J. Bohlmann

Translation Coordinator

Markus Bohlmann (he/him, er/sein, or no pronouns), MA, MSc, PhD, is a certified MSC teacher and is also certified in MBCT as well as trained in other mindfulness programs. He has led queer meditation groups and facilitated the MSC course to a queer audience internationally. Markus is faculty at the Center for Mindfulness Studies and Mindfulness Everyday in Toronto, Canada, coordinator of CMSC’s worldwide translations of the MSC programs, member of CMSC’s DEIB committee (diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging), team leader of CMSC’s LGBTQIAP2S+ Affinity Group, Circles of Practice, amongst other things. Markus is co-creator of the LOMSC queer adaptation of the mindful self-compassion program. He loves to travel and enjoys nature. He teaches in English and in German. 

Laila Narsi

Co-Coordinator of Circles of Practice Public Offering

Laila Narsi, LCSW, CMMT, CMT-P, is the Co-Coordinator for the CMSC Circles of Practice Public Offering as well as a Certified Mindful Self-Compassion teacher receiving her training directly from founders Drs. Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer in 2014. Since receiving her Master’s in Social Work in 1997, her passion to provide sound and effective mental health services led her to create The Mindful Self, which is a center for Trauma Informed Psychotherapy as well as Mindfulness and Self-Compassion offerings. Laila a is Certified in EMDR Therapy and is an EMDR Approved Consultant where she specializes in PTSD, Complex trauma, Stress, Mood disorders, and Anxiety.

Laila’s journey in meditation started in childhood where she was mentored by her parents who nurtured a family meditation and movement practice. Since college, she has travelled around the world working with several teachers cultivating her interests in mindfulness, diversity, cultural studies, human rights, and international arts. Laila has also accompanied Dr. Germer in Kenya bringing MSC to other trauma specialists. She returned there a couple of years later to co-teach a Making Friends With Yourself (MSC for Teens) intensive course. In addition, she has been directly trained and mentored by Drs. Jack Kornfield, Tara Brach, Sharon Salzberg, and Steve Hickman.

Byron Wild

Recording Technical Support

Byron Wild is responsible for Zoom technical and recording support. Byron is also a massage therapist specializing in bodywork sessions to help his clients develop interoceptive awareness. Before CMSC and massage therapy, Byron lived and worked in meditation retreat centers for nearly 10 years – handling everything from security to event coordination to housekeeping. He lives in Wheaton, Maryland just outside Washington, D.C. and enjoys running with his dog, gardening, and playing board games.

Mirjam Luthe

International Affairs Manager

Mirjam Luthe, MA (International Cultural & Business Studies, Development Cooperation & NGO Management) is a certified MSC Teacher, a certified MBSR teacher, trained in the Mindful Schools Curriculum, Council Practice and contemplative dialog. She has lived on and off in Spain and California; her home base is Freiburg, Germany. At CMSC, she provides support to the Director of International Affairs, e.g. for the Globally Engaged Intensives, the relation to the TG translators and country pages and the International Advisory Council. Mirjam speaks English, German, Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese. She has worked in many developing countries and stands for a socially engaged practice.

Cassondra Graff

Mentor Director for Public Workshops

Cassondra Graff, M.S., LCSW is a Certified MSC and MBSR teacher and Director of Mentors with the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion (CMSC). She brings 22 years of experience as a licensed psychotherapist and mental health provider. Her work in teaching, mentoring and in mental health is mindfulness and compassion based. Cassondra leads Mentor Groups designed to empower people to optimize the application of self-compassion into their lives. She believes in the power of compassion to help us survive, thrive and navigate life, especially in challenging times.

Professional Training Committee

Noriko Harth

Professional Training Committee Member

Noriko is a Certified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Instructor, a Certified Mindful Self-Compassion Instructor and a Managing Director at UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness.

Born in Japan, she moved to the States in 1985. Noriko feels that her life transforming journey of discovering and exploring mindfulness and self-compassion practices has allowed a more balanced life and identity between these two cultures. Noriko strongly believes practicing mindfulness and self-compassion, and bringing its principles into her life has and continues to help her grow as a person. She feels passionate about bringing these practices to other people’s lives. It is her mission to share what she has learned, what she continues to learn, to our community.

In addition, Noriko sees an opportunity, based on her own integration experiences, to introduce mindfulness-based programs to the Japanese communities in the world and to the Japanese people in Japan.

David Spound

Professional Training Committee Member

David Spound, M.Ed., is a certified teacher and teacher trainer of both Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).

After studying with teachers from a wide range of meditative and contemplative traditions, David began teaching full-time in 2005, first with MBSR and then adding MSC in 2014. He has led courses for the UMass Center for Mindfulness, the UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness, the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion, and for his own company Valley Mindfulness.

With the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion, David leads MSC Teacher Training courses and is a member of the Professional Training Committee that oversees MSC teacher training programs and policies. David also mentors applicants for MSC Teacher Certification, co-leads Silent Meditation Retreats, and is a teacher for the 8-month online Community for Deepening Practice.

Outside of his CMSC work, he offers MSC and MBSR courses in his hometown, and he works as an MBSR Teacher Trainer and Mentor with the UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness. From 2006 through 2013, David was a staff member of the UMass Center for Mindfulness where he taught MBSR and managed the “Oasis” MBSR Teacher Training and Certification Program. David’s personal practice as well as his work as a teacher and teacher trainer meld together as a true labor of love.

Mila De Koning

Professional Training Committee Member

Mila de Koning is a social therapist, nurse and mindfulness and compassion teacher. She has a long professional experience working in (mental) health care with groups. And she worked as a teacher for healthcare professionals.

Since 2011 her focus is mainly on mindfulness and compassion and she started working for the Vrije Universiteit Medical Centre where one of her main roles was to bring mindfulness and self-compassion to healthcare. Currently she works as teacher and teacher trainer at the Centrum voor Mindfulness in Amsterdam. She teaches mindfulness and MSC courses and is also a teacher trainer for mindfulness and for mindful self-compassion. One of her great aspirations is to bring mindfulness to healthcare, especially for doctors and other healthcare professionals.

Professional Advisory Board

The CMSC Professional Advisory Board is comprised of professionals from a wide variety of backgrounds and locations around the world who have agreed to volunteer as advisors and mentors to the organization as it grows and develops. These highly skilled and wise individuals have opted to donate their time, expertise and wisdom to furtherance of CMSC Vision and Mission.

Mark Kunze

Professional Advisory Board Chair

Mark Kunze, Ph.D. specializes in strategy formulation, organizational design, and employee selection systems. He partners with organizations to get past the marginal returns of efficiency efforts and unlock their employees’ potential to create more value. He spent a decade working in HR for both profit and non-profit firms and another decade as a university professor instructing others on how to design organizations, manage human resources, and engage in labor relations. The business environment is not the same as it was even ten years ago and the organizations that figure out how to make work more human and to unleash innovation and deal with today’s complexity are the ones that will be around for the decades to come.

Martina Buchal


Martina is a Czech-Canadian award-winning coach and facilitator who started her career in the world of human rights and international politics, working at high levels of national and international government. Her passion for social justice and empowering others in particular, took her on professional world tour as Global Ambassador for World Merit, where she worked in developmental contexts in 30+ countries, enabling communities and budding leaders to address the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. A seasoned speaker, she has spoken on prestigious stages including at the Summit of the Americas and the United Nations. Today, she runs a social good business, coaching and advising high level for-profit, not-for-profit and public sector leaders in conscious leadership while serving on two boards and teaching part-time at one of France’s top Business Schools. She holds a B.A. Honours in Law, with a specialization in Human Rights; several certifications in Conflict Resolution, Negotiation, and Coaching; and splits her time living between the sunny south of France, and the Great White North.

Drew Cohen


Drew is a Social Impact leader and Board Member with a decade of experience working with nonprofits. Her expertise spans corporate social responsibility, product and project management, partnerships, strategy and operations. She currently leads the Social Impact department at Eventbrite where she conceptualizes and develops programs to address social issues that enrich communities and support employees and customers. Her passions include learning new things, dreaming up new business ideas, advocating for social justice, and helping others learn and practice self-compassion.

Monica Dashwood


Non-Profit Professional holds extensive experience in strategic planning, organizational development, fiscal management, donor outreach, marketing and communications, event planning and group facilitation across a wide range of industries. Possesses a proven ability to assist organizations and staff through the development and delivery of high-quality programs, products, and community services. A visionary leader builds and directs powerful teams in alignment with the foundation’s mission and values. I live in Sonoma and Chicago with my husband, two sons, a dog, and three cats to keep me honest and good company. Passion, Purpose, Peace are the three P’s I live by. (Compassion at the core of it all).

Emily Doskow


Emily Doskow has been practicing family law in the Bay Area since 1989. She specializes in family matters including adoptions, surrogacy agreements, prenuptial agreements, and mediated and collaborative divorce. She is the author or co-author of numerous books published by Nolo and is a frequent speaker on LGBTI family issues and mindfulness for lawyers. Emily is a former member of the Board of Directors of Women Lawyers of Alameda County and former co-chair of the Board of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Emily has been practicing mindfulness meditation for more than 20 years. She has completed Warrior One’s Mindfulness in Law Teacher Training Spirit Rock’s Dedicated Practitioner Program as well as numerous retreats. Emily is the founder and lead teacher at Mindfulness Over Matters. Emily has taught mindfulness to law students at law schools, bar associations, non-profits, and a wide variety of other legal organizations.

Melissa Dulin


Melissa Dulin, Certified Fundraising Executive “CFRE” is a strong team player with an intuitive approach to her work. She has extensive experience in fundraising and non-profit management. Melissa strives to evolve beyond reactivity with mindfulness and compassion – all while hearing that perfectionist voice! Bringing empathy is essential to an environment of “never enough”. Melissa is a graduate of the Center for Mindful Self Compassion and course which she took in 2020 right before the pandemic. She saw a need to bring the tools of self-compassion to her profession as well as her professional life. In 2021, Melissa was invited to present at the Association of Fundraising Professionals Annual International Conference on “Strengthening Mental Fitness: How to Thrive in Uncertain Times”. She highlighted the work of CMSC amongst others. Melissa is Chair of the Montana Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and is actively raising funds for land protection in the Northern Rockies. She is a proud first generation college student.

John Gillespie


My interest started with CMSC in late 2014 when I became the CFO at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health (Stockbridge, MA). Soon after arriving, I read “The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion. I often listen to Kristin Neff’s Loving Kindness Meditation. In May 2017, my daughter and I took Chris Germer’s “Mindful Self-Compassion” weekend course at Kripalu. Practicing mindfulness continues to have a very positive effect in my life.

I currently deliver and manage Interim CFO and Outsourced Accounting services for client engagements in the nonprofit and social enterprise sectors. With more than 40 years of experience, I leverage my in-the-trenches CFO expertise to guide CEOs and boards on how to grow their enterprises in a strategic manner, implementing specific courses of action to improve the bottom line. I’ve been featured in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and other publications. I’ve started and sold two consulting businesses in the financial outsourcing industry.

I produce and host a weekly poetry program for the Stockbridge (MA) library and cookie baking is one of my hobbies.

Krystal Gray


Marketing and communications executive with over 15 years of experience in various types of industries. Currently I run a marketing company and head up the strategy division ensuring clients start with a solid foundation for a vision without a strategy will only ever remain an illusion. I possess a talent for developing strategies that resonate with audience targets and answer why rather than what. Thanks to Covid I decided to go back to school and am finishing my Masters in Psychology, so yeah you can say I’m a slight MSC nerd!!

Natalie D Murray


Natalie Murray is an educator and executive leader in higher education and passionate about supporting people achieve their highest potential. After an early start in physics and lightning research, Natalie fell in love with teaching and learning. She has supported higher educational environments as an instructor, instructional designer, program designer and strategist. Natalie has dedicated her career to removing barriers to success and creating transformative experiences that empower students and faculty. Most recently, Natalie led operational teams and digital transformation impacting student outcomes at Western Governors University as the Vice President of Student Experience. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Human Development at Fielding Graduate University.

Natalie Murray lives in Austin Texas with her British husband with one small cat. Natalie loves being in nature, exploring new places and cultures, and sharing a passion for wellbeing practices.

Kristen Soltis-Tyler


Kristen Soltis-Tyler, MD, MPH, DipABLM is a board-certified Family Medicine and Lifestyle Medicine physician. Life experiences led her to discover her passion for bringing a more integrative form of wellness to children and adults through yoga, meditation, and mindfulness. As a life-long learner, she came across the Mindful Self-Compassion practice which felt like the missing piece of her yoga, meditation, and mindfulness training.

She started her career at U.S. Air Force Academy. After, Kristen went to Georgetown University School of Medicine. She then completed her residency in Family Medicine at Travis Air Force Base, in Northern CA. Her adventures in the Air Force included being the provider for rapid deploying, intelligence and flying units. In addition, she completed her Master in Public Health degree with a Global Heath Focus and worked in Global Health Engagements, specifically with African nations.

Kristen is passionate about being outdoors and travelling with her husband, son, and their rescued dog, Dala. She loves to read and deep learning. She seeks adventure and new opportunities and has been told her “super-power” is organization.

Shaké Sulikyan


Shaké Sulikyan is a nationally recognized nonprofit leader who is dedicated to making the world a better place. Her passion is building and maintaining relationships and coaching those around her to be their best self.

As a nonprofit executive, she aligns talent and resources to drive larger-scale initiatives, build fruitful relationships, and reach record-breaking goals. Shaké has successfully raised millions of dollars for healthcare, universities including Harvard Medical School and Simmons University, and nonprofit organizations throughout the United States. As President and Executive Director of ValleyCare Charitable Foundation, she oversaw fundraising strategies, community engagement and communications, and provided financial and legal management.

Shaké has a long-standing career in volunteer roles, leading workshops and training sessions nationwide, and serving on nonprofit boards. She lives in Livermore, CA with her husband and young son. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, exercising, cultivating her mindfulness practice, playing Just Dance with her son, and spending time with family and friends.

Timothy Swords


As a board chair, management consultant and corporate executive, Timothy has over 30 years of experience in driving strategy, business transformation and scale across diverse industries including the non-profit sector. Adept at realizing profitable revenue growth by: identifying new opportunities, developing strategic plans, translating strategy to financial targets and operational initiatives, creating consensus for action among leadership and achieving enterprise-wide employee engagement to deliver concrete results.

Timothy teaches mindfulness in corporations and credits his decades-long mindfulness meditation practice for laser focus, calm under pressure and empathic leadership. He frequently enjoys hiking in the SF Bay Area on the weekends.

He currently serves as the Board Chair of Interaction Associates and serves on the Board of the Alzheimer’s Association of Northern California. His consulting firm, T. Swords & Associates, enables leadership teams to achieve strategic focus and profit improvements by integrating strategic planning, strategy execution, leadership development and organizational change management.

His education and professional development includes an MBA from Harvard Business School and certifications in: Executive Coaching, William James College; Directorship, NACD; Facilitative Leadership, Interaction Associates; and Professional Mindfulness Teaching, Mindfulness Training Institute.

Graham Wright


Graham Wright is a Senior Transformation leader in the IT services industry, with a passion for enhancing the Well-being of others. Graham focusses on inspiring people to work together, so that everyone feels part of the solution and their well-being improves as a result. People get things done when working with Graham inspired by his unshackled belief that transformation is achievable, and that when people are truly heard, engaged, and included, they contribute more as well as have a greater state of mental well-being.

Graham lives in Reading, United Kingdom, with his partner Martin; is open about having suffered from depression in the past, found Kristin’s work personally valuable, and shares his story openly with a view to removing the stigma that exists around talking about Mental Health.