Who we are

The Center for Mindful Self-Compassion was originally founded in 2012 by the developers of MSC, Christopher Germer and Kristin Neff, and is now an international nonprofit organization. You can read about our team below.

Board of Directors

President: Kristin Neff

Dr. Kristin NeffKristin Neff, PhD, 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.

Email: kristin@centerformsc.org     Website: self-compassion.org

Join Kristin’s mailing list

Vice-President: 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.

Email:  marta@globalc.es    Website: www.globalc.es

Secretary: Christopher Germer

Chris Germer 2017

Christopher Germer, PhD 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.

Email: Chris@centerformsc.org
Christopher K. Germer Phd – The Mindful Path to Self Compassion on Facebook

Join Chris’ mailing list

Member-At-Large: Randolph Oudemans

After 25+ years as an international business leader and humanitarian, Randolph focuses his energies to help people develop their innate capacities of mindfulness, compassion and happiness. Drawing upon his experiences in fostering civic engagement and social responsibility in families, schools and corporations, he continues to empower individuals to develop an authentic and truly human engagement with themselves and others.


Email: randolph@rightnow-righthere.com  Website: https://www.rightnow-righthere.com/

Treasurer: Jim Douglass

Jim DouglassJim Douglass, PhD, lives in Southern California. In his 25-year management and executive career, has managed functions as diverse as statistical services, operations, finance, sales and marketing, technology and business consulting. For 10 of those years, he served as a General Manager with full P&L authority for divisions within three different companies. Jim also was a financial advisor at Morgan Stanley for 10 years and is a Certified Specialist in Planned Giving. He has served on half a dozen boards or advisory groups for local charities, and continues to serve on the Board of Visitors of Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology. Jim also serves as Senior Advisor on Business to the Executive Director of CMSC.

Email: jim@centerformsc.org


CMSC Administration

Executive Director: Steven Hickman

Dr. Steve Hickman

Steven Hickman, Psy.D., is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and an Associate Clinical Professor in the UC San Diego Department of Family Medicine & Public Health. His role is to provide oversight, vision, direction and focus for the development and expansion of CMSC around the world. He is also the Director of Professional Training, overseeing the training of teachers from “start to finish” and assuring the highest quality standards and the best possible resources for teaching.  Steve is the Founding Director of the UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness, a program of community building, clinical care, professional training and research. He has taught Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) for 17 years and has trained teachers of MBSR and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). Steve is an MSC teacher trainer, and leads MSC intensives and workshops around the world.

Email: steve@centerformsc.org      Website: http://mbpti.org

Communications Manager: Aimee Eckhardt

Aimee Eckhardt is a Mindful Self-Compassion teacher and co-developer of the MSC Community for Deepening Practice. She is a co-founder of the Midwest Alliance for Mindfulness and is on the advisory board for Bridging the Hearts and Minds of Youth annual conference. She is also a web developer and designer supporting entrepreneurial initiatives in the mindfulness community through Creatrix Design. She lives, plays, and parents in Kansas City, U

Email: aimee@centerformsc.org

Operations & Events Manager: Gail Stein

Gail SteinGail 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.

Email: gail@centerformsc.org

Teacher Relations Manager:  Kim Levan

Kim Levan, CMSC Teacher Relations ManagerKim is a Trained MSC Teacher, certified Life Coach and Group Facilitator with a passion for yoga, dance and the great outdoors. She has an administrative background in the non-profit sector and enjoys supporting others to thrive in their personal and professional lives. After discovering MSC in 2015, Kim trained as an MSC teacher and is delighted to now be working for CMSC. Her primary role is interfacing with MSC teachers and answering inquiries related to teacher training and continuing education. Originally from the UK, Kim worked and travelled across the globe for several years before making her home in Portland, Oregon.

Email: kim@centerformsc.org


International Affairs Manager: Mirjam Luthe

Mirjam L.Mirjam Luthe, MA (International Cultural and Business Studies, Development Cooperation & NGO Management) has lived three years in California, while her home base is Freiburg, Germany. Her primary role is providing administrative support for the Director of International Affairs, e.g. for the International Advisory Council and Globally Engaged Intensives. Mirjam speaks several languages, including English, German, Spanish, French and Italian. She is a trained MSC Teacher, a MBSR teacher, trained in the Mindful Schools Curriculum and experienced with Council Practice.

Email: mirjam@centerformsc.org      Website: www.sinnwaerts.de

Online Programs

Director of Online Programs: Natalie Bell

Natalie Bell, PT, CMF is an American-Ecuadorian living in California.  In her role she directs the administration and management of the Live-Online Mindful Self-Compassion (LOMSC) program including teacher onboarding, curriculum oversight, scheduling, marketing and communications. Natalie also assists the Executive Director in planning and growth opportunities for online programming for the CMSC.  Natalie is a certified MSC teacher teaching online and in Los Angeles at the Center for Mindful Living.  She also teaches mindfulness for UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center and is the Director of Corporate Programs for Unplug Meditation.  She runs Mindful Wellness, a training and coaching platform working with individuals and corporations nationally.  Natalie loves nature, the beach, dancing and music.

Email: Natalie@centerformsc.org     Website: www.nataliebell.com

Online Programs Administrator: Maria Paula Jimenez

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. 

CMSC Circles of Practice Coordinator: Cecilia Fernandez-Hall

Cecilia Fernandez-Hall, Ph.D. 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.

Email: circlesofpractice@centerformsc.org

International Advisory Council:

Each country with a sizeable community of MSC teachers and practitioners will have the opportunity to contribute to and to partake in the international MSC community via our International Advisory Council. More information coming soon.