Helen Degenhardt, Board Chair
I was born, raised and educated in Germany, receiving my engineering degree in architecture from the Technical University at Darmstadt. Since 1990, I have worked as an architect with San Francisco Zen Center, together designing and completing approximately 10 projects, in Tassajara, Green Gulch and at Greens Restaurant. In addition to working with SFZC, my firm, JSWD Architects, has worked extensively with a number of other spiritual communities: Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Abhayagiri and the Berkeley Society of Friends. Another important focus of our firm’s work is affordable and senior housing. I consider myself very fortunate in having worked with Zen Center for all these years because it has taught me, among other things, how to listen closely, work in a mindful way within a diverse community and be aware of one's own expectations.
Margie O'Driscoll, Vice Chair
Margie O’Driscoll has a BA in Political Philosophy from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MA in Public Management from Columbia University. Prior to joining AIA San Francisco, she held senior leadership positions in the Mayor’s Office and in philanthropy. Margie has been a writer in residence at Headland Center for the Arts and has taught at Stanford University and San Francisco State University. In 2009, she was voted “Executive of the Year” by her colleagues at CACE (other AIA chapters).
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Marcelo Marer, Development Committee Chair
Originally from Brazil, I’ve been sitting at the City Center since 2012 when I left London, where I was Executive Creative Director at BBC digital, for the Bay Area to start a design practice at Intel’s Digital Home Group. I started studying with Tova Green also in 2012 and received jukai in 2016. You can see me most mornings sitting zazen at the City Center. When I’m not sitting zazen, I lead user experience and design teams at Oath, a subsidiary of Verizon created by the merger of Yahoo, Huffington Post, and Tumblr, among other media brands.
George Kellar, Finance Committee Chair
George has more than three decades of executive-level leadership experience and has been a member of San Francisco Zen Center since the mid-Seventies. He has previously served six years as a Board member, and, as Chairman of the Board, championed the approval and launch of our Capital Campaign. He has many, many years of active involvement with Zen Center, including the finance, vision/strategic planning, fundraising/development and healthcare task force committees. He also regularly attends Spring Work Period at Tassajara...
Joe Rodriguez, Governance Committee Chair
In 2005, after having explored several other Buddhist traditions, I was encouraged to meet with then-Abbott Paul Haller, to see if San Francisco Zen Center might become my spiritual home. My talk with Paul was warm and cordial. He invited me to stay a while and see if the place grew on me. He also asked to see my sitting position when I meditated, and then made some adjustments to my alignment, opening up my chest. Paul’s concluding words to me were, “We practice zazen with our hearts open in order to take this stance and spirit into our everyday lives.” That teaching stuck with me and I have stuck around.
Educated with a BS in Management with a concentration in Business, Eli has spent time working in the secular world holding positions in new home construction management and most recently working in for-profit education at the University of Phoenix as a Senior Transition Advisor, as well as a benefit liaison for their health and wellness program for employees. After encountering intense life situations that provoked deep self inquiry, Eli and his wife Cat took a break from the corporate world in 2012. He was looking into how to bring forth true authenticity, live more connected to self and to others, as well as reassess right livelihood. After serving in preliminary training-temple positions, Eli served as the City Center Work Leader. He is currently the Director of Work Practice, overseeing policy development, diversity/inclusion, various trainings, conflict resolution, and other areas of Human Resources. He is also the acting Principal Designated School Official for Zen Center School and the SFZC International Student Program.
Kōkyō Ivan Gallo, born in Guadalajara, Mexico, currently works as Director of Financial Planning & Analysis at a fast-growing financial high-tech (FinTech) start-up, with a strong social mission, in San Francisco. Ivan has been practicing Soto Zen Buddhism since early 2016 and has completely immersed himself in the Dharma and Sangha. He received Jukai (Buddhist Lay Ordination) from Urban Temple Dharma Teacher Ryushin Paul Haller at the SFZC Beginner's Mind Temple on September 17, 2016, when his SFZC teacher Anshi Zach Smith gave him the dharma name Kōkyō Jikai (“Bright Mirror, Compassion Ocean”). Ivan graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, with a minor in Economics, from MIT. He also holds a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Julia Ten Eyck
I am a relationship and child welfare attorney, mediator and Zen priest in San Francisco. I have had an active spiritual and meditation practice of one form or another for more than three decades. In 2004, I found Zen practice (or Zen practice found me) and I became a student of Zen and a practicing member of Hartford Street Zen Center. I began studying with my heart teacher, the late Surei Darlene Cohen, in 2004, received jukai in 2006, and priest ordination in 2010 with Darlene. I also served as a Board member and past president of the Hartford Street Zen Center Board of Directors from 2005 to 2012, guiding the Board through a host of the challenges faced by a small temple and sangha.
I was born in Sri Lanka and moved to the United States (Minneapolis) at age 11. I received my undergraduate degree in Accounting at the University of Minnesota, passed the CPA exam and worked in audit and finance before moving to the Bay Area in 1991. I had my first introduction to Zen practice at the Minnesota Zen Meditation Center in the late 80s. I have worked in accounting and finance in the Bay Area and attended the Stanford Graduate School of Business. I have worked as an investment manager and a financial and business advisor since 1999. I served on the board of Maitri Compassionate Care, an HIV and AIDS hospice, for 6 years and still continue to serve on their investment foundation board.
Jody Greene came to Zen practice through attending a Tassajara work period in September 2001. She received Jukai from Sobun Katherine Thanas in 2005 and has completed three Tassajara practice periods since 2008. Her teachers are Daijaku Kinst and Leslie James. Jody is Associate Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning and Professor of Literature and Feminist Studies, at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she has also been active in the fields of Queer Studies and Contemplative Pedagogy. In 2016, she became the founding Director of the Center for Innovations in Teaching and Learning at UCSC, bringing resources, advocacy, and support to UCSC’s faculty and graduate students in a rapidly changing educational environment. Jody has taught meditation, yoga, and other contemplative practices at Tassajara, Esalen and, annually since 2013, in Ladakh, India. She is honored to serve on the San Francisco Zen Center Board.
Katherine M. Hyland, PhD
When I first came to the San Francisco Zen Center in 2002, I immediately knew I had found my spiritual home. I had the great fortune of joining a lay women’s sangha, the Wild Geese, which deeply supported my practice for 10 years. I studied with my teacher the late Surei Darlene Cohen and received jukai in 2010. Professionally, I am a professor of Genetics and Biochemistry at the UCSF School of Medicine. I coordinate the medical genetics and genomics curriculum, applying innovative educational modalities. At the national level, I am involved with developing curricular guidelines and resources for both health professions trainees and practicing physicians. I lead Faculty Development educational workshops, am active in several national professional societies, and have authored many peer-reviewed publications. ...
Brian Marshall’s path to Zen Buddhism and San Francisco Zen Center has been a self-reflective journey over many years. From his first experience during a stay at a Zen monastery in Japan in the 1990s to commencing a daily zazen practice 10 years ago, a common theme has emerged: Brian’s devotion to Zen strengthens each year. Brian graduated with a BS in Japanese with a concentration in finance from Georgetown University. He has had a diverse finance career spanning more than two decades, including leadership roles at several top investment banks and hedge funds. Recently he was part of a management team that took a high-growth software company public. These experiences have afforded Brian a unique financial/strategic skillset that he hopes to use to serve the sangha.
After serving as outside counsel on several legal issues, I served on the San Francisco Zen Center Board for about six years ending in 2012, I believe. In 2016, Susan O’Connell asked me if I was interested in serving on a Board in formation, which was to be populated by nominees affiliated with SF Zen Center and the Kendal Organization, headquartered in Philadelphia. I was, soon thereafter, appointed to the first board of an organization whose official title is now “Kendal at Sonoma, A Zen Inspired Community.” When I was asked recently if I was interested in returning to the SF Zen Center Board, I did not hesitate. I hope to be able use such talents, knowledge, and experience as I have to help further the goals and principles of Zen Center. I hope and believe that my service on the Board of Kendal at Sonoma will make me a more valuable member of the Zen Center Board, while my increasing immersion in the current issues at Zen Center will, hopefully, make me a more knowledgeable member of the Kendal at Sonoma Board.
Piper Murakami, a third-generation Japanese American (sansei) and graphic designer, lives and works in San Francisco. Since 1980 she has worked for top design firms and agencies before going solo in 2003. Her clients are mainly from the non-profit sector in the arts and education fields, as well as foundations advocating for social change. Previous board memberships include the San Francisco chapter of AIGA, a professional association for design ...
Carla Stalling Walter
Carla Stalling Walter brings a level of depth and expertise to the San Francisco Zen Center Board that includes a successful 20-year career in higher education and municipal finance leadership. Within that experience, she has demonstrated excellence in organizational and institutional effectiveness for a variety of firms structured within the higher education and municipal finance sectors. One of her specialties includes aiding organizations in achieving efficiencies in accounting, budgeting, and human resource systems and processes. In holding leadership positions, Carla has managed budgets that exceed $100 million in restricted and unrestricted revenues. In her tenure within the municipal finance industry, Carla was instrumental in assisting public agencies and school districts in California to complete capital improvement and infrastructure plans, many of which were supported and realized by municipal bonds issuances. In addition to leading organizations, she served as a tenured associate professor in business.
Dan Zigmond was ordained as a priest in the Soto Zen lineage by Kobun Chino Otogawa Roshi in 1998. He is also a writer, father, and data scientist. He has practiced at San Francisco Zen Center and Jikoji Zen Center, and studied a range of Dharma traditions. He is currently the Director of Analytics at Instagram, contributing editor at Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, and co-author of the book Buddha’s Diet: the Ancient Art of Losing Weight Without Losing your Mind. He lives with his family in Menlo Park.
Eijun Linda Ruth Cutts (Central Abbess)
Eijun Linda Ruth Cutts came to San Francisco Zen Center in 1971, where she practiced with Zentatsu Baker and Tenshin Reb Anderson. She was ordained as a priest in 1975 and has lived at Tassajara and City Center. Since 1993 she and her family have lived at Green Gulch Farm. In 1996 Linda received dharma transmission from Tenshin Reb Anderson. Having served as abbess of San Francisco Zen Center from 2000 to 2007, in 2010 Linda was invited to serve as abiding abbess of Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, as a part of the abbacy restructuring, and appointed central abbess in 2014. She continues to teach and lead practice periods and retreats at Tassajara, Green Gulch, and elsewhere.
Rinso Ed Sattizahn (Abiding Abbot, City Center)
After meeting Suzuki Roshi in 1970, Ed Sattizahn lived at Tassajara from 1973 to 1977. He spent the next five years at City Center, serving as Zen Center's vice president and president. From 1983 to 2000 Ed held various executive positions in the microcomputer software industry and developed familiarity with how the world works. In 2003, he was shuso at Green Gulch Farm, and in the same year co-founded Vimala Sangha in Mill Valley with Lew Richmond. ...
Furyu Nancy Schroeder (Abiding Abbess, Green Gulch Farm Zen Center)
A resident of Zen Center for over 35 years, in 2014 Furyu Nancy Schroeder became abiding abbess at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, where she lives with her partner, Dr. Grace Dammann, and their daughter, Sabrina. Fu has held most of the monastic positions at Zen Center and has been an active supporter of programs for children, people of color, the gay and lesbian community, and the interfaith community. In 2008 she was elected to the Marin Women's Hall of Fame, and in 2010 she was appointed to the Board of the Marin Community Foundation. She received dharma transmission from Tenshin Reb Anderson in 1999.