May 17

A Letter From Our Executive Director

Dear Sangha,

I’d like to take a moment to share with you recent changes to my role as the Executive Director of Tara Mandala.

I have transitioned from living on the land and am moving to the Bay Area of California, while remaining the Executive Director of Tara Mandala. Upon deep reflection during COVID quarantine at Tara Mandala, I realized that it is important for me to be near my family, and especially my daughter, Aisha. In addition, living here at 7500 feet has not been good for my health overall. The Board of Directors has worked with me to modify my role so I can continue to serve this amazing organization and sangha. I will work remotely from the Bay Area, and will return to the land on occasion, as needed.

It has been an amazing four years living, working and practicing at our precious retreat center. I feel immensely blessed to have had the opportunity to live at Tara Mandala, the heart and soul of our organization. We are constantly growing, expanding and changing under the direction and inspiration of Lama Tsultrim. I’m excited about our growth and new program opportunities.

Many changes have taken place in the past four years and I feel we have developed an amazing team who can hold the day-to-day duties of tending to the land. This will allow me to focus on managing our growing, international organization. My key focus will be on strategic planning, growth and development of new programs, finance, fundraising, administration, and working closely with the Board of Directors. I will continue to work with our amazing teachers as a bridge and support on the more administrative side of things. And as always, I will continue to work closely with Lama Tsultrim to implement her vision and enlightened activities!

Clifton Carmody, as Operations Director, will oversee all aspects of taking care of the land, supervising onsite staff and residents, new infrastructure projects, such as the septic expansion and water treatment plans, managing onsite retreats, and taking care of all the buildings and systems. He also administers Solo Personal Retreats, our new Practitioner in Resident program, and our Living Dharma Program once we are open again.

Akiko Onken, as Programs Director, has an amazing team to support all of our programs, including Virtual Retreats, Online Courses, and Onsite Retreats once the land opens up again. Khandro, Sarah, Joe, Isabelle and Ulli all bring so much to our program offerings! Under Akiko’s direction, care and attention to detail, we have skillfully moved into offering programs virtually and have significantly increased our ability to reach more students and practitioners.

Cady Allione and Ivana Carmody are now running the Dakini Store together. Cady manages the new online store and Ivana oversees the onsite store. We’ve expanded our inventory greatly with this new change. If you haven’t checked out the new online store, please do so here! It is truly beautiful!

Our finance team, lead by Christine Fleming, our amazing Finance Director, continues to hold this role and its many tasks and duties with grace, skill, joy and an attention to detail that always astounds me! I’m grateful for her commitment and devotion to this important area of Tara Mandala’s functioning.

I want to call out Jenn Fahey, my Executive Assistant and our Global Sangha Coordinator. She is a key support for me in all areas, and I’m truly grateful for her devotion to Tara Mandala, her experience, and organizational skills.

There will be things that I will miss: the beautiful temple and the ability to practice surrounded by the 21 Taras, the extraordinary beauty of the land and area, the views, the breathtaking wildlife, and the amazing resident community here who really goes over and beyond any job description to hold practices, and keep our precious land and center thriving. To them we all owe a deep bow of gratitude.

Thank you for all your support and kindness over these last 4 years, and I look forward to seeing all of you again in person, when it is safe to reopen. In the meantime, I will see you virtually! Please feel free to reach out to me personally if you have any questions or concerns regarding this change.

Wishing you all health, joy and equanimity!

With deep appreciation,

Joanne Brion
Executive Director
Tara Mandala

Photos: Tara statue and flowers (Joanne Brion), land (Bodhi Stroupe)

gold geometric divider