Meet Our Leaders

Many sangha members hold significant leadership positions. Current Board Members are identified with asterisks (*).

For a description and email address for each of the various leadership bodies at GBZC, please see Our Shared Leadership.  

Rebecca Behizadeh

Rebecca Behizadeh began her practice of Buddhism in Nepal and India in 2011, and lived for a year at Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She has a master’s degree from Harvard Divinity School and worked for a number of years for Life Together, a leadership development program of the Episcopal Diocese of MA. She served as the president of GBZC’s board of directors for a number of years and coordinates the Resilient Sangha Project.

Inger Daishi Bergom

Inger Bergom began Zen practice in 2008 and has been practicing with GBZC since 2020. Inger is a higher education researcher and student of Iyengar yoga, and she lives in Arlington with her daughter and husband, Spencer Piston. She is a practice leader on occasional Tuesday evening sits.

Vincent Togen Cho

Vincent Cho is co-practice leader of the Persons of Color Sitting Group at GBZC with James Peregrino. He is an associate professor at Boston College in the field of educational leadership. He has two children and innumerable pets. Although he has been scared off from Zen more than once, he has always come back. 

Jill Shishin Gaulding

Jill Gaulding is an Assistant Teacher, a Practice Leader on Saturday mornings,  lead for the Programming Working Group, and a participant in Watering the Seeds and the LGBTQIA+ Group. A former attorney and co-founder of the advocacy group Gender Justice, she’s currently a chaplain and executive director for Chaplains on the Way in Waltham.

Ryan Iuliano

Ryan Iuliano has been practicing with GBZC since 2020, mostly virtually. He currently serves as vice-president of the Board of Directors. His exposure to Buddhism began as a child through his involvement in combat sports and viewing of old samurai movies. His practice focuses on compassion and he looks to his dog for lessons in present awareness.

Jim Shōun Lopata

Jim Lopata is the president of the Board of Directors and a Practice Leader at GBZC. He loves the challenge of employing skillful means to slip Buddhist principles into his work as an executive coach. He holds a master degree from Harvard Divinity School, where he studied Buddhism. He’s fascinated by the concept and reality of Boston Common, where you may see him wandering around aimlessly, or with great intent.

Karen Kyoko McCormack

Karen McCormack is a founding Practice Leader of GBZC’s LGBTQIA+ sitting group and a Practice Leader on Saturday mornings. She has been practicing with this community since 2007. She currently serves as a Member-at-Large on the Board of Directors. She’s also a transition and employment specialist at Perkins School for the Blind who, along with her partner, is the loving parent of two dogs. Karen occasionally co-teaches GBZC’s Introduction to Zen Series.

Rebecca Shōshin Moonspike

Rebecca Moonspike works as an Interfaith hospital chaplain, drawing from Zen practice.  She loves the ways poetry and Zen speak to one another (you can read her chapbook Every Present Thing a Ghost from Slapering Hol Press), and co-leads an Arts as Spiritual Practice group at GBZC. She loves the forest, swimming in lakes or sea, and making art for friends. She has found the GBZC community deepens her practice on this path.

Cheryl Kinzen Morrow

Cheryl Morrow is a Practice Leader for weekend sits and the treasurer of the Board of Directors. She has been practicing with this community since 2011. For over 20 years she has run her own business as an engineering consultant with clients all over the world. She is now semi-retired and loves gardening and long walks with her dog in the woods. 

Julie Seido Nelson

Julie Nelson is the interim leader of the Communications Working Group and a trustee of the Resilient Sangha Project. She has practiced Zen since about 2003. She is a Sensei, having received both Denkai and Denbo transmission in the Taizan Maezumi lineage from  Susan Myoyu Andersen, Roshi in August 2023. Julie attends most Tuesday evening and Saturday morning sits at  GBZC as well as online sits at the Great Plains Zen Center. Some of her writings on Zen are available on her blog

James Musoku Peregrino

James Peregrino has been practicing with this community since 2006. He currently serves as the Clerk of the Board of Directors and a practice leader on Tuesday nights. He has been working in IT at Harvard since before the dawn of the Internet and dancing Mexican baile folklorico all his adult life.