Our Shared Leadership

At the Greater Boston Zen center, we adopted, in early 2022, a model of shared leadership. Having directly experienced the problems resulting from power being concentrated in one or a few senior teachers, we empowered many different sangha members to take on various responsibilities. However, in early 2023 after more issues with senior teachers, many of those roles became vacant.  A simpler model is now in effect.  

Our current major leadership groups are:

For more information about individuals, see Meet Our Leaders. All persons in leadership roles have read and agreed to abide by the GBZC Ethics Policy. For more about our legal structure, see our Bylaws.

Board of Directors (2023–2024)

  • James Lopata, President
  • Ryan Iuliano, Vice President
  • James Peregrino, Clerk
  • Cheryl Morrow, Treasurer
  • Karen McCormack, Member-at-Large

The GBZC Board of Directors is elected by members of the community at our annual meeting and takes as a sacred trust the overall care of the sangha in organizational and financial matters. They study and take seriously their legal obligations of care of the sangha, loyalty (to the sangha’s mission), and obedience (to the law and bylaws). 

With the role of Ethics Ombudsperson currently being vacant, ethical concerns should be addressed to [email protected]. Other board-related concerns should be addressed to [email protected].

Practice Leaders

Tuesdays (weekly): Inger Bergom, James Peregrino, Julie Nelson. Contact [email protected]

Saturdays (weekly): Jill Gaulding, Karen McCormack, Jim Lopata, Cheryl Morrow, and Julie Nelson. Contact [email protected]

Monday mornings:  Julie Nelson. No orientation necessary.

Practice Leaders are the first people one sees and talks to when first investigating GBZC, as well as those we look to to keep our sitting periods on track. PLs are experienced students who are very familiar with all the forms of Zen practice used in our weekly or monthly sits. They instruct and guide participants in  chanting, bowing, playing instruments, and so on. They also offer basic guidance in zazen (sitting meditation) to newcomers. Those interested in becoming a Practice Leader should talk with the PL(s) of the group they sit with. 

With the Senior Teaching Community vacant, PLs guide our spiritual practice. (However any individual desiring individual meetings or koan work may consider contacting GBZC Practice Leader Julie Nelson, who is also a sensei. She is offering these services independently of GBZC, and free of charge. Contact [email protected].)

Working Groups

We currently have four active working groups with leadership voted in annually by GBZC’s elected Board of Directors:

  • The Facilities Working Group tends to the needs of our Cambridge Center’s physical space — contact Dan Peterson at [email protected];
  • The Communications Working Group manages the newsletter, other emails, and website — contact Julie Nelson at [email protected];
  • The Finance Committee prepares and attends to our budget — contact Cheryl Morrow at [email protected];
  • The Programming Working Group plans and administers regular sitting practice periods, ceremonies, retreats, education programs, and events. Also encourages or develops the creation of new programming that is consistent with Zen practice and GBZC’s aspirations of engaged Buddhist practice, and administers and coordinates these events — contact Jill Gaulding at [email protected].

Working Groups at GBZC are the secret to GBZC’s flourishing. Members of working groups are the behind-the-scenes heroes who make sure that our newsletter goes out, our zendo is clean, our checks get written, and our program offerings are rich. Drawing on a wide variety of skills, they are GBZC’s way of “using all the ingredients of our shared life,” to paraphrase the 8th precept, in service of the Dharma and all beings.

The Board appoints Working Group leaders (and possibly members). Members are encouraged to volunteer! Working Group leaders submit periodic reports to the Board about their group’s activities.

In addition, the work of the Sangha is also accomplished though the efforts of a variety of Task Forces and Projects (such as Sangha Care, Watering the Seeds and Resilient Sangha) described elsewhere on our website.