Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is the governing body of Seattle Insight Meditation Society (SIMS), a 501 C3 non-profit religious corporation. Board members serve as the stewards of SIMS, its resources, programs and activities. Officers include the President, Vice-President, Treasurer and Secretary. The Board meets every other month to discuss issues, deliberate policy and vote. The Board also convenes committee meetings specific to a variety of initiatives. The Board seeks to be an increasingly diverse group bringing a wide perspective of views and skills in service of SIMS and the Dharma.
Contact the board

Guiding Teacher & Teaching Oversight

Tim Geil Tim began practicing Insight Meditation in 1996 and has taught meditation since 2006 under the guidance of Rodney Smith. Tim offers talks, classes, interviews, and leads daylong retreats. Tim is currently in the four-year Teacher Training through Spirit Rock and Insight Meditation Society. He has also completed the two-year Dedicated Practitioner Program. His relationship with his wife and young daughter are a joyful and fundamental part of his dharma practice.

 

Guiding Teacher & Sangha Oversight

Tuere Sala is a retired prosecuting attorney who has practiced Vipassana meditation for over 25 years. She has been an active member and volunteer at Seattle Insight since 2001.  In 2009, she was appointed to be a Local Dharma Leader and has often supported SIMS in unconventional ways such as answering the many letters SIMS receives from practitioners in prison; offering beginning classes at Angeline Women’s shelter and Jubilee House, a women’s transitional house; and facilitating workshops using nonviolent communication (NVC) to support a mindfulness practice.

Tuere believes that urban meditation is the foundation for today’s practitioner’s path to liberation. She is inspired by bringing the Dharma to nontraditional places and is a strong advocate for practitioners living with high stress, past trauma and difficulties sitting still.  Her teachings reflect an approach to Dharma that is both easy to follow and understand– making it accessible to everyone.

Tuere has completed extensive training including: the two-year Spirit Rock/IMS Community Dharma Leader Program; a one-year Focusing for Complex Trauma Course which incorporates mindfulness principles with somatic listening and a one-year Mindfulness-Based Mind Fitness Training Course (MMFT) which incorporates mindfulness principles within the high stress work environments of first-responders.  She has sat 300+ days of meditation retreat (including residential, non-residential and day-longs) and has a long history of assisting others in establishing and maintaining a daily practice.

 

President

Barbara Erwine is happy to serve the SIMS sangha as its President. Barbara was drawn to meditation in the early 1970’s and tried a variety of different forms. While traveling around the world with her family in 2003, she attended a brief Insight Meditation retreat and instruction with the Venerable Ajaan Tong Sirimangalo at Wat Phra That Si Chom Thong in Thailand and upon returning to Seattle, she became associated with SIMS. She has worked as an architectural consultant for most of her career and teaches periodically in the Architecture Department at the University of Washington.  Her architectural focus is on the use of natural light in buildings and passive solar/sustainable design. In both her professional work and her practice, she seeks an acceptance of what is and tries to work with the existing flows of energy/life to achieve a natural balance.  Her consulting projects range from the sustainability master plan for a children’s zoo in California to a major sports arena in Kent, WA.  In her spare time, Barbara likes to kayak and do a variety of creative activities like photography, creative writing (poetry and narrative non-fiction) and small construction projects. 

 

Vice President/Operations Manager

Christa Quackenbush has been a member of the SIMS sangha since 2007. The teachings of Rodney Smith, local Dharma leaders and visiting teachers have been life changing for her. Grateful for the teachings and the community she has found at SIMS, she hopes she can help others make the kind of connections they are seeking within SIMS and the Buddhist community. She is honored to serve on the board as Vice President/Operations Manager. Prior to joining the board Christa served as co-coordinator of Dharma talks by visiting teachers.

Professionally, Christa has worked as a fundraiser and event manager for non-profit organizations for over 15 years and was co-owner/director of a ballroom dance club for 25 years. Naturally, she enjoys dancing in her spare time, as well as skiing, paddle boarding and sharing life with her husband and two resident cats.

Program & Events

Currently vacant. 

 

Volunteers

Susan Alotrico attended Rodney’s introduction to meditation class in 2008 and began volunteering with  SIMS soon after that. Her commitment to practice grew after three years of Peace Corps service in Thailand, a Buddhist culture infused with generosity and unity.  Susan attends SIMS non-residential retreats and regular Dharma talks, and has taken long retreats.

Susan has a history of work with non-profits, has taught in Seattle Public Schools, and now works in a new position. She is grateful to SIMS founding teacher Rodney Smith for teaching the path.

Susan loves the experience of volunteering to connect with others, and to deepen practice with mindfulness and an open heart.

 

Treasurer

Shashi Karunakaran attended Rodney’s beginner class in early 2014 and has been a member of the Sangha since then. He is grateful to SIMS for providing a community for the practice of vipassana meditation locally. Shashi started his volunteer work with the Sangha helping the then treasurer, Jerry Lockwood, on various accounting related projects. This has since evolved into him assuming the role of treasurer.  Trained as a CPA, Shashi managed the finance function at various real estate, biotech and high-tech companies during his professional career. He lives in West Seattle with his wife enjoying the great outdoors of the Pacific Northwest, playing tennis and practicing the dharma.

 

Communications

Brandon Zahl has been a member of SIMS since 2013. He works as a software engineer at Microsoft, helping to build the next version of Office. He grew up in Spokane and graduated from University of Washington in 2010 with a degree in Computer Engineering and a degree in Music (classical piano). 

In his free time, Brandon enjoys playing the piano and experiencing the beauty of the Northwest. Brandon feels incredibly grateful for the dharma and the opportunity to serve the SIMS community.

 

Facility

Peter Hummel began practicing insight meditation as a student of Rodney Smith’s in 2004 after returning from a trip to Thailand.  He is very grateful to SIMS for all of the transformative learning and practice opportunities that it provides in an urban setting.  He joined the Board in 2016 and is responsible for facility management of the meditation center.  Peter has worked for over 30 years as a landscape architect and is a partner in a Seattle based environmental and engineering consulting firm.  He works primarily on public shoreline habitat restoration and parks projects in Washington and the West Coast.  He and his wife Anne live in West Seattle where they raised two daughters. They enjoy time outdoors gardening, bicycling, and hiking in our region, and exploring new places.

Secretary

Hayden Robinson, wanting relief from his always-thinking-planning-strategizing mind, asked an old friend back in 2007 for advice on choosing a meditation class; the suggested far-away, multi-day retreat sounded good, and he signed up. Then-not knowing if he could sit for minutes, let alone days-Hayden redoubled his search for something closer at hand to prepare for what he had gotten himself into. Hayden found Rodney's online class and realized that here was what he was looking for. Hayden sat that first retreat, but SIMS had already become his home. In the years since then, his aspirations and inquiry have evolved, but SIMS has been constant as a touchstone and community.

Before becoming the SIMS secretary, Hayden sat on a number of non-profit boards. He finds his connection with this organization is especially strong, and is grateful for the chance to serve; he views it as an opportunity to participate in the larger lineage of giving-whether service or substance-that has supported the teaching and learning of the dhamma until our time.