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 began practicing Insight Meditation in 1996 and has taught meditation since 2006 under the guidance of Rodney Smith. In 2016, Tim completed the four-year Residential Retreat Teacher Training through Spirit Rock, Insight Meditation Society, and Insight Retreat Center. The core teachers of this intensive program were Joseph Goldstein, Jack Kornfield, Carol Wilson, Gil Fronsdal, Guy Armstrong, Andrea Fella, Trudy Goodman, and Phillip Moffitt.

Tim emphasizes three expressions of the Dharma: investigation, non-resistance, and compassion. Our daily lives prove a tailor-made spiritual path for each person when we are willing to investigate areas of constriction and resistance. This reveals our personal suffering created by the illusion of a separate self. A deep sense of non-resistance and compassion brings balance to investigation. Relaxing fully into this moment is the essence of non-resistance. Compassion brings sensitivity and kindness as we meet all aspects of ourselves. This allows the heart’s release into stillness.

A Co-Guiding Teacher of Seattle Insight Meditation Society, Tim offers talks, classes, interviews, and retreats. He also works closely with leadership and volunteers at SIMS as a member of the board of directors. Tim has inhabited many roles: husband, father, wilderness ranger, martial artist, hospice volunteer, massage therapist. His relationship with his wife and 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

Deb Slivinsky began her meditation practice in September 2012 with an introductory class taught by Rodney Smith. The practice of the dhamma has been transformational for her. She initially sat with a small SIMS sangha at Keystone Church, then moved on to the Capitol Hill sangha, with Tuere Sala as teacher. Deb began her volunteer work at SIMS as a greeter at Keystone. She's also been a non-residential retreat manager, and for the last year has been one of three retreat coordinators for SIMS. She is honored to be invited to join the SIMS board and for the chance to give back to the organization.

A native of Connecticut, Deb was a social worker in the medical field, initially as a counselor and psychotherapist, then later as a facilitator and consultant. In her retirement, she enjoys volunteer work at several other community-based organizations; travel and bicycle-touring with her husband, Walt; and messing around with making art in her studio at home in the Greenlake area of Seattle.

 

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

Rob Long has been a member of SIMS since 2015 when he took the last Intro to Meditation class at SIMS offered by Rodney Smith. He works as a software engineer at Microsoft, where's he's been about 18 years. Before Microsoft, Rob worked as Environmental Engineer/Hydrogeologist. Rob grew up on the East Coast and has lived in Seattle about 30 years.  

Rob lives with his wife Robin in the Mt. Baker area of Seattle. They have two grown children together. In his free time, Rob enjoys getting outside and hiking, riding his bike, gardening and volunteer service. Rob 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.