Berkeley Center Leadership


Arelly Sanchez-ShackettArelly Sanchez-Shackett, Center Director:Ms. Sanchez-Shackett is a long-time Shambhala practitioner and student of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. Born in Mexico City, and then living peripatetically, Arelly was long serving member (in practice, governance and Kasung) of the Dutch Shambhala community. Ms. Sanchez-Shackett moved to the Bay Area six years ago where she now lives with her husband, step-daughter, and infant son. In addition to the Berkeley Center Director post, Arelly also currently holds the senior post of Kadö in the Dorje Kasung. You can reach Arelly at director [at] berkeleyshambhala [dot] org.

Elena Oxman Dir Practice and EducationElena Oxman, Director of Practice & Education: Elena grew up in Connecticut. She came to the Shambhala teachings through the writings of Chogyam Trungpa, starting with his book Smile at Fear. She has a special interest in the Shambhala Arts teachings and her favorite medium is film. She has taught film history and production in the Bay Area since 2012 and is currently a resident filmmaker at the San Francisco Film Society. Elena lives in Berkeley with her wife Jessica and their dog Lola.

JoshuaRaen Thornberry Center ManagerJoshuaRaen Thornberry, Center Manager: JoshuaRaen is a Bay Area native, who attended the University of California Davis, and is now residing on the other side of the tunnel in Pleasant Hill. He was introduced to the Shambhala teachings in 2014 through Social Meditation, a form which he loves and continues to practice and often facilitates in both Davis and Berkeley. He is a Certified Massage Therapist in the state of California, as well as an Eagle Scout.


Governing Council:

Scott Tracy, Director of Finance

Tim Dunning, Dorje Kasung Coordinator

Evelyn Borchert, Director of Societal Health and Wellbeing

Vickie Self, Desung

Executive Committee:

Jo Simpson, Executive Coordinator of Way of Shambhala

Kelsey Blackwell, Coordinator of Oakland Shambhala

Tim Dunning, Dorje Kasung Coordinator

laura-burrLaura Burr, Membership





Bill 150 x 150Bill Barstad, Facilities: Bill is a writer. He has been a social activist, a secretary, a welder’s assistant, and has harvested olives in the Peloponnese.




Tyler 150 x 150Tyler Thompson, Shambhala Art: Prior to moving to the bay in the summer of 2012 Tyler taught middle and high school language arts for several years in Colorado. Tyler plays well with others. His big passion these days is practicing mindfulness-awareness vis-à-vis the creative process, i.e., dharma art. He co-runs an art/appreciation group at the Center and loves pretty much anything to do with the topics of sensory awareness, meditation, and perception. He’s also a graduate of Karuna Training in the bay. Tyler is married and has two brats (i.e., cats), Butters and Beans.


Local Teachers:

For a list and background information, please see our Local Teachers page.