The functioning of the Shambhala Chicago Meditation Center is made possible largely through the efforts of volunteers.

The Governing Council

The Shambhala Chicago Governing Council’s (GC) role is to hold the vision for Shambhala Chicago and ensure that what we do supports that vision. You can read more about this in the Shambhala Chicago Policy Governance Manual. Many dedicated members have served as Council members in years past or served in other leadership positions. Meet our current leadership team:


Alice Dan, Co-director of Practice & Education

Alice has been a Shambhala member for over 20 years and has studied with Pema Chodron and Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. Having taken various roles in the sangha, she is currently Director of Practice and Education. She previously taught health research at UIC and was the founding Director of the UIC Center for Research on Women and Gender.


Barbara Wolkowitz, Co-director of Practice & Education

Barbara loves teaching in Shambhala and getting to know new members and participants. A lawyer by profession, she serves on the Finance and Legal Subgroup of the international Shambhala Process Team. She is a former Director of Practice and Education in Chicago and a meditation instructor. She lives with her husband in Rogers Park, Chicago.



Peter McLaughlin, Facility Manager & Meditation Instructor

Peter became a member of the Center in the Spring of 1974. Besides being the Shambhala Chicago Facility Manager, Peter is also a meditation instructor, and has taught a number of buddhadharma and Shambhala classes over the years.



Ted Ballou, Council Secretary

Ted has been a member of the Governing Council since July, 2018. Retired from his dual career in software engineering and neurophysiology since 2015, he divides his volunteer efforts between Shambhala and Final Exit Network. At the Shambhala Chicago Center he serves as Secretary for the Council and also is on the monthly ikebana rotation.

Joining the Governing Council

To find out about available seats and the process for becoming a council member please forward the information outlined below to [email protected]

  1. Name, email and phone number.
  2. Please briefly describe your relationship with Shambhala and our vision for Enlightened Society.
  3. Please share what most inspires you in wishing to participate in Council leadership.
  4. Please list previous governance and leadership experience either within or outside of Shambhala.
  5. Please describe your available time and energy to put towards a Council position.
  6. Please share any questions or comments to you have about the Council.