Co-Chair, BZC Board of Directors
Yael Shy is the Co-Director of the NYU Center for Spiritual Life. Yael was the previous Director of Development and Education at the NYU Center on Violence and Recovery, where she led training sessions in restorative justice globally and secured multiple multi-year research support grants. Yael is the founder and Director of the Mindfulness Project at NYU. She was named one of the “36 under 36” changemakers transforming the Jewish world by the Jewish Week in 2010. Yael is also a bar-certified attorney. She completed her law degree at Northeastern University in Boston and her undergraduate degree at NYU, studying Sociology and Gender Studies.
Co-Chair, BZC Board of Directors
BZC Co-founder and Executive Director; Awake Youth Project Founder and Instructor
Greg is a Zen Buddhist priest and the Executive Director of Brooklyn Zen Center. Having started two successful businesses and held executive positions in start-ups and publicly traded companies, he has well over 15 years of executive management experience in both the profit and non-profit sectors. He was also the former Education Director at the Austin Zen Center and has many years of experience in the social service sector, including refugee resettlement, human rights work, life and employment skills training for those with barriers to employment, and direct care in psychiatric facilities. Having done post-graduate training in Human Rights at Columbia University, Greg has worked with their Center for International Conflict Resolution on violence and genocide prevention training programs and has been an advisor to the Programme Director at the European Programme for the Prevention of Deadly Conflict and Genocide. In addition to directing BZC he is founded the Awake Youth Project and is currently leading mindfulness groups with high school students throughout Brooklyn.
BZC Co-founder; Sits on Membership Committee
Laura is currently a psychotherapist, affiliated with the Buddhist Psychotherapy Collective, with her own practice in Manhattan. Until recently, Laura was a part of the clinical staff of Payne Whitney at New York-Presbyterian hospital. As a clinician, Laura uses mindfulness practices to support healing and transformation. Before co-founding Brooklyn Zen Center, Laura had trained and lived in various Buddhist communities since 1997, including Tassajara Zen Mountain Monastery and San Francisco Zen Center. She was Director of Austin Zen Center, where she studied the interface between eastern and western psychologies. Laura was project manager for the Community Task Force on Homes for Children, where she worked with individuals and social service agencies on foster care and adoption issues and was the Director of Research at Catalyst, where she conducted research and advised corporations on issues affecting women, including womenʼs leadership development, balancing professional and personal roles and issues related to sexual orientation.
BZC Co-founder; Secretary; Communications Committee Chair
Ian Case helped found the Brooklyn Zen Center in 2005. He currently serves as the Secretary on the Board of Directors as well as the Chair of the Communications Committee. He holds a Masters in Linguistics and currently works as an editor. Ian is responsible for the editing of all information, including the web site, governance documents, and all publicity materials.
Treasurer and Finance Committee Chair
Mitch is a network and computer administrator for financial, payroll, timekeeping, and inventory systems who has consulted extensively with Arthur Andersen and American Business Systems among others. He also has wide-ranging managerial and administrative experience. He is currently employed by New York City Transit as a computer specialist for financial operations.
Family Program Coordinator
Stuart has practiced law for thirty years, specializing in construction finance for affordable housing development. In addiiton to photography, his interests include flyfishing because of the challenge of catching flies with a fishing rod.
Development Committee Chair; Awake Youth Project Teen Meditation Group Facilitator
Alex is a long-time public defender and capital defense lawyer. Currently, he is the Project Director of The Bronx Defenders’ Center for Holistic Defense, a national training and resource center articulating and supporting an innovative model of public defense work. Holistic defender offices seek to address both the causes and consequences of criminal justice involvement by offering not just criminal defense representation, but also related civil legal services, social work support, and advocacy in the client community.
Prior to his work at The Bronx Defenders, Alex served as an appellate lawyer for death-sentenced individuals in California and New York, and as a public defender, at both the trial and appellate level, in New York City.
Alex is a graduate of Carleton College and The University of Michigan Law School. He has also studied at UC Berkeley’s Graduate Theological Union. Alex lives near the Brooklyn Zen Center with his wife Elizabeth, also a member of the BZC sangha, and their two young children.
Sits on Finance Committee
Rachel has Bachelor of Science degree in geology and, although accounting is far cry from knowing about the geological nature of things, she has knack for numbers. She has been in the accounting field for 7 years and her latest gig is busily running a small energy efficiency/solar consulting firm in Downtown Manhattan as their Office Manager and Manager of Financial Operations. When she isn't making the magic happen at work, she is happily riding her bike across the boroughs, including daily commutes over the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges. Biking is her other Zen practice, since riding a bike in New York requires you to be in the present moment or otherwise there could be some serious consequences! Rachel has been a practicing Buddhist for 15 years and is deeply moved to be on the board. She hopes in her capacity that she can be of assistance in finances for BZC.