Governing Council

Robert Stevens, Chair of the Governing Council, has been a member of Shambhala since the early 1980s when he attended the first presentation of Shambhala Training in New York and Boston.  He attended seminary with the Vidyadhara Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1984 and has studied with Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche in the Scorpion Seal teachings and in the Sakyong’s current teaching cycle.  Bob, a management consultant, was a partner at Mercer Management Consulting, an executive at Bluefly Inc. and an executive at Scientific Games, and has served on two public company Boards of Directors.  He consults on business and strategic development.  Bob is married to Anna Suponya, a physician; their son Arthur is a middle school student in Brooklyn.

Bryan Wade is a musician and teacher based in Brooklyn, NY. He has practiced Shambhala Buddhist meditation since 1995 and taught meditation since 2004 in NYC, Vermont and Colorado. Bryan has studied closely with Shambhala teaching artists Jack Niland and Madeline Bruser, co-teaching classes with each of them. He has been a music educator since 1998, focusing on private guitar lessons and has recently created Authentic Musician Performance Training, a course for integrating Shambhala training with music performance confidence. Bryan writes and performs as a singer-songwriter and bandleader, incorporating influences from rock, folk, blues, jazz and world music.

Cynthia Spencer has been practicing meditation and contemplative arts within the Shambhala community since 1979.  She coordinated programming for the New York Shambhala center for many years, as well as serving on its Board and Governing Council.  She is a teacher and meditation instructor, and enjoys offering instruction in our weekly Learn to Meditate sessions. She practices Daoist Qigong.  She worked for MTA/New York City Transit for 35 years.

Rachel Faro is a senior meditation teacher and practitioner within the Shambhala and Tibetan Buddhist traditions who has taught and led meditation retreats, classes and workshops in Europe, Latin America, South Africa and throughout the United States.  A personal student of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, she has been training, practicing and teaching since the early 1970’s.  She is also an accomplished and well-known singer/songwriter, Grammy-nominated record producer and president of world music record label Ashé Records, releasing recordings of Cuban, Puerto Rican, Venezuelan, African, jazz, blues and folk music.  And finally, she is the proud mother of Anandi, an outstanding jazz singer, songwriter and Shambhala meditation teacher and practitioner based in Portland Oregon.

Scott Gutterman currently serves on the Finance and Operations Committee.  He is a retired CPA and worked in the business tax and accounting field for 38 years.  He has served in several volunteer positions during his over 40 years as a member of the Shambhala Meditation Center of NY.  These have included Finance Director, Finance Committee member, Rusung (Head of Security), and meditation instructor.  He is currently pursuing a writing career, after recently completing his MA in English and Creative Writing.

Born in Uruguay, Rosario Fernandez grew up mostly in Italy and France and landed in NYC in 1999. She works as a professional translator from Italian/English/French to Spanish. Her hobbies include swimming, dancing, reading, and cooking. She is a mediocre yet enthusiastic iPad artist and lives with a cat named Karma. Rosario discovered Shambhala through a holiday party at the Interdependence Project, which she attended on a whim in 2010. She attended an intro to meditation class in 2011 and quickly fell in love with the path and the gentleness, compassion, magic, and bravery it pointed her to. Rosario started her Shambhala Training at the New York Center in March 2012.

Vegan Aharonian, PhD began studying Shambhala Buddhism in 1996 and started teaching in 2007. In addition to teaching regularly in New York City, Vegan has taught in Ukraine and mentors the Shambhala group in Russia. He is a member of the Governing Council for the NY Shambhala Center and a co-director of the Practice and Education committee. Vegan is a software engineer, but not an actual vegan.