Directors’ Corner – Greetings from New Co-directors





Welcome to what we hope will be a semi-regular feature – a blog post from the Ottawa Shambhala Centre Co-Directors, Colin Cordner and Loretta Colton. We hope to use these posts as a way of keeping our community informed, to let you know where our priorities and focus are, and to invite you to participate in a conversation with this community.

We became co-directors in March and we are definitely still learning. We want to acknowledge with profound gratitude the service of two outgoing council members, Lynn McDonald and David Fowler. Lynn served as Director with exertion and fearlessness at a very difficult time. David has been on council for many years, in a number of different roles. Both of them have been tremendously helpful to us during the transition. We bow in deep gratitude to you both.

The Ottawa Shambhala Centre is 100% run by volunteers. This includes our governance structure. Work done at a sangha retreat last year, which was followed up by a working group, looked at how we could reform our governance structure to address the needs of our community and lessen the burden on the volunteers who make things happen. A new governance structure was proposed and accepted by the Council, and we are now working within that structure and figuring out the details.

The Ottawa Shambhala Centre Wisdom Council is composed of the following:

Co-Directors – Colin and Loretta

Activity Circle Representatives:
– Practice, Education and Marketing: Suzanne Cote
– Finance and Fundraising: Sean Dillon
– Membership Services: Cathy Baerg
– Centre Support Services (VACANT)

Rusung: Naomi Deville

Members at Large: (VACANT)

One of the key principles behind this governance structure is that the Wisdom Council is serving at a “lha” level, i.e., high level policy guidance and direction, rather than at the “nyen” or “lu” levels, which will be in the hands of the Activity Circles. So as a starting point, it should be understood that the representative for each activity circle is not necessarily the “lead” of or “in charge of” that circle—rather, they are acting as a liaison between the Wisdom Council and their respective Activity Circle.

For the Centre Support Services position, which represents a number of distinct Centre functions, the co-directors will be reaching out to the folks who are already doing those things to consult about how best to fill the Council role.

Talk to us: Colin and Loretta really want to hear from the community. Colin will be at the Centre for public sitting most Tuesday evenings. Loretta will be there on Wednesday nights twice a month, and once or twice a month on Sunday mornings. Of course, if you want to have a more private chat and/or meet at another time, please contact us directly at [email protected].

The broader Shambhala International organization and where things stand

There has been a great deal of upheaval, uncertainty, and pain for the Shambhala community over the past year. If you are not familiar with this background, it is explained briefly here: Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, who has been the head of the organization and lineage holder, has stepped back from all teaching and administrative responsibilities. The Ottawa Shambhala Centre has held a number of community meetings. In March, the Centre sent a letter to the Interim Board of Shambhala International stating that “[the Interim] Board’s priority now must be to ensure that legal and fiduciary control of our Shambhala organizations passes from the Sakyong to the Shambhala membership permanently”. This letter was signed by 62 members of the Ottawa Shambhala Centre.

So what does this all mean for the ongoing health and stability of the Ottawa Shambhala Centre? While the work of the Interim Board and the Process Team continues, the Ottawa Shambhala Centre remains committed to teaching and practicing meditation, and working together as a community towards collective liberation. A more complete statement of where we stand can be found here:

If you have questions or concerns, we encourage you to reach out to Colin and Loretta at [email protected]. We might not be able to answer all your questions yet, but we’ll try.

Bowing to all of you,

Colin and Loretta

Links to further information: – Community care website – Website of the Interim Board Contains information about the Process Team