The mission of EBMC’s Leadership Sangha is to protect our spiritual community by ensuring the fiduciary health and long term stability of the organization while holding dharmic society values. We operate both as a traditional nonprofit board as well as partners with staff and other EBMC leaders and community members in governing and supporting our community in alignment with the five core elements of EBMC’s ecosystem.

Crystal Johnson
Leadership Sangha

Crystal Johnson has been involved at EBMC almost from the beginning, first as Volunteer Coordinator for the Friday night practice group (now the Mahasangha), then as a founding member of the Program Committee from 2010-2017.  She has recently joined the LSangha (Board) as part of the Finance Committee.  She is a graduate of the Commit2Dharma program at the East Bay Meditation Center (EBMC), and of the Dedicated Practitioners Program (DPP4) and Community Dharma Leader (CDL5) Program offered by Spirit Rock. During her time in CDL5, she worked with other white practitioners to develop an 8-session, peer-facilitated, Whiteness and Racism Study Group curriculum that was used by about two-thirds of the white practitioners to support their participation in the CDL community. She has co-created, and co-teaches programs for white dharma practitioners seeking to build awareness, knowledge and skills to challenge the dynamics of white privilege and race-based oppression, and to create truly diverse sangha.

Drew Ollero
Leadership Sangha

Drew Ollero found home at EBMC in 2017 when he was invited as a guest to the Taking the Bodhisattva Vows series taught by Mushim Ikeda. Since then he has practiced in various sanghas, day longs, and residential retreats around the Bay Area. He is humbled to be part of the eighth cohort of Practice in Transformative Action program. Drew is an activist and social worker committed to dismantling systems that perpetuate oppression especially in areas of nonprofits, education, and economic mobility. He hopes to use his diverse background in program development, philanthropy, and systems change to contribute to the radical mission and vision of EBMC.  

Kaily Heitz

Kaily Heitz found refuge in EBMC upon her arrival in Oakland in 2015. She is a graduate of the fifth Practice in Transformative Action program and regularly practices with a sangha in the Tibetan Dzogchen tradition. Her engagement with the POC sangha and work with local environmental justice organizations deepened her commitment to communities of color in Oakland. Currently, she is a doctoral candidate in the Geography Department at UC Berkeley, where she studies how representations of race utilized in Oakland’s development. She hopes to use her understandings of race, justice and the politics of space to serve the EBMC community.

Marian Urquilla

Marian is a leadership coach, strategy consultant, and writer. She is the co-founder of the Center for Community Investment and has a long history of working with U.S. communities of color on issues of social and economic justice. A long-time VIpassana practitioner, she is Salvadoran immigrant and an East Coast transplant to the Bay. 

Preeti Dhaliwal
Leadership Sangha

Preeti Dhaliwal is a civil and workers’ rights lawyer with a longstanding commitment to social justice. Born and raised in California’s rural Central Valley, she moved to the Bay Area in 2011. Soon after, she began practicing Vipassana meditation and found the Dharma. She has long admired EBMC’s anti-oppressive model, and hopes to contribute her skills and work ethic in service of the Center and its community.  

Renato Almanzor
Leadership Sangha

Dr. Renato Almanzor is a transformation catalyst, whose experience emerges from over 25 years developing leaders committed to equitable communities, multicultural organizations, and social justice. As a leadership expert, he has delivered leadership development programs, keynote addresses, workshops and seminars on issues related to leadership for equity, cultural diversity, and social change. Much of his work has been dedicated to supporting community leaders working with and in low-income communities and communities of color. He has a PhD and MA in organizational psychology, an MS in counseling, and BA in psychology, as well as certifications in coaching and Zumba Instruction. He is a proud alum of the first Practices in Transformative Action program at the East Bay Meditation Center, where he also served as an apprentice the following year.

Tania Triana
Leadership Sangha

Tania Triana is an educator, activist, and translator who grew up in Rochester, NY. After teaching in academia for fifteen years, Tania discovered she is happiest working with high schoolers. Tania’s commitment to racial and economic justice encourages deep connection and accountability with our ancestors, community, and environment. She joined EBMC in 2014 soon after relocating to Oakland, and in December 2017 Tania made a commitment to deepen her practice. She joyfully received the Bodhisattva vows and precepts at a ceremony at EBMC, accepting the dharma name Warrior Heartmind. Tania is grateful to have found a spiritual home and social justice community at EBMC. She is enthusiastic about serving on the leadership board. When she’s not on campus educating the keen minds at the College Preparatory School, Tania enjoys yoga, traveling, cooking, reading, and being tía to the best sobrinitos ever, Javier and Nicolás.