Board of Directors – Members
John Rothermich, Co-President (he/him)
Born and raised in Salt Lake City, John went to law school and worked as an attorney in New York City before moving to Portland in 2007 with his wife, Shelley, and son, Emmett. John and Shelley began attending KCC Sunday morning meditations in 2011, while Emmett participated in the KCC Children’s Program. John and Shelley took refuge with Lama Michael Conklin in 2012 and volunteered as teachers in the Children’s Program in 2013-14. John has participated in several KCC retreats, attended KCC’s annual Mahamudra seminar in 2019, and has taken personal retreats at SCOL.John also served for 10 years on the Board of Outside In, a Federally Qualified Healthcare Center supporting homeless youth and marginalized populations. John has been a practicing trial lawyer for 20 years, helping clients resolve business disputes and government investigations, most recently with K&L Gates.
Jennifer Chang, Co-President / Treasurer (she/her)
Jennifer started attending KCC in January 2018 having been interested in dharma since her early 20s. She took refuge on January 1 2019 and attended the Mahamudra seminar in the fall of 2019. Jennifer helped bring the KCC library to fruition, managed the redevelopment of the KCC website and enjoys being an active member of KCC’s Dharma Digger gardening group.
Jennifer is a Kansas native and a graduate of the University of Kansas. Her 20 year career in the Federal government was as an emergency planner and responder for the US Army Corps of Engineers. “Prodding the bureaucracy to move smarter and faster” is the simplest way to describe her role in disaster response. She hopes her experience as a civil servant will help her serve the KCC community and all sentient beings.
David Thornburgh (he/him)
David discovered the importance of meditation during the HIV epidemic when teachers from the Bay Area came to Oregon to help individuals cope with impermanence. This experience led him to establish a daily meditation practice in the early 1990s. In 1997, he took refuge with Lama Michael Conklin and Lama Tara Goforth at Salt Spring. Subsequently, he attended Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche’s Mahamudra Program in India each year for several years.
For forty years, David worked as a legal aid lawyer, dedicated to serving low-income communities in Oregon. Initially, he focused on representing Native Americans, and in 2001 he became the director of a statewide legal aid nonprofit and has served on the board of other nonprofits.
David has shared the joys and challenges of life for the past 35 years with his partner Larry Rogers. They are both especially grateful for this long-lasting relationship because, more than three decades ago, a doctor predicted Larry would die from AIDS within a year. In his volunteer work at KCC, David strives to embody egoless service, loving-kindness, curiosity, and humor.
Peter Wood (he/him)
Peter grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and began to study Buddhism in the 1970’s. Three key events were: Taking refuge in 1977 with HH XVI Karmapa; attending Bokar Rinpoche’s 1996 Mahamudra Seminar in Portland; and participating in KCC’s One Year Retreat in 2013.
He has volunteered with KCC since 2001, including on the Board, Harmony Council, the website team, and recently with the Program Support and Community Life Service Groups. He organizes and sometimes leads weekday morning meditations and occasional Sunday meditations.
Peter’s has also volunteered with community groups ranging from food coops to activist groups, including the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, where he served on the National Board. Peter worked in computers for most of 30 years, the last half of which was teaching at City College of San Francisco. He loves to travel, especially to India, Nepal, and to Virginia to visit extended family.
Peter hopes his collaborative skills and experience will be of help to the Board and KCC.
Brad Upton (he/him)
Brad is from the southeastern US, having moved to Corvallis from Auburn Alabama in 1996. His vocational background is in engineering and environmental research. A Buddhist practitioner since 2009, Brad took refuge with Lama Michael Conklin in 2011. He met Lama Eric Triebelhorn on a trip to Tibet in 2019 and shortly thereafter participated in a Mahamudra Seminar at SCOL. Since then Brad has become active at KCC both as a practitioner and volunteer, and is happy to offer service on the KCC Board. Brad currently serves on the SCOL Support Team.