Board of Directors – Members
John Jennings, President
John first encountered Buddhism in middle school when he randomly picked a book on Buddhism off the school library shelf. This was followed by reading Hesse’s Siddhartha. Years later while finishing his Master’s Degree in Architecture at the University of Oregon, he encountered Kalu Rinpoche and took refuge with him in 1983. John first came to KCC in 1986 but left for a long stretch to live in Chile and grow a family. He returned to KCC in 2007 and has served on the Board since 2014.
Linda Besant, Secretary
Linda has always had a hard time sitting still, so she shied away from pursuing a meditation practice until she visited several monasteries while traveling in Nepal in 2011, and saw the compassionate nurturing of young monks who also had a hard time sitting still during practice. She began attending KCC after returning to Portland and immediately felt at home. Linda worked as a non-profit executive director in disability services, and as a staff member in the arts arena; and has served on boards ranging from the local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association to the Lesbian Community Project. She is grateful that the skills she developed can now be of service to KCC. She’s been on the board since 2013, first as Assistant President and now as Secretary. She still has a hard time sitting still.
Doug Dunlap, Newsletter
Now retired, Doug worked as a psychologist for over 30 years, mostly at various branches of Oregon State Hospital. In addition to working as a psychotherapist and treatment team member, he coordinated and edited a patient newspaper there for about 15 years. In 2010 he stumbled into the Portland Shambhala Center where his skepticism about a spiritual path was slowly transformed into positive engagement and gratitude for teachings received. Seeking more traditional and accessible Buddhist teachers, he began attending KCC in 2017 and is currently a student of Mindrolling Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche as well. He became a Board member in 2020.
Sandy Pollock, Treasurer
Sandy has been associated with KCC since the 90s, on and off and usually from a distance (San Francisco, LA) before moving to Portland for a few years (2012-19), and now away again although not too far Olympia, WA). He has served as KCC treasurer for the 8 years he’s been on the board.
Phil Wallin, Development
Phil started practice at the San Francisco Zen Center in the 1970s, connected with the Kagyu practice of Shambhala in Santa Fe in the 1980s, and took refuge with Lama Michael at KCC in 2015. After retiring from a career of land and river preservation he turned his energies to helping KCC thrive as an organization.
Before she retired, Rosemarie practiced labor and employment law. For her second act, she worked in non-profits helping to develop strategies for creating sustainable and just communities. She encountered the dharma at a summer wedding 15 years ago, where she met Lama Michael. After many years of meditation and practice with Lama Michael and other remarkable teachers, she is happy to give back by helping KCC thrive and make this path available to all.
Ryan was drawn to Buddhism and meditation on first exposure in college but only began developing a stable meditation practice years later during travels and meditation retreats in Asia. He began volunteering at KCC after arriving in Portland in 2013, and he coordinated KCC retreats, events and communications from 2014 until he moved to Madison, Wisconsin in 2017. Ryan managed operations at Tergar Madison for over two years and now works at a reputable biotech company. He has continued to assist with KCC media and retreats where possible and is excited to offer service on the Board.
Linda came to KCC in 1992. Preferring to jump in and figure out if she can swim later, she was soon serving as KCC Board Treasurer, on the team to recruit Lama Michael Conklin, and with Lama Lekshe to start the Children’s Program. Linda attended every retreat KCC offered, culminating in Venerable Bokar Rinpoche’s Awakened Mind retreat in 1996. Her skills as a yoga teacher helped tired legs find new life during retreat breaks.
After time away from KCC, Linda jumped in to help in the bookstore, on membership drives, and by cooking at numerous functions and retreats at SCOL. She did a one-woman baking fundraiser, relying on her skills as a systems analyst to ensure everyone received their baked goods on-time. Linda is thrilled to support KCC as a Board member again however is most helpful.
Joe Bertagnolli has been a member of KCC since 2006. He serves full-time as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, psychotherapist, and Suicide Prevention Coordinator at the Portland Veterans Hospital, where he fulfills a variety of therapeutic and training roles. He received his Master’s Degree from PSU in 2007. Joe is an avid traveler and hiker, having thus far visited nineteen countries on four continents. While in Dharamshala with Jeff Alworth in 1992, they were blessed to meet H.H. The Dalai Lama at his home.
At KCC, Joe has served in several volunteer roles: as a Children’s Program teacher, Harmony Council member, Umdze, and in providing lots of elbow grease over the years in projects at SCOL, Monroe, and Skidmore.