Who We Are
Adrian BuenoCo-Founder, Guidance Teacher of Mindful Harlem and MBSR
Adrian is the co- founder and guidance teacher of Mindful Harlem and MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction). He has been practicing Mindfulness and Insight Meditation for many years; a practice which has been a deep transformative experience for him and for the people around him.
Adrian and his family are deeply rooted in Harlem and love the diverse and wholesome community they live in. He is honored to have the opportunity to practice, learn and grow every week with the MH family. For him Meditation, Insight and Mindfulness are the means to a path towards liberation of the mind. He sees Practice, Self-Knowledge and Community as the pillars of wisdom and an awakened society; where empathy, compassion and understanding towards us and others are the components for a wholesome life.
Andrei PitutExecutive Director, Mindfulness Meditation Teacher.
Andrew MilesBoard Member, Sales & Marketing Director
Andrew has been a Harlem resident since 2008 and it was the only neighborhood he considered living in when moving from Los Angeles to New York City. He's been involved with Mindful Harlem since its inception three years ago and looks forward to its continued growth in the community.
Andrew has been involved in the entertainment and media industries for over 15 years initially starting as a sales/marketing executive at Advertising Age & Creativity magazines as well as Daily Variety and Variety publications in Los Angeles.
Andrew went on to become Sales & Marketing Director for the television industry organization,PROMAX&BDA, rising to VP, Global Sales & Marketing within a year. Upon returning to the industry in 2005 after receiving his Master of Arts degree with Phi Kappa Phi honors from Annenberg School for Communications in Entertainment Studies, Drew saw the trend in the industry towards digital media and rose to Managing Director of Studio Entertainment for The New York Times, overseeing the studio/film category for print and digital platforms.
In 2007, Andrew was offered an opportunity to move to New York City to head up east coast sales & marketing for Harpo Interactive, responsible for building revenue for Oprah.com across multiple categories and developing cross platform integrations with the Oprah Winfrey Show and Oprah Magazine. Upon leaving The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), Andrew decided to dive deeper into the digital start up world and has held senior sales roles at AOL/Huffington Post and most recently as Director of Brand Storytelling at Upworthy/GOOD Worldwide. He has a passion for community involvement and volunteerism including his role as a mentor for over 15 years. Drew is also passionate about tennis, culinary arts and has been involved in Mindful Harlem since its inception three years ago and looks forward to its continued growth in the community.
Archimedes BibianoMindfulness Meditation & Adaptive Yoga Teacher
Archimedes is an inspirational teacher, fluent in three languages, and has served as a keynote address and guest speaker for a number of organizations both in the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors.
Archimedes Bibiano has been studying and practicing meditation for thirty years, fifteen of which have been dedicated to teaching classes, workshops and seminars at schools, hospitals, and meditation centers in the United States and in Latin America. His work teaching meditation as Mindfulness Based Intervention (MBI) has established thriving programs in New York City; notably, for two outpatient clinics at former St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Centers, currently Mount Sinai St. Luke’s and Mount Sinai West, and since 2004, working with pediatric patients in the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department at Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital, teaching meditation and yoga to children and their families, to hospital staff, medical students and interns, physicians, and clinical researchers.
Archimedes has acted as a senior advisor for Sesame Street’s When Families Grieve™ Kit – a guide for parents and caregivers dealing with the death of a family member, providing a cultural-centered understanding of children’s inherent coping mechanisms while undergoing palliative care and grieving. His work with communities of educators and health care providers has allowed multi-cultural groups to efficiently build a shared ground of experiential knowledge, introducing a fresh approach to the development of interpersonal communication skills for self-regulation of affect, stress reduction, and conflict resolution.
Archimedes can be reached at email@example.com.
Basia BlonskaSound Meditation Teacher
Basia is a classically trained flutist and has been a professional musician for over 20 years. Her passion for music expanded beyond performing and teaching, as she developed profound interest in learning about healing and transformational affects of sound and music.
She received her MA in music performance. Basia has studied different modalities of sound healing with teachers such as Grammy nominated Silvia Nakkach, renowned sound theorist Dr. John Beaulieu, the Great Gong Master Don Conreaux, earning a sound practitioner certification from New York's Open Center. She is very passionate and committed to bringing sound and its therapeutic effects to a broader audience. Collaborations include: Conscious Campus, bringing sound work to college students in form of presentations and direct sound experience, Fashion Institute of Technology- series of creative enhancement workshops among others. Visit her website for her event schedule: http://www.basiablonska.com
Bhante SuddhasoTeacher, Buddhist Monk, Ordained in both the Theravāda and Soto Zen. Co-founder of Buddhist Insights.
Bhante Suddhāso is a Buddhist monk living in New York City, ordained in both the Theravāda and Soto Zen traditions of Buddhism. The co-founder of Buddhist Insights, an organization designed to connect people with Buddhist monks and nuns, his work aims to convey Buddhist concepts and their practical applicability to everyday life.
He has studied under the guidance of some of the most important names in Western Buddhism, including Ajahn Pasanno, Ajahn Amaro, Ajahn Vīradhammo, Bhante Gunaratana, Rev. Myo Denis Lahey, Rev. Ryushin Paul Haller, and Rev. Tenshin Reb Anderson. Bhante Suddhāso was initially trained in Soto Zen Buddhism at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center. Subsequently, he was ordained at Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery in California, where he was trained in the Thai Forest Tradition of Theravāda Buddhism. Since then he has lived at a variety of monasteries from different Buddhist traditions in both rural and urban environments. A dedicated teacher, Suddhāso has taught to people of all different ages and walks of life, as well as college students of universities like Harvard, New York University, Fordham University, and Sarah Lawrence College. www.buddhistinsights.com
Rev. Daiken NelsonTeacher, Buddhist Zen Monk, Founder of The Mandala Café and Guiding Teacher for The Pamsula Zen Center.
Rev. Daiken Nelson, Sensei began Zen Practice 30 years ago. Since that time, he has practiced at the Zen Center of Los Angeles, where he ordained with Nyogen Yeo in 1996; The Zen Peacemaker Order, where he studied with Roshi Bernie Glassman & Sensei Jishu Holmes; The Village Zendo, where he was Shuso (Head Trainee) under Roshi Enkyo O’Hara in 2001 and Upaya Zen Center, where he studied with Roshi Joan Halifax. In October, 2013, Daiken received Shiho/Dharma Transmission from Sensei Genkoji.
Daiken is the Founder of The Mandala Café, which provides Culinary job training & part-time employment for those on the margins plus a weekly meal for anyone who needs one in Central Harlem. mandalacafe.org . Prior to focusing on Zen, Daiken was a Social Worker; working with the homeless plus those with Chronic Mental Illness & Substance Abuse issues.
In addition to Zen, Daiken is a Reiki Master, Yoga Instructor, Photographer & Writer.
Fay LeeperBoard Member. Treasurer of Mindful Harlem.
Fay Leeper, the treasurer of Mindful Harlem, can be found at meditation most Saturday mornings at 9 am. She has taken the MBSR class many times. Each time, for her, it is simply a magical revelation. she declares that through Mindful Harlem's teachings and meditation, the breath and breathing mindfully for her is the most powerful discovery toward relaxation.
Fay has encouraged many people to come and check out the Mindful Harlem family. Not only will one learn and share, but as importantly, it's a lot of fun.
Elizabeth GaryProgram Director
Elizabeth is currently a Master's student studying Social Work at Columbia. She moved to the Harlem neighborhood to be close to school, and is grateful to have discovered Mindful Harlem.
Jayne Gumpel LCSWCo-Founder
Jayne Gumpel LCSW - Co-founder of MindfulHarlem and a qualified MBSR teacher.
Jayne has 25 years of experience leading groups and working with CEOs and leaders from for and non-profit organizations in addition to a private psychotherapy and coaching practice with individuals and couples. Jayne is a certified Imago Therapist, a therapeutic modality for working with relationships. Her other trainings and certifications include long term training in trauma; MBSR teacher (certification track with CFM); a mindful schools .b teacher (MiST) and Mindfulness Educator. These practices and skills are integrated and integral to her work and personal life. Jayne can be reached at 914.924.1509.
Jayne is the mother of two sons, Zak and David.
Jill Van NoteTeacher, Executive and Developmental Coach as well as a Feldenkrais / Awareness through Movement®.
Jill is honored to be joining the MH community in offering this series of Awareness through Movement® chair lessons. As a teacher/coach in the performing arts and personal/leadership development field for over 30 years, the essential questions are frequently the same: How can I get out of my own way? What would make this easier? When is doing less - actually more? These are some of the questions that I invite you to explore while doing Awareness through Movement®. These are the questions that I believe nourish learning and a good life well lived.
Jill is an Executive and Developmental Coach as well as a Feldenkrais / Awareness through Movement® teacher. As a member of Actors’ Equity, she’s enjoyed acting in several good plays along the way. Jill is an avid hiker, National Park enthusiast, Maine native/UWS resident and has taught Awareness through Movement® at a dozen venues in the NYC vicinity. In addition to the chair lessons offered at MH, Jill currently offers a Wednesday evening floor class at the Feldenkrais Learning Center on the Upper West Side. For more information please feel free contact Jill directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joan WalshBoard Advisor, CNN Political Contributor
Joan Walsh is The Nation’s National Affairs Correspondent and a CNN political contributor. She is the author of What’s the Matter With White People? Finding Our Way in the Next America, which the Philadelphia Daily News called “one of the best books of 2012 – and even more relevant now.” Author Anne Lamott described it as “a brilliant and illuminating book about America since the upheavals of 60's and 70's." Walsh lives in New York.
Salon’s very first news editor, Walsh served as editor in chief for six years. She is a regular on CNN's The Lead with Jake Tapper and Out Front with Erin Burnett, and has appeared on many other national shows including Real Time with Bill Maher and Now on PBS.
Before joining Salon, she worked as a consultant on education and poverty issues for community groups and foundations, including the Rockefeller Foundation and Annie E. Casey Foundation. She’s written for publications ranging from Vogue to The Nation, and for newspapers including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle. An avid baseball fan, she’s the co-author of Splash Hit: The Pacific Bell Park Story, about the building of the San Francisco Giants legendary waterfront stadium.
Krishna Dholakia MS, RD, CDE, CDN, RYT Nutritionist & Wellness Teacher
Krishna is a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, health coach, and 500-hr certified yoga instructor. She has extensive training in preventive health and holds a master’s degree in clinical nutrition. Krishna has worked in the health and wellness field for over 13 years. She has helped many individuals improve their health, and the quality of their lives by focusing on changing lifestyle behaviors in the areas of nutrition, stress management, mindfulness, yoga and movement.
Krishna enjoys working with people and believes that good health and self-care should be accessible and enjoyed by everyone. She has participated in Mindful Harlem’s 8-Week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Course lead by Jayne Gumpel, is a member of Mindful Harlem’s “drop in and sit” community, and teaches yoga on Wednesday nights at Harlem Yoga. To learn more about Krishna, visit www.omandspice.com.
Nevah AssangBoard Advisor, Senior Vice President of Cultural and Community Affairs at NYC & Company
Nevah Assang is a long-time member of Mindful Harlem and supporter of the arts and humanities in New York City. She currently holds the position of senior vice president of Cultural and Community Affairs at NYC & Company, serving as a key liaison between New York City’s official tourism organization and the many cultural institutions and community organizations throughout the five boroughs.
She has been with the company since 2006, the year Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg combined three City agencies to form the world’s leading municipal tourism, marketing and partnership organization.
Prior to this position, Nevah was the senior vice president of Creative and Content at NYC & Company, managing the creative, editorial, media production and production departments. In this role, she was responsible for overseeing the execution of a multitude of marketing campaigns, City programs and partnerships, including NYC Restaurant Week, Fashion’s Night Out, Broadway Week and Off-Broadway Week, as well as a range of other content created for digital, social, broadcast, print and outdoor media.
Before joining NYC & Company, Nevah was an advertising executive with more than two decades of experience working on accounts ranging from major corporations to upscale food and beverage brands.
Nevah holds a BFA in painting from Newcomb College at Tulane University.
Board Member of the Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling.
Born and raised in Aruba, fluent in Dutch, Spanish and Papiamentu.
She lives in New York City with her husband.
Pamela Newkirk PhDBoard Advisor, Journalist, Author, & NYU Professor
Pamela Newkirk, PhD, is a native New Yorker and award-winning journalist who spent ten years working as a reporter and writer before joining the journalism faculty at New York University. Pamela began her meditation practice at Mindful Harlem about three years ago and cherishes the brilliant minds she meets in the community.
is a multi-faceted scholar and journalist whose book reviews and articles examining race and African American portrayals have been published in leading publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Guardian. She is professor of journalism at NYU and the author of Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga (Harper Collins) which was listed among the Best Books of 2015 by NPR, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Boston Globe, and The Root and was a New York Times Editor’s Choice. It was also awarded an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literature and the Hurston/Wright Foundation Legacy Award. Pamela is also editor of Letters from Black America (Farrar, Straus & Giroux 2009); and A Love No Less: More Than Two Centuries of African American Love Letters (Doubleday 2004), and the author of Within the Veil: Black Journalists, White Media, (NYU Press 2000) which received a National Press Club Award for Media Criticism. Prior to joining the faculty at NYU she worked at four news organizations, including New York Newsday where she was part of a Pulitzer Prize-winning team.
Rafael Yuste PhD, MDBoard Member, Professor of Biological Sciences and Neuroscience at Columbia University
Rafael Yuste is a professor of biological sciences and neuroscience at Columbia University, where he has served as director of the Neurotechnology Center since 2014. He is a long time member of Mindful Harlem and is passionate about the intersection of meditation and philosophy of mind.
Yuste is interested in understanding the function and pathology of the cerebral cortex, using calcium imaging and optogenetics to “break the code” and decipher the communication between groups of neurons. He is a member of Spain’s Royal Academies of Science and Medicine. Yuste also led the researchers who proposed the Brain Activity Map, precursor to the BRAIN initiative, and is currently involved in helping to launch a global BRAIN project and a Neuroethical Guidelines Commission. He was born in Madrid, and is a long time member of Mindful Harlem.
Teri MeissnerJin Shin Jyutsu® Self Care Instructor
Teri Meissner, Certified Jin Shin Jyutsu® Practitioner and Self Care Instructor, provides Jin Shin Jyutsu® Treatments, and teaches Jin Shin Jyutsu® Self Care Workshops in hospital, medical, institutional, and private practice settings in the New York Metro area.
Teri has taught Jin Shin Jyutsu® Self-Care and Integrative Stress Reduction and Relaxation Workshops at: American Cancer Society’s HOPE LODGE, ATLANTIC HEALTH’S MORRISTOWN MEDICAL CENTER, GILDA’S CLUB NYC, KINGS COUNTY HOSPITAL CANCER CENTER, LEUKEMIA & LYMPHOMA SOCIETY, MOUNT SINAI HOSPITAL’S TISCH CANCER INSTITUTE, NEW YORK-PRESBYTERIAN/WEILL CORNELL MEDICAL CENTER, NEW YORK OPEN CENTER, The RONALD McDONALD HOUSE NYC, and The UNITED NATIONS. www.jsjnyc.com.