This is a momentous occasion for our organization. We would like to welcome our inaugural cohort of Garrison Institute Fellows. This cohort is constituted by artists, researchers, healers, trauma-informed care practitioners, and much more. Together, the Fellows will draw from multiple disciplines and movements including—but not limited to—psychology, public health, mindfulness, social justice, the performing arts, architecture, just to name a few.
The purpose of the Fellowship is to provide an opportunity for emerging leaders to deepen their understanding and teaching of the reality of interconnection through a combination of contemplative practices, scientific study, and generative action. We firmly believe that personal and planetary well-being depends on us finding new ways of being together that stem from a respect for and understanding of the reality of our interdependence.
Eleven inspiring individuals from a diverse range of cultural, ethnic, and professional backgrounds have come together to be the next generation of leaders and teachers capable of and motivated to integrate the four core pillars of the program: 1) awareness-based contemplative wisdom; 2) the science of interconnection; 3) generative action; and 4) collective healing. These pillars sprout from the core mission of the Garrison Institute. Each Fellow will carry out an inquiry and execute a project that connects to these pillars.
On one level, this fellowship reflects the ongoing legacy of the Garrison Institute and its vision to be a beacon of hope and affirm its place in the constellation of organizations that choose to be luminous during this dark moment in our history. On another level, this program represents a ground-breaking opportunity to nurture the next generation of leaders who will research, develop and highlight the science and practices that will bring about a more compassionate, interconnected and healed society.
Below you will find a snapshot of the program’s conceptual compass, brief definitions of the guiding pillars, and abbreviated biographies of each marvelous Fellow. Our compass will serve as a guide for administering an emergent curriculum that will support Fellows as they engage in dialogue with each other and with guest teachers throughout the year. In-depth discussions on planetary health, resilience, education, justice, and contemplative practices will shape and support their work as well. These particular themes connect to the Institute’s programmatic priorities. Please join us in congratulating this inaugural cohort! May their work thrive and reverberate within their respective fields!
Jennifer Bloom Greenberg
The process of enacting contemplative methods for reflecting deeply on the multitude of ways to cultivate caring and compassion, find insight, and enable courageous action. Awareness-based contemplative wisdom represents the truths that are revealed through individual and group practices that are a result of prolonged moments and periods of concentrated attention, study, reflection, and conversation.
The rigorous and cross-disciplinary study of the interconnected and interdependent nature of all things in order to better understand our collective wellbeing and enhance pathways for personal and planetary health. The science of interconnection represents both the research that reveals and describes the interconnected nature of reality, and the ancient and emerging practices that support communities with embodying mutuality and actualizing interdependence.
The origination, production, and reproduction of possibilities for personal and societal transformation through intentional and actionable steps. Generative action represents the momentum created when working with what is emerging in a given field, and intentionally building programs, institutions, habits, and values that catalyze synergy and regenerative structural change.
The process of recognizing and acknowledging individual and collective harm by providing spaces for restoration, developing practices for the release of trauma, enabling reparations, and continuous truth-telling. Collective healing represents the space and process for bearing witness to the conditions that reproduce individual and collective trauma in the first place, while cultivating tools for regenerative systems.
Nico Cary is a writer, performance artist, and mindfulness teacher. He received his BA from UC Berkeley’s Interdisciplinary Studies Field School, specializing in cognitive linguistics. From writing and performing in a theater piece on water politics that featured at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans to helping develop an immersive multimedia installation on processing grief for the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, Nico is truly a cross-platform artist. While engaged in a deeply fulfilling artistic career, Nico also proudly serves as a mindfulness facilitator for InsightLA. He is interested in the many different vocabularies of healing and the holding capacity of mindfulness, particularly as it relates to embodied activism and creative ecosystems.
Nichol Chase is a teacher, musician, and yogi for whom singing and movement is integral to life. Nichol’s yoga practice is informed by a vast and eclectic set of influences that blend invigorating flow with precise and insightful instruction and extensive study with a variety of innovative teachers. She is a faculty member and teacher trainer for The Mazé Method, where she has worked for several years, and is currently on the faculty for a teacher training partnership between Yoga International and the Mazé Method. Nichol’s artistic experience includes more than a decade of Royal Academy ballet training and specialization as an operatic Coloratura Soprano, earning the Bachelor of Music degree with a major in Vocal Performance from the University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music. Nichol’s study of yoga piqued an interest in Kirtan and Indian Classical music resulting in the addition of the harmonium to her repertoire for accompaniment to traditional chants in Sanskrit. She studies Northern Indian Classical Music, Mantra, and Kirtan with Sheela Bringi, and leads Kirtan and Sound Healing experiences.
Kasey Hendriks Crown, MA, MFT, is a psychotherapist, wellness educator and writer. Her work challenges old mental health paradigms and suggests instead that true well-being lies in our ability to balance scientific and spiritual perspectives. For more than a decade, she has served as a facilitator of the healing process for adult individuals, couples and groups, working to upend trauma, transform emotional injury, repair relationships and unlock vital wisdom to connect people with who they truly are. Kasey holds an undergraduate degree in philosophy from the University of San Diego and a master’s degree in spiritual and counseling psychology from the University of Santa Monica. She completed a multiyear advanced clinical training in relational studies, culturally competent trauma-informed care and harm reduction; and is currently completing training with the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies in psychedelic assisted psychotherapy for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. Kasey is a California licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice, clinical supervisor and trauma educator. She is founder of Kasey Crown Wellness, an education platform that conducts custom mindfulness-based trauma healing workshops for small groups and organizations and is co-founder of WellSoul Workshops. She lives in Ojai, California with her husband and three daughters.
Jackie Ivy is a design consultant with an extensive career in academic and commercial experiential design. She has applied her design thinking to physical spaces, branding and marketing campaigns, as well as leadership, education and non-profit systems-thinking. She encourages clients to design and create worlds that have yet to be fully achieved, staying true to the integrity of each project as well as inventing possibilities that have never been imagined. Previously in her career, Ms. Ivy was the Senior Director of Operations for Nike’s Global Retail Brand Design Studio; during this time the studio created Nike’s new Flagship properties in Shanghai, New York and Paris, as well as numerous new retail concepts for Nike in Los Angeles and Tokyo. She has also worked with rag & bone, iHeart Media, Soho House, the Buccini/Pollin Group, Urban Outfitters, the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation as well as the Peggy Guggenheim Museum in Venice, Italy. Ms. Ivy received her Master of Environmental Design from the School of Architecture at Yale University, where she graduated with academic honors. She received her Bachelor of Science in Architecture from University of Virginia, and double majored in American Studies through the English Department.
Dr. Sará Yafah King a UCLA-trained neuroscientist, political and learning scientist, education philosopher, critical theorist, social-entrepreneur, author, and public speaker. She is an internationally recognized thought-leader and co-creator of the scientific disciplinary field which merges our understanding of the relationship between mindfulness and social justice – having pioneered the first dissertation to explore the relationship between mindfulness, yoga, and embodied education as a liberatory, anti-oppression practice. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow in Neurology at OHSU (Oregon Health Science University) specializing in the study of the relationship between contemplative practices, complementary alternative medicine, community health and healing justice. Dr. King is also the executive director of “Peace in Schools” a transformative mindfulness non-profit, a dharma teacher with Presence Collective, and a member of Google’s Vitality Labs think tank. She is also the founder of a scientific consultancy, MindHeart Consulting, through which she offers up “The Science of Social Justice” framework for research and facilitation of which she is the inventor/creator. She has been able to promote trauma-informed cultural transformation using the Science of Social Justice from within Fortune 500 companies, global philanthropic agencies, and most recently, through her collaboration with the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. Dr. King has also been an avid student-practitioner of vinyasa yoga, as well as a student of Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism for 15+ years, having completed over 700 hours of training and certification, most notably through Spirit Rock in Marin, CA.
Selma Quist Møller has studied her BSc and graduate education in psychology from UC Berkeley, UCLA, Copenhagen University, and Lund University. She specializes in research within positive health psychology, post-traumatic growth, compassion, and mindfulness, and works through the interdisciplinary approach of Interpersonal Neurobiology. She is passionate about making science accessible for everyone, why she focuses on bridging science and mindfulness practices to generate action that cultivates individual, collective, and planetary well-being, health, and justice. She has done so in various ways, including at a project teaching leaders at Google in a mindfulness-based leadership program for sustainability development, as a writer for UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, and as a current consultant for the Danish Parliament.
Shelly Tygielski is a self-care activist and community organizer. After spending almost 20 years immersed in Fortune 1000 organizations in corporate America, and the past decade as a high-ranking executive in publicly and privately held companies, Shelly turned to teaching modern-life mindfulness full time. Committed to the democratization of meditation, her emphasis is on bringing mindfulness to corporations, public schools, nonprofits, and social justice and political organizations. She honed this focus over ten years of volunteering as a community organizer on campaigns, in social justice organizations, and on behalf of underserved school districts. An area leader with the Democratic Party in Florida, in 2016 Shelly co-founded South Florida Women Rise Up—a group of 3,000 women whose mission is to inform, organize, and activate local women around central issues affecting the community and this country. She also leads close to 15,000 meditators in Broward County, Florida, in a weekly guided meditation practice on the shores of Hollywood Beach. Shelly is also the Founder of Pandemic of Love, a global, grass-roots volunteer-led mutual aid community that has directly matched over 600,000 people since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, accounting for over $39 million in direct transactions. She is a trauma-informed mindfulness teacher, a community organizer, self-care activist and an author, with a forthcoming book, “Sit Down to Rise Up” due out in the Fall of 2021 from New World Publishing.
Andrew Villamil completed his Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology, with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy, from Pepperdine University. Currently, he is a PhD student in the Positive Developmental Psychology Program at the Claremont University Consortium. For over 10 years, Andrew has worked at the David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA, gaining experience in international research and organization/clinical programs. He believes there are always valuable opportunities to bridge basic research with translational applications. As a researcher, he has been involved in five research labs with some of the most influential researchers in the field of Psychology, including Drs. Sonja Lyubomirsky, Daniel J. Siegel, Saida Hesmati, Michelle Craaske, Alan Castel, and many other wonderful collaborators. Andrew seeks to understand mechanisms in well-being that contribute to the fundamental processes and changes that have, and continue to shape the landscape of future applications. Andrew leverages his experience in Positive Psychology Interventions (PPIs), Meditative practices, Technology, Neuroscience, Life Satisfaction, Flow, Cognitive Strategies, Interpersonal Neurobiology and Emotion Regulation; to explore the best methodologies and comprehensive designs that integrate subjective well-being (happiness) into every facet of our lives.
Orlando Villarraga is a poet, musician, and visual artist. As an ally to the Teyuna indigenous tribes of Colombia, Orlando contributes as an interpreter and organizer to help bridge communication of ancient earth-based philosophy to the western world, as well as supporting the tribal communities in the process of living in a post-colonial society. A cofounder of The Resonance Experience, a group of innovators revealing the power of experiential sound in “refreshing” how we listen to the world, Orlando’s work includes guiding deep personal inquiries in the form of sound meditation. He has shared his experiences at NYU’s Love Class, The Interpersonal Neurobiology Conference, and the SAND conference. Orlando is happy and continues to learn from the universe as his university.
Barnaby Willett is a contemplative practitioner who aspires to be of service to the greater good. He helped grow the nonprofit Peace in Schools to be a national leader in mindfulness education, most recently serving as Director of Innovation and Partnerships. He is one of the most experienced school-based mindfulness teachers in the United States and is also a teacher on iBme’s teen mindfulness retreats. Barnaby has collaborated with leaders in the health sciences, education, and politics to advance adolescent well-being through evidence-based research and practice. He believes that scaling depth in mindfulness education is essential for creating trauma-informed, equitable schools. Barnaby has been a speaker at educational and contemplative conferences and has facilitated contemplative practice for adults through Presence Collective in Portland, Oregon. He is originally from the UK and is a student of Chinese tea, Islamic philosophy, Albert Murray, and the imaginal. Barnaby began contemplative practice in 1994 and holds a BA in English from Pomona College.
Justin Michael Williams is an author, transformational speaker, and top-20 recording artist who has become a pioneering voice for diversity and inclusion in wellness. From growing up with gunshot holes outside of his bedroom window, to sharing the stage with Marianne Williamson and Deepak Chopra, Justin knows well the pain of adversity and the power of healing to overcome. He has since been featured by The Wall Street Journal, Grammy.com, Billboard.com, The Root, The Advocate, Yoga Journal, and SXSW®. With his groundbreaking book Stay Woke, and over a decade of teaching experience, Justin’s message of hope and empowerment has spread to more than 40 countries around the globe, particularly through his national “Stay Woke, Give Back” tour bringing mindfulness to youth in underserved communities. Justin is dedicated to using his voice to serve; to being a beacon of hope for those who are lost, and to making sure all people, of all backgrounds, have access to the information they need to change their lives.
For the last decade, Angel Acosta has worked to bridge the fields of leadership, social justice, and mindfulness. He holds a doctorate degree in curriculum and teaching at Teachers College, Columbia University. Acosta has supported more than educational leaders and their students by facilitating leadership trainings, creating pathways to higher education, and designing dynamic learning experiences. His dissertation explored healing-centered education as a promising framework for educational leadership development. After participating in the Mind and Life Institute’s Academy for Contemplative Leadership, Acosta began consulting and developing learning experiences that weave leadership development with conversations about inequality and healing, to support educational leaders through contemplative and restorative practices. As a former trustee for the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, he participated as a speaker and discussant at the Asia Pacific Forum on Holistic Education in Kyoto, Japan. He continues to consult for organizations like the NYC Department of Education, UNICEF, Columbia University and others. Over the last couple of years, he has designed the Contemplating 400 Years of Inequality Experience–a contemplative journey to understand structural inequality. He’s a proud member of the 400 Years of Inequality Project, based at the New School.
Jennifer Bloom Greenberg is a weaver and advisor for the fellowship. She holds a B.A. in English from Yale University and a Master’s of Science in Health and Social Behavior from the Harvard School of Public Health. As a co-founder of Emerging Perspectives, she creates space for individuals and teams to cultivate a mindset that will allow them to embrace new ways of thinking, being, and doing. She has over 20 years of experience working with organizations and initiatives to design, implement, and evaluate programs and strategic plans. She is a skilled facilitator who crafts conversations and processes to inspire innovative thinking and approaches to planning within organizations and community groups. Her recent work includes a collaboration between the University of Texas at Austin, the Texas HIV Syndicate, and the Texas Department of State Health Services to create Achieving Together: a Community Plan to End the HIV Epidemic in Texas (AchievingTogetherTX.org). Jennifer loves to weave the intellectual and creative worlds together to inform one another. Jennifer has published two collections of poetry and an album of music. She considers her role to be that of meaning maker and sacred space holder, whether she is designing a program evaluation, facilitating a retreat, or engaged in a writing project. Jennifer’s work integrates her continued studies through The Neuroleadership Institute, The Mindsight Institute, and Prosocial World.