IMCW > Programs > Mentoring > Find a mentor

Find a Mentor

As you look through the biographies below you'll find sangha members who have devoted themselves to their meditation practice and Buddhist studies for many years. 

  1. Find one mentor who interests you.
  2. Complete one mentoring application.
  3. Our mentoring coordinator, Gary Hillesland, will work with you and the mentors to figure out the best fit.

Begin the Program

You've chosen a mentor and are ready to get begin the program. During your first meeting with your mentor you will review your Mentoring Agreement. You’ll review your goals, how often you’ll meet, where and for how long. 

Additional Questions

If you have other questions about the program, please contact Gary Hillesland, Mentoring Coordinator.

The fastest way to be assigned a new mentor is to log in and complete our online application. If you prefer a mail-in application, however, you can find a printable mentor application here.

Mentor Biographies

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  • Don Abrams

    Location:
    Olney/North Silver Spring, MD
    Status:
    Accepting new mentees
    Biography:

    3 children, Male. My meditation practice has had a crucial impact on every aspect of my life. Through it, I've found a way to hold my experiences with compassion and to be more present and accessible on a moment-to-moment level. Obviously all of this is an on-going process of deepening my awareness through daily sitting, attending IMCW Wednesdays regularly, being in sangha (including YLM), and continually going to week-long silent meditation retreats and many other teaching programs.

    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
  • Angelique Andrae

    Location:
    Alexandria, VA
    Status:
    Not currently active
    Biography:
    Self-employed HR Consultant, Registered Yoga Teacher, Reiki Practitioner and Stress-Reduction Trainer. I've been practicing meditation since 2005. Originally taught to meditate by Deepak Chopra, became involved with IMCW in 2011 and have been a student of Jonathan Foust. I participated in his Year of Living Mindfully Program from 2012-2013. Trained in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction from Trisha Stotler. Host a morning Telesangha meditation phone call, participate with a KM group and lead the Old Town Alexandria Buddhist Book Club meetup group. Having a regular meditation practice has dramatically changed my life and health for the better and I love sharing it with as many people as possible.
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
  • Robert Arner

    Location:
    Bethesda, MD
    Status:
    Accepting new mentees
    Biography:

    Since 1996, Rob Arner has dedicated himself to all facets of mindfulness, and relaxation techniques.  His teachers have included Tara Brach, Joanna Macy, Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, Greg Kramer, Stan Grof, Vitae Bergman and numerous other teachers. For almost four decades, Rob Arner has instructed and coached tennis in clubs, and schools here in Bethesda and at various resorts working closely with former world champion Pauline Betz Addie. For over three decades he has been a green leader championing environmental improvements, establishing model recycling and watershed protection programs in this region and across the U.S. Rob has received extensive facilitator training and is an All Game Guide.

    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
  • Michael Balsamo

    Location:
    Chevy Chase, DC
    Status:
    Not currently active
    Biography:

    Male, Four children and two stepchildren, all over 21. I began meditating in 1972 as a TM practitioner. In the early 90’s, I became a Vipassana practitioner and a member of the IMCW community. I have participated in a number of retreats and seminars conducted by Tara Brach, Jack Kornfield, Sharon Salzberg and Tsoknyi Rinpoche. I also have an MSW degree and have engaged in counseling.

    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
  • Andy Banks

    Location:
    Silver Spring, MD
    Status:
    Accepting new mentees
    Biography:
    I’ve been meditating since 2005. In 2012, I started an daily insight meditation practice. I learned that the key to bringing greater mindful awareness into my life was learning how to hang out in the present moment. It's a work in progress, simple but not easy. Now, I see that I can better experience the emotional highs and lows that accompany life’s daily events. Relationships with my children, friends, coworkers -and especially myself- benefit greatly from my meditation practice. The mindfulness tools learned in meditation enable me to navigate a high-stress, social justice job, often immersed in conflict. I regularly participate in Tara Brach’s IMCW Wednesday night meditation classes and I have taken advanced courses with Tarah, Jack Kornfied and Trisha Stotler. I have attended weeklong retreats taught by Tara, Jonathan Foust , Ruth King, La Sarmiento, Hugh Byrne. I am a avid student of a wide range of writings and workshops from contemporary Buddhist teachers . I am an active participant in IMCW’s White Awake racism study group.
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
  • Matt Bates

    Location:
    Montgomery County, Derwood, Maryland
    Status:
    Not currently active
    Biography:
    I’ve been involved with IMCW and vipassana meditation for much of the past 15 years. In 2011, I made a commitment to deepen my practice. I turned 60 that year, and also earned a Ph.D. in journalism and public communication. Almost immediately, I began to experience recurring dreams that my degree was invalid because I had missed an important class or failed to study for a big exam—the same “insecurity dreams” I had had about grade school, high school and college. My years of study (as fascinating as they were) hadn’t satisfied me, or brought me balance, or peace of mind.

    I have an established daily practice and belong to a Kalyana Mitta group. I also study psychology and Buddhist philosophy to better understand and guide my practice. Professionally, I have spent most of my life handling communications for the trade union movement. Currently, I teach communications at Trinity Washington University in D.C. I’ve been married for 38 years and have two sons.
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
  • Ian Birlem

    Location:
    Boulder CO
    Status:
    Accepting new mentees
    Biography:
    I am currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Contemplative Psychology at Naropa University and have a BA in Contemplative Psychology from Naropa. I've been practicing meditation since September '08 with a focus on Western, Theravada, and Tibetan Buddhism. Before that I studied Tai Chi and the writings of Jiddu Krishnamurti. My main interest is eradicating unnecessary suffering, working with chronic pain, and faithfully following the Buddha's path to liberation. A foundation of Sila (morality), regular retreats, depth therapy and a rigorous daily practice have been effective for increasing my happiness, equanimity and insight. My 6 year old son is my greatest teacher.
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
  • Amy Bloom Connolly

    Location:
    Timonium, MD
    Status:
    Not currently active
    Biography:
    I have been a student of mindfulness for over thirty years. My life’s work is to bring mindful awareness practices to inner-city communities including families; elders; women in shelter; and the non-profit staff who serve them. I am trained in MSBR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) and have a special interest in mindful parenting.
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
  • Colleen Bogner

    Location:
    Maine
    Status:
    Not currently active
    Biography:
    Having practiced various types of meditation and yoga for 25 + years, I came to Insight Meditation over the IMCW New Years 2007-2008 silent retreat, followed by A Year of Living Mindfully with Jonathan Foust. I have attended several 7-day silent retreats with IMCW since then, trained as a mindfulness based psychotherapist under the direction of Dr. Ronald Siegel, and was a member of a DBT skills training team in PA. Currently on sabbatical from practicing therapy as I settle into my new location in Maine across the street from my 23 month old granddaughter and her parents, I am clearing a space for a new direction to emerge in my service to others. Practicing Mindfulness and Insight meditation just makes sense as I live the joys and sorrows of life. It is my hope that through mentoring, my mindful presence will help cultivate self compassion in myself and others on our awakening paths.
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
  • Katherine Breen

    Location:
    Alexandria, VA
    Status:
    Accepting new mentees
    Biography:
    I look forward to mentoring those who wish to deepen their practice of meditation both on and off the cushion. As a way to dive more deeply into practice, we’ll explore working with thoughts and external realities to gain greater understanding of and compassion toward one’s self and others whether co-workers, family, and friends. A gentle approach combined with humor, curiosity and text is used to enliven this opportunity and experience. Mentoring draws from 25 years of meditative practice and the gifts of many teachers including Thich Nhat Hanh, Pema Chodron, John Kabat-Zinn, Jon Waterman, Jonathan Foust, Tara Brach.
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
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