Mitra Council Office

The Mitra Council Office (MCO) provides support to the Mitras for their projects and activities. The staff helps them carry out the work associated with their mission of holding the view for Nalandabodhi and supervising the practice and study paths. The MCO communicates and works with the Nalandabodhi sangha and other Nalandabodhi staff, as well as outside organizations and individuals.

The staff maybe contacted through

Mitra Council Office Staff

Michael Miller, Director of Practice
Michael Miller has held many roles in Nalandabodhi leadership, over many years. A former expert in database management, Michael is now retired. He lives in Boulder, Colorado.

Stephanie Johnston, Director of Practice Instruction

Stephanie Johnston has been practicing Tibetan Buddhism since 1985 and has been under the guidance of Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche since 1996. She is a graphic designer and serves as Director of Practice Instruction. She also began serving as Director of Nalandabodhi Publications in 2011 and has been an active faculty member of Nitartha Institute for Higher Buddhist Studies since 1998.


Ros portrait.1014Rosemary Bakker, Co-Director of the Path of Mindful Activity

Rosemary became a student of  Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche in 2004 and in 2014, began working with the Mitra Council to expand the Path of Mindful Activity (PoMA). Rosemary  is an interior designer and gerontologist and hosts a Nalandabodhi practice group in the Hudson Valley, New York.  She is excited about the rich and varied opportunities PoMA offers, including mindful awareness of daily life in our relationships with each other, the changing seasons, and the environment.

Genko-Blackman-photo-Mitra-Council-Office-PoMAGenko Blackman, Co-Director of the Path of Mindful Activity

Genko Blackman serves as co-director of the Path of Mindful Activity along with Rosemary Bakker. Genko is a member of Nalandabodhi, and a student of Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche since 2013. Also a practitioner in the Rinzai Zen tradition since 1983, she is fully ordained in that tradition and teaches at two Zen centers in the area, as well as leading Buddhist groups in the state prison system. When there is time, she enjoys practicing Japanese tea ceremony and gardening.

Michael Hennessy, Director of Online Study

Michael Hennessy first encountered Ponlop Rinpoche in 1980 in Boulder, CO, when Rinpoche was traveling with His Holiness the 16th Karmapa, and has been a student of Rinpoche’s since 2004. Michael works with the Mitras to support the online study path, and administers Nalandabodhi’s online Learning Management System.

Michael teaches Computer Science at the University of Oregon in Eugene, OR, where he and his wife have three children, two in college and one in high school.

Tara Stepenberg 2014Tara Stepenberg, Communications Secretary

Tara has been on a Buddhist path since 1978 and became a student of Dzochen Ponlop Rinpoche in 2010.  She is a multifaceted movement specialist and dancer, integrating her Buddhist practice with her view and process as a performer and movement co-journeyer (particularly with Authentic Movement and Laban Movement Analysis).