​”If beings knew, as I know, the result of giving and sharing… even if it were their last morsel, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared it, if there were someone to share it with…

Our Board Members

Our Board of Directors  represent a broad range of backgrounds and life experiences, we all share a profound awareness of the significance of meditation, the power of Mindfulness, both while meditating and in our daily lives, and the aspiration to grow in wisdom and compassion by following the Dharma ~ the teachings of the Buddha.

Denise OwensBoard Chair

Denise Owens, PT, joined the Insight Meditation Community of Charlotte in 2013 to become more skilled in present moment mindfulness to enhance her patient treatments. However, she has found the teachings and her meditation practice to have a positive effect on all aspects of her life. Denise has gratefully participated in an Insight Meditation Society Retreat and the annual IMCC retreats. She has completed the IMCC year-long Dharma Study Practice Program and presently is in the two-year Dharma Leader Training Program.

Currently, she is Board Chair and retreat manager as well as being a member of the Personnel Committee and Metta Committee. She also has served on the board of the Piedmont District of the North Carolina Physical Therapy Association.

Cathy FrancisVice Chair

Cathy Francis began exploring Insight Meditation with IMC Charlotte in 2012. Her practice took time to develop, and deepened considerably when she participated in the 2017-18 IMCC Dharma Study & Practice Program.

Cathy enhances her meditation practice with a regular yoga practice and believes that the teachings of the Buddha, participation in the sangha and the practice of yoga continually enrich all aspects of her life. Cathy is a member of the Programming Committee and has been coordinating Wednesday night volunteers for the past two years. She became a certified yoga instructor in May 2020.

Gary CotlerSecretary
Gary Cotler has been a member of the Insight Meditation Community of Charlotte since 2017. After a long-time intellectual interest in Buddhism, he began practicing meditation in 2015 and now considers it an integral part of his overall wellness. Gary has attended residential retreats at Southern Dharma and Heartwood Refuge as well as completed an 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course. Practicing and studying the dharma combined with being part of the IMCC sangha have had a tremendous positive impact on his life. Gary currently serves on the Finance committee.
Yi-Jun LinTreasurer/Chair of Finance

Yi-Jun Lin has been a devoted student of the Dharma for more than 20 years. She maintains a joyful balance between studies of Zen and Tibetan Gelugpa lineages, yoga, Vipassana and Metta meditation, and regular retreats to support her path in following the Buddha’s teachings. She feels fortunate for the endless daily opportunities to cultivate mindfulness concentration and inner peace, and to awaken and apply these tools in caring for and empowering others. 

Yi-Jun has tremendous gratitude for the support of the IMCC community. She has served on the Programming Committee and is now serving as Board Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee. Professionally she maintains a private practice of acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, health coaching, and integrated nutrition therapy. 

Elizabeth KabalkaBoard Member, Chair of Program Committee

Elizabeth Kabalka, MSSW, is a new resident of Charlotte, NC, relocating with her family in the summer of 2019 from Chattanooga, TN. She currently serves as Program Director for Smart Start of Mecklenburg, where she oversees funding for programs serving 0-5 year olds and their families.

Although a seeker since college, it wasn’t until 2012 that she began a daily mindfulness practice, thanks to Emory’s Cognitively Based Compassion Training program. With that life changing experience, she became a mindfulness ‘evangelizer’ and served for 4 years as Executive Director of the Center for Mindful Living in Chattanooga, TN, a non-profit mindfulness organization. During her tenure there, she spoke to hundreds of people about the benefits of mindfulness and developed programming for a wide range of individuals, including those with chronic pain, incarcerated youth and teachers. She is a trained Mindful Schools instructor and has developed mindfulness curriculum for both children and adults.

Elizabeth began her study of the Dharma upon moving to Charlotte. She began attending Insight Meditation Community of Charlotte in the fall of 2019 and has received a warm embrace from this community. She resides in Ballantyne with her husband, two of her three boys, and a menagerie of pets.  

Mary Thia PowersBoard Member, Chair of PR/Communications Committee
Mary Thia Powers has practiced Vipassana and Insight Meditation since 1999. She is a meditation and yoga teacher who also practices graphic and interior design. As a member of the Insight Meditation Community of Charlotte sangha, she’s currently enrolled in the Dhamma Leader Training Program (class of 2020) and serves as chair of the Public Relations committee. Thia believes that meditation and study of the Dhamma brings heart-wisdom and clarity to relationships and communities, facilitating global inter-being.