Our Dharma Leaders

While our Dharma Leaders represent a broad range of backgrounds and life experiences, they share a profound awareness of the significance of meditation and the power of mindfulness, both while formally meditating and in their daily lives. Our Dharma Leaders share the aspiration to grow in wisdom and compassion by living the Dharma.

Clyde AlexanderDharma Leader
Clyde Alexander has been practicing meditation since 1998. He has attended residential retreats at Spirit Rock, Insight Meditation Society, Southern Dharma Retreat Center and Cloud Mountain. He is a graduate of the Dedicated Practitioner Program, Spirit Rock’s two-year dharma study program. He has been a co-teacher in IMCC’s Dharma Study and Practice Program and the Dharma Leader in Training Program.
Larry DawaltDharma Leader
Larry Dawalt was introduced to contemplative prayer in the late 1980’s and began his practice of Insight Meditation in 2012. He completed the one-year IMCC Dharma Study Practice program in 2018 and the two-year IMCC Dharma Leader Training Program in 2021.

Larry has worked as a healthcare chaplain and grief counselor in end-of-life care since 1993 and highly values how the teachings of the Dharma guide one to live an awakened life. He is grateful for the opportunity to share those teachings with others.

Debbie GeorgeDharma Leader
Debbie George delights in sharing the dharma of the Buddha’s non-religious teachings of Insight Meditation. She has experienced the profound wisdom and practice of Vipassana meditation as offering practical tools to aid us in untangling our thinking which is all too often the creator of our misery.

Debbie completed a year-long study program at Barre Center for Buddhist Studies in early Summer 2013 and has been diligently teaching, practicing and studying Buddhist Meditation since Summer 2007.

Joy LiBetheDharma Leader Emeritus
Joy Libethe founded the Insight Meditation Community of Charlotte in 2009 at the encouragement of Jack Kornfield. She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and has been studying Buddhist Psychology and Philosophy for more than 30 years.

With 50 years of meditation experience, she is dedicated to teaching the dharma, and helping others to find the freedom, compassion and wisdom available to them. She was introduced to Buddhism by the beloved Zen Master Seung Sahn. Currently, her practice and studies are in both Vipassana (Insight Meditation) in the Theravada tradition and Vajrayana in the Tibetan Tradition. She has received pointing-out instructions and transmissions in Mahamudra and Dzogchen from Tsoknyi Rinpoche, Mingyur Rinpoche and Kenpo Kunga.
Denise OwensDharma Leader
Denise was introduced to Insight Meditation in 2014. She immediately knew this was the path conducive to her well-being and is inspired to share these teachings with others. She completed the one-year IMCC Dharma Study Practice program in 2018 and the two-year IMCC Dharma Leader Training Program in 2021. She has regularly participated in the IMCC Residential Retreats and has also experienced retreats at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA. Like many of the Dharma Leaders, she served previously on the IMCC board and various IMCC committees to promote the Dharma in the Charlotte region. By day, her profession is physical therapy.
Thia PowersDharma Leader
Thia is fortunate to have studied and practiced Vipassana (Insight Meditation), non-dualism and/or mindfulness since 1999. Fostered by a love for the liberating truths brought about by Dhamma practice, she regularly participates in retreats, intensives, and study programs and teaches/leads locally and regionally. She is a semi-retired professional graphic designer, a certified Enneagram instructor, and a Kripalu Yoga instructor. Aspiring to live in accordance with the Dhamma each day is a joy – a priceless gift – and she offers a deep bow of gratitude to her many teachers for this gift.
Ward SimmonsDharma Leader
Ward Simmons has been practicing Insight Meditation since 1999. He regularly participates in residential meditation retreats ranging in length from a week to a month.

He has completed the year-long Integrated Study and Practice Program at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies in Barre, Massachusetts, and the two-year Community Dharma Leader program through Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Marin County, California

Ward has found the practice of Insight Meditation to be life-changing, and he considers it a privilege to share this path with others.

Alexis SteinDharma Leader Emeritus
Alexis Stein was introduced to Be Here Now by Ram Dass in the late 60’s and has been on a spiritual journey ever since. While Ram Dass was her first mentor and continues to be a source of “life” learning, she has also been privileged to study with Stephen and Aundrea Levine, Larry LeShan, Sharon Salzberg, Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield and many other Spiritual Guides. She was a long time student of Thich Nhat Hanh and an active member of a Mindfulness Meditation Group for many years.

Being in the presence of some of the Spiritual Leaders of our time, with the wonderful energy each has shared, has led her to a life practice of learning to live in the moment, with an open heart filled with loving/kindness, and to share her journey “pluses and minuses” with others.

​​Alexis has been in the field of counseling since 1980 and has maintained a private practice since l996. A world traveler and educator, she is passionately committed to her spiritual practice and takes joy in being among fellow travelers on the path.

“Wherever ​you are ​is ​the entry ​point.”​​