Farewell (for now) to Janie (as co-director)

Our co-director Janie Perlstein stepped down from her leadership position at Portland Shambhala at the end of June, 2021 to focus on the clinical training phase of her doctorate. We feel so much gratitude for her two and a half years of service and we miss her already. 

Janie stepped into this role at a time that was rocky for Shambhala at both at the local and international level, but Janie pulled it off. Leadership is always messy but she managed it all with incredible energy, inspiration, and dedication. She did not back down from a challenge and had a supportive and workable attitude throughout.

Some of the accomplishments Janie is most proud of during her time as co-director might include:

  • She maintained dialogue and connection with many people with diverging views of Shambhala, including former members.  She did this on a one-to-one basis as well as in co-facilitating many community conversations and community meetings.
  • She played a big role in regional programming such as a regional Pacific Northwest Shambhala Training series which has been a huge success.
  • Janie put together and directed a five-day meditation weekthun (pre-covid); it was a free offering that was well attended and included participation from within and outside of the community. She also helped organize two online retreats with Janet Bronstein. 
  • She was instrumental in bringing in the Eugene and greater Oregon sangha into the fold.
  • Janie was key in organizing Portland Shambhala’s move out of the Carnegie library building and onto Zoom; at the end of that process, she pulled off a beautiful auction and a Lhasang at the very end.
  • She spearheaded the Dharma Umbrella, a bi-monthly group that brought together Buddhist leaders from a number of different Portland sanghas.

During our last community meeting, there was a chorus of praise and appreciation for Janie’s leadership including statements such as:

  • There’s an abundance of qualities that come to mind when we think of Janie: her energy and enthusiasm, her warm heart and kindness, her brilliance and discernment, her optimism, her honesty and bravery, her ability to look forward and be forward thinking, and her concern for community.
  • She has shared her welcoming heart and kindness with everyone without reservation; there is a real sense of generosity in how she shows up for people. Her cheerfulness and optimism is magnetizing and brJanie with the gift from Portland Shambhalaings community together. She helped us hang together.
  • There’s always a sense of forward motion with Janie. She showed up each day with creativity and freshness, always ready with smart suggestions and new ideas. Janie has also been an important voice for the youth in our community, and her stepping up into a leadership position has been a great example and encouragement for the next generation of Shambhala leaders and teachers. 

We all really appreciate everything Janie has contributed to our center and as one member shared, “There’s no retirement, Janie!” We look forward to continuing to work with her in a variety of roles. And we wish her great success in finishing her doctorate.

(In the photo, Janie is holding a “farewell” gift from Portland Shambhala Council: a white mala and liturgical brocades connected with an upcoming Dharma program that she’s attending.)

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