Welcome to the Pittsburgh Shambhala Meditation Center Council page.


“Council” refers to the combined Governing Council and Advisory Council.

Council Purpose

The purpose of the Council is to act on behalf of the greater Pittsburgh community to ensure that the Center manifests the values and vision of Shambhala in its practices, programs, and organizational conduct.

Council Roles and Members

The formal organizational leadership body of a Shambhala Center is called the Governing Council and will typically have representation for each of Shambhala’s Four Pillars: Practice and Education, GovernanceProtection, and Economy. (Note that a head of the Pillar of Economy has never been named in our Center.)

Membership of the Governing Council

  • Center Director / Head of Governance – Jessica Heathcote
  • Head of Practice and Education – Veronica Haberkost, Kathryn Pepper
  • Rusung / Head of Protection – Nick Marsellas
  • Chagdzö / Head of Finance


Our Center’s Governing Council also has also historically relied on other community members as regular needs for particular roles or functions have arisen or grown. Those positions are recognized as the Advisory Council.

Membership of the Advisory Council

Meeting Times

The PSMC Council meets the first Thursday of every month, from 6:00-8:00, unless otherwise noted. You can find council meetings scheduled on the Pittsburgh Shambhala Calendar.

Members Attending Council Meetings

Any Shambhala Pittsburgh member may attend a council meeting. If you plan to do so, we ask that you please email the director to let us know you will be there. If you are bringing any agenda items, please be sure to email them to the center director 48 hours before the meeting. Sitting council members are also asked to confirm their attendance and agenda items with the director on this same timeline. We look forward to having you with us – your contributions to discussion will be appreciated!

If sensitive information is being discussed (e.g. a care and conduct report), all parties not directly involved in resolving the dispute may be asked to leave the room for that agenda item to protect the confidentiality of those involved.

Meeting Minutes

You can find the minutes from our most recent meeting posted on the bulletin board in the walk-through office. You can also contact Jerry to see minutes from previous meetings or to have a conversation about the meeting minutes.

Broad Agreement Decision Making

The council works together to reach broad agreement. Normally, this takes the form of acknowledging that a shared point of view has arisen in the course of discussion. This is similar to an informal consensus system. It is the responsibility of the director to facilitate this process. In situations where it is clear that broad agreement is unlikely to be achieved through further discussion, the director will ultimately decide the course of action to be taken.