AZC Board of Directors: Coming & Going

Meet AZC Board Member Nominees: Karen Laing & Louis Shuey

Karen Laing grew up in Ventura & Santa Barbara, California. After early work as a museum technician, environmental educator and National Park ranger, she embarked on a three-decade career as a biologist and manager for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, mostly in Alaska, until retiring in 2017. Karen loves nature and the arts.

Karen began zen practice during a 1991 visit to Tassajara from her home in Alaska, and was a founding member of the Anchorage Zen Community, serving on the board and in many other capacities over the years. In 1999, Karen and fellow member Judith Haggar began a program  supporting women at a state prison near Anchorage, a program that the Anchorage Zen Community continues today. In 2010, Karen moved to California to care for her parents, continuing to practice independently, and visiting practice centers when possible. In 2019 Karen moved to Austin to be close to her sister, a long time Austin resident, and she joined the Austin Zen Center soon after arrival.

Karen would be honored to be elected as a board member of the Austin Zen Center. She hopes to support the successful work the board, leaders and members have done in the last several years to establish financial stability; and she is in alignment with the goals of AZC to foster membership diversity.

Louis “Shu” Shuey grew up in central Texas, encouraged to explore faith from different perspectives including Buddhism.  He’d long since stopped searching by the time his teen-age son brought him to a beginner meditation class at AZC.   From that point in 2014 his search began anew, breath by breath on the zafu.  Shu has been a member ever since, grateful for the support and encouragement of the sangha. He and his wife Doris live in Round Rock.  Their sons Michael and Isaac are students at UT-Dallas and UT-Arlington.

Extending Gratitude to Outgoing Board Member Melanie Gulick

It is with deep bows of gratitude and respect that we give thanks to AZC’s outgoing Board Member, Melanie Gulick. Melanie has been on the AZC Board of Directors since February 2016, and has served in a number of positions, including Board Secretary and Membership Chair. Melanie also notably helped support and guide the Austin Zen Center community through some very painful and tender times of change. While we are very sad to see her step off the Board, we look forward to welcoming her back into the AZC sangha population as a regular civvy!

A few words from Melanie: “I leave my role as an AZC board member with very mixed feelings and many thoughts. The concept that everything changes is a fundamental one, and for the first couple years serving as a board member you could say we went through some changes. The last few have been calmer. How exciting to work toward building a stronger foundation for AZC (in all senses of the word foundation)! Or so I thought when I first got started. However, excitement is not really the aim of a board of directors, and I can honestly say my performance was mixed. I give credit to the very talented and hardworking fellow board members with whom I served; to the devoted and delightful members and practitioners; to Rev. Doshin Mako Voelkel, Director Tim Kroll, and Practice Leader Pat Yingst; for the health and growth of our precious treasure, the Austin Zen Center. I am humbled by you. May we see each other in the zendo. I bow to you.”

The AZC Board of Directors is open to receiving nominations for incoming Board members from our regular Membership. Please contact Board President Dave Pietruszynski with any nominations.

All members & prospective members are invited to our upcoming Annual Membership Meeting & Brunch on March 7th, where all pledging members in attendance will vote on incoming Board members.