The work of the board is to determine the mission of AZC; select and support the Head Teacher or Abbot; support the staff; engage in strategic planning; oversee AZC’s budget and programs; protect our organization’s assets; assist with fundraising; and ensure AZC’s legal and ethical integrity.
The board values your feedback about our practice community. If you would like to share a concern or a delight, please feel free to contact us.
Louis “Shu” Shuey grew up in central Texas, and was 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.
José Alvarado was born in Panamá and raised in Miami. He holds a PhD in Physics from the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, and a faculty position in Physics at the University of Texas at Austin. In his spare time, José can be found training for triathlons or knitting.
José came to Buddhist practice in 2018 after being raised in Hinduism. He attended the Insight Meditation Center in Cambridge, MA. In 2019, he and his husband moved to Austin to start work at UT. That same year José started attending AZC and Zen practice.
Chris Azbill started practicing at AZC in 2015. At first, AZC was simply a place to take personal refuge from the world, but after attending many Saturday talks, the misty nature of Zen began to sink in. After a few years, he became one of the temple Residents and hasn’t left since. Outside of the temple, he is a father of two children and works as a Senior Software Developer.
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 is 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.
Austin Zen Center operates through the volunteer efforts of board and organizational committees composed of AZC members and friends who lend their time and skills to help further the mission of our organization in a number of ways. Described below, these committees are essential to the shared governing and management of our center.
Finance Committee Chair: David Pavkovic
Role: The Finance Committee, which is commissioned by and responsible to the Board, functions to monitor and evaluate AZC’s funding and financial management; to make sure the annual budget accurately reflects the needs, expense, and revenue of the organization; to monitor income and expenditures against projections and present monthly, quarterly, and annual financial statements; to safeguard AZC’s assets; to ensure compliance with federal, state, and other requirements as relates to finances; and to ensure that AZC
Governance Committee Chair: Karen Laing
Role: The work of the Governance Committee, which is commissioned by and responsible to the Board, is to ensure our Board’s effectiveness, participation and performance. It makes sure the Board’s policies and procedures are being observed, reviewed, and improved. It develops job descriptions for individual Board members, Officers and Staff; and reviews the performance of the Head Teacher/Abbot and Staff. It recruits new members who might add to any missing qualities and talents of the Board; and educates Board members about its roles and responsibilities.
Membership Committee Chair: José Alvarado
Role: The Membership Committee, which is commissioned by and responsible to the Board, is charged with nourishing and supporting the membership of AZC; hearing requests, complaints, and suggestions from the membership; providing guidance and support for new members; and being the liaison to the Board concerning outreach activities. Contact Betty Holmes to bring a membership issue up with the Board.
Building and Grounds Committee Chair: Chris Azbill
Role: The work of the Buildings and Grounds Committee is to maintain and improve the physical site and buildings owned AZC and to keep it beautiful.