The Founding Team:
Bill Porter (Board Member) was born in Los Angeles, California in 1943 and grew up in Northern Idaho. After serving in the US Army from 1964 to 1967, he attended college at UC Santa Barbara, where he earned a BA with Honors in Anthropology, then graduate school at Columbia University. Uninspired by the prospect of an academic career, he left Columbia in 1972 and moved to a Buddhist monastery in Taiwan.
After four years with the monks and nuns, he struck out on his own and lived in a farming village on a mountain near Taipei for fifteen years. During this time, he supported himself as an English teacher, a newspaper copy editor, and as a radio journalist at English-language stations in both Taiwan and Hong Kong, which required him to travel extensively in China.
He returned to America in 1993 and has lived ever since with his wife and two children in Port Townsend, Washington, where he has worked as a baker, a waiter, and for the past fifteen years as a translator of Chinese poetry and spiritual texts. He lectures at universities and gives talks at Zen centers. His poetry translations are written under the name Red Pine. He has written 20 books and among his many awards and honors he is the recipient of a Guggenheim Grant.
Walter Parsons (Board Member) believes in the power of poetry, stillness and silence.
He has served as a board member and officer of many other nonprofits including those in the fields of social justice, education, arts and performance, literature, poetry, libraries, and support for the disabled.
His professional career spans more than 50 years. He is an active community volunteer. He recently retired from his role as president of BMR Associates, Inc, a management-consulting firm he joined in 2002. Prior to that he served in executive roles in public television, finance, and engineering. Walter has a BSE from the University of Michigan, an MS from Stevens Institute and an MBA from Columbia University.
Pamela Sampel OblSB (Board Member) is a professor, writer, retreat facilitator, and spiritual director with 30 years of experience specializing in collaborative leadership and emotional intelligence skill development. She has a warm and irreverent sense of humor–clients and friends describe her as a spirited leader with an ability to inspire and motivate. Pamela is also an experienced practitioner of Transcendental Meditation (TM) and meditates daily.
Pamela holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business and management and certificates in leadership coaching and spiritual direction. She is an Oblate of St. Benedict at St. Placid Priory in Lacey, Washington. Pamela currently works as a professor (NTT) at Western Washington University (WWU) in the College of Business and Economics, facilitates Sanctuary and Sustenance–a writing retreat for women–practices as a spiritual director, and works on a hybrid memoir at her desk in Port Townsend on the edge of the Salish Sea.
Isaac Gardiner (Board Member) has been sitting for twenty-two years in the Zen tradition. He was ordained as a monk in 2002 and as an osho (teacher) in 2016. He came to the practice of meditation searching for a route to make this world and life comprehensible and through seeing that many who had achieved that understanding had come this way.
The prospect of a Port Townsend Meditation Center, with its potential for people to sit quietly together, whatever their particular methodology or background is, for him, a way to sharing that ongoing search and discovery.
Former Board Members
Andrew Shaw–original Founding Board Member (2017-2020)
Kim Gilbreath–Board Member (2017-2019)
Naushard Cader–Board Member (2018)