Jeff Bower has been an active Insight Meditation practitioner since 2005 and became a member of the VIMC community in 2015. He has taken several classes through VIMC and dedicates one week annually to silent retreat. Jeff has been dynamically engaged in the solar energy industry for over 25 years, both in research and in business development, with experience ranging from start-up companies to large multinational firms. He is also an amateur painter and enthusiastic wood turner. Jeff and his wife live in Marlboro.
Susan Dreyer Leon has been a student in the Insight Meditation tradition since 1999 and part of the VIMC community since 2009. She is a Core Faculty member in the Education Department at Antioch University New England, where she also coordinates the Mindfulness for Educators program. Susan lives with her husband, two children, and six alpacas in Springfield, Vermont.
Petria Mitchell has studied at VIMC for the last six years while maintaining an active meditation practice since 1980. Petey is a Hospice volunteer and doula (birthing assistant). A professional painter for over 35 years, she has been on the boards of several local nonprofit arts organizations, including the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center, River Gallery School of Art, and Windham Art Gallery. She opened Mitchell-Giddings Fine Arts in Brattleboro in September 2014 with her husband and partner, Jim Giddings. They live in West Brattleboro with their two dogs, Sumi, the African Grey parrot, chickens and ducks.
Paula Swenson first began meditating with the VIMC community in 2011 and has been taking courses ever since. Recently retired from a career of working with adolescents in various roles, including as a teacher, therapist and guidance counselor, she lives in Greenfield, Massachusetts with her husband. She enjoys putting out the weekly newsletter for VIMC, as well as working on other projects and is currently secretary of the board.
Alison Taylor has been involved in VIMC since 2005. She has taken many courses, heads a team of loyal volunteers who sets up Neighbors Hall for Sunday programs and is a regular participant in VIMC’s monthly offerings of meals for the homeless during winter months. Alison was an elementary school teacher for twenty-three years. She is a longterm student of hatha yoga and is currently writing a memoir with her son, Neil.
Doug Wessel had been meditating and pursuing personal growth since the early 1980s, with compassion increasingly central to his practice. He has taken several courses through VIMC and attended retreats at IMS and BCBS. Doug started working as a psychotherapist in 2014 following a ten-year career as a special education teacher which was preceded by 20 years in the computer field. Doug lived in Northern California for 30 years and currently lives with his husband and two dogs in Orange, Massachusetts.