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About Us

Compassion Institute is a nonprofit global advocate for compassion education. We offer practical compassion-focused trainings based on the latest psychology, neurology, and contemplative science.

Cultivating compassion as a daily practice helps individuals and groups embrace challenging relationships and manage the stress of modern society

Compassion Cultivation Training© (CCT™) developed in 2009 at Stanford University by Dr. Thupten Jinpa and our Founding Faculty is offered to the general public. Special Programs adapt CCT to support specific professions who serve the public under challenging circumstances. Compassion Corps℠ offers low cost or free CCT-based training in underserved communities.

Meet Our Team

Our leadership team represents top educators from psychology, compassion meditation, mindfulness practice, and social science as well as business and non-profit management. We support an extensive network of high-trained certified compassion educators who teach our classes around the world.

Dr. Thupten Jinpa

Dr. Thupten Jinpa

President and Chairman

Thupten Jinpa, Ph.D. was trained as a monk at the Shartse College of Ganden Monastic University, South India, where he received the Geshe Lharam degree. Jinpa also holds a B.A. in philosophy and a Ph.D. in religious studies, both from Cambridge University.

 

Jinpa has been the principal English translator to H.H. the Dalai Lama since 1985, and has translated and collaborated on numerous books by the Dalai Lama including the New York Times Bestsellers Ethics for the New Millennium and The Art of Happiness, as well as Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World. His own publications include A Fearless Heart: How the Courage to be Compassionate Can Transform Our Lives and translations of major Tibetan works featured in The Library of Tibetan Classics series. Jinpa is the main author of Compassion Cultivation Training™ (CCT™) developed for Stanford University in 2009.

 

A frequent speaker at various international conferences on mindfulness, compassion, and contemplative practice, Jinpa serves as an adjunct professor at the Faculty of Religious Studies at McGill University, Montreal and is the founder and president of the Institute of Tibetan Classics. He has been a core member of the Mind and Life Institute and its Chairman of the Board since January 2012.

Staff

Katharine C. (K.C.) Branscomb, Executive Director

K.C. leads the management staff at Compassion Institute, overseeing development and growth of all our programs around the world.

K.C. is a retired software industry CEO and serial entrepreneur who has served as a senior operating executive and/or board director of several high growth companies both public and private. In 1989, Branscomb was recognized by the Wall Street Journal’s Centennial Edition as one of the 28 highest potential young executives in America. Education includes Stanford University (MBA 1980), Polytechnic Institute of New York (BS/MS Applied Mathematics 1976), and BA Sarah Lawrence College (‘76).

She is Vice President of the Branscomb Family Foundation, which secured the exclusive license to CCT™ from Stanford on behalf of Thupten Jinpa and the Compassion Institute in 2016.

Jane M. Chun, Program Director, Specialized Programs

Jane is passionate about the intersection of compassionate states of being and social and systems change, and deepening our understanding of how this nexus can magnify positive social impact.

She has worked with intergovernmental and nonprofit organizations including UNICEF, UNDP, IOM, and Search for Common Ground, and has conducted research for institutions such as The Brookings Institution, Oxford Refugee Studies Center, and Viet Nam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on topics ranging from climate and environmental change, human ecology, migration and displacement, sustainable development, and decision sciences. Jane holds a DPhil from the University of Oxford where her research investigated these areas. She has actively contributed to global conversations and the development of international frameworks protecting vulnerable and displaced people in the context of climate change and disasters. She also holds an MA from American University in International Peace and Conflict Resolution. In a prior life, Jane was a classical pianist and holds an MM from Indiana University where she studied with Menahem Pressler.

She offers a cross-disciplinary perspective and approach in her teaching and work, and is committed to co-creating change together with organizations and individuals so that we can move toward a present and future we want, for ourselves and for the planet. Jane is a certified CCT instructor based in New York City.

Lisel Joseph, Program Associate

Lisel Joseph graduated from Scripps College in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She has served as Program Associate at Compassion Institute since its inception in early 2017. Lisel’s work is driven by her desire to help people improve their well-being and relationships through greater access to tools like CCT™.

Julie Learmond-Criqui, Program Director, Marketing and Corporate Administration

Julie has a 25-year career in strategy, marketing, communications, and business development, working alongside executives from leading global technology companies, and start-ups. More recently, she was Director of Programs in Executive Education at Stanford University. In parallel, Julie has pursued contemplative studies and healing practices for 20 years. She completed a year of French and Italian at University College London, and earned a B.A. Business Studies and French from the University of Westminster.

In 2015, she took a leap of faith and quit her job to take a year off, recover from Silicon Valley-style burnout, and redirect her career to align with her personal passions. Her first action was to attend Compassion Cultivation Training™ at Stanford; it was transformational, and she was hooked! Since then, as a consultant to education, and team and organizational development startups, and the nonprofit sector, she has been grateful to fulfill her dream to focus on supporting the well-being of people who endure high-stress workplaces. She is humbled and thrilled to contribute to reawakening the compassionate nature within our human family, and to spreading the practice of compassion cultivation around the world.

Aly Waibel, Program Director, Online Education and CCT Teacher Education

Aly Waibel has over fifteen years of experience as an instructor and educational consultant in a variety of businesses and communities. She received her PhD from the department of Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Studies at the University of Arizona College of Education in 2015. Her dissertation was the first purely qualitative study of Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT)™, titled Living What the Heart Knows: Learners’ Perceptions of Compassion Cultivation Training.

Prior to joining Compassion Institute, Aly was the Executive Director of Opportunity Knocks, a private nonprofit that supports entrepreneurs, business owners and community leaders in Central Oregon. Since 2013, as a Certified CCT™ Teacher, Aly has facilitated classes in Tucson, AZ, Portland, OR and Bend, OR.

Volunteers & Contractors

Nanja Hansen, CCT Programs, Europe

Nanja Holland Hansen is a licensed psychologist in Denmark and California. She trained at Stanford University as a Compassion Cultivation Training™ teacher and is a certified through the Center for Compassion Altruism Research and Education (CCARE). She originally got involved with compassion through her work as a therapist. The search for new and effective ways to work with clients developed into the interest in cultivating compassion for self and others.
 

Nanja recently moved back to Copenhagen, Denmark, after working at Stanford University as a therapist. She is currently at the Dansk Center for Mindfulness, Aarhus Universitet Denmark, where she teaches the CCT™ course in Copenhagen and Aarhus, and currently writing a book on compassion. Nanja H. Hansen has been accepted into the PhD program at Aarhus University, Health and will be conducting research on CCT™ and caregivers of people with a mental illness and she finds great joy, curiosity, and courage as she teaches the CCT™.

Maria Paula Jimenez, Online Courses Coordinator

Maria Paula is a Senior Instructor in the Compassion Cultivation Training™ Program developed by the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University. Currently, Maria Paula is a Faculty member of the first Spanish version of the CCT™ Teacher Training offered in Spain through Nirakara Institute. Simultaneously she is the Coordinator of the Online Programs of the Compassion Institute and the Administrator of the Live Online Mindful Self-Compassion program offered by the Center for Mindful Self Compassion. She is also a lecturer, organizational consultant and advisor to groups and individuals on topics related to well-being/ whole-being, change, contemplative practices, mindfulness, and compassion.

María Paula studied Psychology at Los Andes University, with a minor in business. She is an expert in Corporate Social Responsibility from Sergio Arboleda University and in Integrative Therapies from the Faculty of Medicine of the Universidad del Rosario. In addition, she completed an Integrative Medicine Training with the International Sintergética Association.

She has offered trainings, talks, and conferences to different audiences in Colombia, Chile, Mexico, Spain, and the United States.

Gonzalo Brito-Pons, Spanish Language Teacher Training, International

Gonzalo Brito Pons, PhD, is a clinical psychologist who has worked with diverse populations in Chile, Peru, and Spain, integrating Western psychological approaches with traditional medicine and contemplative practices. As a certified yoga teacher and mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) instructor, he has included these practices in his clinical work and workshops for health care professionals and educators over the last decade.

Gonzalo is a certified instructor of the Compassion Cultivation Training™ Program and serves as a supervisor for Spanish-speaking teachers in training at the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University.

Currently living in Granada, Spain, Gonzalo combines his therapeutic work with ongoing compassion-based and mindfulness-based programs, collaborating regularly with several educational and health organizations.

Yayoi Wakabayashi, Website and Systems

Yayoi holds M.A. in Media and Governance, and B.A. in Environmental Information from Keio University, Japan.

She studied computer graphics/interactive art in Keio. After working in an exhibition production firm BOCTOK in the mid-90s, she became an exhibition coordinator at the curatorial department of NTT Inter Communication Center in Tokyo. During this time she worked with artists from different parts of the world and traveled extensively attending various art festivals/conferences.

Yayoi moved her base to Colorado in 1999, and has been working in various fields including software development, website design, and managing an artist-in-residence program.

Yayoi continues to work in an area where technology meets creativity, and art that explores mental/physical boundaries. She is a regular face at the annual Burning Man event in Nevada where she brings large scale Mammoth skeleton quad cycle that is propelled by the ad hoc participants. She very excited to take part in the mission of Compassion Institute and to learning more about CCT™ and its positive benefits, not only for individuals, but for the world as a whole.

Board of Directors

Dr. Jinpa Thupten

Chairman

Thupten Jinpa, Ph.D. was trained as a monk at the Shartse College of Ganden Monastic University, South India, where he received the Geshe Lharam degree. Jinpa also holds a B.A. in philosophy and a Ph.D. in religious studies, both from Cambridge University.

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Jinpa has been the principal English translator to H.H. the Dalai Lama since 1985, and has translated and collaborated on numerous books by the Dalai Lama including the New York Times Bestsellers Ethics for the New Millennium and The Art of Happiness, as well as Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World. His own publications include A Fearless Heart: How the Courage to be Compassionate Can Transform Our Lives and translations of major Tibetan works featured in The Library of Tibetan Classics series. Jinpa is the main author of Compassion Cultivation Training™ (CCT™) developed for Stanford University in 2009.

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A frequent speaker at various international conferences on mindfulness, compassion, and contemplative practice, Jinpa serves as an adjunct professor at the Faculty of Religious Studies at McGill University, Montreal and is the founder and president of the Institute of Tibetan Classics. He has been a core member of the Mind and Life Institute and its Chairman of the Board since January 2012.

Katharine C. (K.C.) Branscomb

Executive Director, CFO

K.C. Branscomb is a retired software industry CEO and serial entrepreneur who has served as a senior operating executive and/or board director of several high growth companies both public and private. In 1989, Branscomb was recognized by the Wall Street Journal’s Centennial Edition as one of the 28 highest potential young executives in America. Education includes Stanford University (MBA 1980), Polytechnic Institute of New York (BS/MS Applied Mathematics 1976), and BA Sarah Lawrence College (‘76).

 

She is Vice President of the Branscomb Family Foundation, which secured the exclusive license to CCT from Stanford on behalf of Thupten Jinpa and the Compassion Institute in 2016.

Beth Cross

Director

Beth Cross, co-founder and CEO of Ariat International, was born and raised on a working thoroughbred farm just outside of Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. Beth received her BA from the University of Colorado in 1986, and her MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1988.
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In 1990, Beth and co-founder Pam Parker, a classmate from Stanford GSB, met while working at Bain & Company in San Francisco. While focusing on strategic marketing and product development for Reebok, they saw an opportunity to apply the principles of athletic shoe technology and sports marketing to the equestrian footwear market.
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In 1992 Ariat International was founded, and the first Ariat riding boots shipped in 1993. Today, Ariat is the largest equestrian footwear and apparel brand in the world with over 6,500 retail locations and a team of 500 employees located in offices in Northern California, the UK, China, Mexico and Japan. Ariat continues to lead the market in designing, developing and manufacturing the most innovative footwear, apparel and denim for the world’s top equestrian athletes.
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Beth was recently honored as Entrepreneur of the Year® 2018 in the Consumer Driven category by Ernst & Young. She is a member of the Stanford Graduate School of Business Advisory Council, and is a past member of the Stanford GSB Management Board. Beth currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Two Ten Footwear Foundation as well as the Compassion Institute. She is also an active member of the Barbary Coast/Exiles Chapter of Young Presidents Organization (YPO). Beth currently resides in San Mateo, CA with her husband, and they have three grown children.

Kirk Hanson

Director

Kirk O. Hanson is the John Courtney Murray S.J. University Professor of Social Ethics at Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California. He is also the Executive Director of the University’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, one of the world’s largest centers on practical ethics.
 

Hanson has taught business ethics at the Stanford Graduate School of Business for 23 years from 1978 to 2001, and at the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara from 2001 to the present. His specialties are organizational ethics and corporate governance, as implemented in business, nonprofit, and government organizations. He has served on the boards of the Skoll Foundation, the Social Venture Network, and the Center for International Business Ethics, and has consulted with more than 100 corporations and organizations on organizational ethics.
 

In 2007, Hanson received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Aspen Institute’s Center for Business Education for contributions to business and society. He is a graduate of Stanford and the Stanford Graduate School of Business and held research appointments at the Harvard Business School and the Yale Divinity School.

Donors & Partners

Our work would not be possible without the generous support of our donors. Please join the force in supporting Compassion Institute, a 501c3 nonprofit organization. Any amount of contribution supports us.