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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 Thupten Jinpa, Ph.D, 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.

Thupten Jinpa, Ph.D

Thupten Jinpa, Ph.D

President

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 principal author of Compassion Cultivation Training™ (CCT©) developed while at Stanford University in 2009. In 2021, his online self-paced course, Building Compassion from the Inside Out, was launched to the general public.

 

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

Stephen Butler, Executive Director

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

Prior to joining Compassion Institute, Stephen served as content director and producer for ‘A Skeptic’s Path to Enlightenment’, a top-rated nonprofit meditation podcast and blog that adapts the ancient inner science of Tibetan Buddhist analytical meditation and mind training techniques to a secular audience. While serving at the podcast, Stephen brought together guests ranging from Buddhist lineage masters to scientists to help share the fundamental heart of these transformative techniques. Stephen also served as Program Manager and Producer at San Francisco’s Tse Chen Ling Center for Tibetan Buddhist Studies. There he envisioned, produced and managed physical and virtual programs featuring international Buddhist teachers and scholars.

For 20+ years Stephen served as an Executive Producer and Director of Production for Native American/Indigenous music label Canyon Records. Stephen produced and managed talent across 200+ productions while upholding a culture-preserving mission and successfully navigating a nuanced genre of music to a global audience resulting in greater market impact and increased visibility of Indigenous music and culture. His productions earned 21 Grammy nominations.

Stephen holds a BA.Sc in East Asian Studies from the University of Arizona.

As Compassion Institute has identified, the local and global pressures of fast-paced living can often lead to feelings of burnout, loneliness and conflict. Stephen is dedicated to connecting compassion training with the world to create greater individual and societal happiness and peace.

Jane M. Chun, Ph.D, Program Director / Content Specialist

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, Digital Program Manager

Lisel joined Compassion Institute at its inception in 2017 after graduating from Scripps College with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Lisel has provided support and coordination for many of CI’s programs, and now serves as Digital Program Manager, overseeing CI’s online systems for remote learning. Lisel’s work at CI is driven by her commitment to increasing access to tools that can support individual, interpersonal, and community well-being.

Julie Learmond-Criqui, Program Director

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.

Tori Sarris, Program Coordinator

Tori Sarris (she/her/hers) graduated from University of Puget Sound in 2015 with a degree in Exercise Science and a minor in Art History. She is a certified yoga teacher and enjoys incorporating mindfulness & meditation into her practices. She began her career as an AmeriCorps member, working to improve financial insecurity in the Seattle area. She has spent her career working in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, launching innovative pilot programs that support the growth of her community and working to reduce racial disparities. Tori continues to work toward being anti-racist, pursuing non-optical alllyship, and educating herself on issues of cultural appropriation & systemic racism in her community. She is excited to continue exploring ideas of mindfulness, compassion, and anti-racism as part of the Compassion Institute team. In her free time, Tori can be found outside- hiking, camping, and backpacking with her dog in Central Oregon.

Volunteers & Contractors

Maria Paula Jimenez, CCT Teacher Training, US and International

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, CCT 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

Thupten Jinpa, Ph.D

Chairman, Co-founder

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 principal author of Compassion Cultivation Training™ (CCT©) developed while at Stanford University in 2009. In 2021, Jinpa’s online self-paced course, Building Compassion from the Inside Out, was launched to the general public.
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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

Director, Co-founder

K.C. is a board member at Compassion Institute. From 2017 to May 2020, K.C. served as volunteer full-time Executive Director, and led the development of CI’s program portfolio, and management of staff in the important start-up phase of the organization.
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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).
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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 stepped down recently as Executive Director of Santa Clara University’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, one of the leading global centers for the study of applied ethics, where he held the John Courtney Murray, S.J. University Professorship in Social Ethics for 17 years. Previously Kirk taught business ethics at the Stanford Business School for 23 years and is recognized as one of the founders of the academic field of business ethics. He has been an emeritus faculty member at Stanford since 2001.
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Hanson writes and has published widely on managing the ethical and public behavior of corporations and their leaders. His current research interests include the design of corporate ethics programs and the responsibilities of boards for the ethical culture of organizations. Hanson has consulted with more than 125 corporations, nonprofit organizations, health care entities, and government bodies on the design of ethics programs and the resolution of ethical dilemmas.
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Hanson was the founding president of The Business Enterprise Trust, a national organization created by leaders in business, labor, media, and academia to honor exemplary behavior in business. He was the Honorary Chair of the first business ethics center in China and the first Chair of the Santa Clara County Political Ethics Commission in Silicon Valley. He currently serves on several foundation and non-profit boards, has been honored by the Aspen Institute’s Center for Business Education and the American Leadership Foundation Silicon Valley, and has received honorary doctorates from Santa Clara University and the University of Portland for his work on business responsibility.

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.