The David Lynch Foundation Staff
New York City
Bob Roth is one of the most experienced meditation teachers in America. Over the past 40 years, Bob has taught Transcendental Meditation to many thousands of people and authored an authoritative book on the subject, fittingly entitled Transcendental Meditation, which has been translated into 20 languages.
Bob currently serves as the Executive Director of the David Lynch Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charity which has brought meditation to over 500,000 inner-city youth in underserved schools in 35 countries, to veterans and their families who suffer from post-traumatic stress, and women and children who are survivors of domestic violence. Bob also directs the Center for Leadership Performance, another nonprofit, which brings TM to companies, organizations, and government.
His students include Jerry Seinfeld, Martin Scorsese, David Letterman and Doctor Mehmet Oz. In his lectures, videos and media appearances, Bob makes the often complicated, head-scratching topic of meditation simple, clear and accessible.
Jamie Grant, Ph.D.
Director of Programs
Dr. Jamie Grant is National Director of Programs for the David Lynch Foundation. He comes to DLF after 7 years with the Center for Wellness and Achievement in Education, a not-for-profit he co-founded in San Francisco to bring meditation to at-risk student populations.
Jamie holds a BA and Doctorate in Education from Harvard University. He taught as a Fulbright lecturer in China for 18 months in the 1980’s and was professor of Education and Dean at Maharishi University of Management for 16 years. He has been a teacher of the Transcendental Meditation technique since 1974.
Aprajita (Raji) Kalra
Chief Financial Officer
Raji is not your typical CFO. Aside from being responsible for finance, accounting, human resources, and IT functions (phew!), Raji maintains office morale through a constant supply of candy. She joined the Foundation in July 2012 with over 8 years of experience in the not-for-profit sector, mainly in education and charter schools such as KIPP. Raji was most recently CFO at the Museum For African Art based in NYC. She holds a BA from Columbia University, an MA from Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies and an MBA from Columbia University Business School. In her limited spare time, Raji coaches Columbia MBA students who are interested in pursuing careers in the social sector.
Co-Director of Center for Leadership Performance
Linda is Co-Director of the David Lynch Foundation's Center for Leadership Performance. She has been teaching the Transcendental Meditation technique since 1972 and has helped direct TM centers in Chicago, Denver, and Washington D.C. Linda's work with the David Lynch Foundation has included co-directing a $1.2 million research study measuring the effects of TM on collegiate performance at Georgetown, American, and George Washington Universities. Linda holds graduate degrees in Education from the University of Iowa and Counseling Psychology from Naropa University.
Co-Director of Center for Leadership Performance
Mario Orsatti has been teaching the Transcendental Meditation technique since 1973. In addition to teaching TM to business professionals here in NYC, he has helped direct TM centers in Washington, DC, Boston, Berkeley, Denver, and Hong Kong. Mario’s work with the David Lynch Foundation has included helping direct projects that bring TM to individuals recovering from homelessness, PTSD, and to teenagers dealing with learning disorders.
Fredda L. Plesser
Executive Vice President
Fredda is the Executive Vice President for the David Lynch Foundation. After 15 years as a practicing attorney, Fredda entered the non-profit arena to focus on bringing services and relief to underserved communities. From 2003 until 2011, Fredda was Senior Vice President, Chair and Executive Director of the Michael Tyler Fisher Center for Education of the Intrepid Museum in Manhattan. For 3 years prior to joining the Intrepid, Ms. Plesser served as the Chancellor’s Chief Executive for the Office of Corporate Partnerships at the New York City Department of Education. As an attorney, Ms. Plesser was Associate General Counsel for the Securities Industry Association and Litigation Partner for Tenzer Greenblatt LLP, currently known as Blank Rome LLP. Ms. Plesser holds a BS from Cornell University and a JD from Fordham University School of Law.
National Director of Development
Karen has over 19 years of experience working in every aspect of fundraising including major gifts, planned giving, corporation and foundation partnerships. Before joining DLF, Karen served as Assistant VP and as Interim VP of Development and Institutional Advancement at The City College of New York (CCNY). Prior to CCNY, she served as VP of Development for the Borough of Manhattan Community College Foundation, building the institution’s development operation. Karen served for 6 years as Director of Development for Brooklyn Public Library, building a comprehensive development operation to include a major gifts and membership program, foundation relations, and corporate sponsorships. She has served as the first Director of Development for the Brooklyn-Queens Conservatory of Music, where she planned and lead the Conservatory's first capital campaign.
Karen holds a BA from the University of California at Santa Cruz and an MFA from New York University.
Chief of Staff
From being a super hero with a zoo in his backyard to wanting to be an environmental lawyer, Sam has always been inclined to make a difference in the world. Sam became involved with DLF during his freshman year of college and has not left the Foundation since. Sam never thought he would end up at a not-for-profit establishment since he studied Business Management in college, but the great work DLF achieves steered his life in a direction of working for not "the man", but rather, “the most amazing group of super heroes" he could ask for.
The DLF Team
Director of Marketing and Communications
Austin is passionate about meditation and communication. Serving as the voice of reason, or whimsy, with great insight and due diligence, Austin leads responsibilities encompassed by writing, design, photography, marketing, and without fail, the first note of every DLF staff's Happy Birthday song. Austin holds an MBA, as well as a BA in Eastern Sciences and is a certified teacher of the Transcendental Meditation technique.
Owen is your typical Jock/Musician/Nerd/Meditation Teacher combo. Owen graduated with a BA in Media and Communications from Maharishi University of Management and opened a music studio in his hometown. One year later, bored of being a slave to other musician's creativity, Owen moved to Europe for 6 months to become a TM teacher: a technique he has loved since the age of 10. Owen then taught TM in San Diego for a year, but even the best San Diego burrito proved futile in keeping Owen from moving to NYC where he now teaches TM at the Brooklyn Urban Garden School.
Director of Women’s Initiative
Britten Chroman is the Director of the David Lynch Foundation Women's Initiative and also an international trustee of the Transcendental Meditation Program for Women and Girls. Prior to founding the Women’s Initiative at DLF, Britten worked in a leadership role in the International Transcendental Meditation Organization — specializing in developing and administering programs for women and girls around the world. Based on her longtime research and experience practicing TM, Britten realized that TM could be an effective tool to help women and children around the world, suffering from violence and abuse, heal from the debilitating effects trauma and rebuild their lives.
Director of Individual Giving and Stewardship
Marie has worked in the not-for-profit field since 1996 with experience in development, grant making, research and evaluation. Born and raised in NY, Marie holds a BA in Social Sciences. She is an avid baseball fan, enjoys cooking and especially enjoys spending time with her nieces and nephews. Marie is proud to be part of the DLF team directing individual giving and stewardship.
Far from the usual, Becky is an absurdly non boring accountant. Enthused by all things numbers, organized, and green, Becky enjoys baking, running, and the occasional Friends episode (a.k.a marathon). In addition to her work at DLF, she continues to maintain the books for a small non-profit, StartingBloc. Becky holds a degree in Accounting and Finance from University of Maryland, and has two pets at home, if you include her husband.
Programs and HR Assistant
Ann is coordinator for Operation Warrior Wellness, assisting vets with PTSD around the country to learn TM at their local centers. She also works on Program Department office projects and benefits management for the DLF staff. Ann's varied past include stints as: regional disaster administrator and national trainer for the Red Cross, small magazine assistant editor, library clerk, bookkeeper, realtor, and publisher of a farmer's almanac.
Ann's passions include foreign travel, vegetarian cooking, hiking, camping, logic puzzles, and spending time with her family.
Ambassador and Advisor
Heather has been a TM teacher since 2005 and a TM practitioner since she was 10 years old. She began volunteering for DLF's first pilot programs in early 2005 while working at a venture capital fund in the Bay Area. Heather quickly became enchanted with the Foundation's mission and transitioned to a full-time position helping grow its message, programs, and donor-base for over 6 years. From teaching in schools and creating partnerships, to organizing events and raising funds, Heather's primary desire was to help underserved populations by offering the healing benefits of TM.
Heather continues to serve as an ambassador to DLF bringing program awareness and meditation to the next generation of thought leaders and professionals. She advises the Foundation in fundraising and creating alternative revenue streams for operations. Heather is currently leading a start-up investing in sustainable businesses that generate measurable, social impact. She has a strong belief that scalable, positive change in the world can be more efficiently created by investing in social enterprise.
Rachel is a lead instructor for David Lynch Foundation's Women's Initiative. Additionally she has developed special projects for outreach and awareness including the launch of Meditation Creativity Peace screenings and a filmed interview series with students from the Family Justice Center. Before serving as a teacher for DLF, she was director of special events, following five years of event management and non-profit work in New York City. She holds a BA in Film and Media Studies and due to her range of interests and love of people she couldn’t imagine a more perfect outlet to engage with diverse populations and programs. She continues to enjoy creative opportunities in and outside of “work.”
Program Manager of Center for Leadership Performance
Genevieve Kimberlin manages DLF's Center for Leadership Performance (CLP), bringing TM to the corporate world while helping to fund DLF's programs for at-risk adults and children. She brings 17 years of meditation experience, having taught over 200 people to meditate. Prior to being with DLF, she was a manager for the yoga apparel company, Lululemon Athletica and taught Vinyasa and Yin Yoga in Greenwich, CT. Kimberlin's passion for the yogic lifestyle led her to a 5-month intensive meditation course in Thailand to ultimately become a TM teacher. Kimberlin studied Ayurveda, Sanskrit, and Consciousness at Maharishi University of Management and holds a dual degree in Communications and Human Development from Boston College. On the side, Kimberlin has a passion for singing and a love of nature.
Operations and Database Manager
After wandering the world, from Holland to Switzerland, Zimbabwe and Belgium, Elisabeth landed in America. Elisabeth's skills and expertise were the tour guides in her professional life's journey. From being a classical archaeologist specializing in the study of coins (a.k.a numismatics), to being a public international lawyer, to working as a Lotus Notes developer and project manager, to reorganizing the grant-making database for Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation, Elisabeth landed at the Foundation. With the DLF database at its heart, Elisabeth is inspired to restructure all operations related to development, programs and TM instruction.
Associate Director of Women's Initiatives
Tish Lara is Associate Director of Women's Initiatives. Tish develops curriculum, coordinates courses, tracks student progress, and ensures successful survey administration and data collection. Tish has over 10 years of experience working with children and families with medical conditions such as neurodevelopmental disabilities, along with adolescents in the juvenile justice system. She has used creative arts therapy and applied theatre with Israelis and Palestinians abroad. Tish holds a BA in Social Welfare with a Minor in Art History from the University of California, Berkeley and a Master's in Social Work from the University of Southern California. Tish received her clinical training at the University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) at Children's Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA).
Brian graduated from Duke University and from Maharishi University of Management with a degree in Philosophy in 2012, and completed his TM teacher training in 2013 in Antrim, New Hampshire. Brian joined the David Lynch Foundation team in Los Angeles and absolutely loves teaching Transcendental Meditation. Brian eagerly looks forward to sharing TM with younger generations to come.
Executive Producer of DLF Live
In 2006, Erik learned about the magic of quinoa from the "special features" segment on David Lynch's Inland Empire DVD. He currently obsesses over music, film, art, and food. After years serving as Director of Programming for The Shedd in Oregon and as National Booking Director for Opus 3 Artists, Erik is thrilled to be Executive Producer of DLF Live, the charitable events production division of the David Lynch Foundation.
Laura is a TM instructor and facilitator of the Quiet Time program at the Brooklyn Urban Garden school. She holds a degree in Urban Design and has primarily worked in the area of community based development. It has been a joy to translate her love for working with communities into teaching TM in an academic setting. When it's summer vacation, she hopes to hike the Appalachian Trail.. or at least some of it.
Shane was introduced to DLF by his former employer, Russell Brand – actor, comedian, and loyal friend of the foundation. Shane worked with Russell and team for three years wearing a number of hats – from personal assistant, to tour manager, to script development and creative executive. Shane is incredibly passionate about meditation and the David Lynch Foundation’s mission of spreading TM across the world!
Director of Student Initiatives
After a decade of classroom teaching around the world, Joanna is thrilled to call NYC and the David Lynch Foundation home. From teaching in the the jungles of India to a homeless shelter in Berkeley, from a series of excursions in the continent of Africa, to a midwest elementary school, Joanna's meditation practice has always travelled with her. As Director of Student Initiatives, Joanna is busy launching Quiet Time programs in NYC schools and teaching Transcendental Meditation courses at the DLF office– but always finds time to cheer on her Detroit Tigers.
Associate Director of Programs
Cooper joined the David Lynch Foundation team in Fall 2011, shortly after completing a hybrid Business and Sustainability MBA program. In addition to being a huge fan of all things David Lynch (particularly the Twin Peaks series!), Cooper is thrilled to be working for an organization whose sole purpose is to bring relief to those suffering from traumatic stress. Cooper works on just about everything. From programs, human resources, office administration, development, board relations, IT, to DLFLive, if there was an award for diversity of responsibility, Cooper would surely be a nominee.
Ana Shaska was born and raised in Albania and moved to Detroit with her family when she was 12 years old. She realized her love for work in the not-for-profit sector when she worked as a translator for Kosovo refugees at 15 years of age. Ana graduated from Wayne State University with a BA in Marketing Management. Her passions include traveling, camping, yoga, reading fiction books, and most of all, spending time with her family. Ana is very excited for her role at the David Lynch Foundation organizing and helping with DLF events and production.
Fundraising and Development Assistant
Growing up in New York City, Katie nurtured her love of the arts while attending Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of the Visual and Performing Arts. Katie holds a BA in Sociology with a Concentration in Human Services, and Minor in Disaster Studies from SUNY New Paltz. After interning at the Campus Crisis Center, Katie worked for human service agencies such as Domestic Violence Services, Woodland Pond Nursing Home and Children's Media Projects. Gaining insight into the daily struggles of varying populations has honed Katie's passion to help relieve suffering. Katie is eternally grateful to be part of DLF's inspiring development team, working to make programs easily accessible and ensure that every Foundation supporter is duly appreciated.
Hoai-Huong (Bibi) Tran
Marketing, Design and Writing Assistant
Born-and-raised in NYC, Bibi is of Vietnamese descent and can speak four languages thanks to her travel abroad and High School education at the United Nations International School. Bibi holds a BA in Visual Arts with a Graduation with Distinction in Painting, and Markets and Management Certificate from Duke University. Bibi's passion is in music, art, human rights, equality, universal exploration, health, language, design, film, freedom of expression and children's education. Bibi is proud to be at the David Lynch Foundation in Marketing and Communications, helping to shepherd design and writing and propel the Foundation's mission of bringing peace and healing to the World.
Justan (JT) Turner
Office and Programs Assistant
Originally from California, and a San Franciscan at heart, Justan "JT" Turner is proud to be the smile at the front desk of the David Lynch Foundation's New York office. Before joining the administrative team at DLF, he worked in the horticulture, fashion, and hospitality industries. JT has a passion for botany and plant sciences, as well as ethnoecology.
Executive Producer of DLF Live
Jessica Wisk is the Executive Producer for the Foundation's live events and music division, DLF Live. She focuses on funding the Foundation's programs through events featuring the world's leading musicians, including Ringo Starr, Jack White, Dixie Chicks and Brendan Benson.
Jessica has more than a decade of experience in the music and event production industry working with non-profits and start-ups. She also produces Communion Presents’ New York club night, a London-based promotion and record label founded by Ben Lovett of Mumford and Sons. Her events have been featured in Billboard Magazine, Rolling Stone, New York Times and more.
Prior to joining the Foundation, Jessica partnered with Donna Karan's Urban Zen, where she completed yoga teacher training to bring yoga, nutrition and meditation to at-risk populations. Through Urban Zen, she connected with DLF to merge her passion for music, mediation and event production to create a difference for the greater good.
Director of DLF Los Angeles
Lynn Kaplan is Director of DLF LA and a lead teacher at New Village Charter High School and at Academia Semillas del Pueblo Xinaxcalmecac (Semillas for short), a public charter school of the Los Angeles Unified School District. She has taught TM for 39 years. Lynn has worked for the Mayor’s Council on Youth in St. Louis and was Director of Weaver High School’s TM Quiet Time program in Hartford, CT from 2006-2010, which produced recently published research on the positive impact TM has had on improving graduation rates. Lynn was also a classroom teacher for 10 years at MSAE in Fairfield, Iowa, and is a mother of three.
Assistant Director of Programs
Jesse has worked as an educator, musician, artist, and community organizer. Most recently he served as Regional Co-Chair of 'Schools That Can' while teaching and tutoring at Link Community School and St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark, New Jersey. As a musician, Jesse has performed in a wide array of venues and countries ranging from do-it-yourself staples like the 'Cats Purring Dude Ranch' in Oxford, Mississippi, to more family-friendly settings like the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, and Festival Internacional de Benicàssim in Spain. Jesse is also a lifelong devotee of the New York Yankees and The X-Files television series.
Program & Teaching Staff
Alisha Zalkin is an award winning singer/songwriter who has penned songs for TV. You can find her performing all around town. Alisha is very grateful to be a part of the DLF LA team. Alisha has been involved with many non-profits starting with Children of The Night ( a safe house for child prostitutes) while she was a college student at U.C.L.A.. Following college she became involved with the Playing For Change Foundation and has performed at numerous conferences dedicated to responding to the needs of children who have been abused in some way. She has been meditating for over two years. Meditation has completely changed her life. She is extremely passionate about the work of the DLF, and truly enjoys working with students.
Peter graduated from The Albany Academy military academy and served in the US Navy in Vietnam on the USS Intrepid as a Photographic Intelligence Petty Officer. After earning a BFA degree in filmmaking from the San Francisco Art Institute, Peter worked for 30+ years in the television industry, editing and producing for all the major television networks and a variety of production companies such as Martha Stewart Living Television and The Discovery Channel.
In 1974, Peter completed his Transcendental Meditation teacher training in Vittel, France and has taught in TM Centers and for many DLF projects since. Currently, Peter is proud to bring healing and meditation to veterans and first-responders as a TM teacher at DLF.
In May of 2009, Puki received a life-changing phone call. On the other end of the line was David Lynch declaring, "Puki, you're going to become a Transcendental Meditation teacher and move to Los Angeles." Within 9 months Puki had graduated from Maharishi University with a degree in Communications and Media, completed her TM Teacher Training Course and moved to Los Angeles to start the first David Lynch Foundation “Quiet Time” program. She has spent the past 5 years teaching TM at several schools, organizations, and a rescue shelter for child victims of prostitution.
Johnnie began TM when she was 5 years old. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Johnnie worked as a songwriter licensing original music to major networks, earning record deals in Japan, Italy and Switzerland. Johnnie also spent 9 years working for the Los Angeles Unified School District teaching English as a second language. Combining her love of TM with her experience in education and entertainment, Johnnie now works for the David Lynch Foundation teaching TM in the School Quiet Time Programs and assisting with the Foundation’s events. It is a joy for Johnnie to teach TM to children who are most in need.
Regional Director of Development and Expansion
Chris is a founding member of the David Lynch Foundation, present from its creation in July 2005. A 40-year practitioner and teacher of the Transcendental Meditation program, Chris currently serves on the national management team as interim director of national and international programs. Alongside wife Julia, Chris works to expand outreach and development opportunities for the Foundation in Southern California.
Regional Director of Development and Expansion
Julia graduated from Regis College with a degree in Biology and her passion is to help people in the field of health and wellness. She learned the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique in college, soon realized that TM is one of the most powerful tools to help pursue her passion and decided to become a TM teacher. Julia has been teaching TM for almost 40 years and through her work with the Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy, she connected with business, government and policy makers to bring the prevention-based solutions of the TM Program to society. Julia is one of the founders of the David Lynch Foundation and is now focusing on Development and Expansion in Chicago and California.
Director of Media Production and Development
Since an early age, Adam was fascinated with the visual arts. Adam held summer jobs working for NBC News, ABC News, and Guggenheim Productions in Washington, DC, and holds a degree in Radio, TV, and Film from Northwestern University. Adam's deep interest in Transcendental Meditation led to nearly 30 years of advanced study and globe-trotting adventures teaching meditation. As a founding member of the David Lynch Foundation, Adam joined his love of visual media with his passion for "diving within." Adam's greatest joy is in meeting and interviewing people whose lives are being transformed through the work of the Foundation, and sharing these incredibly inspiring stories with the world.
Sam is passionate about documenting stories of transformation incited through the David Lynch Foundation's TM programs. Over the past 7 years, Sam has enjoyed traveling the world, from Europe, to Asia, South America, and all over North America, to meet an expansive variety of people with profound stories of change. Together with the DLF.TV team, Sam's aim is to provide videos that will inspire and raise funds necessary for DLF to provide TM for any person in the world in need. Sam is also an artist and creates masks and puppets for film and theatre.
Senior Editor and Technical Director
Ed built his first non-linear editing computer before he learned to walk. That's an exaggeration, but he does bring over 15 years of experience in video to DLF.TV. Ed ran his own production business while attending a high school that integrated the Transcendental Meditation technique into its curriculum. Ed has now been on the DLF team for almost 6 years, enjoying directing live multi-camera shoots for DLF concerts and events. Ed is proud to be producing videos that reveal real-life stories and inspire change in the communities reached by the Foundation.
Senior Editor and Story Producer
Louisa is a passionate storyteller. She studied Documentary Filmmaking at the New York Film Academy (NYFA) in New York City and graduated with Honors. At NYFA, her thesis film, 'Lifeline', attracted an independent producer, $10,000 in Kickstarter contributions, and subjects that ranged from an Oscar-winning writer and director team, to Harry Potter star, Daniel Radcliffe. Soon after graduating, she won a € 6,000 grant to represent the U.S. by making a film about sustainability in NYC, while being mentored by Oscar-winning director, Davis Guggenheim. Louisa taught film editing for the Metropolitan Museum of Art's "Art and Film" course in NYC. Her films 'Lifeline' and 'Families Like Mine' have been selected in film festivals worldwide.
Isaac (Ike) Winkler
Editor and Cameraman
In high school, two events would shape Ike's future in dramatic ways. The first was film photography: after 1 day of learning about cameras, exposure and darkroom techniques, Ike was hooked and has been fiddling with cameras ever since. The second was David Lynch: 8 months into drama class, the legendary film director made an unexpected visit to his high school. The class's group drama performance so inspired Mr. Lynch, (so the rumor goes), that he decided to offer TM to children across the country. Who knew that years later, Ike would be applying his twin passions in service of David Lynch Foundation Television.
Editor, Composer, DLF.TV Webmaster
Philip Rabalais is a devoted David Lynch fan who snuck his way on the DLF.TV team by first composing music for their videos, then slowly inserting himself into as many jobs (such as editing, doing sound on video shoots, managing the DLF.TV website), as he could. Philip is proud and happy to work for the David Lynch Foundation.
Assistant Editor, Production Manager, Office Manager
Since volunteering for the very first David Lynch weekend in 2007, Anila knew that she was destined to work for the Foundation. Anila holds a BS in Sustainable Living and a BA in Physiology and Health: Pre-Integrative Medicine from Maharishi University. However, as much as she loves the field of science and biology, Anila is thoroughly enjoying flexing the right side of her brain in helping the DLF.TV team create inspiring videos to bring Transcendental Meditation to at-risk populations.
Intern Editor and Videographer
Before starting as intern for DLF.TV, Sam worked as a 3D artist in the San Francisco bay area. Sam grew up practicing Transcendental Meditation with his nuclear family, including his two triplet brothers. Wanting to reconnect with his meditation, Sam moved to Fairfield, Iowa, over 1 year ago. Since arriving, Sam has developed skills in editing and videography to help promote DLF's work and the TM technique. Passionate about the changes he has experienced through honing TM, it is now Sam's great desire to spread awareness about TM's benefits to other populations as well.