We would love to hear from you.

Executive Director: Lodro Rinzler


Marketing and Operations: Sarah Gokhale


New York, NY

Want to make a difference in today’s world? Not entirely sure how to go about doing that?
The Institute for Compassionate Leadership takes leaders like you on a journey where you discover your purpose for creating meaningful change in today’s world. Based primarily online, our part-time program allows you to cultivate the skills of compassionate leadership alongside your full-time job and/or busy school schedule. Through working with executive coaches, being matched with mentors, and our six-month training program we offer you the tools you need to become a compassionate, self-aware leader. Then we network like heck to get you meaningful work in the social change field you desire. Click on our video below for more information or visit WHAT WE DO.



Lodro Rinzler – Founder/Executive Director

Lodro brings to the institute over a dozen years of authentic leadership training and coaching experience. He is a best-selling author of The Buddha Walks into a Bar: A Guide to Life for a New Generation and a teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist lineage whose writing has appeared most recently in Bloomberg BusinessWeek and Entrepreneur Magazine. He lectures at universities throughout the United States.

Upon graduating from Wesleyan University Lodro was appointed the Executive Director of the Shambhala Center of Boston, an organization that teaches meditation in order to create social change through inner change. He went on to serve as the international organization’s Development Director, replicating the success he had in Boston in over one hundred Shambhala Centers around the world. He stepped back from that work to focus on his writing and served as a key figure in the state of Ohio for the Obama campaign after Alex’s passing. He sits on the Board of the Reciprocity Foundation and is based in Brooklyn, New York.

Sarah Gokhale – Marketing and Operations Intern

Sarah Gokhale is from Orange County, California. She graduated from Wesleyan University in May of 2013 with degrees in Philosophy and Film Studies, and a minor in Creative Writing.  On campus, she was manager of the Wesleyan student fundraising society, Red and Black. She became inspired to apply to work with Lodro after hearing about his plans for the institute. She understands that this world is not short of young people seeking to create change, and the Institute for Compassionate Leadership is the perfect venue for them to begin their journey towards creating social change.

We are currently looking for a Programing Director. For more information, please contact us.


Our Board of Directors is made up of compassionate leaders from a wide cross-section of the world.

Suz Burroughs

Suz is the Director of the Harvey Najim Center for Business Innovation and Social Responsibility at St Mary's University in San Antonio, and also teaches as a Visiting Professor of Innovation at the Bill Greehey School of Business.  She recently helped to launch the design Garage at Google where she taught innovation, trained facilitators, led personal development activities, and designed learning programs. Suz has a boutique marketing, branding  design and learning business that she's run since 1997.


David Lapedis

David is a spiritual leader of the emergent adult generation. He is a national leader in the Centers for Spiritual Living and is a founding member of their Young Adult leadership team. He lives at the application of spirituality and leadership.

David most recently served as Director of Operations at Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute. Prior to this, he worked at Google which awakened his passion for spiritual and organizational development. Honoring this calling, he worked to develop social entrepreneurs at the Future Leaders Institute and then built his own coaching practice. He received his degree in Organizational Studies from the University of Michigan.

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche is the head of Shambhala, a global network of meditation and retreat centers grounded in the inherent goodness of humanity. The Sakyong, literally translated as “earth protector,” is a dharma king and lineage holder of the Shambhala lineage, guiding thousands of students around the world in the path of meditation.  With a unique blend of Eastern and Western perspectives, he teaches meditation and social transformation while also guiding a number of humanitarian projects.

Born in Bodhgaya, India, in 1962, the Sakyong is the eldest son of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche.  As a young man, the Sakyong studied with the great Tibetan masters: His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and His Holiness Penor Rinpoche. He is married to Khandro Tseyang Palmo and has two children.

In 2006 the Sakyong initiated the Compassionate Leadership conference and dialogues by presenting His Holiness Dalai Lama with the Living Peace Award; awarded to living examples of people who benefit humanity. He has written many books including the national bestseller Turning the Mind into an Ally, award winning Ruling Your World, and Running with the Mind of Meditation. He is also an avid poet, artist, and athlete. The Sakyong’s new book, The Shambhala Principle, was released on May 7th, 2013. For more information, please visit www.sakyong.com

Sharon Salzberg

Sharon Salzberg has been a student of Buddhism since 1971 and leading mindfulness meditation retreats worldwide since 1974. In 1976 she co-founded the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, Massachusetts, which is now one of the most renowned and active meditation centers in the Western world. Her latest book is the New York Times best-seller Real Happiness. She is also the author of a half dozen other books including Lovingkindess: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness.

In addition, Sharon has emerged as a featured speaker, panelist and meditation teacher at cutting edge events, such as the Mind and Life Institute’s conferences with His Holiness the Dalai Lama; the State of the World Forum; the Peacemakers Conference and Jerry Brown's inauguration as mayor of Oakland. She has delivered keynotes at Tricycle’s Buddhism in America event, Yoga Journal, Kripalu and Omega conferences, the Gethsemani encounter, and at Washington National Cathedral’s Sacred Circles women’s interfaith conference in DC.

Aaron Slavutin

Aaron Slavutin graduated with honors from Wesleyan University in 2005 where he majored in the College of Social Studies.  Following graduation, he moved to China where he was a Foreign Expert at Tianjin Normal University and was awarded the Presidential Teaching Prize.  He returned to the U.S. in 2007 to attend New York University School of Law. While at NYU, he was a summer intern at the Tianjin Arbitration Commission, worked as a summer associate at Paul Hastings LLP in New York, and was a Notes Editor for the NYU Journal of International Law and Politics.  

After receiving his JD in 2010, Aaron served as the Robert L. Bernstein Fellow of International Human Rights at Human Rights In China -- an NGO located in New York City. Since completing his fellowship at HRIC in August 2011, he has been clerking for the Hon. Burton R. Lifland of the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.  Aaron is a native New Yorker and member of the New York State Bar.  

Buffy Wicks

Buffy Wicks served as the National Director of Operation Vote for the Obama for America campaign – a key leadership role in the Executive Management Team of President Obama’s reelection campaign. As head of Operation Vote, Buffy spearheaded the campaign’s strategy to communicate with and mobilize core demographic voters. Prior to this role she served as the Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement for President Obama. In this capacity, she served as the White House liaison for key stakeholders throughout the country in an effort to pass the President’s legislative priorities such as health reform and financial regulation.

Buffy was one of the first people hired by the Obama for America 2008 campaign and served in a variety of roles, including California Field Director and Missouri State Director. She also helped to develop the national grassroots field strategy for the Obama campaign, considered a model of effective organizing.