Melissa Morman, President
Melissa Morman is a member of the original founding executive team of BHI/BDX (Builders Digital Experience) and currently serves as the company’s CXO (Chief Experience Officer). BHI/BDX, with employees all over the globe, is a consortium of the nation’s largest homebuilders, and its mission is to help builders and product manufacturers with digital transformation. Melissa spends much of her time speaking at conferences and consulting with executives across the nation. As a woman at the highest levels of an industry that has historically been male dominated, Melissa is very focused on ensuring diversity and equality in the work place.
Melissa felt a deep connection with Vallecitos and its mission from the very first visit almost a decade ago. Witnessing the unique transformational experiences of all who connect with Vallecitos, yet realizing the challenges of its rare and beautiful remote location, Melissa’s role is to help ensure Vallecitos’ long-term sustainability and viability.
Prior to BDX, Melissa worked for ClientLogic, as well as R.R. Donnelley & Sons. Melissa received a BS degree in Organizational Communication and MIS, Cum Laude from Ohio University. Melissa also serves on the board of Texas 4000, a non-profit focused on cancer awareness and research, and fulfills its mission through 80 UT students biking from Austin to Alaska each Summer.
Kathryn Turnipseed, Vice President
Kathryn sat her first meditation retreat at Vallecitos Mountain Retreat Center in 1997 and is a graduate of the Community Dharma Leader training program at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. She is a GreenFaith fellow, has a MBA and over 20 years of management experience with nonprofit organizations.
Heidi Cost, Secretary
Santa Fe, NM
Heidi has lived in Santa Fe since 1978 and was honored to join the board of directors in May 2015. She graduated from Colorado College with a degree in photography and is the vice president of a family-run company that specializes in vacation retreats in Akumal, Mexico. Heidi has been involved as a volunteer at Vallecitos Mountain Retreat Center since 2009 and has attended retreats yearly as a retreat manager. She sees the center and its beautiful setting in the Tusas Mountains as the ideal place to uniquely experience the wilderness life in a sacred and safe setting. She is committed to help protect, honor and share the legacy of Vallecitos Mountain Retreat Center, so that people can continue to experience a deeper awareness in this special place for generations to come.
Mary Powell, Treasurer
Santa Fe, NM
Mary has been a Vipassana practitioner for over twenty years. During that time, she sat intensive retreats at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts and done month-long self-retreats, both at home and at a remote cabin in the mountains. More recently she completed the thirty-month Community Dharma Leader training through Spirit Rock Meditation Center. For many years, she has taught the “Introduction to Meditation” class at the Santa Fe Vipassana Sangha, where she chairs the education committee.
Mary has always been interested in practicing in nature. She lived for five years in an off-the-grid cabin near Pecos, where she was first introduced to meditation.
Jessica Denison, Executive Director
Originally from Upstate New York, Jessica has called Durango home for over seventeen years. Before joining Vallecitos, she was an integral part of a local, veteran-owned small business, Chinook Medical Gear, as its chief operating officer.
Jessica has been a yoga practitioner since 1997 and her passion for the tradition eventually led her to the Durango Dharma Center where she has been a member since 2007. She served on the board of directors for nearly 5 years, including the role of board president. An avid traveler and lifelong learner, her practice has taken her to places like India, Belize, Costa Rica, Telluride and others. Vallecitos Mountain Retreat Center offers a bridge for her to further connect her work and her practice, creating a wonderful experience for herself and others centered around heart and nature.
Jessica is a graduate of West Virginia University School of Business and Economics where she competed as a Division I swimmer. Jessica, her daughter Rayna, and their dog Bodhi enjoy being outdoors, cooking, reading and playing.
Erin Treat, Guiding Teacher
Erin’s love for wild nature, her passionate commitment to serving collective liberation, and decades of working as a bodyworker are all palpable in her Dharma. Erin is Guiding Teacher at both Vallecitos and the Durango Dharma Center, and is a Core Teacher at Spirit Rock. She served as core faculty of the sixth Community Dharma Leaders (CDL) Program, and is a graduate of Thanissara and Kitissaro’s Dhammapala Training, designed to bring forth an embodied bodhisattva ideal within the lineage of Theravada Buddhism.
Erin was born and raised in the prairie of Fargo, North Dakota to a family of Irish and British heritage. When she first came to the San Juan Mountains, she felt an unexpected sense of homecoming – an immediate connection to the cultures of the southwest as well as the magic of the red rocks, high desert, and alpine landscape of the Four Corners area. She’s lived in Durango for 26 years.
Erin is committed to fostering communities of belonging. In both her teaching and Dharma leadership, she works to decenter whiteness and heteronormative culture. In her hometown of Durango, she teaches classes that help practitioners understand and deconstruct whiteness in their own minds and acts as a resource for other dharma teachers engaging these issues. In 2018, she was part of a team that developed the groundbreaking “Race and Dharma” course for the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies. Erin is also committed to practicing and sharing the depth of the dharma, including teachings on emptiness and not-self, and loves mentoring students over time as their practices deepen and mature.
Erin is happiest dancing, hiking, cooking, and being in the mountains and rivers she calls home.
Originally from the East Coast, Greg fell in love with the Southwest’s mountains, rivers and broad vistas as a young boy. He vowed to return. Greg moved to Albuquerque in 1971 to pursue his graduate degree in architecture. After several years of internship, he established his own Albuquerque-based architectural firm in 1980 and continues to practice. The firm was established to provide architectural services for projects which enhance human endeavor, thus Greg has focused his career on institutional projects such as educational facilities at universities and public and private schools, medical clinics and hospitals, libraries, religious buildings and historic preservation.
Greg also serves on the boards of two educational institutions. He was enticed to become a part of Vallecitos Mountain Retreat Center by its mission to assist people in deepening the connection between their inner lives of wisdom and compassion with their outer lives of action and service, amid the stunning beauty and uniqueness of Vallecitos Mountain Retreat Center and its surrounding wilderness. Vallecitos Mountain Retreat Center fulfills Greg’s commitment and desire to invest his energy and skills in organizations that advance human endeavor and help bring people to a deeper understanding of themselves and the world in which they live.
Santa Fe, NM
Erin Sibley Doerwald, LCSW, CMT-P is a psychotherapist, mindfulness facilitator and program developer based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Vallecitos Mountain Retreat Center first called to her as a place of self-care and nourishment during the off-season from serving as the Program Director for The Sky Center of the New Mexico Suicide Intervention Project. Her intention as a board member is to support the land, the values, and the mission of this extraordinary organization.
In addition to her supervisory work at The Sky Center serving youth and families, she also sees clients in her private practice, Hello Wellness Therapy. She is an adjunct professor at the Facundo Valdez School of Social Work at New Mexico Highlands University. Erin is a UCLA Affiliated Mindful Awareness Practices Teacher and a certified mindfulness teacher with the International Mindfulness Teachers Association. Her clinical perspective is founded upon family systems therapy and the field of interpersonal neurobiology. Doerwald offers an experiential and research-informed lens on how well-being is connected to ecological systems and practices that have been shown to support resilience in behavioral health. She is especially interested in the intersections of trauma-sensitivity, contemplative practices, and social justice.
Jane West McGrath is a Pediatrician and Professor of Adolescent Medicine at the University of New Mexico; Vipasana practitioner, weaver, and the mother of two grown sons. She joined the Vallecitos Board in 2020 and looks forward to having a part in the conservation of the land and the development of Vallecitos as a retreat center.
Jane was born in Japan and grew up in Hong Kong and Brazil. Her family regularly explored the outdoors, climbing mountains, camping and sailing. Her first career was as an outdoor guide with the Southwest Outward Bound school. She has spent much of her adult life exploring wild places around the world including India and Nepal. Her medical practice is focused on adolescents and she has helped develop school-based health centers for high schools in communities across New Mexico. She became involved with Vallecitos in part because of her interest in addressing the problem of burn out for primary care providers. She has helped organize and teach retreats at Vallecitos to address this problem.