Carolyn Mandelker is the Executive Director of Shambhala, appointed to this position by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche in 2010, after serving for seven years as the Director of Practice and Education. As Executive Director, Carolyn heads the Kalapa Executive, a body of senior office holders who execute the vision of the Sakyong and Kalapa Council in directing, integrating and providing the central services of the mandala.
Carolyn is frequently asked about her family name. It is not Spanish, as in Man del Ker, nor is it a typographical error for the Scottish MacDelker, as Nova Scotians like to think! It is an Eastern European Jewish family name that was likely “adjusted” upon arrival to America in the early 1900’s. “Mandel” means “Almond” in Yiddish. Carolyn prefers the aspirational quality of her Shambhala name, Thunder Star.
Over the years, Carolyn has interwoven her professional career as an Audiologist with her service to Shambhala. She previously held the positions of Resident Director of Shambhala Training at Karme Choling from 1994-1996, and Centre Director in Toronto, Canada from 1990-1992. Before, between, and during those posts, she worked full time as the founding director of the Educational Audiology program at the Toronto District School Board, designing and delivering service to over 600 hard of hearing and deaf children, and managing a 1 million dollar budget. Since moving to Halifax with her family in 2002, she has worked periodically as a private practice audiologist.