About Carolyn

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.

16 Responses to About Carolyn

  1. Carolyn has a very interesting interview with Waylon Lewis on Elephant (http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/12/shambhala-in-crisis-my-interview-with-carolyn-mandelker/)–looking at the hard questions with a sense of humor…!

  2. Congratulations.

  3. Dear Carolyn:

    It has been more than a few years since we had the pleasure of your company here in Ottawa. And more than a few years since we have been in Halifax.

    It is always nice to be able to place someone in time and space. So why not start your blog off by simply telling us about your physical location in the corridors of power. Tell us about your office. And maybe show us the view from your office. Is it on Tower Road?

    And how about some news about Halifax? Have you been up to the citadel lately, or down to the touch tank on Fisherman`s Wharf? And where is your favourite restaurant?

    By way of exchange, our offices look out over a beaver pond, which froze this week. A mink has been running back and forth across the ice, annoying a muskrat which has built a house on the far shore. In town, Cathy and I have been known to favour a new little Greek restaurant on the main street of Carleton Place.

    Warm regards, Paul Keddy

    • Carolyn Mandelker

      Dear Paul, It’s a pleasure to hear from you, and I love the account of life outside your office window! I will engage our staff in the coming weeks to depict our lives in the “corridors of power”. In the meantime, the short video of David Brown has some good footage of the Office of the Kalapa Court, and the little creatures that run across David’s desk! more soon…love to you and Kathy, Carolyn.

  4. Dear Carolyn,
    Thank you so much for this blog. I look forward to getting to know you and other staff at Shambhala better and receiving more news.
    I wish you and all staff and volunteers “over there” good inspiration, success, fun and warm feet during winter.
    With appreciation,
    Anne, Germany

  5. Hello Carolyn,
    Congratulations with you new blog. At first I was surprised and confused about this initiative, since I find already some much online happening. Honestly I am often surprised by the amount of emails I get from Shambhala. Now you are sharing your personal blog with the whole world. I am happy, am I sad. There is a mix of feelings. I am happy that I can share them here with you, and knowing that others will read this too. Because I value transparency in our mandala. At the same time I somewhat overwhelmed and confused by all the well intended initiatives for a clear communicating in our mandala. And I wonder, is this helpful,: will others in the leaders in Shambhala create blogs too? and if so how will I decide what to read and what not?
    Apparently, I choose to read and your blog, and even comment on it, since I like to connect to people who share how they live, feel and what they are longing for. Now I am curios to hear from you Carolyn, or anyone else what these words are bringing up for you.
    Bart ( Publicity coordinator, Shambhala Centre Leiden)

    • Carolyn Mandelker

      Bart, I think you are pointing to something extremely interesting. On the one hand, we send lots of emails and provide lots of information on our websites. On the other hand, no matter how much information we provide, many people still feel like they don’t know what is going on, and don’t feel connected. Do you experience this paradox as well, as the publicity person in your centre?
      This is a paradox that we have been thinking about, and perhaps one of the main reasons for this blog! I think our perception of not being connected may be less related to whether or not we are receiving information, and more related to whether we feel a person to person connection. Does this ring true?

      • Hi Carolyn, thank you for the reply, and it certainly rings true when you speak about personal connection. This is what works for me. And I wonder do you have the time to write your blogs, and to reply on the individuals questions?
        A communication tool that goes toward personal connection is Facebook, it works well for our center. Our Facebook page is connected to a twitter account ( so the events we post on FB are tweeted on twitter, we also promote our FB posts) Besides our monthly newsletters we send reminders to our 600 newsletter subscribers when programs are just one week away, this works too. Just to give you an idea of how we do it in Leiden. Hope this information serves you and/or any other reader.

  6. Carolyn, this is truly a good thing! I really hope it succeeds in binding the worldwide Mandala and overcoming doubt and hesitation.

  7. George R. Marshall

    Is there a chance you might visit Dorje Denma Ling in the near future.?
    I live in Tatamagouche and would like to meet you. I’ve been involved with Shambhala for a long time. Maybe you know my daughter, Dana Marshall and her husband, Rein Von Heukelom or my grand daughter, Ana.
    Or would you consider visiting me. I need to show you what I’m doing.
    I would drive to Halifax but I don’t travel that well these days. As Mae West said, “Getting old is not for wimps.”

    We could go out to lunch or I could make Matza Brei at home.
    I’m an expert at this.

    All the best, George

    • Carolyn Mandelker

      George, I would love to sample your expert Matza Brei! I am a close friend of your daughter’s, having attended the 1988 Seminary (where it all happened!), and our daughter Amelia, and Dana and Rein’s daughter Ana, are now connected as well! I would like to plan a trip to DDL within the next month, so will definitely contact you in advance. Until then, Carolyn

      • Carolyn Mandelker

        PS for those of you who are unfamiliar with Matzoh Brei (rhymes with dry) it’s eaten on passover, when observant Jews do not eat leavened bread. Matzoh is an unleavened wheat “cracker” and Matzoh Brei is a passover variation on scrambled eggs (with crunchy bits of Matzoh in the eggs). Our family made it as follows:
        soak matzoh in water until slightly softened,
        break eggs into frypan,
        mix in crumbled pieces of moistened matzoh.
        add salt and pepper and cook until the eggs have set.
        George may have a different recipe!

  8. Thank you for the introduction. Being also new to Blogs, I could not figure out how to sign up for your blog on a daily basis. Much Thanks.

    • Carolyn Mandelker

      Hi Thomas, I believe that you click in the right hand column, where it says “subscribe using email, subscribe here”. Then you enter your email address, and click “subscribe” to close the deal. Does that work? Warm regards, Carolyn

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