About the Mindfulness Project Our Team
The Montana Mindfulness Project intention is to improve the health and wellbeing of Montanans. This group of passionate folks is committed to advancing the MMP goals.
Program Director Ellary Kramka
Ellary brings compassion, curiosity, and a love of life wherever she goes. Before becoming Program Director at MMP, she spent several years consulting with nonprofits, and prior to that she worked as a Program Coordinator with two Bozeman based nonprofits. Her mindfulness practice grew organically out of an intentionality to be present, and she found that this simple act of redirecting her attention caused profound changes in her happiness. She has since deepened her practice through Mindful Self-Compassion courses, yoga, and a walking meditation practice.
When she is not strategically planning all of the behind-the-scenes details at MMP, you can find her cooking (probably something Italian), dancing, or caught up in a good book.
Communications & Marketing Emily Hook
Empathy, adaptability and adventure are close to Emily’s heart. In helping found Bozeman’s BZN International Film Festival, Emily developed her commitment to fostering cultures of cooperation, diligence and imagination. Emily is currently leading web development projects for non-profits and startups, driven both by her knack for design & digital strategy and her passion to celebrate others’ stories. Emily has been a student of mindfulness since high school, where she learned that a strong connection to wilderness, and prioritizing solitude and reflection, are key components to living a life of gratitude and meaning.
Whether on skis, soccer cleats or bare feet, Emily loves to explore her natural environment — though digging into music & movies, doing crossword puzzles and playing board games will always bring her great joy.
Board President Margaret Kachadurian
Margaret is a licensed clinical social worker with a background in psychology, health and spirituality. She specializes in teaching meditation and mindfulness offering the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction 8-week course and customizing training for caregivers, social service and healthcare providers, businesses, community groups and the public since 2010. Margaret's vision of vibrant, resilient people and communities is rooted in her own continual learning and mindfulness practice. Today's evidence-based scientific research is proving how ancient practices of meditation and living mindfully strengthen resilience and joy in living the good life. The MBSR course she teaches, which has been taught internationally for almost fifty years, has been the leader in public education in secular mindfulness because of its fidelity and rigor in gold-standard research. Neuroscientific findings have shown that mindfulness is a skill that can be learned, allowing us to face obstacles such as uncertainty and fear with courage as we learn how to trust our own basic goodness to live authentic beneficial lives. "May it be so" is Margaret's pledge and commitment to contribute to MMP's educational mission.
Board Secretary Suzanne Colón
Suzanne has been exploring Mindfulness and other forms of meditation since 1988, with residential retreat experiences starting in 1992. She has been particularly interested in how the tools of Mindfulness can support psychological and emotional healing in clinical therapy and the resolution of trauma. Since 2013, she has received professional training in Insight (Vipassana) Meditation practice, Buddhist psychology, the Mindful Self-Compassion Course and Somatic Experiencing. She is a co-founder of the Bozeman Dharma Center, leader of the local Insight Meditation Community and teaches the Mindful Self-Compassion course locally along with other teachers of the Montana Mindfulness Project.
Board Member-at-Large Sara Friedman
Sara has been an educator her entire professional life. She received a BA from University of Wisconsin, Madison and an M.A. in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Bank Street College of Education in New York City. Her experiential teaching experience includes working as an instructor for the Glacier Institute in Columbia Falls, Montana, Project U.S.E. in Redbank, New Jersey, and the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School in Newry, Maine. Sara’s classroom teaching experience includes schools in both the private and public sector: The Hole Montessori in Jackson, Wyoming, City and Country School, The Packer Collegiate Institute, Trevor Day School, and P.S. 41, all in New York. Since moving to Bozeman in 2016, Sara has received her Montana Educator License and has been working as a paraprofessional educator at Morning Star Elementary School, supporting literacy instruction and teaching Mindfulness to students grades 1 – 5. Sara loves the opportunity to offer Mindfulness training to students throughout the Bozeman School District. In addition, Sara is the mother of three children. Sara’s experience as a parent continues to offer the truest, most profound teachings, informing her work and vision as an educator.
Danielle Nicholas is a mindfulness and meditation practitioner with over 20 years’ experience. She has a Master’s in Education with a focus on Secondary Science and an undergraduate degree in Religious Studies. This interdisciplinary background enables her to work with students from a deep understanding of both the science and practice of mindfulness. Her instruction inherently seeks to create an environment for critical thought and reflection. Danielle has been non-tenure track faculty with MSU for over 6 years (and a professional educator for two decades) and has a proven record of student engagement. Her classes and teachings aim to create a community of student wellness. Danielle is a certified Koru Mindfulness teacher and registered yoga teacher. She has called Bozeman home since 2000. With daughter and Aussie dog in tow, Danielle can frequently be found rambling around the wild spaces of SW Montana.
Patsy is a licensed educator and certified mindfulness meditation facilitator and yoga instructor. For 25 years, Patsy has been facilitating Mindfulness-Based-Stress-Reduction courses, Lessons in Mindfulness, and teaching yoga. She has worked with groups in workshops, presentations, and day long and multi-day retreats for schools, businesses, healthcare facilities, community-based groups, colleges and universities. She has mentored individual as they pursue their own meditation practice and/or their professional meditation and yoga credentials.
Patsy believes that meditation and yoga offer healing to us as individuals, to our wider community, and, in fact, to the wider world.
Interested in getting involved with the Montana Mindfulness Project?
The Montana Mindfulness Project offers mindfulness teaching
through classes, workshops, and programming in schools and the broader
community. To learn more about how the Montana Mindfulness Project might be of service to you, your organization or business, contact us!