Board of Directors
Margot Neuman, Executive Director
Board of Directors
Clifford Neuman, JD, Attorney at Law, CEO
Amy Biondo, MA Counseling Psychology, Vice President
Elizabeth J. Cline, Ph.D., Secretary/Treasurer
John Pacetta, BA, MBA, Mortgage Broker
Kathryn King Johnson, BA, ME, English, Curriculum Instructor
History and Staff
Margot Neuman, Executive Director, founded MPP (then known as the Ratna Foundation) in 2004 to continue the work in which she had already been engaged for ten years. She had been a student of the Venerable Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, a Tibetan meditation master, for 20 years. He had trained and authorized her as a teacher and meditation instructor. As a result of a first and unexpected visit to a prison inmate whose death sentence had just been commuted, she came to appreciate the ability of compassion to radiate into dark and difficult circumstances. Her experience resulted in the founding of the Ratna Peace Initiative (RPI).
The current intense scientific research into mindfulness and its impact on the brain inspired her, in 2010, to extend MPP’s work to secular mindfulness for veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Moral Injury and other military traumas. The program, Fearless Victory (FV), includes both sitting mindfulness practice and applying this practice to working with wild mustangs – equine therapy. In 2013 MPP began developing a mindfulness program for incarcerated veterans – Veterans Peace of Mind (VPoM). In the last 2-3 years, prisons nationally have begun segregating veterans into dorms which has improved behavior and increased response to education and rehabilitation efforts. VPoM is working to introduce its secular program into these dormitories.
Cliff Neuman worked with Margot to found MPP, and continues to participate with visits to prison inmates and funding. He has been engaged as a principal in his own law firms for over 39 years, emphasizing corporate and securities law. He has served on the boards of directors of numerous public, private and non-profit companies and has been actively involved in the process of capital formation on behalf of his clients. He has served as President of the MPP and Medicine Horse boards since 2004. Cliff received his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Pennsylvania (1973) and his Bachelor of Arts degree from Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut (1970).
Gary Allen, Director of Education, trained with Tibetan Buddhist teacher, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, as well as many other accomplished Buddhist teachers, and has studied and practiced Vajrayana Buddhism for 35 years. He directs Shambhala Training meditation programs around the U.S. and overseas. He has been a teacher in the U.S. educational system for years as well as teaching in Korea for five years. As the Education Director for MPP he has taught traditional mindfulness meditation to prison inmates since 1990. He developed the study guide for RPI with Mrs. Neuman, and is involved in developing the study guides for VPoM and Solitary Confinement.
Tania Leontov, Managing Director, has recently joined MPP’s administration. She is also a long time student of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and a 30-year member of the InterSpiritual Dialog founded by Father Thomas Keating. She has a masters degree in Nonprofit Management (MNM) from Regis University and a Masters Certificate in Religious Studies. She has over 10 years experience as a for-profit entrepreneur and 25 years as the founder and executive director of a number of nonprofits in Boulder CO. She teaches in the Regis University Humanities department.
Raffaella Gianini-Bialek has been part of the MPP educational staff since 2012. She works with practice and education, corresponding with inmates participating in RPI’s mindfulness study courses. She also assists with revisions to the study material. She has a Masters in Educational Science from the University of Geneva and a Masters in Contemplative Psychology from Naropa University. She also attended the Gestalt Institute of the Rockies.
Volunteers – too many to list. These generous people are a crucial factor in the growth and success of our programs. They come from all sectors of the community: university students, teachers, entrepreneurs, moms, corporate and nonprofit employees and retirees.