David Lipsius, Chief Executive Officer
David Lipsius, JD, RYT-500, is a Kripalu Yoga teacher, yoga therapist, Ayurvedic Lifestyle Counselor, and a licensed attorney. He joined Kripalu in January of 2012 to pursue his personal dharma: using the professional skills he developed in the entertainment and news business to promote and advance yoga and Ayurveda. Prior to joining Kripalu, David served in various leadership positions for more than 15 years at NBC Universal in New York City, including roles as the vice president of operations for the NBC Agency East Coast and vice president of creative services for NBC News Marketing and Communications. David now blends his passion for yoga with right livelihood in his role as CEO at Kripalu, and serves to empower people and communities to realize their full potential through the transformative wisdom and practice of yoga.
Erin Peck, Vice President of People, Culture, and Programs
Erin Peck was raised in the Berkshires and has always valued the rich culture and history of this region. After spending eight years in the bright lights of Los Angeles honing her customer service skills in the entertainment industry, Erin returned to the Berkshires to start a family, with the desire to have a positive impact in the community. She began her nonprofit career at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, where she worked in company management and workshop training. She started working at Kripalu in 2009 and, recognizing the importance of Kripalu’s mission, set an intention to discover how she could be of service to the vision of creating a more compassionate and connected world. In addition to earning a degree in Theatre Arts at Bard College, Erin has completed training in Positional Therapy, Reiki, and Kripalu’s Certificate in Positive Psychology. Erin has been practicing yoga since age 12, and found yoga and meditation to be integral to her career in the theater world, helping her stay calm, focused, and without expectation. Today her practice serves her in all aspects of her life—as a mother, as a community member, and in her role at Kripalu.
John O’Neill, Vice President of Operations
John O’Neill was a long-term resident of the Kripalu ashram until 1994, during which time he worked at all levels of the finance and accounting departments. He then held financial controller positions in several retailing businesses in New Mexico before returning to Kripalu in 2001. As Director of Finance, John oversaw all aspects of the organization’s financial areas, managed the Finance Department’s staff, and developed substantial improvements in Kripalu’s budget system as well as in the quality and timeliness of accounting reports and financial statements. John moved into the role of Vice President of Operations in late 2013. He has a deep respect for the work that Kripalu performs in the world and is deeply committed to the success of its mission.
Stephen Cope, Senior Scholar-In-Residence and Kripalu Ambassador
Stephen Cope, MSW, is a psychotherapist, a national best-selling author, and a senior instructor of Kripalu Yoga with more than 15 years of experience as a yoga teacher. During the summer of 2005, he launched a pioneering music and consciousness program in conjunction with the Tanglewood Institute to study the effects of yoga and meditation on performance anxiety, physical health, and states of optimal performance. The senior Scholar-in-Residence at Kripalu Center, Stephen is the author of Yoga and the Quest for the True Self, Will Yoga and Meditation Really Change My Life?, and The Wisdom of Yoga: A Seeker’s Guide to Extraordinary Living. Stephen was named by Yoga Journal as one of the top 25 innovators in yoga in America in the last quarter of a century.
Denise Barack, Director of Program Development
Denise Barack has been involved with Kripalu since 1985. She holds a degree in communications and was the advertising director at East West Journal in Boston before moving to the Berkshires to serve the Kripalu community. As Kripalu’s Director of Program Development since 2004, she uses her gift for networking people and ideas in overseeing the planning and development of all of Kripalu’s invited national presenter programs. Denise is the mother of two young adults, and is a 200-hour Kripalu Yoga teacher and a student of Ayurveda and Continuum.
Richard Faulds (Shobhan), Director of Yoga Development
Richard Faulds (Shobhan), MA, JD, has practiced yoga and meditation for more than 30 years in close association with Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health. A chance encounter with Swami Kripalu in 1981 profoundly shifted the trajectory of Shobhan’s life. He joined Kripalu’s residential ashram staff after several years of working as a Legal Aid attorney, and became Kripalu’s legal counsel in 1989. As President of Kripalu from 1998 to 2001, Shobhan was one of many dedicated staff members who helped the organization start its national retreat center business and move beyond the traditional guru-disciple paradigm. He served as Kripalu’s interim Chief Executive Officer from August of 2012 to September 2013, and as chair of Kripalu’s Board of Trustees from 2001 to 2010.
A Kripalu Yoga teacher, Shobhan is a member of the Kripalu faculty and regularly teaches programs to guests and staff. He is the author of Kripalu Yoga: A Guide to Practice On and Off the Mat, and three other books on the Kripalu tradition: Sayings of Swami Kripalu; Swimming with Krishna: Teaching Stories from the Kripalu Yoga Tradition; and The Enlightenment Teachings of Yogeshwar Muni: Self-Inquiry and Surrender Meditation in the Kripalu Yoga Tradition. When he isn’t working, practicing yoga, or teaching, Shobhan is an avid gardener, woodworker, and rail-trail bicycle enthusiast.
Kelly Baxter Spitz, Director of Development
Kelly joined Kripalu in 2006 as the Associate Director of Development and moved into the position of Director in 2008. In her role, Kelly oversees and manages all aspects of Kripalu’s philanthropic activities. She has wealth of experience in fundraising, having been a member of the development teams at Boston Medical Center, Beth Israel Medical Center, and Albany Medical Center. In the Berkshires, she served as Director of Development for Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation and Community Health Programs before coming to Kripalu. Kelly lives with her husband and daughter in Sheffield, MA.
Edi Pasalis, Director of the Institute for Extraordinary Living
Edi Pasalis, MBA, MTS, Director of the Institute for Extraordinary Living, champions the use of yoga throughout society, particularly in the education and health-care sectors. She brings more than two decades of corporate and entrepreneurial experience and a deep study of yoga to this work. Edi’s academic background includes an MBA from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and a master’s degree from Harvard Divinity School, where she explored the impact of yoga on spiritual life. Edi is also a 500-Hour Kripalu Yoga teacher.
Stephen Daoust, Director of Healthy Living and R&R Retreat Programming
Stephen Daoust, Director of Healthy Living and R&R Retreat Programming, is a life-long resident of the Berkshires who has more than 30 years’ experience in the hospitality and guest service industries. After majoring in Fine Arts at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Stephen accepted an apprenticeship at Yosemite National Park’s Ahwahnee Resort where he spent two years immersed in the culinary arts and leading outdoor programs as a certified guide and trainer. Upon returning to the Northeast in the mid-1980’s, Stephen worked for The Baron Group as an executive chef and innkeeper at several of the company’s historic New England hotels and restaurants. Stephen went on to develop his business and customer service skills to the outdoor specialty market at the Arcadian Shop in Lenox, and, with his wife, opened a small graphic design company in Pittsfield in 1998. Stephen joined Kripalu in 2008 as Operations Manager for R&R and Healthy Living Programs.