ENSO Society for Contemplative Engagement is a registered charitable organization based in Kelowna, British Columbia. We are governed by a Board of Directors and Advisors and led by an Executive Director, Program Coordinator and an amazing group of volunteers. Our team is comprised of Certified Clinical Counselors, Educators, Yoga Teachers, and Buddhist Practitioners.
Melissa Berry Appleton
Executive Director, Buddhist Practitioner, Meditation & Yoga Teacher
Melissa has been a student of yoga for 18 years and has received extensive yoga and meditation training. She keeps study and practice company with Norman Fischer and is currently enrolled in the Buddhist Chaplaincy Training Program at Upaya Zen Centre. Melissa holds a Bachelor of Music Therapy and a post-graduate diploma in Human Resources. Her experience spans work within geriatric cognitive impairments, palliative care, addiction counseling, and raising three children. Melissa has a family, a lover (her husband), a black lab, hikes, makes pottery, and is a bit of a rebel. She deeply loves the Bodhisattva vows, is humbled by the precepts, continues to work with her sometimes anxious breathing, is making friends with her mind and better relationships with all of life.
Program Coordinator, Buddhist Practitioner, Yoga Teacher
Danielle is a certified Kripalu yoga teacher and kinesiology graduate from UBC. She worked for Big Brothers Big Sisters leading mindfulness programs in schools where children face some of our community’s greatest barriers. Danielle is also a member of the ENSO Teen Expedition Team. She is ever present, kind, and receptive in a way that teens can truly relate to. She never stops smiling and knows when to bring the silliness out! Danielle attends silent retreat regularly and will be attending a four-month residency program under the direction of Joan Halifax at Upaya Zen Centre at the beginning of 2017. At a very young age, Danielle is leading her generation through the teaching of ‘doing less and being more’.
Brian Dean Williams
Clinical Counsellor, Buddhist Practitioner, Meditation Teacher
Brian Dean Williams (MA, RCC, CCC) is a narrative therapist and meditation teacher who lives with his family in East Vancouver. Brian trained as a meditation teacher in Los Angeles with Noah Levine and as part of that process, started a weekly meditation group for service providers in Vancouver’s downtown eastside. This expanded into mindfulness training for clinicians and frontline service providers individually, workshops for non-profits, and meditation retreats that he offers for service providers. Brian’s teaching style is collaborative, warm, and innovative.
High School Teacher, Wilderness Guide
High School Teacher, Art Therapist, Meditation Instructor
Cristin Raven B.F.A, MEd, is a certified yoga and meditation teacher based in Alberta. She has been an art teacher in the public school system for 20 years. Cristin is currently a school counselor in an alternative outreach high school where she facilitates multiple mental health groups, including sessions that involve meditation, movement practices, and art therapy. She is also completing a post-graduate program in Art Therapy from VATI, which unifies her love of art with her passion for mental health. Cristin is excited to hike Cathedral provincial park with the eyes of an artist, the energy of an explorer and the mind of an investigator.
Molly Boeder Harris
Yoga Teacher, Somatic Experiencing Practitioner
Over the last 15 years, Molly has worked in community-based rape crisis centers as a medical and legal advocate, provided sexual trauma crisis support and violence prevention education for students on college campuses and has directed a campus Women’s Center. During that time, she also became a certified yoga instructor and has since been teaching yoga at rape crisis centers, yoga studios, counseling clinics and social service agencies. Molly holds a Master’s Degree in International Studies and a Master’s Certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies. She offers public classes and private instruction as well as workshops specifically focused on healing trauma through yoga. She facilitates workshops and teacher immersion training for yoga instructors seeking to gain greater skill and confidence in teaching with a trauma-informed lens.
Dr. Dzung Vo
Adolescent Pediatrician, VGH, UBC
Dzung X. Vo, MD, FAAP, is a pediatrician specializing in adolescent medicine at British Columbia Children’s Hospital, and clinical assistant professor at the UBC Faculty of Medicine, Vancouver, Canada. His medical practice, teaching, and research emphasize promoting resilience in young people to help them thrive in the face of stress and adversity. He co-developed a mindfulness training program called MARS-A, or Mindful Awareness and Resilience Skills for Adolescents. MARS-A is a developmentally appropriate adaptation of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), for youth with chronic stress, chronic pain, depression, and anxiety. Dr. Vo is the author of The Mindful Teen: Powerful Skills to Help You Handle Stress One Moment at a Time (New Harbinger, 2015).
Board of Directors
Kate was born and raised in Kelowna, BC. Her family has been pioneering horticulturists since the arrival of her paternal Grandfather to the Okanagan Valley in 1908. Kate began her professional career as a registered nurse and eventually joined the family business. While working in the hospital environment, she observed how many health care professionals overlooked patient’s spirituality and the role it played in their health care. To improve overall quality care for her patients, Kate began to deepen her own spiritual journey through the study of yoga and Buddhism. Kate started teaching yoga to share her deep love and passionate dedication to this beautiful practice. As someone who is committed to a life of service through teaching, and health and wellness, Kate is honored to be a member of the Board of Directors for ENSO Society and continues her dedicated work to Stewart Brothers Nurseries Ltd and Whitworth Holdings Ltd.
Susanne moved to Kelowna from Germany in 1996. She holds a Master’s degree in Textile and Clothing Engineering. For over 10 years, Susanne owned a popular furniture, bedding and home decor business in Kelowna. She has worked as a volunteer and board member with several non-profit organizations. Susanne co-founded both Ballet Kelowna and The Common Bond group, a local women’s philanthropy group within the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA). Common Bond raises funds and awareness for youth and family mental health in the Okanagan. Raising her two children a continent away from family and friends contributed to her keen awareness of the importance of community. Susanne is devoted to initiatives for the betterment of Kelowna’s community.
Shelly’s background is in Economics and Finance. She was a Portfolio Manager for a large investment councilor until she and her husband decided to take a step back from the big city life and moved their family from Toronto to Kelowna in 2005. Once in Kelowna, Shelly was involved in the town home building project and focused on staying at home with their three children. After a few years, Shelly found that she needed some intellectual stimulation, and started to take courses at the Justice Institute of British Columbia, and became intrigued and passionate about alternative dispute resolution, particularly mediation. She has also been deeply involved in volunteering in the community, as she firmly believes that the way to gain a sense of belonging is to give to the community around you, and Shelly believes it helps her children learn that they value what is important to them, and keeps them connected to their school.
As a student of mindfulness most of her adult life, and concurrently a 30-year community and Board volunteer (currently with UBC), ENSO provides the ideal platform for Birgit to continue helping wherever possible in her primary interest of nurturing the well being of individuals and communities, locally to globally, through relevant organizations. ENSO’s mission and vision are so timely and inspiring that one cannot help but want to contribute!
Former Dean of Education, UBCO
Sean Pihl and Jody Pihl
Pihl Law Corporation
CFA, Appleton Investment Partners CIBC Wood Gundy
Dr. Clifford Saron
Clinical Counsellor, Buddhist Practitioner, Meditation Teacher
Counsellor, Buddhist Practitioner