Mindfulness Without Borders is led by an eclectic team of educators, practitioners and professionals from around the world dedicated to advancing knowledge and the practice of mindfulness and social and emotional learning in all walks of life. In 2005, The Huffington Post recognized Mindfulness Without Borders as one of the next ten generational organizations that are changing the world.
Founder & Senior Facilitator
Born in Toronto, Theo Koffler was the cofounder and VP of Super-Pharm Israel Ltd., Israel’s largest pharmacy chain. When a personal health crisis prompted a change of focus, she turned away from her corporate career to lead Mindfulness Without Borders (MWB), a registered nonprofit organization based in the U.S. and Canada. A published author, educator and advocate for mental health, Theo has collaborated with leading-edge thinkers in the fields of social-emotional learning and mindfulness-based education to develop programs that equip individuals with the tools and practices they need to flourish. Since 2009, she has facilitated programs in education, healthcare and corporate settings around the world. Theo has served on several boards and advisory committees, including those for A Mindful Society, The Goldie Hawn Foundation, Students For Canada’s North and the Garrison Institute. When not working on her initiatives, she relaxes with her two sons, spends time in nature, practices tai chi and enjoys engaging in cross-cultural conversations.
Executive Director & Lead Trainer
Leah is responsible for management of program strategy, stakeholder relations, research and day-to-day operations – making her an incredibly valuable part of the MWB team. She is a seasoned facilitator, leading MWB’s professional development programs and Facilitator Certification trainings, globally, including at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies. Leah directs MWB’s research projects in Canada and the United States – including the Prevention and Early Intervention Program for Psychoses (PEPP) at London Victoria Hospital, Ontario. Leah proudly volunteers as a Crisis Responder for Kids Help Phone Crisis Text Line, an organization and mission that is dear to her heart. In her spare time, you can find Leah swimming, reading and enjoying the city environs with her dog, MWB's mascot, Stanley.
Music Advisor & Program Facilitator
Gary is an integral member of the Mindfulness Without Borders since its inception in 2007. He has led workshops and trainings in select locations in Rwanda, Uganda, Nigeria, U.S, and Canada, including, AVEGA, Hope North Academy, Toronto Catholic District School Board and the York Regional Police Department. As an educator, Gary teaches in the Expressive Arts Department of Fleming College and lectures at various universities in Canada and abroad.
Education Manager & Lead Facilitator
Ronit teaches MWB’s educational programs for youth and professionals in both Toronto and Latin America. Born in México, she is fluent in Spanish, English and Hebrew and has a diverse academic background spanning from literature, to performing arts to Gestalt Therapy, and includes a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies with special focus on social transformation from York University. Ronit’s teaching style is informed by her own mindfulness practice, and focuses on generating community by weaving together Buddhist thought and practice with emerging forms of social and community engagement. Ronit loves to write, cook, share meals with friends and ask questions that bring people together.
Program Facilitator, Corporate Programs
Moustafa Abdelrahman leads all MWB professional development programs in corporate and healthcare settings in the Greater Toronto Area. He is a Registered Psychotherapist, a Meditation Teacher and an MBA and with over 18 years of corporate experience working with Fortune 100 companies worldwide. He is Core Faculty at the University of Toronto's Foundation of Applied Mindfulness Meditation certificate; lead teacher of the Compassion Based Resilience Training (CBRT) Teacher Training program and The Contemplative Psychotherapy certificate programs at the Nalanda Institute. Moustafa advocates for workplace mental health and delivers extensive training on equity, diversity and inclusion for General Electric, Sunnybrook Health Sciences, Government of Ontario, CAMH, Service Coordination Support, Johnson & Johnson and Great-West Life Insurance. Having lived in both Canada and the Middle East, he is familiar with the cultural issues and provides psychotherapy and meditation in both English and Arabic. Moustafa has extensive experience working with and supporting LGBTQ+ individuals and allies.
Artistic & Marketing Lead
As Artistic and Marketing Lead, Rachelle brings a wealth of knowledge and creative talent to the MWB team. She is an independent art director with 17 years in the creative field. She has worked as an illustrator, Art Director and Video Producer. Her client list includes The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Globe & Mail, Humber College, Nienkamper and many more.
Community Engagement Lead & Facilitator
When not facilitating the Mindfulness Ambassador Program in the Greater Toronto Area, you can find Natalie busy leading mindfulness-based workshops to women entrepreneurs, and coaching one-on-one sessions on meditation to people from all walks of life. An advocate for wellness and positive workplace cultures, Natalie uses her skill-sets to lead conversations that embrace wellness, inside and outside of the office, including at We Work, RBC and KOBO. Her dedication to community-building and connection has led her to leading meditation and mindfulness classes, workshops and camps all around the Toronto area.
Head of Research & Innovation & Facilitator
As an educational researcher, learning strategist, certified elementary teacher and child development enthusiast, Sarah believes in the importance of supporting social and emotional development through the practice of mindfulness. After spearheading a grassroots mindfulness culture at Georgian College, Sarah and her colleagues turned to Mindfulness Without Borders to help build sustainable mindfulness-based programming within the higher education sector. Whether through educational workshops or just conversation, Sarah dreams of inspiring more teachers to make well-being a priority. As a researcher, Sarah is focused on holistic student development and the ways in which teachers can support and influence student success. In her spare time, you will find Sarah spending time with her children, on her yoga mat, writing or in the kitchen.
Nova Browning Rutherford
Since 2017, Nova facilitates the Mindful@Work and Mindfulness Ambassador Program for youth in the Greater Toronto Area. As one of the newest facilitators on the team, Nova is most recognized as a Wellness Expert. Passionate about mental health, self-care and meditation, Nova is recognized as an educator and an award-winning speaker with the National Speakers Bureau. She is trained in The Way of Council with New England Collective and Ojai Foundation and offers their shared learning process in her workshops for public and private sector organizations. When not speaking on the internationally syndicated talk-show CTV's The Social, you can find her enjoying time with her twin daughters, gardening and working out for triathlon competitions.
Mexico Associate & Lead Facilitator
An experienced educator, scientist, researcher and author, Amira oversees program strategy, stakeholder relationships, and leads professional development programs in healthcare, education and corporate settings in Mexico. Trained in chemistry, psychobiology and contemplative neuroscience, she holds a degree in Chemistry from the Faculty of Chemistry, UNAM, a degree in Education from the Montessori Teacher Training Institute, and several certifications in Mindfulness in Education. Fluent in Spanish and English, she is a talented speaker, passionate advocate for mindfulness in society and mother of two. She is the founder and director of Elephant Wise Institute which focuses on strengthening social and emotional health in all sectors of society in Latin America.
Wendy is the principal lead for MWB’s expansion In England and senior facilitator for MWB’s Certification Trainings. She is a Resilience Coach and is focused on working with people to help strengthen their ability to face their challenges and find a path to move forward. She facilitates and deliver workshops on personal development and leadership, mindfulness, social - emotional intelligence and positive psychology.
Andrew Roach is a school psychologist and former elementary and middle school teacher. Prior to working at Georgia State, he coordinated family-centered positive behavior support services at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University. In 2010, Andy received the Lightner Witmer Early Career Research Award from the American Psychological Association – Division 16 (School Psychology). He also received the Council for Exceptional Children’s Early Career Publication Award in 2007 for a study that examined the influence of access to the general curriculum on the assessment performance of students with disabilities (Roach & Elliott, 2006).
US Office Manager
Kathy brings over 20 years experience doing accounting, office management and human resources for companies in the wholesale, marketing/PR, architecture, interior design, engineering, food service, retail, advertising, health care, education industries, non-profits and internet start-ups. She keeps everything running smoothly and efficiently.
Dr. Emmanuel Ivorgba
Dr. Emmanuel Ivorgba holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy and Comparative Religion and is the strategic lead for MWB’s programs in schools, youth leadership groups and universities in Nigeria. He is the founder of Creative Minds International Academy, a K-12 school focused in empowering Nigerian students with the tools and motivation to think critically, explore the inter-connectedness of all life and establish sustainable relationships with the world that surrounds them. Emmanuel’s life work is reaching out to youth around the world to create a culture of peace and justice. He is recipient of the 2014 Unsung Heroes of Compassion Award in San Francisco for his leadership, service to humanity and peace building efforts, around the world.
Patrick is responsible for developing stakeholder relations and educational programs in health and corporate sectors in Rwanda. As a certified Mindfulness Without Borders facilitator and Masters graduate from the University of Innsbruck, he integrates his conflict transformation training in all aspects of his work. In his spare time, Patrick is a prolific writer and advocate for mental health and social justice in underserved and at-risk populations.
Daniel Rechtschaffen, Marriage and Family Therapist, is the author of The Way of Mindful Education: Cultivating Well-Being in Teachers and Students. He founded the Mindful Education Institute and the Omega Mindfulness in Education conference. He leads mindfulness in education trainings and conferences at institutions such as the Omega Institute, Esalen, and California Institute of Integral Studies. He has helped create curriculum for organizations such as Mindfulness Without Borders, Mindful Schools, and The Mindful Mothering Project. Daniel leads mindfulness trainings for schools and communities around the world.
Founding Curriculum Advisor
Soren Gordhamer is a valued co-author of MWB’s first-ever Mindfulness Ambassador Program. During 2009- 11, he-co-lead our professional development workshops and high school programs at select NGO’s and schools in Rwanda and Nigeria. Currently, host of the Wisdom 2.0 Conference, Soren brings technology leaders along with teachers from wisdom traditions to explore how we can live mindfully and engage the great technologies of our age in ways that benefit us, our society, and our world. He has been featured in various media, including GQ Magazine and Newsweek.com, and has taught mindfulness programs in a wide variety of settings, including to youth in New York City juvenile halls, to trauma workers in Rwanda, teachers in Nigeria, and to staff at US technology companies.
Team Mascot & Therapy Dog
When Stanley is not sleeping, eating or playing with toys, he is busy as a therapy dog, hosting petting activities and fetch games with MWB, team members. He enjoys being cuddled, going for walks and reruns of Friends. In 1980 he made an appearance on David Letterman. He is also an Instagram sensation with over 800,000 followers.
Board of Directors
From the onset, Mindfulness Without Borders engaged a trusted Board of Directors and advisors that are passionate about education, mental health and well-being to lend their expertise and perspective on the direction of our work, including:
Certified Public Accountant
Dr. Lorna Jean Edmonds
Former Vice Provost for Global Affairs and International Studies, Professor of Health Sciences and Professions, Ohio University
Co-Founder, past Chairman & CEO, Mind and Life Institute
Independent Consultant, Educational Innovations,and Special Advisor to the Provost, University of the Pacific
Founder, Mindfulness Without Borders
Independent Financial Consultant
CEO, Lisa Rogers Lifestyles & Design Enterprises
Psychotherapist, Founder, Stressed Teens. Author: The Stress Reduction Workbook for Teens (2009)
Consultant and Author: Community: The Structure of Belonging (2008)
Deepak Chopra, M.D.
Endocrinologist, Founder of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing. Chopra is a prolific author, teacher and healer, serving as an adjunct professor at Columbia Business School and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Psychologist, Lecturer, Journalist and author of internationally best-selling books on Emotional Intelligence including Working with Emotional Intelligence and The Emotionally Intelligent Leader. Goleman co-founded the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning at Yale University's Child Studies Center, which then moved to the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Susan Kaiser Greenland
Susan is an internationally recognized leader in teaching mindfulness and meditation to children, teens, parents, and professionals. Through her books and the Inner Kids program, she played a foundational role in making mindfulness practices developmentally appropriate for young people and helped to pioneer activity-based mindfulness.
Founder, Connecting for Change, Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education
Raphael Ogar Oko
International Coordinator, Global Educators for All Initiative (GEFAI)
Clinical Psychologist, Consultant
Chair of Psychotherapy, Morgan Firestone; Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology, University of Toronto; Author: The Mindful Way Through Depression (2007)
Former President and Executive Director of Accrediting, Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities, Western Association of School and Colleges.
Certified Coach, Mediator and Consultant
Jon Kabat-Zinn, Founding Director, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction HealthCare and Society, University of Massachusetts Medical School
"The Mindfulness Without Borders curriculum and resource team offers educators of every level a unique opportunity to raise students who are well-educated spiritually, intellectually, and with core skills to function in our ever-changing society."
Richard Davidson, PhD., Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry, founder Center for Healthy Minds
"The extraordinary work of Mindfulness Without Borders to bring mindfulness and positive character development to conflict and post-conflict communities is inspiring and so important in our world today where the capacity to cultivate compassion in our daily lives can help to bring about a more peaceful world."