Board of Directors

The Board of Directors are a collection of appointed meditation practitioners that lead activities, manage the non-profits finances, and decide upon offerings for the local Flagstaff community. The directors are responsible for coordinating retreats, Monday night sits, help guide activities such as: Mindful Meals; Mindful Tea; hikes; children's courses; book study groups, and answer questions from the community.


Molly Silverman

Molly Silverman


Molly moved to Flagstaff in 1999 and began practicing Vipassana meditation in 2003. She found FIMC in early 2013 and has been regularly practicing and attending sits since. As a busy mother and Realtor Molly does not have as much time to attend retreats as she would like, but fits in a couple weekend retreats each year. She is an exercise and health food enthusiast who loves to support others in creating and maintaining well being. Molly is also conversational in Spanish, keeping up with a Spanish book club and conversation group. Molly loves the compassion and community she experiences as a part of FIMC and aims to give back by participating in the Guiding Council and organizing various activities.

Leslie McLean Profile Picture

Leslie McLean


I was introduced to Insight Meditation and the teachings of Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York. I first traveled to Thailand in 2000 and was introduced to Theravada Buddhism and, more specifically, the teachings of Thich Naht Hanh. I began practicing and sitting at the Flagstaff Insight Meditation Community in early 2016 and joined the Board of Directors in June of 2017. In 1994 I moved from the east coast to the southwest to live and work on the Navajo reservation. After graduating from law school in 2006, I moved to Flagstaff with my two sons to begin practicing law and continue practicing parenting. I find comfort in hiking and practicing yoga.

Laura LaBranche

Laura LaBranche

Vice President

Laura has been meditating since the late sixties primarily on her own in the Zen tradition; in 2005 she began following the Tibetan and Theravada traditions. She arrived in Flagstaff in 1993 and in 2014 she found FIMC. In 2016 she joined the guiding council. She is a retired Physical Therapist having had a fulfilling career with the U.S. Public Health Service. Her hobbies include: fly fishing, skiing, mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing, sewing, and cooking. From a young age she has participated in various martial arts (Judo, Jiu-Jitsu, Karate, and Aikido). While living in Flagstaff she obtained her private pilot license and enjoyed many years of flying in the area.

Chris Taesali

Chris Taesali


Chris arrived in Flagstaff in 1999 and attended NAU. He’s frequently been attending sits and retreats with FIMC since 2013, and started participating in the Guiding Council (now called the Board of Directors) in late September 2013. You could find him outdoors hiking, mountain biking, and fly fishing. Chris is an assistant instructor for a local fencing group. He is interested in freedom, seeing clearly, and a greater understanding of the beautiful world we are a part of. Enjoys music, reading, photography, art & design, teaching, discussion, and appreciates the diversity, assistance, acceptance, and learning found within this community (also known as a Sangha).

Brian Lesage

Brian Lesage

Guiding Teacher

Brian Lesage has practiced Buddhist meditation since 1988 and has taught meditation since 2000. He has studied in the Zen, Theravada and Tibetan schools of Buddhism. He was ordained in the Rinzai Zen tradition in 1996. His training in Vipassana Meditation includes doing extended meditation retreats in Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, and India as well as numerous retreats in the U.S. He leads retreats and teaches meditation courses nationwide. Brian also has a private practice in Somatic Experiencing, which is a naturalistic approach to healing trauma. You can also visit his website for Somatic Experiencing at:

Board Members

Janine Schipper Profile Picture

Janine Schipper

I was introduced to Vipassana meditation in 1990 when I took an undergraduate class on the “Social Psychology of Consciousness.” I meditated on my own until 2003 when I began sitting with the Flagstaff Vipassana Sangha and attending retreats. As a professor of sociology at Northern Arizona University I integrate contemplative practices into my teaching and writing. I have written about Buddhist Sociology as well as about how contemplative practices may help us address environmental crises. More recently I have had the opportunity to facilitate “mindfulness circles” and offer workshops on “Mindfulness for Social Activists.” I live with 4 wild beings (my husband and 3 children) and find their presence a continual reminder to breath and experience the aliveness of the present moment.