Our Team



Jessica Mingus, MSW

Executive Director + Board Member

Bart van Melik

Guiding Teacher + Board Member

Jessica is a longtime meditation practitioner, social worker and seasoned organization-builder. She has twenty years of experience developing mission-driven organizations committed to social justice, higher education, and inner/collective wellbeing. Her work is committed to building care wherever she can, with a focus on people inside big systems. She is a Garrison Institute Fellow (2022-2024), selected to be part of an incubator for socially-engaged leaders committed to building a more compassionate, interconnected and healed society. With their support, she is developing a contemplative framework for complex caregiving and a companion book. 

For the last six years, Jessica has designed dozens of trauma-sensitive mindfulness programs as the Director of Programs and, currently, Co-Executive Director of the Lineage Project, a 25 year old mindfulness non-profit that works with young people, staff and caregivers inside NYC systems (incarceration sites, schools, foster care agencies, shelters and community-based organizations). 

She has a B.A. from Princeton University and an MSW from the Silberman School of Social Work. She is a Qualified Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Teacher through the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare & Society at UMass Medical School.

Bart has taught meditation classes and workshops since 2009 in the New York City area, as well as residential retreats worldwide. He offers meditation programs to diverse populations including incarcerated youth, homeless youth and families, veterans with PTSD and corporate workers. 

He has practiced many styles of meditation. He was trained by Joseph Goldstein and Carol Wilson, who introduced him to the power of a relaxed awareness that allows us to meet life with kindness, especially in times of difficulty. Gregory Kramer taught him Insight Dialogue – a fully engaged relational meditation practice. From his wife Chantal and son Lou, he continues to learn about unconditional love, patience and playing. 

He is a co-author of Still, in the City: Creating Peace of Mind in the Midst of Urban Chaos. His meditation instructions can be heard on the Meditation Studio App and on Dharma Seed. Originally from Holland, Bart is a graduate of the Spirit Rock/IMS Teacher Training, and the Community Dharma Leaders Program. He holds an M.A. in Psychology of Culture and Religion from Nijmegen University in The Netherlands. Bart is also fully matriculated as an Insight Dialogue Teacher.

Board Officers

Andrew Lipton


Andrew Lipton is on his second stint as a CMC Board member, having first served in 2016-2017. He has had a regular meditation practice for the past 10 years and has been participating in the CMC sangha since 2012. Andrew is an attorney with a national law practice handling environmental and chemical hazard cases, representing victims with cancer from toxic exposures. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Deer Hill Foundation which provides scholarships and funding for service projects at a wilderness expedition camp for youths and school groups. Andrew has two grown sons, a step-son and step-daughter, and a parcel of grandchildren.

Kimerly Polak


Kimerly Polak is the Executive Director of Polero ICE Advisers, a firm which she started in 2008 to assist individuals with their financial challenges.  Her experience prior to this was as a Senior Vice President of Citigroup and a Managing Director of Depfa Bank, where she focused on international investing and lived in several Latin American and European countries.  Kim has an MBA from Harvard Business School, and has earned professional designations in many areas of financial planning.   She has 2 sons and a daughter, who are all working and studying in NYC.

Barbara Greenberg


Barbara Greenberg, MSW, is founder and president of The Philanthropic Group, a consulting and management firm. Her clients are foundations, donor advised funds, and individual donors. She designs and manages thoughtful grantmaking plans to help clients achieve the greatest impact with every dollar contributed. Barbara’s areas of focus are food justice and racial justice, food waste reduction and hunger, children and youth, and neighborhoods. She currently serves on the Steering Committee of Community Food Funders, a NY-NJ-CT network of funders committed to an equitable, ecologically sound, and economically robust regional food system. Barbara is a scuba diver, snorkeler, and beach comber. She paddles her kayak on northeastern lakes, rivers, and ocean. Barbara has been meditating for nearly ten years and delights in inviting friends and family to join her for CMC retreats and Sunday meetings

Board Members

Cori Ellison

Cori Ellison, a leading creative figure in the opera world, has served as staff Dramaturg at Santa Fe Opera, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, and New York City Opera. She is a Vocal Arts Faculty member at The Juilliard School and Ravinia Steans Music Institute, and has taught and lectured for schools, performance venues, and media outlets worldwide. Active in developing contemporary opera, she teaches dramaturgy for American Lyric Theater’s Composer Librettist Development Program and works on the development of new operas for companies worldwide. She creates supertitles and singing translations for opera companies across the English-speaking world, and helped launch Met Titles, the Metropolitan Opera’s simultaneous translation system. She has often written for the New York Times, and has contributed to books including The New Grove Dictionary of Opera. Cori began attending CMC in 2014 and continues to find it a welcoming community and a transformative experience.

Solomon James

 Solomon James joins us from the world of finance and investment banking. While there, his efforts were largely focused on working with start-up companies in the food wast and sustainable natural resource arenas. In 2015, he founded a consulting group with the goal of helping minority business owners organize, and find their power and success. He currently spends his professional time as a Finance and Operations Director for a Buddhist non-profit organization based in New York. Solomon is a dedicated yogi of over ten years, having found his way to the Insight meditation tradition through retreats at Spirit Rock. He has a strong passion for supporting the CMC community, is most at home outdoors in nature and is an avid pianist in his free time.

Jennifer Taylor

Jennifer Taylor has been practicing meditation since 2000. She found CMC in 2012 when she sought a more formal meditation practice as a natural extension to her yoga practice, which she began more than 20 years ago.  Jennifer is a real estate broker with Compass which aligns with her passions for helping others, architecture, New York City and an active lifestyle. She has completed the Teacher Training program at the Iyengar Institute and now teaches yoga.  While raising her two now-adult sons, she spent many years volunteering at their schools. She enjoys traveling and competitive sailing.

Cathy Bristow

(Bio forthcoming)


CMC is deeply grateful to the following volunteers for their generous offerings of time, labor and support:

Doug (Media + Retreats)
Lee (Media)
Patrice (Communications)
Michael (Retreats)
Anna (Media)