General Management Staff

Managing Director

Nena v.S. Thurman

Nena Thurman, Photo By Christopher Michel

Nena is the Managing Director of Tibet House US and Menla Mountain Retreat. She was a successful fashion model in the 1950s and ’60s before becoming a psychotherapist. She has been married to Robert Thurman for over 40 years, and together they have raised four children, including Tibet House US Executive Director Ganden Thurman and renowned actress Uma Thurman. In 1991 Nena join the board of the newly established Tibet House US, and in 2001 she began working on establishing and developing Menla. Nena oversees the general management of Menla as well as all interior design. She spent six years overseeing all aspects of the design and construction of the Mahasukha Spa.


Michael G. Burbank


Michael is a former student of Robert Thurman at Columbia University. In early 2002 he was invited to help launch the newly donated Menla. In 2003 Michael took lay vows and received the Kalachakra initiation from His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He worked countless hours as dishwasher, housekeeper, maintenance assistant, groundskeeper, cafe attendant, and anything else for which he was needed. In 2005 he moved to Portland, Oregon and managed a small spa and floatation tank center. In 2007 he returned to Menla to join the administrative team and became Director in 2013. In his spare time, he works on spiritually-based graphic novels, including most recently Man of Peace: the Illustrated Life Story of the Dalai Lama with William Meyers and Robert Thurman.

Operations Manager

Nina Gramaglia

Nina is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz with a degree in political science. She started at Menla early in the 2012 season as lead member of the Front of House staff. After a brief hiatus in the winter of 2013, where she worked in North Carolina on an organic farm and in California as a property manager, she returned to Menla on a full-time basis as Housekeeping Coordinator before being promoted in the fall of 2013 to Operations Manager.

Assistant Director

Nate Hughes

Spa Director

Lynn Schauwecker

Executive Chef

Charles Goodall

Facilities Manager

David Giangreco

Management Support Staff

Front of House Manager

Amber Hallinan

Spa Manager

Kersten “Chisti” Dryden

Sous Chef

Ryan America

Housekeeping Coordinator

David “JD” Lennon

Head of Horticulture

Lisa Taranto

Website and Social Media Manager

Justin Stone-Diaz