Menla’s management team, support staff, and long-term volunteers are comprised of a caring, hard-working, dynamic group of individuals who work at Menla due to its special environment, mission and cause, and opportunities to be exposed to a wide variety of spiritual and healing traditions.

Our staff is committed to excellent customer service and to the understanding that everyone we serve at Menla is visiting for unique reasons, often having to do with deep inner work, and need the thoughtful loving support of our entire team.

Please note: only the Management Team is featured below. 

Nena vS Thurman

Managing Director

Nena is the Managing Director of Tibet House US and Menla. 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.  She was a successful fa...

Michael G. Burbank


Michael has been a student of Robert Thurman for twenty years, beginning with his undergraduate years at Columbia University. In early 2002 he was invited by the Thurmans to help them launch the newly donated Menla. From 2002-2005 he served as Menla’s dishwasher, housekeepe...

Lynn Schauwecker


With an extensive fundraising and marketing background, Lynn began working for Tibet House US in 1999 in Development as well as heading up the Annual Tibet House US Benefit Auction. In 2004 she organized the Global Women’s Gathering at Menla which initiated the International Co...

Nina Gramaglia

Operations Manager

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 a...

Nathaniel Hughes

Director of Sales

Nathaniel’s path to Menla arose from his dedication to business interest with simple living and spirituality. With a background in Sales and Business Consulting, he guides Menla’s groups sales and helps with Menla’s strategic financial direction. His interests i...

Kersten “Chisti” Dryden

Spa Manager

Chisti is a certified Holistic Health Coach, NLP Practitioner, Interfaith Minister, Vegetarian Chef, and has studied Dream work with Robert Moss and Guru Dharam Singh Khalsa, and Nejang (Tibetan Longevity yoga) with Dr. Nida Chenagtsang. With 20 years of experience in dream work,...

Amber Hallinan

Front of House Manager

With over twelve years experience in the hospitality industry, Amber joined Menla’s Front of House team in August of 2015 after wanting to shift out of restaurant management onto a path that aligned with her spiritual goals and life interests. She became Front of House Man...

Natalie Varrallo

Executive Chef

Natalie grew up in Woodstock, New York, where she was exposed to alternative forms of food, medicine, community, and lifestyle. From 2008 through 2015, she spent her summers in Taiwan, immersing herself in the traditions of Humanistic Buddhism through the Fo Guang Shan movement. ...

Lisa Taranto

Head of Horticulture

Lisa has a background in architecture, but went rogue after realizing that she needed a physically engaged life to feel like a whole human. She has been practicing and implementing the design of buildings, urban agriculture, robust gardens, and ecological restoration systems for ...

David Giangreco

Facilities Manager

Born and raised on Long Island, David has built his career on hard work and attention to detail. Working on projects ranging from multi-million dollar estates to his own home, his focus is on preserving the beauty of historic Americana elements of the Hudson valley. David joined ...


375 Pantherkill Road, P.O. Box 70 Phoenicia, NY 12464
845-688-6897 ext 101