Zayda Vallejo, MLitt
Zayda Vallejo, MLitt, was born in Colombia, South America. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Psychology at Loyola University in Chicago and a Master’s degree in Political Economics at Oxford University. She has been practicing meditation and yoga since 1978. Her keen interest in meditation took her to Japan, India, Burma, and Nepal, where she lived for three years.
Zayda has been working with the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society (CFM) at the University of Massachusetts Medical School for the past 18 years. She served as a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) instructor, supervisor, and teacher of professionals who aspire to teach MBSR. She is also part of the Certification Review Team and teaches 5-day and 7-day silent mindfulness retreats. In 2008, she co-developed a Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention Program for women in addiction recovery for the Boston Public Health Commission. From 2007-2015 she taught MBSR for The Lazar Lab at the Massachusetts General Hospital for research purposes. From 2014-2017 Zayda was a consultant at the Center for Mindfulness and Compassion at the Harvard University, Cambridge Health Alliance where she was part of a team that developed the Mindfulness Training for Primary Care.
She also taught mindfulness programs and developed curricula at The Garrison Institute, Copper Beech Institute, Mindful Kids Miami, University of Southern California, and other organizations. In 2014 she co-founded the HeartWell Institute, a non-profit community organization in Worcester, MA dedicated to foster contemplative practices and wellness education.
Bob Lenhardt, LICSW, CEAP
Bob has worked in the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) field for 25 years as a clinician and as a director, where he focuses primarily on substance abuse and on workplace crisis response. He is a Certified Employee Assistance Professional and a U.S. DOT Qualified Substance Abuse Professional. He oversees EAP services provided to organizations following traumas or critical incidents, and manages cases in which safety-sensitive employees test positive for drugs.
Bob’s career was varied from the time he graduated with a BA at Penn State in 1972, until 1988 when he graduated from Boston College Graduate School of Social Work. Much of that time was spent working in restaurants and then learning to build acoustic guitars.
He began studying about meditation while in graduate school to learn how meditation might be used as a tool in recovery from addictions. His interest was boosted after visiting the Kripalu Center in Western Massachusetts for the first time in 1989, and progressed significantly after meeting (and then marrying!) Zayda in 2004. He completed the Practicum for Mindfulness Base Stress Reduction from the UMass Center for Mindfulness in 2005.
He has maintained a part-time private practice in psychotherapy in Worcester since 1998, specializing in addictions.