Ronna was born in Chicago and grew up with a strong commitment to social change. Her political activism began in high school, where she participated in civil rights activities. During and after college, she was an organizer for human rights and anti-war activities, which included providing draft registration and military counseling.
As an undergraduate, Ronna became fascinated with psychology and all things to do with working with the mind. She received undergraduate and graduate degrees in psychology, and went on to work as a psychotherapist for thirty-seven years until her retirement in 2015. In her psychotherapy practice, Ronna specialized in working with people with life-threatening illness and those experiencing loss. She also offered mental health services through the Red Cross after 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina.
Informally, Ronna was learning about spirituality and nature. After reading Buddhist teachings by Trungpa Rinpoche and other masters, she arrived at a different understanding about the causes of suffering, and developed a deep appreciation for the profound and systematic approach to relieving suffering that Buddhism provides. Ronna first met Sogyal Rinpoche through reading the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying in 1994. She knew immediately that she wanted to receive teachings from him, which first happened in 1997, and has been ongoing ever since.
Although still involved in social justice activity, Ronna’s focus has been on volunteering for Rigpa and supporting its work of bringing Tibetan Buddhism to the West. She is an instructor in Eugene, Oregon, and has been involved in supporting students and instructors since 2003. She holds the volunteer position of National Student Support Coordinator for Rigpa US.
In addition to her volunteer work with Rigpa, since retirement Ronna has felt very fortunate to spend significant amounts of time weaving, hiking in wilderness, and studying the teachings.