This conference, the first of its kind in the freethought community, centers on how nontheists can put their compassionate humanism to work for a better world. It includes TED-style presentations on philanthropy, volunteering, and community building, as well as practical workshops, panels, and hands-on volunteer opportunities.
|CAROLINE FIENNES (Keynote) is an influential thinker and speaker on evidence-based giving. She is executive director of Giving Evidence, a company that consults on evidence-based giving, past CEO of climate change charity Global Cool, and author of It Ain’t What You Give, It’s the Way That You Give It. Caroline will present the keynote address on the sometimes surprising ways individuals and organizations can maximize the impact of their charitable giving.
Caroline Fiennes’ appearance is made possible by a generous grant from Skepchick.
|HEMLEY GONZALEZ is one of the great practitioners of compassionate humanism in the world today. He is the founder of Responsible Charity, a humanist charity providing education to children in the slums of India and empowering women and men to overcome poverty, and founder/admin of United Humanists, an online forum debating global social issues, politics, religion, secularism, science, health, and more. Hemley will talk about putting humanist compassion to work in an effective and responsible way among the poor.|
|GRETA CHRISTINA is an influential thought leader and speaker in the atheist community, a regular atheist correspondent for AlterNet, Free Inquiry, and The Humanist, and author of books including Why Are You Atheists So Angry? and the forthcoming Coming Out Atheist. She also blogs at the wildly popular “Greta Christina’s Blog” at Freethought Blogs.|
|HEMANT MEHTA is creator of “Friendly Atheist,” one of the most influential blogs in freethought, and author of books including I Sold My Soul on Ebay and The Young Atheist’s Survival Guide. He is a past or current board member for several national freethought organizations, including Foundation Beyond Belief. Hemant will be the keynote speaker for the Heart of Humanism Awards Dinner on Saturday night.|
|DR. BRITTANY SHOOTS-REINHARD is fast emerging as a leader in humanist philanthropy. She holds a Ph.D. in social psychology from the Ohio State University. Her research focuses on how people’s thoughts about their attitudes, personality, and goals influence their judgments and behavior. She is currently coordinator of FBB’s Beyond Belief Network, a nationwide network of 95 humanist teams volunteering in their communities and fundraising for charities in over 30 states. Brittany will present on the science of giving and volunteering.|
|LEO IGWE, an award-winning Nigerian human rights activist and JREF Research Fellow, is one of the giants of humanism in support of basic human rights in Africa. Leo will speak about his current work shining a light on the appalling practice of witchcraft accusations in Ghana and Nigeria. It is courageous and important work in which he persists despite being harassed, arrested, and beaten by authorities in these countries.
Leo Igwe’s appearance is made possible by a generous grant from Polaris Financial Planning.
|DAVID SMALLEY is a former Christian musician whose education in psychology, sociology, and world religions, with a deep-dive study of Christianity for more than 14 years, resulted in his atheism. He later became a secular activist and avid speaker, writer, and radio host. David quickly grew Dogma Debate from an idea to an iHeartRadio show with more than 1 million downloads, and over 160,000 listeners per month. He is the former Editor-in-
Chief of both Secular World and American Atheist magazines, the author of Baptized Atheist, and founder of AtheistAudiobooks.com. He is most known for his respectful approach to believers, most recently featured in the 2014 movie My Week in Atheism.
|THE PATHFINDERS PANEL consists of three young pioneers of humanist global service: Conor Robinson, Wendy Webber, and Ben Blanchard. The Pathfinders are currently in the midst of a year of global service working on clean water, sanitation, education, and human rights projects in eight countries, laying the groundwork for a permanent international Humanist Service Corps. The Pathfinders will return to the U.S. just in time to present a panel on their experiences in Cambodia, Ghana, Uganda, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Ecuador, Guatemala, and Colombia.
The Pathfinders’ appearance is made possible by a generous grant from the American Humanist Association.
|ALIX JULES is chair of the Dallas–Fort Worth Coalition of Reason’s Diversity Council and a founding member and presiding Historian for the Fellowship of Freethought, a family-based organization founded on the values of secular humanism and charitable principles. He will speak on the ways in which increasing diversity in the freethought movement changes the nature of the movement itself.
Alix Jules’ appearance is made possible by a generous grant from Black Nonbelievers.
|SERÁH BLAIN is Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for Arizona and a board member for the Secular Student Alliance and Arizona Coalition of Reason. She will speak about her experience of living without shelter on the streets of Phoenix for nearly a month last summer to raise awareness and funds for a women’s homeless shelter at risk of closing.|
|CARMEN ZEPP is a North Carolina humanist who decided to feed the hungry whether or not it was allowed. In early 2012 she founded Human Beans Together, a “collection of people interested in helping alleviate hunger, homelessness, and hopelessness by sharing our resources with those in need.” Each Sunday, Carmen and a number of volunteers distribute free soup and other food to anyone who wants or needs it in a square in downtown Raleigh, an activity that has occasionally run her afoul of the city council. She will share her experiences.|
|ADAM CHALOM is a gifted local and national leader in Secular Humanistic Judaism. As Rabbi of Kol Hadash Humanistic Congregation in north suburban Chicago, as well as the Dean for North America of the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism, Adam has long experience in building and sustaining nontheistic communities, the focus of his presentation.|
|REBECCA VITSMUN came to prominence after her Oklahoma home was leveled by a tornado in 2013 and CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked her “Don’t you have to thank the Lord?” Her graceful and honest response (“I’m actually an atheist”) earned her instant fame in the freethought community. But she hasn’t rested on her laurels. In the past year she has been working with Foundation Beyond Belief to build Humanist Crisis Responders, a new network of humanists ready to volunteer on the scene of disasters across the United States, and has taken over FBB’s Helping Hands program.|
|SHARON MOSS has over 10 years of secular community organizing experience. She is a former president of both campus (Secular Student Alliance at The Ohio State University) and off-campus (the Humanist Community of Central Ohio) communities as well as the former Alumni Director of the Secular Student Alliance. Sharon currently works part-time managing events and membership as the Coordinator for the Humanist Community of Central Ohio (@HumanistOhio) in Columbus, Ohio. When not geeking out about organizational development, Sharon leads a secret second life as a competitive strongwoman.|
|The daughter of a Holocaust survivor father and a mother from an orthodox Jewish family, LISA WERTMAN CROWE attended the Ethical Culture School on weekdays and the New York Society for Ethical Culture on Sundays with her family. As a teen, she attended the Encampment for Citizenship in New York, and later graduated from the St. Louis Ethical Society’s Sunday school. Lisa has served on the Ethical Humanist Society of Chicago’s Board of Trustees and currently chairs their Publicity Committee. She will present as part of the segment on secular community.|
|NICOLE STEEVES is one of the producers of Sunday Assembly Chicago. She heard about Sunday Assembly just weeks after it began in early 2013 and jumped at the chance to be the Chicago producer to help her children perceive atheism as the perfectly normal thing it is and not something that makes their family unusual. She lives with her family in a 100-year-old house that she says is “more demanding than any toddler.” Nicole will present as part of the segment on secular community.|