Events on a Budget – Lauren Lane, Chelsea Du Fresne, Stephanie Zvan

Sunday 3:00 PM – Main Hall

Psst. Want to hold a conference? Everybody’s doing it. Whether it’s a conference, a lecture, or a day of workshops, it isn’t as hard or as expensive as you think to put on event in the secular movement. Our panelists will talk about ways to keep your costs low while putting on an entertaining, educational event.

Lauren_Lane_smLauren Lane is the Founder and Executive Director of Skepticon, a national conference located annually in Springfield, MO that promotes skepticism, science education and community building. During her tenure as an undergraduate, Lauren held various leadership positions in the Missouri State University Chapter of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, a secular student group that revolutionized student activism. She has been a contributor to The Friendly Atheist, MadArtLabs, and has previously spoken at conventions such as the Secular Student Alliance Convention, FTBCon, and Reason in the Rock.
Chelsea DuFresneBrother Jed once called Chelsea Du Fresne devil spawn, so she has been involved in atheist community organizing ever since. Her biggest not-big project was Skeptech, a progressive student-run conference about critical thinking and technology at the University of Minnesota. Now she mostly plays Skyrim and makes tradigrade jokes.
Stephanie Zvan is the former associate president of Minnesota Atheists, and has been part of the committee running their conferences for the past two years. While blogging at Almost Diamonds, she has put together panels for all three FtBCons, the online conference of Freethought Blogs. She has also run well-received workshops at both Minnesota Atheists conferences and for the past three years at Skepticon.

with Lauren Lane

Sunday 9:00 AM

Main Hall

Lauren_Lane_smThis is a working conference, but working on a conference morning can feel like, well, work. Come get revved up and ready for your day as the coffee kicks in.

Lauren Lane is the Founder and Executive Director of Skepticon, a national conference located annually in Springfield, MO that promotes skepticism, science education and community building. During her tenure as an undergraduate, Lauren held various leadership positions in the Missouri State University Chapter of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, a secular student group that revolutionized student activism. She has been a contributor to The Friendly Atheist, MadArtLabs, and has previously spoken at conventions such as the Secular Student Alliance Convention, FTBCon, and Reason in the Rock.

with Mandisa Thomas

Saturday 2:00 PM – Main Hall

Mandisa ThomasWhen a movement isn’t meeting your needs and the needs of the people around you, sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands. Mandisa Thomas did just that, and she will share her challenges and triumphs with us.

Mandisa Thomas is the president and founder of Black Nonbelievers, Inc. She also has a new project called New Turn. From their website: “The focus is to provide help for ex-convicts, at-risk juveniles and individuals who are at a general education and economic disadvantage by developing critical thinking and practical instruction and skills, as well as maximize entrepreneurial capability.” You can find out more about New Turn here.

with Amy Monsky, Debbie Goddard, Heather Hegi

Friday 8:10 PM – Main Hall

As the secular movement grows and matures, the face of its leadership becomes more diverse. Research tells us that’s great for our creativity and further growth, but it also comes with challenges. Diversity means diverse priorities and practices as well. Our panel will talk about some of the challenges they’ve faced being the “new guard” and tips for meeting those challenges.


 

Amy_Monsky_smAmy Monsky is executive director of the Atheist Alliance of America. She is also president of the Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry in Charleston, S.C., and has been active on their board of directors since 2009, having served as family activities coordinator before being elected president in 2012. She also serves on the board of Camp Quest Inc., a summer camp geared toward children from non-religious families. Monsky founded Camp Quest South Carolina in 2011 and continues to be its director.


 

Heather_Hegi_smHeather is the current Secretary for Minnesota Atheists after having served the maximum term as its Chair. She was the youngest Chair in Minnesota Atheists’ history and has consistently advocated for events and practices that make Minnesota Atheists accessible and appealing to people of all ages.

 


 

Debbie GoddardDebbie Goddard is the director of outreach at the Center for Inquiry and the director of African Americans for Humanism. Before working for CFI, she participated in local freethought groups in the greater Philadelphia region and helped organize and support campus groups internationally as a volunteer. She has also been involved with LGBTQ issues and progressive activism.

Mandisa Thomaswith Mandisa Thomas

Saturday 9:00 AM

Main Hall

This is a working conference, but working on a conference morning can feel like, well, work. Come get revved up and ready for your day as the coffee kicks in.

Mandisa Thomas is the president and founder of Black Nonbelievers, Inc. She also has a new project called New Turn. From their website: “The focus is to provide help for ex-convicts, at-risk juveniles and individuals who are at a general education and economic disadvantage by developing critical thinking and practical instruction and skills, as well as maximize entrepreneurial capability.” You can find out more about New Turn here.

 

Debbie Goddard with Debbie Goddard.

Friday 7:15 PM – Main Hall

The secular movement has been through a tough few years. It’s made important progress, and it’s paid some heavy prices for that progress. There’s still work to be done, though. Debbie Goddard’s take on these challenges and what we can do to meet them is both thoughtful and inspiring.

Debbie Goddard is the director of outreach at the Center for Inquiry and the director of African Americans for Humanism. Before working for CFI, she participated in local freethought groups in the greater Philadelphia region and helped organize and support campus groups internationally as a volunteer. She has also been involved with LGBTQ issues and progressive activism.

 

While the website and twitter accounts have been still, our heroes, disguised as mild mannered organizers, have been busy behind the scenes seeing to all the details needed to make this a gloriously successful event!

First and foremost, if you did not get your ticket during the Kickstarter, do not fret! It’s not too late. Tickets are available for purchase here! Student rates are available.

We have acquired space in the Historic Humphrey Conference Center on the University of Minnesota’s West Bank. The center is ADA compliant and situated on light rail.

Secular Women Work is committed to making the conference an accessible space, particularly for those from resource-limited settings. Scholarships include paid conference registration and a travel stipend, where available. Despite being a small, first-year conference, we have a selection of scholarships available. Members of underrepresented groups within the secular movement are encouraged to apply.

To make planning your trip as easy as possible, we have included a list of accommodations and dining options which includes many vegan and gluten free choices

Our schedule is starting to take shape as we add more fascinating speakers, including:

  • Debbie Goddard, Director of Outreach for Center for Inquiry and Director of African Americans for Humanism
  • Amy Monsky, Executive Director of Atheist Alliance of America
  • Heather Hegi, past Board Chair and current Secretary of Minnesota Atheists
  • Hiba Krisht, writer, apostate, and mental health advocate
  • Monette Richards, President of the Center for Inquiry, Northeast Ohio and director of Secular Woman
  • Stephanie Montgomery, Vice President of Secular Avenue
  • Miri Mogilevsky, co-founder of Help Without Heaven

The topics for our panels and workshops are coming together as well. Check out:

  • The current challenges facing the secular movement
  • Activism for newbies
  • Assertive communication
  • Self-care and avoiding burnout
  • Lobbying
  • Getting the most out of your social media
  • Managing volunteers
  • Fundraising
  • Making sure your activism is effective
  • Reproductive justice activism beyond clinic escorting
  • Building inclusive communities

We’re adding more speakers and topics every day as we get the final details pinned down.

Our code of conduct is coming soon! If you want a preview, we’re basing it on the policy from Skeptech last April. We’ll be updating it with some guidelines for making discussion in workshops productive and inclusive, but the core of the policy worked well and won’t change.

And now, a word about our sponsors…

Secular Woman Work is made possible, in part,  by C.A.S.H., Minnesota Atheists and Secular Woman. We are highly grateful for the hard work and generosity of each of these organizations and cannot thank them enough.

 

 

Secular Women Work is committed to making the conference an accessible space, particularly for those from resource-limited settings. Scholarships include paid conference registration and a travel stipend, where available. Despite being a small, first year conference, we have a selection of scholarships available. Members of underrepresented groups within the secular movement are encouraged to apply.

With the goal of creating future community organizers and activists, scholarship candidates will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • The conference’s potential impact on the growth of the candidate.
  • Membership in an underrepresented group or groups within the secular movement.
  • Our ability to make sure you can attend and make use of the scholarship.

We recognize that conferences are often the gateway into organizing, and that experience levels vary widely among those starting out. For us, a commitment and passion for activism are paramount. Everybody starts somewhere! If you’ve blogged but never done “meatspace” organizing, that’s fine. If you just want to increase your civil activism and don’t know where to begin, that’s great too—Secular Women Work will encompass a variety of approaches and starting points. The most important thing is that you apply!

Deadlines

The initial deadline for applications is end of day July 6. After that date, we will grant the scholarships we have available then. If you’ve missed the July 6 deadline but still want a scholarship, go ahead and fill out the form. We can’t promise we will have more scholarships available, but we may. Candidates will be admitted on a rolling basis.

In order to apply, fill out the following form with your full name, email address, whether or not you require travel assistance, and what you hope to take away from the conference.

Secular Women Work Scholarship Form

Best of luck and we hope to see you in August!

-The Organizers

Come August, the conference will feature a full slate of women and genderqueer activists. This week, we’re going to feature three such activists: Mandisa Thomas, Lauren Lane, and Desiree Schell. All three are spectacular and amazing, so we hope you enjoy them!

Desiree Schell is a union organizer who is passionate about effective activism. Here, she tells us how she ended up an activist, why measuring our results is so important, and what topics she’d like to see activists tackle.

Come August, the conference will feature a full slate of women and genderqueer activists. This week, we’re going to feature three such activists: Mandisa Thomas, Lauren Lane, and Desiree Schell. All three are spectacular and amazing, so we hope you enjoy them!

Lauren Lane is founder and on-going organizer of Skepticon, the Midwest’s largest Skeptic Conference.  Here’s a little bit about how Lauren got started and what she’s looking forward to at Secular Women Work.