Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Lincoln Atheists 2016 Board Candidates

November 15th was the final day to nominate members for Lincoln Atheists Board of Directors. This year the chairs President, Marketing Director, Activities Director and the new Information Technology Director are up for election.

The candidates have prepared campaign platform summaries. Below you will see the available chairs and the candidates summary.

  • Brian Aden
"When I started Lincoln Atheists seven years ago I’m not sure I truly understood how important it would be for me and so many others. From my own experiences I knew how difficult it could be to be an atheist in a conservative area like the state of Nebraska. In my own search for other atheists I found a Meetup group that met up in Omaha and immediately found people I could connect with without fear or condemnation for not believing in God. After attending numerous monthly meetup events I ultimately became a founding member of their Board of Directors, eventually taking on the position of President for one year. While being a part of that organization was a wonderful time for me, the traveling was time consuming and a bit expensive. Although I served on the board of Omaha Atheists I knew that something similar was needed for my hometown of Lincoln.
So, I got onto meetup.com and created the Lincoln Atheists meetup group. I’m not sure I envisioned what kind of organization would ultimately develop, but I knew that I wanted, at the least, was to bring like-minded individuals together for the chance to talk and socialize. Beginning with a meetup of just six people sitting around a table talking at Old Chicago restaurant we have grown to an organization that has many hundreds of individuals associated with it (including meetup.com and Facebook).
In 2015 I proposed that Lincoln Atheists incorporate as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in an effort to be able to provide more for atheists, agnostics and non-believers than we were able to do as just a loosely organized meetup group. Part of that proposal was the creation of a Board of Directors to manage operations of the new organization. I have served as President of the Board of Directors since our incorporation. In that time I wrote the initial bylaws which govern the organization; applied for and received our non-profit status with the IRS; and oversaw the creation of new committees that help manage the day-to-day operations of Lincoln Atheists. During my time as President of Lincoln Atheists we have created a new website, expanded our discussion groups, had a week-long display in the Nebraska Capitol building, donated over 500 lbs. of food to LPS/FBL Backpack program, participated in the Give to Lincoln Day campaign, put up a billboard to announce our presence in Lincoln (although the billboard was removed prematurely due to complaints from religious individuals, we gained a significant amount of press coverage in both the local and national media), and created a secular parenting group.

I am running for the position of President of the Board of Directors so that I can continue helping to move Lincoln Atheists forward into more, new and better ways to assist the atheist community in and around Lincoln. I believe that there are numerous ways that we can continue to create the kind of community that supports nonbelievers while reaching out to others to eliminate the stigma that is so often attached to our atheism. I would like to see even more activities, educational events, community service projects, and acts of activism. I see Lincoln Atheists as an organization that can welcome and support everyone from the still-in-the-closet atheist to the most outspoken atheist activist. I would like to continue to serve the members of Lincoln Atheists as I have done for so long.
I am asking for your vote this year as I feel that I continue to have much to contribute to this wonderful organization and its members. I have been so proud to have had the chance to lead Lincoln Atheists, unofficially for the first five years of its existence, and officially for the past two years. I believe that the best days of this organization are ahead of us and I look forward to leading it into the future."
  • Chris Clements
"First of all thank you to those that nominated me for president. It is an honor simply being nominated.
I am excited by the possibility to help Lincoln Atheists grow and increase our member base which in turn will allow us to do more for our community. I had a great time spear heading the Reason the Season display last year and look forward to doing more similar things to stand up for the separation of church and state. I also had a role in getting the billboard off the ground and hope to figure out a way to get another billboard up this next year. I know this will be a hurdle but I am prepared to work with national organizations in order to get this done if need be.
In Lincoln and the surrounding area atheism is still a bad word and I want to work to change that perception while also letting it be known to the religious that they have pushed us as far as we are willing to allow them and if we have to fight back we will do so. One of my first goals will be to work on petitioning the president of the United States to revert the national motto back to E Pluribus Unum. I have been researching the process and believe it is an attainable goal. I have a lot of experience with non-profit groups as my father was the president and then the treasurer of Kiwanis when I was a child and so we were always extremely active in that and have several ideas from there that I think we could implement here.

I have been on the education committee and am very dedicated there and fully intend to bring that dedication to the board if you all see it fit for me to take on that role.

Once again it is a pleasure to simply be nominated and means a lot to me, so thank you for your consideration"
Marketing Director
  • Erin Hoffmeyer
"As a member of Lincoln Atheists since 2012 and Marketing Committee member since 2015, I've had the pleasure of watching our organization grow both in membership and achieving non-profit status. Due to this, our presence in the community has also gotten some attention--some positive, some negative--thanks to projects such as Reason This Season and the recent billboard placement. Obviously, we are not always well-received by others, and I feel it is important to maintain a calm and level-headed demeanor whenever engaging in discussion on public forums, as this helps quell the negative stigma attached to atheism. As Marketing Director, I firmly believe I will be that person who, when approached with such situations again, will do so with tact and decorum, as our online persona also reflects LA as an organization, not just the activities we engage in in our city. Also, while I have no formal training nor much experience in marketing/public relations, aside from being a current Marketing Committee member, it is an area I am keenly interested in and motivated to help in the process of representing Lincoln Atheists in the best way possible, be it designing print material for distribution and promotional purposes to being respectful and courteous when in discussions (Why So Atheist? posts excluded, obviously). I truly feel as Marketing Director, I will make a commitment to help brand LA in the best possible light. I am honored to have been nominated and I thank you for my consideration in this position. #Hoff2016"
Activities Director
  • Julianna Felkner
  • Cara McClelland
"I think that I would make a good activities director because of experience I have both within Lincoln Atheists and with organizations planning events. I have facilitated the Send Hunger Packing Drive and the Sock it to Winter Drive for the Community Service committee (and am willing to continue to do so). In addition to our fairly regularly scheduled meet ups, I have a few ideas that might be fun and educational for members and their families. I can coordinate with the Secular Parenting schedule to help us get together, enjoy each other’s company and do things to further advance our collective scientific and societal knowledge."
  • Debbie Aden
"Lincoln Atheists are a great group of people. I have been a member and participating in activities since Brian started the group more than seven years ago. Even since moving to Fairbury our family has stayed involved with the group and attended activities as often as possible. The group currently offers a variety of activities where hopefully everyone can find something they enjoy. I would like to continue and build on that. This is your group, and as Director of Activities I would ask the members what activities we have done in the past you would like to see continued as well as new ones you might like to try!"
Information Technology Director
  • Ryan McMaster
"I have been Lincoln Atheists' Activities Director for the past 2 years. My focus was to grow a communitie for Atheists and Non-believers; a place where they felt as though they belonged.
With Lincoln Athiests growth in the digital age and with my experience, I volunteered to create Lincoln Atheists website and has become the impromptu IT guy.
After I become the IT Director I still plan on being an active member with the Activities Committee and grow our community with programs and events for members to enjoy."
Voting will begin December 3rd and run for 2 weeks. Members in good standing will receive a ballot link to their email address that was provided in their Lincoln Atheists Membership Application. If you need to verify or update your email address we have on file for you please contact membership@lincolnatheists.org