Secular Hub Board of Directors

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Barbara Sannwald

Chair/Treasurer

I have been a non-religious person all of my life. As a young adult seeking community, I got involved in various secular groups in the Denver area, hosting book groups, speakers, and social events. I became one of the founders of the Secular Hub in 2012 and joined the Board of Directors in 2016. During this time, the Hub has transformed into a thriving, vibrant community. I look forward to building the Secular Hub into a regional center that attracts major speakers, encourages stronger connections among local groups, and helps our secular community flourish.

My professional background includes 30 years as an Information Technology consultant, specializing in Oracle database development. I have an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering from MIT and an MBA from the University of Denver.

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Monica Toole

Vice Chair

Monica and her family are proud members of the Secular Hub after moving to the Denver metro area two years ago and seeking similarly-minded groups shortly thereafter. She hopes to increase participation of other secular families in our community as we work to build and grow our diverse membership at the Secular Hub. Monica is also a member of the American Humanist Legal Society.

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Becky Greben

Secretary

Becky grew up in a non-believing family in Chicago and moved to Denver in 1980 where she later joined the Humanists of Colorado and the (now defunct) Rocky Mountain Skeptics. She is a long time member of the national organizations The Center for Inquiry (publisher of Free Inquiry and Skeptical Inquirer magazines), and the National Center for Science Education. She is one of the founders of the Secular Hub. Becky holds Bachelor degrees in psychology and geology. She is retired from state government where she was the manager of several medical services programs in the Division of Workers’ Compensation. She is currently secretary of the Metro Denver chapter of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and also the board secretary for the Western Interior Paleontological Society. She has been a volunteer at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science for more than 21 years (working in the fossil preparation lab), and volunteers annually as a judge for the high school state science fair held at CSU.

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Joe Hickman

Director

I was not raised a believer or necessarily an unbeliever. My grandmother, Catholic, would take me to church when I was a child. But after she passed away when I was 10, my parents didn't continue that tradition, or even speak about religion in the house.

I do not have the concept of a supreme being who created us and demands fealty and worship. If others wish to have that world view, and do not attempt to impose it on others, I do not have quarrel with them. For those who do want to impose it on everyone else, we need to stand up and fight that.

In college I majored in Business, minored in Psychology, and took every computer course they offered. This has stood me well in the work world, as I have been able to bridge gaps and see the world through multiple perspectives. In my career, much of my work has been as a liaison between groups, mediating the differences to bring people to common ground. I have board experience in both the non-profit and HOA worlds.

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River Wood

Director

I am a born and raised preacher’s kid from a conservative fundamentalist cult. My family was kicked out of the church when I was a teenager, which left me adrift and agnostic/seeking for most of my adult life. Several years ago I got into atheist podcasts, and had a fairly traumatic “conversion” to atheism. Hearing about secular communities prompted me to look for one. As a queer/third-gender/ish primate who never fit in anywhere ever, and a lover of “worldly” music, I never missed the church or the bible, but I did miss having that “extended family” of caring humans the church came with. Well, I found that at the Hub. I’ve officially been a member for about a year, and I am immensely grateful to have found that “church home” I was missing.

Those podcasts also inspired me to finally go to university, and last year (2022) I graduated with a BS in Biology from CU Denver. During that time, I interned in a preclinical behavioral neuroscience lab where we studied effects of exercise and psychedelics on the brain. I worked as a Teaching Assistant in the Chemistry and Psychology departments starting in my second year, and taught first-year Biology labs (normally a grad student job) for my last three years, where I pushed some major changes into the curriculum. I loved all of it, even the math, and I’d do more school if money and time allowed. Prior to that, I held a wide array of jobs in IT, construction, sales, mortgage, and automotive fields. I’m Jill-of-all-trades, and I bring a broad (and weird) spectrum of experience with me.

My passion is writing about religious and humanist issues. Currently I’m splitting time between creating content for my YouTube channel, and odd jobs to pay the bills. And investing time and sweat into the Hub to help it grow. I’ve taken on yard work – both because I like gardening, and because it feels good to serve the community that makes me feel at home. I love the science talks, the comedy nights, the live music nights… and Sundays just hanging out and listening and meeting new humans and playing games.

My motivation to run for the board is the same thing that motivates everything else for me: empowering humanism. (And Robin made me do it!) I’ve committed my life to as much secular activism as I can manage, because there are still kids growing up in religious prison. The meme of my life says “be who you needed when you were younger”, and I want my one life to make a difference. I’ve spit fire at a state legislative committee, and I want to do it again. On the board or off, I will be working to fight theocracy and grow the Hub into the biggest baddest force for humanist good that it can be. The goal is world domination, with a Hub in every zip code, and I am here for it.

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Diana White

Director

My active participation in the Secular Community began when I found various social groups related to humanism, atheism, and freedom from religion on Meetup.com. The intrigue quickly turned into passion, and I have remained a member of the Hub since 2014. Since those fledgling first few years, it has been rewarding and uplifting to see the Hub grow into the vibrant organization that it is today, knowing that is has served so many members of our community, and that for some it has been life changing.

My professional background includes time as an Intelligence Officer in the U.S. Air Force, as well as 25 years in higher education, where I am currently an Associate Professor of Mathematics and Mathematics Education at the University of Colorado Denver. From 2014-2019, I served as Director of the National Association of Math Circles, leading a group that provided training, resources, and support to the more than 200 local Math Circles for teachers and students around the country. Related to these roles, I have written, applied for, received, and managed several million dollars in grant funding, from both government and community-based organizations. In addition, I have experience securing donations for programs from personal donors. I have decades of experience designing and leading professional development for K-12 teachers, writing research and practitioner-based articles, and presenting at national and international conferences.

I have also been a volunteer mediator for Community Mediation Concepts, focusing primarily on mediation and conflict resolution between neighbors, and between businesses and neighbors. In my free time, I have a passion for nature, hiking, animals, traveling, and sightseeing. I’m an avid fan of women’s sports, including Nebraska Women’s Volleyball - GO BIG RED!

My academic background includes earning my Ph.D. at the University of Nebraska, my master’s at the University of Illinois, and my Bachelor’s at the U.S. Air Force Academy, each in mathematics. I’m currently working on a Master’s in Analytics from Georgia Tech.

I intend to leverage my leadership experience and technical skills, including public speaking, conflict resolution, budgeting, fundraising, writing, and organizing, to help the Hub continue to thrive and grow, with an initial focus on fundraising initiatives. With its own building and large membership, the Hub is unique nationally. I would like to see the evolving story of the Hub publicized more, and for us to play a larger role in national secular organizations and communities. At the same time, I also hope to see us expand our local activities and programming to reach more people and contribute more to our local community.

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Shana Rubio

Director

I am a Colorado native born in Estes Park. I was indoctrinated since birth in the doomsday cult known as Jehovah’s Witnesses. I grew up a very devout JW but once I sought divorce from my abusive, substance abusing, spouse, I was disfellowshipped (excommunicated) at the age of 27. Their parting words to me were,” We leave you in Satan’s hands”. I spent the next 17 years waiting to die in Armageddon with the rest of Satan’s system of things.

Early in 2017 I was introduced to Reddit and there I found a small online community of ExJW’s. That started my deconstruction process. As I learned to live unencumbered by religious dogma, I started looking for other communities to join. The first one I found was Recovering from Religion Support Group that met at the Secular Hub. From there I started meeting more and more amazing “worldly” people and joined other secular organizations such as the Jefferson Humanists. I even formed my own ExJW Meetup.

We are so fortunate to have our own dedicated place to meet at The Secular Hub. It is important to me to help support those who are looking for a safe place to land outside the confines of religion, so I have continued to volunteer for Recovering from Religion as the Board Secretary, Volunteer Coordinator and I run one of just 5 In-Person Support Groups once a month at the Hub. I am also the Secretary/Treasurer for Jefferson Humanists as well as manage their membership database. My ExJW Meetup is still going strong after a short pause for COVID19 lockdown restrictions.

As a Jehovah’s Witness, I was deprived of a post-secondary education, but I make up for it by providing support as a volunteer in as many communities as time allows.

After attending the Volunteer Appreciation Event at the Hub last year (2023), I was reinvigorated to form a closer bond with like-minded people and explore more areas where I can lend my support to this amazing community.

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