2016 Archive

2016 Keynote

  • David Silverman

    President, American Atheists


    Author of Fighting God




  1. 1
  2. 2

NaNoCon is thrilled to have David Silverman as our keynote speaker this year. David’s work within the secular movement has resulted in greater visibility for freethinkers in the media, produced significant advances in Church/State issues, and opened avenues for further activism within the United States. David has also written his first book, Fighting God. He will be available after his talk for a book signing. 

2016 Speakers

David Silverman

David Silverman

David is President of American Atheists, the author of Fighting God, and was the creator and Executive Producer of the 2012 Reason Rally. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science from Brandeis University, his MBA in Marketing  from Penn State, and his CAGS in International Business from Seton Hall. Dave served as a professional inventor at Bell Labs for 8 years (74 issued patents) and a Marketing Director for Natural Microsystems.

He has been an atheist since he was 6-years-old. Dave became an activist in 1996 and soon became New Jersey State Director. He also founded the Alliance of Lucent and AT&T Atheists and Secularists, the first employee club of its kind. He was tapped to be the National Spokesperson in 2004, and then was named Vice President in 2008. The Board of Directors elected Dave as President in September of 2010.

Mr. Silverman has appeared on most major news programs including The O’Reilly Factor (spawning the famous “WTF meme-face”), The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson, Ronan Farrow Daily, Scarborough Country, CNN’s Paula Zahn NOW, Nick News, Hannity and Colmes, FOX and Friends, NPR’s All Things Considered, and many more.

Gayle Jordan

Gayle is the Executive Director of Recovering from Religion. She is a former Southern Baptist who left the faith 10 years ago when her then-teenagers began asking questions she could not answer. Her research led her (and her children) into the light of reason and rationality. Years later, she still feels the effects, both positive and negative, of that dramatic shift in perspective and attitude. It is this sympathy and compassion that drives her to reach out to help others navigate the emotional and physical process involved in leaving one’s faith.

Gayle is an attorney and former personal trainer. She lives on Freethought Farm in middle Tennessee, where she spends her days amongst her longhorns, goats, donkeys, chickens, and dogs. She blogs about life on the farm, endurance event training, and secularism at Happy. Healthy. Heathen.

amy monsky

Amy Monsky

Raised in Louisville Kentucky, Amy Monsky was an atheist by the time she was 18, earning a degree in anthropology from Vanderbilt University. Sixteen years later Monsky discovered the secular movement in Charleston, SC where she created a secular families group for the Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry and eventually served as its President. Eager to provide her own three children with a safe, welcoming environment to explore their own identities and beliefs, Monsky discovered Camp Quest. Then everything changed.

Since 2010, Camp Quest with the positive impact it makes on children and families has become Monsky’s passion and obsession. Under her leadership Camp Quest South Carolina opened in 2012 with Monsky as its camp director. Inspired by Camp Quest’s Envision 2020 growth campaign honoring its twenty year anniversary (1996-2015), Monsky left her position as Executive Director of the Atheist Alliance of America to focus on the Camp Quest movement. Now the full-time Regional Director of Camp Quest’s southeast region, Monsky plans to launch five new Camp Quests in Mississippi (two locations), Florida (two locations), and Georgia by 2020. A life-long southerner with a passion for social justice, Monsky cannot wait to be part of bringing incredible, life-changing, youth development experiences to children and their families in this highly underserved region.


Presenter: Kate Ashcraft

Mentoring Secular Youth in the Political Realm

Learn how it’s important to mentor young voters throughout not just the registration process, but actually show them how elections affect issues that matter to them like birth control, transportation, taxes, and educational loan legislation.


Presenter: Tad Beaty

Being a Secular Celebrant

Tad is a founding board member of the Chattanooga Humanist Assembly and one of very few Humanist Celebrants in southeast Tennessee. He has recently begun blogging about his experiences and ideas at “The Rationalist Humanist.”

Presenter: Eliott Canter

Putting The “Human” in Human Resources

A discussion of sexual harassment/code of conduct/hostile work environment within the community and at conferences. Eliott has held a variety of senior-level positions in major retail organizations during a long and distinguished career. For the last several years he has been the president of a consulting practice that has become heavily involved in Sexual Harassment/Code Of Conduct/Hostile Work Environment training and investigations. In recent years Eliott has been volunteering his expertise as a consultant for many organizations in the secular community. His partner Gayle Jordan recently became the Executive Director of Recovering from Religion. Eliott and Gayle live on a farm in Tennessee.

Presenter: Brooke Dugger

Secular Parenting with a Mental Illness

Secular parenting while also coping with a mental illness.

Presenter: Sarah Green

Activism On A Budget

Presentation and discussion of issues that affect local groups and ideas to creatively deal with money issues. Representing a sponsor, American Atheists.

Presenter: Patrick Horst

“New Humanism”  Reason & Secular Ethics: The power of articulating what you DO believe.

How cool would it be to have a ready answer when someone says “So you don’t believe in ANYTHING?!”  Here, we will each have a chance to work out for ourselves what we DO believe, using the group as a resource.  This will be a small group conversation building upon Patrick’s opening talk.  As a none, what is your “elevator pitch”?

Presenters: Alex Starr & Craig Garbison

Of Gods and Men: Trials and Triumphs of Friendships with Theists

This workshop simply aims to share the friendship secrets of two people with diametrically opposed religious views: one a staunch atheist, the other a devout Christian. Despite their differences, Craig and Alex are passionate friends who truly treasure their relationship. They hope to share some of the principles they’ve applied to maintain that friendship. Attendees will take away some insights on tolerance, finding common language, compassion, and remembering what’s important. The workshop will include a 20 minute joint presentation followed by a 10 minute Q & A.

Presenter: Callie Wright

Safe Secular Spaces for LGBT

Cultural competency in issues facing the queer and transgender communities, and some practical ways you can make your meet ups a more welcoming place to be for those in the LGBT community.

Presenter: Phil Ferguson

Investing Skeptically

How Skepticism can help you avoid scams. Phil has been an investment advisor since 1996 and is the president of Polaris Financial Planning LLC. He is also a longtime activist in the secular movement. He has been on the board of The Secular Student Alliance and Atheist Alliance International. He now serves as the treasurer for the Reason Rally 2016. He has spoken at and supported many events including TAM, Apostacon and Skepticon, and is an inaugural sponsor of NaNoCon.

Presenter: Sawyer Braun

Political incorrectness: Why the message is more important than the messenger

Sawyer Braun has been an active member of Military Atheists and Secular Humanists (MASH) of Fort Campbell since December 2012, providing social support to atheist military members, their families and other veterans. He enjoys Facebook fights, street epistemology, and raining on Christmas parades by entering atheist floats.

Presenter: Casper Rigsby

Secular Activism Through Writing

Secular activism takes on many forms. One of those forms is through writing, and it’s one of the most popular methods of secular activism. Casper Rigsby is a prominent blogger with Atheist Republic and has published seven books, including the best-selling title The Bible in a Nutshell. In this workshop he will talk about getting involved in activism through this medium. He’ll discuss blogging, editorial journalism, and even how to write a book on topics that are important to you. He’ll also give some tips on some of the best places to get started in activism as a writer.

Show off your favorite photos from recent Cons