Secular Women Work: Getting Your Message Out in Spite of a Hostile Press

We have some video conversion and editing to do before we can release all the talks and panels from the Secular Women Work conference. We had several people tweeting the event, though, so I am collecting and releasing Storifies of the sessions over several days.

This panel is the one that diverged most from my expectations as an organizer. All of our panelists are closely associated with “alternative” media, publications that aim for and succeed in niche markets. I expected to hear a lot about how to build and leverage those publications. Instead, I heard solid strategies for using a hostile press to reach untapped audiences.

I couldn’t be more delighted. In many ways, this is harder work, but it also has the potential to reach more of the people who need to be educated or have their minds changed. It’s very good to have understand the considerations behind the work. [Read more…]

Secular Women Work: Fundraising, or How to Ask for Money

We have some video conversion and editing to do before we can release all the talks and panels from the Secular Women Work conference. We had several people tweeting the event, though, so I am collecting and releasing Storifies of the sessions over several days.

Asking for money, even for a project I believe in, is far outside my comfort zone. Obviously, I’ve managed to do it anyway, or we wouldn’t have been able to raise the funds for this conference. Still, it’s something that makes me anxious, and I know I’m not close to alone in that. So we put together a panel for Secular Women Work to demystify and even destigmatize the process.

I knew going in to the this panel that everyone on it had successfully raised money for their projects, so I wasn’t surprised at the practical advice that came out of it. I was surprised and pleased to see that our panelists had a wider variety of experiences than I thought. It’s always nice to be able to see what advice generalizes and what doesn’t. [Read more…]

Secular Women Work: Taking Over from the Old Guard

We have some video conversion and editing to do before we can release all the talks and panels from the Secular Women Work conference. We had several people tweeting the event, though, so I am collecting and releasing Storifies of the sessions over several days.

We organizers originally conceived of the “Taking Over from the Old Guard” panel as a chance to talk about the challenges of entering a relatively homogenous space and working to make it meet the needs of a broader group of people. This panel was that and more, with panelists talking about developing themselves as leaders and about succession planning.

Kudos to all the panelists, who spoke frankly about their challenges in positions they still hold and communities they still work with, particularly to Heather Hegi, who spoke with her peers sitting in the audience. Also, if more people don’t start asking Amy Monsky to talk at their events, they’re really missing out. [Read more…]

Secular Women Work: The Future of the Movement

The Secular Women Work conference was this weekend. I found it intense and exhausting but very valuable. I’m told that people who weren’t organizing the conference had a different perspective on the exhaustion.

We have some video conversion and editing to do before we can release the talks and panels. We had several people tweeting the event, though, so I’ll be releasing Storifies of the sessions over the next several days.

First up is Debbie Goddard’s talk on the future of the movement and the challenges we face going forward. Goodness knows I’ve been discouraged at points over the last few years, but this talk goes a long way toward reminding me that making a better movement and meeting that movement’s goals is a possible thing. If I weren’t still tired from the conference, it would probably even make me start organizing something. [Read more…]

Secular Women Work Starts Today!

Yeah, so I’ve been running around like mad for the last week and some, and it won’t stop for a few more days. But our first speakers arrived in town last night, more are on their way, and we’ve only had one shipment of critically needed supplies go astray! (I should be getting a call about that any minute. *grump*)

I’m so very ready for this conference. I hope to see a bunch of you there.

Find Me at CONvergence!

Oh, goodness. CONvergence is just one day out, and it’s going to be a busy weekend. In addition to the FtB party room in the evenings (plus set-up and tear-down), I’m on six official CONvergence panels and running a salon in the FtB room on the side because we all decided we just weren’t doing enough already. Or something like that.

So here’s where you can find me talking at con. You’ll also find me at the Caribou Coffee next to the main conference hotel every morning, but I probably won’t be talking much at that point. [Read more…]

I Might Be a Little Excited

Here’s why.

Skepticon 8 text logo with a rainbow gradient.

That’s right. I’m speaking at Skepticon this November!

I might be a little excited. I might have answered the invitation to speak in approximately 5 milliseconds and with exclamation points. I might have worn my Skepticon t-shirt yesterday in honor of the official announcement. I might be a little overwhelmed by the group of people I’m appearing with.

Just a little excited, you understand.

Apply for Secular Women Work Scholarships Now!

If you’ve been waiting to apply for a scholarship for the Secular Women Work conference, this August 21-23 in Minneapolis, now’s your chance. Regular and student-priced tickets are also available for sale through Minnesota Atheists. Expect lots of interesting news (more speaker announcements!) soon.

From the SWW site:

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. [Read more…]

The Secular Women Work Kickstarter by the Numbers

We funded this afternoon at 4 p.m. CST. Now we just have to put on this conference we convinced people to invest in. Here’s how we did it:

  • Number of backers: 172
  • Total raised: $13,743
  • Lowest pledge: $1
  • Highest pledge: $1,000
  • Average pledge: $79.90
  • Biggest day: $3,339
  • Number of tickets sold: 66
  • Number of advertisers: 7
  • Number of t-shirts sold: ~45
  • Number of Surly-Ramics sold: ~40
  • Numbers of hours of sleep lost by the organizers: We lost track somewhere around week three.

But we did it. We’re going to have a conference.

Have You Signed Up for Secular Women Work?

The Secular Women Work logo with three inter-meshed gears.You’re nearly out of chances. The Kickstarter ends this Thursday. Right now, it’s only 51% funded, and if we don’t fund the Kickstarter, we won’t have a conference. If we do fund, but you haven’t bought your ticket through the Kickstarter, the price will go up.

Haven’t quite made up your mind to attend the conference? Then it’s time to catch up on the reasons you should.

  • Don’t just listen to us organizers. There are plenty of people out there who want to tell you why you should come to Secular Women Work.
  • Our speakers have done amazing things, and they demonstrate that you can come to activist work through many paths and interests. Check out our interviews with them. Mandisa Thomas wants to provide community and other support for the people much secular activism leaves behind. Lauren Lane has spent the last several years demonstrating that she’s not only capable of riding the tiger, but she can steer the beast as well. Desiree Schell figured out at an early age that she wasn’t okay with the world being fundamentally unfair, and she can tell you what she’s done to fix that.
  • We’re not rushing to fill our slate of workshops, because we want your input on what we should offer, but we’ve set up a few we think are important. The Ada Initiative will help you stop impostor syndrome from getting in your way when you want to get things done. Jessica Kirsner of the Secular Student Alliance will help you develop a fundraising plan for your project. A local professional photographer will provide you with a headshot for free as part of our media training.


We have a lot happening already, and we’re excited to bring you more. We just have to know that you’re excited to come. So get your ticket before the Kickstarter ends this Thurdsay, February 19.