Board of Directors
Thomas Sheedy is President and founder of Atheists for Liberty. Sheedy is an entrepreneur from Long Island, New York. He is an undergraduate in the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs at the University at Albany, where he serves as the Public Relations Chair for the University at Albany College Republicans and Assistant Public Relations Chair for the local Turning Point USA chapter. He has appeared on multiple podcasts, blogs, and interviews, and has participated extensively in student atheist activism. Sheedy proudly serves on the Advisory Board of Atheist Alliance International, a global federation of atheist groups and individuals committed to educating its members and the public about atheism and critical thinking, and to supporting atheists around the world who are discriminated against and criminalized. Sheedy was an Assistant State Director for American Atheists, President of the Long Island Atheists, a member of the Americans United for Separation of Church and State‘s Youth Advisory Council, Event Organizer for Center for Inquiry Long Island, President and founder of the Ward Melville High School Secular Student Alliance, and a member of the Center for Inquiry Student Advisory Committee from Fall 2015 to Summer 2016. In 2015 he received the Richard and Beverly Hermsen Student Activist Award from the Freedom From Religion Foundation and was FFRF’s Student of the Year. He also holds memberships with The National Rifle Association of America, The Ripon Society, and the American Conservation Coalition.
Michael Trollan is Chairman of the Board of Directors at Atheists for Liberty. Trollan is a digital technology consultant working in the advertising agency space for over 20 years, with Fortune 500 clients as large as Verizon, Ralph Lauren, MasterCard, Samsung, Mercedes-Benz, the New York Stock Exchange, and many more. His projects have won a Telly award, a PR Week award, one Clio, and three nominations for Webby awards. In a nonprofit capacity, he has served as Chairman and acting President of the Secular Coalition for America, a nonpartisan 501(c)(4) advocacy organization whose mission is to protect the secular character of our government and increase the visibility of and respect for non-theistic viewpoints. Michael is a founding board member of Ideas Beyond Borders, an international 501(c)(3) which promotes the free exchange of ideas and defends human rights through education, partnerships, research, and technology to counter extremist narratives and authoritarian institutions. He has served as a founding board member of Sunday Assembly New York, a social enterprise that helps people to “Live Better, Help Often and Wonder More”; and as an advisory board member and donor for Women’s Education Project, a nonprofit which helps women in India to transition out of poverty into college and careers.
Erich Hartmann grew up in Southwestern Virginia, and has spent the last 25 years in New York working in some of the best ad agencies the world, and leading ground-breaking creative efforts for some of the best brands in the world. When he’s not leading day-to-day creative and strategy as the CCO and Founder of SpaceBaby LLC – a branding and ideation agency – Erich generally tries to be helpful by working with charities, not for profits, and other good causes. Politically, Erich is a fan of freedom and individual liberty, and generally believes that robust, adult conversation are a good thing for everyone.
Public Relations Manager
Justin Vacula is the Public Relations Manager at Atheists for Liberty. Justin engaged in separation of church and state activism as spokesperson of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Freethought Society most notably opposing a religious display at Pennsylvania’s Luzerne County Courthouse and winning a lawsuit against a transportation agency that refused a bus advertisement with the word ‘Atheists.’ He has organized formal debates and discussions with religious leaders; was a guest speaker for college-level courses; was featured in local, national, and international news; and has been invited to speak at various national, local, and statewide events. He graduated from Marywood University’s Master’s-level Clinical Mental Health Counseling program and received bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and Psychology from King’s College.
Board of Advisors
Peter Boghossian, PhD
Dr. Peter Boghossian is a full time faculty member in the Department of Philosophy at Portland State University, an Affiliated Assistant Professor at Oregon Health Science University in the Department of General Internal Medicine, and a visiting fellow at Reason Foundation think tank. He’s an international speaker for the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Science and Reason and the Center for Inquiry, and has an extensive publication record across multiple domains of thought. His popular pieces have been featured in The New York Times, Scientific American, The Wall Street Journal, TIME Magazine, The Spectator, City Journal, The American Mind, The Philosophers’ Magazine, the LA Times, National Review, USA Today, New Statesman, etc. He’s the creator of the Atheos app and his most recent book, with translations in Mandarin, Polish, German, Romanian, is How to Have Impossible Conversations.
Melissa Chen is the New York Editor for Spectator USA, the American edition of the oldest English language magazine in publication. She is also Managing Director at Ideas Beyond Borders, which makes inaccessible ideas freely accessible to those who speak Arabic, Farsi and Kurdish. She serves as Editor at Global Conversations. Her past appearances have included: Joe Rogan Experience, Oslo Freedom Forum, Rubin Report, Fox Nation, Triggernometry, MythCon, and more. She studied Computational Biology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Computational Biology at Boston University, and worked at Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.
James Lindsay, PhD
Dr. James Lindsay is an author, mathematician, and political commentator, who has written seven books spanning a range of subjects including religion, the philosophy of science, and postmodern theory — notably the 2020 book Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything about Race, Gender, and Identity—and Why This Harms Everybody. He is the co-founder of New Discourses, a media and educational resource which works in the spirit of free inquiry, free speech, and free association—without guilt—to elucidate the ways by which the Critical Social Justice movement seeks to define and control our discourses. He led the Grievance Studies Affair which made international headlines in 2018, including the front page of the New York Times. His essays have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Philosophers’ Magazine, Scientific American, and Time.
Yasmine Mohammed is an Arab-Canadian university educator, activist, and author who advocates for the rights of women living in Islamic majority countries, as well as those who struggle under religious fundamentalism. She is the founder of Free Hearts Free Minds, which provides psychological support for freethinkers living in Muslim majority countries–where the state sanctioned punishment for leaving Islam is death. She also serves as an advisor at the AHA Foundation. Her book, Unveiled, is a memoir/polemic that recalls her experiences growing up in a fundamentalist Islamic household and her arranged marriage to a member of Al-Qaeda. She has spoken in Canadian parliament and has been featured in many mainstream media publications such as: CNN, CBC, BBC, ABC Australia, Al Jazeera, New York Times and many others. She has spoken in Ivy League universities such as Harvard, Stanford, and Dartmouth and for many organizations including: The Freedom From Religion Foundation, AHA Foundation, Ayn Rand Institute, and Think Inc.
Gad Saad, PhD
Dr. Gad Saad, Professor of Marketing at Concordia University in Montreal, has pioneered the use of evolutionary psychology in marketing and consumer behavior. His works include 'The Consuming Instinct: What Juicy Burgers, Ferraris, Pornography, and Gift Giving Reveal About Human Nature'; 'The Evolutionary Bases of Consumption'; and 'Evolutionary Psychology in the Business Sciences'. Dr. Saad has published 75+ scientific papers at the intersection of evolutionary psychology and a broad range of disciplines including consumer behavior, marketing, advertising, psychology, medicine, and economics. His Psychology Today blog 'Homo Consumericus' and YouTube channel 'The Saad Truth' have garnered 6.4+ million and 19.7+ million total views respectively.In addition to his scientific work, Dr. Saad is a leading public intellectual who often writes and speaks about idea pathogens that are destroying logic, science, reason, and common sense. His fourth book 'The Parasitic Mind: How Infectious Ideas Are Killing Common Sense' will be released on October 6, 2020.
Michael Shermer, PhD
Dr. Michael Shermer is the founding publisher of Skeptic magazine, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, a regular contributor to Time.com, and a presidential fellow at Chapman University. His latest book is Heavens on Earth: The Scientific Search for the Afterlife, Immortality, and Utopia. He has been a college professor since 1979, also teaching at Occidental College, Glendale College, and Claremont Graduate University, where he taught a trans-disciplinary course for Ph.D. students on “Evolution, Economics, and the Brain.” As a public intellectual he regularly contributes opinion editorials, book reviews, and essays to The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, Science, Nature, and other publications. He has appeared on such shows as The Colbert Report, 20/20, Dateline, Charlie Rose, and Larry King Live (but, proudly, never Jerry Springer!) His two TED talks, seen by millions, were voted in the top 100 of the more than 1,000 TED talks.
David Silverman was an atheist activist for 24 years, serving as President of American Atheists and Executive Director of Atheist Alliance International. During his tenure, he brought national attention to the movement via “War on Xmas” billboards and TV appearances on Fox News, CNN, and many others. Silverman created and the Reason Rally on 2012, the largest atheist gathering in history, and his book Fighting God: An Atheist Manifesto for a Religious World, was rated the “Best Atheist Book of the Year”. Since leaving the world of activism, Silverman has also left Progressivism and Feminism, while still clinging to the fair, compassionate and egalitarian views. His video channel is “FirebrandForGood” and he speaks on truth, data, and Humanism.
Colin Wright, PhD
Dr. Colin Wright is an evolutionary biologist and Managing Editor at Quillette magazine, as well as an Academic Advisor for the Society for Evidence Based Gender Medicine (SEGM). He writes on the topics of science, biological sex and gender, and his essays have been published in The Wall Street Journal, The Times, Quillette, and The Australian. He is a strong proponent of secular humanism, freethought, free speech, and academic freedom.