Nominee Statements

Published by Minnesota Atheists on

Board elections will be held during the business meeting portion of our February public meeting. The following candidates are running.

Headshot of Ben Blanchard with microphone.

Ben Blanchard


I am honored to be nominated for President of Minnesota Atheists, and I am excited about what we can accomplish this year. Having spent more than a decade in leadership roles in the secular world, I firmly believe the role we play is important, both for our members and in the greater community. This year I look forward to focusing on growing our membership (a goal deferred due to covid) both in number and heterogeneity of members. I also want to focus on developing more leaders in our community, so that we can accomplish more as an organization.

Thank you.

Headshot of Stephanie Zvan with microphone.

Stephanie Zvan
Associate President

I’ve volunteered with MNA since 2009: on the radio show, on TV, at community events, building governance processes, representing us to other organizations, on the board. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished and determined to address our challenges. This year, I intend to get more involved with legislative initiatives as part of American Atheists’ state advocacy team.

Headshot of Michelle.

Michelle Morlan

I am excited to have the opportunity to continue volunteering on the board of Minnesota Atheists for another year. I joined in 2021 as a director at large and spent the last year as associate president. I have really enjoyed working with the organization and have many thoughts for the future! I am a STEM professional, and I’m passionate about how critical science and reason are to society at large.

Headshot of August.

August Berkshire
Associate Chair

I have been active, to varying degrees, in the atheist movement since 1984. I am a past president and newsletter editor for Minnesota Atheists and serve on the Public Policy Committee. I have also served on the American Atheists national board of directors. My main emphasis this year will be to try to create accessible atheist/humanist/freethought lending and research libraries for the Twin Cities community.

Headshot of Chris.

Chris Matthews

I am a Minnesota native and a life member of Minnesota Atheists. I personally value positive atheism and the separation of government and religion. I have served on the board as treasurer since 2011. I am proud to help provide the infrastructure for Minnesota Atheists to pursue goals that we collectively find worthwhile, and I appreciate the opportunity to continue in this role.

Headshot of Hertzey.

Hertzey Hertz

Several years ago I found myself looking for an atheist social circle. I had read lots of blogs and even started to listen to a couple of podcasts, but I missed having events to go to on a regular basis. I found, through Meetup, the Minnesota Atheists, and specifically the Newbie Night and Godless Gamers. Through these events, I found many friends and events to occupy my extroverted self. As I enjoyed the events, I became curious about the leadership and started to attend board meetings as a general member. It did not take long for me to become a Director at Large. I have also taken some extra roles planning the Solstice Dinner of 2016 and taking over of the radio show. I now find myself excitedly accepting the nomination for Secretary. I am very excited to see how I can continue to help our community grow and flourish. Thank you!

Headshot of Heather in front of Paul Bunyon and Babe statues.

Heather Hegi
Director at Large

I have termed out of the Chair position so this year I have been nominated for Director-at-Large. I have been on the board and volunteering my time to Minnesota Atheists since 2012. I think it is important for atheists to organize as a force and let our voices be known. Religion is still prevalent in our society, and it affects things such as how we respond to global climate change and how ‘morality’ is imposed on us when it comes to LGBTQ rights and the right to an abortion. When one views this world to be a steppingstone to eternal life rather than the one and only life we have, the seriousness of our reality is degraded. I want Minnesota Atheists to continue to be a voice of reason, educating the public about atheism, while providing a community for atheists in Minnesota.

Headshot of Mike.

Mike Trombley
Director at Large

I’ve been on the MN Atheists board for two years. While my goal has been to increase membership and community, I’ve realized that these two items are mutually dependent. We won’t have a robust membership if we are not visible within our communities. And we can use our membership as a means to be visible for that community. MN Atheists is a necessary group to be available to those who might be trying to grab hold of the safety in knowing that there are others around them, like themselves, not burdened by a societal expectation of a god belief. Being on the board is one way to assist in growing a healthy group of Atheists within our community.

Headshot of Frank.

Frank Leonard Eller
Director at Large

I am happy to be nominated for a board position this year, and look forward to helping in the valuable work Minnesota Atheists is known for. One of the most important values I want to see continue is the strong community within Minnesota Atheists.

Headshot of Alyssa.

Alyssa Ehni
Director at Large

I have served on the Minnesota Atheists’ board of directors in varying capacities for the past several years. I have enjoyed my time on the board of directors; shaping the organization and helping us move towards our organizational goals. If elected, I intend to revisit our pre-pandemic goal of increasing membership. Building our community is important to the foundation of everything else that we do.

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Minnesota Atheists

Positive Atheism in Action Since 1991