Richard Dawkins- President and Founder
Board and Staff
One of the most respected scientists in the world and the biggest draw in secularism, Richard Dawkins always generates impressive crowds when visiting North America. Secularism is sweeping America as a movement, and Richard Dawkins is the catalyst who galvanizes it.
From 1995 to 2008 Richard Dawkins was the Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University. He is an internationally best-selling author. Among his books are The Ancestor’s Tale, The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker, Climbing Mount Improbable, Unweaving the Rainbow, A Devil’s Chaplain, The God Delusion, The Greatest Show on Earth andThe Magic of Reality. His most recent book is his autobiography, An Appetite for Wonder. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and of the Royal Society of Literature. His around-the-world speaking tour is the focus of a recent documentary “The Unbelievers” which also features appearances by Woody Allen, Stephen Colbert, Cameron Diaz, Ian McEwan, Ricky Gervais, Stephen Hawking, Eddie Izzard, Bill Pullman, and Sarah Silverman.
Dr. Andy Thomson- Treasurer
A psychiatrist, with an interest in evolutionary psychology, Dr. Thomson wrote the 2011 book, Why We Believe in God(s):A Concise Guide to the Science of Faith. Thanks to the revolution in cognitive neurosciences, and the labors of many scientists, we are tantalizingly close to a comprehensive scientific answer to that question. Dr. Thomson speaks eloquently on this and other topics.
Details available at http://www.jandersonthomson.com/
David Cowan- Board Member
David Cowan is a partner at Bessemer Venture Partners, where he has funded over 20 startups that have gone to IPO, such as Blue Nile, Ciena, Lifelock, and LinkedIn. Forbes Magazine now ranks Cowan fourth among the thirteen investors on their Midas List Hall of Fame. Cowan was also the co-founder of the companies VeriSign and Good Technology, and he currently serves on the boards of Lifelock, Endgame, Skybox Imaging, Zoosk, Reputation, GetInsured, and Smule. Raised in a fundamentalist religious community, Cowan is now an atheist and supporter of several secular organizations including Skeptics Society, Con Academy, Union of Concerned Scientists, and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, and he founded Hereby Chants, the first atheist a cappella singing group.
Carolyn Porco- Advisor
Carolyn Porco is the leader of the imaging science team on the Cassini mission presently in orbit around Saturn, a veteran imaging scientist of the Voyager mission to the outer solar system in the 1980s, and an imaging scientist on the New Horizons mission on its way to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt. Carolyn has co-authored over 115 scientific papers on a variety of subjects in astronomy and planetary science and has become a regular public commentator on science, astronomy, planetary exploration, and the intersection of science and religion. Her popular science writings have appeared in such distinguished publications as the London Sunday Times, The New York Times, the Guardian, Astronomy magazine, the PBS and BBC websites, the Arizona Daily Star, Sky and Telescope, Scientific American, and American Scientist.
Carolyn has been the recipient of a number of awards and honors for her contributions to science and the public sphere. She is the namesake of Asteroid (7231) Porco, which was named to honor her work in planetary science. In 1999, she was selected by the London Sunday Times as one of 18 scientific leaders of the 21st century, and by Industrial Week as one of “50 Stars to Watch”. In 2009, New Statesman named her as one of the “50 People Who Matter Today.” In 2010 she was awarded the Carl Sagan Medal, presented by the American Astronomical Society for Excellence in the Communication of Science to the Public. And in 2012, she was named one the 25 most influential people in space by TIME magazine.
Greg Stikeleather- Advisor
Greg Stikeleather is a serial entrepreneur who currently invests in both for-proﬁt and non-proﬁt ventures. In the 1990s, Greg founded and was President and CEO of aha! software which produced and patented digital-ink processing technology – aha! was acquired by Microsoft. Greg then led another start up, Portola Communications, in the development of high-performance Internet email software. He served as President and CEO of Portola through its acquisition by Netscape. Greg was also a managing partner at Soﬁnnova Ventures, a San Francisco venture capital ﬁrm, for several years, and in 1999 cofounded Headsprout, a learning sciences company. He served as President and CEO of Headsprout until early 2006, when its award- winning early reading program was being used in schools, homes, and learning centers across the United States, and around the world. Greg was trained in the learning sciences with a graduate degree in experimental psychology. In the 1980s, he applied his learning science research as an instructional and interface designer at Apple, where he developed and ran the ﬁrst usability testing lab during the creation of Apple’s ﬁrst graphical user interface.
Todd Stiefel- Advisor
Todd Stiefel is the Founder and President of the Stiefel Freethought Foundation, and serves as an advisor to many of the national organizations in the freethought movement. He is the Chair of Openly Secular and the co-host of the Humanist Hour podcast. Todd spoke at and his foundation was the primary sponsor for Rock Beyond Belief and The Reason Rally. He has given over $3.5 million dollars to charities in the Freethought Movement.
Todd graduated cum laude from Duke University. He worked 12 years for Stiefel Laboratories, holding positions in marketing, sales operations and strategy. During his tenure, the company’s revenues quadrupled. He was the Chief Strategy Officer, the Enterprise Leadership Team chairman and member of the executive committee of the Board. He was responsible for 250 people including the finance, strategy, risk, facilities, administration and program management functions. He co-led the teams that sold equity to Blackstone and Stiefel Laboratories to GlaxoSmithKline.
He was awarded the Freedom From Religion Foundation 2014 Emperor Has No Clothes Award, Foundation Beyond Belief 2013 Heart of Humanism, American Atheists 2010 Activist of the Year and 2012 Philanthropist of the Year. During 2012 and 2013, Todd led the Foundation Beyond Belief international team that raised $930,000 for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Andrés Roemer- Advisor
Andrés Roemer is the president and co-founder of the Ciudad de las Ideas (City of Ideas) conference. He is also a Fulbright scholar, he earned a Ph.D. in Public Policy in 1994 from UC Berkeley, and a Master’s degree in Public Administration in 1991 from Harvard University, where he received the Don K. Prize Award. Dr. Roemer is a pioneer in creating and implementing key ways of promoting science, art, and culture in his native country. In his diverse roles as scholar, writer, intellectual curator, and diplomat, Roemer has positioned Mexico as an emerging cultural leader. He has shaped intellectual discourse on public affairs in Mexico and is widely recognized for his prodigious efforts to bring the world to Mexico — and Mexico to the world.
Andrés is devoted to empowering people by teaching them to question accepted beliefs and to order the complexities of society. Based on that conviction, Dr. Roemer has orchestrated pivotal and remarkable international meetings, which have made him one of the most distinguished citizens in his country.
Dr. Roemer is also known as a great communicator, capable of transmitting complex concepts in a simple and comprehensible way, as well as for writing about a variety of critical topics with a keen understanding of science, arts, public policy, and economics, with broad implications for social prosperity. Creator of the internationally celebrated Ciudad de las Ideas festival, he is also the author of 16 books and two plays on diverse topics such as happiness, art, sexuality, love, water, soccer, law, economics, crime, evolutionary psychology, government, cultural mobility and public policy. His range of influence is extensive and has significantly impacted the wellbeing of the Mexican people.
Baris Karadogan – Advisor
Baris has been the CEO of Hip Digital Media, a Silicon Valley based mobile advertising and rewards company, since 2008. Prior to joining Hip Digital Media, Baris was a venture capitalist for ten years, at U.S. Venture Partners, a leading venture capital firm and at Fuse Capital. As a VC, Baris invested in a wide variety of industries including digital media, telecommunications and semiconductors. Baris’ recent board seats/investments included: Like.com (Acquired by Google), SpectraLinear (acquired by SiLabs NASDAQ:SLAB), Minerva Networks, Redline Communications (LSE: REDL) and Aspendos Communications (Acquired by Beceem Communications). Baris is also an angel investor and advisor to a number of startups in Silicon Valley, including Workshop Café and ByUs.
Before becoming a venture capitalist, Baris worked in both engineering and marketing at 3Com/U.S. Robotics, where he developed software for the company’s networking and cable modem products. His efforts at U.S. Robotics resulted in a number of U.S. patents.
Baris, an avid birdwatcher, is an active participant and leader in a number of non-profits. He is a member of the board of directors of Audubon California, an organization working to preserve ecosystems and habitats for birds. He also served on the board of directors of “Friends of Anatolia”, a nonprofit that restored and renovated a number of on elementary schools in rural Turkey. Baris is the founder of “Nature Turkey”, a nonprofit promoting conservation ecology in northeastern Turkey. Baris is also on the board of the Foundation For The Future, a non-profit raising funds for the Menlo-Atherton public high school.
He earned a BS in Electrical Engineering from Lafayette College, where he graduated summa cum laude. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Tau Beta Pi and Eta Kappa Nu. Baris also holds an MS in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University and an MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, where he was an Arjay Miller Scholar.
Robyn Blumner- Executive Director
Connect with Robyn
Robyn Blumner joined the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science as Executive Director in February 2014. She comes off a 16-year career as a nationally syndicated columnist and editorial writer at the Tampa Bay Times newspaper (formerly the St. Petersburg Times.) Blumner is an expert on civil liberties and civil rights. She has written extensively on church-state separation, free speech and privacy issues as well as economics and the diminishing power of the middle-class. Her columns appeared regularly in newspapers around the country. In 2012, she was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing along with three colleagues. Blumner was executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida from 1989 to 1997, and executive director of the ACLU of Utah from 1987 to 1989. In that role she led efforts to protect abortion rights, student free speech rights and to prevent the adoption of school vouchers, among dozens of public policy battles.
Blumner attended Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, graduating with honors in 1982. Her law degree comes from New York University School of Law where she graduated in 1985 and is a member of the New York State Bar.
Marlo Jacobson- Development Director
Connect with Marlo
Marlo Jacobson started out her career with a singular goal–to make the world a better place for whoever comes next. Over the last decade and a half she has been a fundraiser, advocate, community organizer, and rabble rouser working to raise money for some of the most controversial and well respected organizations along the East Coast. She began her career at Tufts University and has worked her way down the east coast through United Way, Red Cross and Planned Parenthood, with many stops in between. Marlo got her BA, with a concentration in Nonprofit Management and Fundraising from Goddard College.
Marlo lives in Baltimore, MD with her husband and two children. She is active in her community and sits on the board of the Highlandtown Merchants Association. In her spare time she delights in all things fibrous. She is also the co-owner of a small boutique fiber arts store, gallery, and learning space in Southeast Baltimore City.
Stephanie Guttormson- Operations Director
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Stephanie joined the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science in March of 2013.
She was the leader of an award winning student group at the Metropolitan State University of Denver that developed widely successful unique events such Food for Freethought and The Pseudoscience Fair. She also brought in notable names such as Michael Shermer and James Randi to speak on campus.
She holds two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Linguistics and Theoretical Mathematics from the Metropolitan State University of Denver.