So You Want to Run a Conference

A conference is a great time. It’s a good way to bring people together and create visibility for your group. It’s also a lot of work, with moving parts that aren’t obvious until you’re in the middle of planning. Hear from several conference organizers about the surprises they’ve encountered and the mistakes they’ve made so you can make brand new mistakes of your own.

8 p.m. – 9 p.m. CDT, Friday April 13

To submit a question for the Q&A of this panel, please leave a comment below. Questions that are actually questions will receive priority.


Lauren Lane is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Skepticon, a national conference located annually in Springfield, MO that promotes skepticism, science education and community building. During her tenure as an undergraduate, Lauren held various leadership positions in the Missouri State University Chapter of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, a secular student group that revolutionized student activism. She has been a contributor to The Friendly Atheist, MadArtLabs, and has previously spoken at conventions such as Secular Women Work, Secular Student Alliance Convention, FTBCon, and Reason in the Rock.

Jessica Xiao is a Washington, DC-based writer, interested in activist culture, radical vulnerability, feminism, race and identity, mass incarceration, and climate injustice. She is the former Projects Assistant at the American Humanist Association, Operations Manager at Humanist Press, and Assistant Editor at She is Co-Chair of the Feminist Humanist Alliance.

Brian Fields is the president of Pennsylvania Nonbeliever Inc. He co-founded PASTAH Con and is a major champion of volunteer charity work at secular conferences.

Brother Jed once called Chelsea Du Fresne devil spawn, so she has been involved in atheist community organizing ever since. Her biggest not-big project was Skeptech, a progressive student-run conference about critical thinking and technology at the University of Minnesota. Now she mostly plays Skyrim and makes tradigrade jokes.

Stephanie Zvan is the associate president of Minnesota Atheists, on the board of Secular Woman, and one of the organizers of Secular Women Work conferences and workshops. She writes at Almost Diamonds on The Orbit network, and she’s not afraid to tackle the occasional taboo.

So You Want to Run a Conference

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