Board

Interim President: David Helgager
David’s life has been one of gradual evolution from a Lutheran in South Dakota to a Unitarian-Universalist in Illinois and Sarasota, and to a secular Humanist. He and his wife Judy have lived in Sarasota for 33 years. His first introduction to Humanism began in West Virginia when he picked up the AHA Humanist magazine. Since moving to Sarasota, he has served on the Humanists of Sarasota Bay (HUSBAY) Board for five years and is now President.

The first half his career consisted of teaching in the public school system and in various capacities in state departments of education. In Sarasota he found himself entering the financial services industry as a financial advisor. A son, daughter and three grandchildren, two of whom live in Sarasota, help round out a life of Humanism, sun, and fun in Sarasota. His degrees are in English, history, and public administration.

Treasurer: Bob LaSalle
Bob hails from Rhode Island, where he spent 37 years with what is now the Verizon Telephone Company. Bob worked all over the Northeast in a variety of positions including Manager, Equipment Installation Department; Outside Plant engineer; and Engineering Manager. During that time, he attended school at night and received an associate degree in electronics and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business management. Since Bob’s retirement to Florida, he has become involved with the Lemon Bay Playhouse in Englewood. He currently serves as president and treasurer of its Board of Trustees, as well as the technical director. He also acts and directs. Bob has been treasurer of HFA since June 2004 and is a founding member of Gulf Coast Humanists Association.

MEMBERS-AT-LARGE

Dina Costa
Dina currently lives in the Fort Lauderdale area and is a native of South Florida. With six brokerage licenses, she has been with Fidelity Investments for six years. She has a 9-year-old freethinking daughter, a 7-year-old Christian stepson, and is temporary guardian for her 11-year-old cousin. In her spare time, she enjoys fitness, face painting, and spending time with friends and family.  Her involvement in the freethought movement really got started after attending the 2013 American Atheist convention in Austin, TX. Since then, she has become a member and supporter of several freethought groups and organizations. Currently Dina is a volunteer for the upcoming HFA conference in November.

Jocelyn Williamson
Jocelyn, a lifelong Humanist, brings an M.B.A. with some Ph.D. studies in management as well as an undergraduate degree in Political Science. Currently she serves as an online instructor for several universities. Prior to working in education, Jocelyn has managed such items as the creation of local and nationwide marketing campaigns, designing advertising materials, Web site creation, client contract negotiation, as well as development of new business and marketing plans. After living and working in such varied places as Denmark, Japan, and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, she has settled in Central Florida, where she enjoys kayaking, gardening, all things related to science fiction, the arts, and politics. Jocelyn also founded and runs the Science League for Kids, a local group that is an alternative to the Boy Scouts for boys and girls, ages 6 to 12, as well as a Skeptical Parenting Group on Facebook.

BJ Saul

BJ is a Speech-Language Pathologist working for the School District of Palm Beach County and specializes with students who have autism and related disabilities. In addition, she is the Holocaust liaison for her school, assisting teachers with teaching about the Holocaust. BJ received her M.S. degree from the University of Southern Illinois University. She is a devoted Humanist who graduated in May 2012 from the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism as a Madrikha. As a 1994 founding member of Congregation Beth Adam and a past president, she now serves as CBA’s ceremonial leader and Director of Education. BJ is also CBA’s representative to the Society for Humanistic Judaism. There she serves on the Education Committee creating curriculum.

 

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Immediate Past President: Chris Allen
Chris is a life-long Humanist and a life member of both the Humanists of Florida Association and the American Humanist Association. He currently serves as the founding executive director of Hands on Orlando. HOO is a national role model for civic engagement through community-based volunteerism. It has served over 180,000 volunteers and more than 300 non-profit organizations, public schools, and parks.

A former television news reporter, Chris covered thousands of news stories during his career. He is the recipient of numerous state and national journalism awards, including the “Service to Children Award” from the National Association of Broadcasters and two “National Journalism Awards” from the Scripps Howard Foundation. President Bill Clinton awarded Chris a “President’s Service Award Citation.” He is a former Orange County, FL “Citizen of the Year.” Chris is also the founder and captain of the Humanist lending team on Kiva, which makes loans available to the poor on a world-wide basis, and he manages the “Super Heroes” computing team on the World Community Grid.

Past President: Richard Hull
Richard Hull is the current Senior Adviser to the Executive Director of the Text and Academic Authors Association, and also this fall is teaching two courses to 400-plus students at Texas State University in San Marcos. He has a doctorate and a long history as an educator and published author with 21 edited books (10 coming out this fall) and over 100 articles and chapters.

Richard served as headmaster for three years at Calasanctius School for Gifted Children in Buffalo and as professor of philosophy for 30 years at SUNY at Buffalo, with brief appointments at Texas State University (San Marcos), Tarleton State University (Stephenville), and the University of Montana (Missoula).  He served as executive director of the Texas Council for the Humanities in Austin for two years. He is a long-time Humanist with many ties to the Humanist community: He worked as a fundraiser for the Center for Inquiry in Amherst and helped found a CFI chapter in Tallahassee.