After three years on Capitol Hill, Lori Lipman Brown is stepping down as Director of the Secular Coalition for America.
Here is a portion of her farewell letter:
In 2005, I had the honor of leading the effort to lobby Congress on behalf of nontheistic Americans. While my love for policy and the work of the Secular Coalition for America has grown, so has the organization. In fact, what was expected to remain a lobbying organization with a staff consisting solely of one lobbyist (me), has also grown. This growth is exciting and it is growth that I have pushed for. The Secular Coalition for America now has a staff of six individuals, is involved in many larger coalition efforts, takes the lead on issues of special interest, and is recognized by members of Congress and consulted by the media and legislative personnel regularly.
In short, the Secular Coalition for America has grown to be a powerful and complex organization in fewer than four years. With that growth come new needs. The Secular Coalition for America now needs an executive director, an individual whose expertise is running a major national organization. While I am extremely proud of having birthed this baby, it is time for both me and the Secular Coalition for America to continue to grow. For the organization, this means finding an exceptional leader whose passion is continuing to grow the nontheist movement. For me personally, that growth includes reconnecting to my skill sets in the legal and policy realms, and stepping down as director of this wonderful national organization.
SCA’s President Herb Silverman added these words:
Founded in 2002, the Secular Coalition for America raised enough money to hire a lobbyist in 2005. It was the same year I met Lori Lipman Brown. She and I were on the program at the Secular Student Alliance Convention. After hearing Lori speak, I thought how fortunate we would be to hire her. I invited Lori to apply and was thrilled when she agreed to a considerable pay cut to work for such an important cause.
Lori not only helped to unify our fiercely independent base of nontheists, but she more than held her own with major media personalities like Bill O’Reilly and Steven Colbert. After all, who could help but love Lori. Even the Colbert TV character had trouble pretending he didn’t like her.
With Lori as director, the Secular Coalition grew beyond our wildest dreams. Lori cheerfully took on so much more than we had anticipated when we opened our office. She walked the halls of Congress and developed relationships with some key leaders, formed partnerships with other coalitions over legislative issues, had responsibilities for managing a staff that grew to six people, raised funds, and traveled the country giving outstanding presentations and workshops.
I know I speak for all who are associated with the Secular Coalition for America when I thank Lori for her many significant contributions to our organization and to our movement. We wish Lori well in her future endeavors and express our appreciation for all she has done to help turn a virtually unknown organization into one that continues to gain visibility and respect.
It’s sad to see Lori go knowing how popular she is with atheists across the country.
I hope whoever is chosen to be the new Executive Director of the lobbying group will earn the same sort of enthusiastic welcome from all of us.