Board of Directors
|Gary Brill has been an active member of NJHN since the mid-90s. He was co-founder of HumanLight in 2001 and co-founder of the Humanist Community at Rutgers University in 2009. He received a Ph.D. in Personality and Social Psychology from New York University, worked for 20 years in the software industry, then subsequently taught psychology at Rutgers University for 16 years. He is married to Tamar Kieval Brill, another NJHN board member.|
|Lisa Ridge has been a member of NJHN since 2002 and has previously served as President, Vice President, Program Chair, and continues as the Membership Chair and an admin of NJHN's Facebook group.
A nonbeliever at a young age, she learned about Humanism in the late 1990s and knew she'd found the worldview that matched how she'd lived her life. She was an environmental activist from 1980-2004 at the local, state, and national levels, but became more involved in secular activism after moving to New Jersey in 2001. She is committed to creating a positive, productive Humanist community in New Jersey and working with other secular organizations in the region to achieve that goal, especially now with the challenges we face in a diverse but divided society.
Lisa supports various other secular organizations with her membership. She is an Air Force veteran, works as an administrative assistant and librarian for the State of New Jersey, and lives with her husband Tim, another NJHN Board member, and their six cats in Ewing in Mercer County.
|Brenda LaDuke grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania on the shores of Lake Erie. Although her family belonged to a Methodist church, she became a Sunday School dropout when she was just 7 years old, skeptical of both Santa Claus and the bible. She attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania, graduating Cum Laude with a BA in International Studies, and moved to New Jersey in 1994.
While at college she made many atheist friends (including Rob Boston of Americans United) and began to identify as an atheist. A few years after moving to New Jersey, she began to feel isolated - surrounded by theists, mostly Catholic - so she started seeking out communities with similar values to her own, and came upon a few secular humanist organizations in Yahoo Groups. She joined but remained mostly an observer until a few years ago when she attended her first secular humanist dinner, and has been active with NJHN ever since. After living in New Jersey for over 20 years, she has found a sense of community and belonging, and finally feels at home thanks to the relationships she is continuing to develop with members of NJHN.
Brenda currently works for Johnson & Johnson in Information Security, is married and has 3 school-aged children that she is raising to be humanist, with a side of skepticism. She is also an avid quilter, having had several blue ribbon quilts on display at the Middlesex County Fair over the years, and donates quilts to children and babies via various organizations and events, as well as NJHN's annual winter party silent auctions.
|Linda Mastellone has previously served as the NJHN Treasurer and Secretary.
She was a councilwoman for Flemington Borough (2008-10) and a member of the Flemington-Raritan School Board (2011-12). Professionally, she was the Executive Director of the Franklin Township Chamber of Commerce and the Events Coordinator for the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce. Both positions helped her learn about non-profit management--including financial matters, organizing, and event planning. She has used those skills to help NJHN as it continues to grow and reach out to the Humanist community.
Tamar Kieval Brill
|Tamar Kieval Brill originally hails from Albany, NY and lived in NYC between 1972 and 1982 for college and graduate school. She has a B.A. in psychology and education from Barnard College, Columbia University, and an M.A. in counseling from NYU. Aside from a five-year stint in corporate America, she’s spent all of her working life in higher education, first at NYU and for the last 31 years as at Rutgers University, where she was an Assistant Dean in the School of Arts and Sciences’ Office of Academic Services until her recent retirement.
She’s been involved with Humanism for more than 20 years on various levels. She’s been a member of NJHN since 2008, though attended many events for much longer than that. She has served as a member of the NJHN Board since 2011, assisting with the membership committee, and has also been involved in the Humanist Community at Rutgers University. Tamar is also a member of the I.L. Peretz Secular Jewish Community. She is married to Gary Brill and they have an adult son, Zach, who is a medical researcher at Merck Laboratories.
|Erica Cohn has been a member of NJHN since 2013 and joined the Board in 2017.
Earning a bachelor's degree in Government from Skidmore College, she is a Senior Claims Adjudicator for the Social Security Administration's Disability program.
From the age of 12, she has done campaign work for state and federal candidates, backing those with a liberal agenda. Growing up in the Jewish tradition, she has felt strongly about the separation of church and state. She has been an out atheist since 2012.
In addition to her political and activism interests, she is also a working musician. For 15 years she ran a women's a cappella group that performed up and down the East Coast, and opened for such acts as Ray Charles and Rockapella. She also worked with various singer/songwriters performing and recording, and is currently in two performing bands.
Erica is grateful for the opportunity to work for NJHN, and looks forward to the new and exciting things the group will be doing.
|Bio coming soon.|
|Jasmine grew up in Brooklyn, NY - the melting pot of the USA and was exposed to different cultures and beliefs at an early age and learned to view life from more than one perspective. While her mother raised her Roman Catholic, and she even attended Catholic school, her father came from a Jewish family with a different set of beliefs. That dynamic caused her to express doubt that any of these particular beliefs were true. By observing how hypocritical some churchgoers were, she landed on the belief that religion was not necessary to be a good person.
She earned a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Physical Anthropology from Rutgers University New Brunswick Campus. While there, she joined the student-run group Atheist Student Alliance to meet like-minded individuals. The group offered a community for nontheists that she wanted to continue to be a part of even after she graduated. She was fortunate to have attended a presentation on Secular Humanism by Gary Brill of the Humanist Community at Rutgers and naturally transitioned into attending events with the New Jersey Humanist Network.
She has served as the NJHN Secretary since joining the board of directors in 2017.
Jasmine lives in Ewing with her twelve cats. She had previously worked with Trenton Cats Rescue to trap cats for the Trap Neuter Release program in her previous community and finding stray kittens good homes to go to. She greatly enjoys acrylic painting and had an art gallery held in Championship Bar in March of 2019 as well as submitting artwork every year since 2012 for Trenton’s Art All Night event. Jasmine has also donated paintings for NJHN’s silent auction that is held during the winter holiday party each year.
|Bio coming soon.|
|Tim Ridge has been active in NJHN since 2003 when he first joined the Board of Directors. He has previously served as Vice President and Treasurer. He has also been the Website Committee Chair since late 2003, re-designing our website twice. He is also an admin of NJHN's Facebook group.
Tim is a self-described science junkie, but is also very interested in politics. Committed to lifetime education, he continues to learn more about cutting edge science and works to elect progressive candidates to state and national office. He has appeared several times as a speaker for NJHN, presenting his mini-biography of Carl Sagan and a talk about economic fascism in the United States. He is a secular humanist first, but is also a gnostic (strong) atheist. Committed to advancing feminism and feminist values, he is proud of the strides that NJHN has made over the years to both increase the number of women members and elect them more than half the positions on the Board of Directors. One of his current goals is doing outreach to the LGBTQ community, people of color, and finding a way for NJHN to become more visible in the community.
|Bio coming soon.|
|Joe Vincenzino spent his first 30 years living on Staten Island, NY, in a very religious Roman Catholic family and neighborhood, a mostly Italian-American politically conservative community, ideologically similar to what you would've found in the South in the 60s. Somehow, Joe was different, politically liberal, comfortable with diversity, and a non-believer since 8 years old (or so he remembers). Unlike those who decry their Catholic school education, for Joe, his 12 years of Catholic schools exposed him to a very liberal and diverse look at the world, other cultures and other religions, which reinforced to him how it was all just made up.
For most of Joe's life, he wasn't part of any organized groups or movements, didn't read any of the literature, and was one of those atheists that lived as one quietly. He knew he was an atheist, but in order to have a label for his belief system, he called himself a "humanist," not knowing that there was such a thing, until he met one at almost 40. After moving to New Jersey in 2001, some time later, Joe starting looking for people who thought like him, and found NJHN on Meetup in 2011, and became a member a few years later. Joe is mostly retired from a career in Information Systems, ending with doing corporate software training.
Joe joined the NJHN board hoping that he can contribute to the organization's efforts to make a more secular world, and make the world better for secular people (and all people, of course). Joe hopes that his technical skills (B.S. Computer Science), welcoming and fun personality, and penchant for bringing people together will help.
|Jennifer Vriens has made social justice her lifelong passion. She has worked in the field of fundraising since 1999 specializing in women’s issues, including domestic violence, reproductive rights and women’s economic empowerment. She currently serves as the Director of Development and Marketing at the YWCA Union County, Union County’s domestic violence program.
Continuing her commitment to women’s issues and philanthropy, Jennifer was the Founding President of the New Jersey Abortion Access Fund, New Jersey’s first state-wide abortion fund, and currently serves on the Board of the Association of Fundraising Professionals - New Jersey Chapter.
She has a master’s degree in Counseling, a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Delaware, and maintains her Certified Fund Raising Executive certification.
2020-2021 Committee Chairs
Executive: Gary Brill
Program: Lisa Ridge and Karen Levinson
Membership: Lisa Ridge and Tamar Kieval Brill
Finance: Brenda LaDuke
PR/Outreach: Everett Henson
Bylaws: Erica Cohn
Nominating: Timothy Ridge
Website: Timothy Ridge
Marketing: Joe Vincenzino