American Atheists has a team of full time staff members located at its National Headquarters in Cranford, New Jersey and additional staff based in Washington, DC.
Nick Fish is a seasoned civil rights and civil liberties activist with more than a decade of political, organizing, and leadership experience with many of the nation’s most prominent political organizations and progressive non-profits. A native of Michigan, Nick studied political science at Albion College before working in Raleigh, North Carolina, managing a voter outreach office that registered more than 5,000 new voters and knocked on 25,000 doors in the two months leading up to the 2008 election. After the election, Nick worked in donor outreach, marketing, fundraising, and communications, including with the Secular Coalition for American. Before his appointment as president, Nick served as Development Director and National Program Director for American Atheists.
Since 2015, Nick has often represented American Atheists in the media, including appearances on the Fox News programs Spirited Debate, Hannity, and Fox and Friends, and on countless local media outlets. He has been quoted in The Washington Post, CNN, Time Magazine, Newsweek, and The Associated Press. He has created innovative advocacy and visibility campaigns, including AtheistVoter, and has developed messaging and strategy around American Atheists’ legal, public policy, and outreach campaigns.
Nick can be reached via email, on Twitter (@NotNickFish), or at (908) 276-7300 x308.
Alison M. Gill
Vice President, Legal and Policy
Alison M. Gill is an accomplished attorney and a nationally recognized expert on LGBTQ law. As Legal and Public Policy Director, Alison directs American Atheists’ legal and legislative advocacy strategy, trains state and local advocates, and represents American Atheists in Washington DC.
Before joining American Atheists, Alison worked as a consultant to foundations and nonprofits focusing on advocacy strategy and systemic change. Prior her consultancy work, Alison served as Senior Legislative Counsel at the Human Rights Campaign where she managed state-level advocacy on issues such as conversion therapy, bullying prevention, education discrimination, LGBTQ health and wellness, youth homelessness, and LGBTQ data collection. Alison also worked as Government Affairs Director with The Trevor Project and as State Policy Manager with GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network.
Alison received her B.A. in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry from Rutgers University and her J.D. from George Washington University Law School. Alison is also active in her local community, serving on the board of Whitman-Walker Health, a nonprofit health center with a focus on HIV and LGBTQ care.
Alison can be reached via email or at (908) 276-7300 x309.
Vice President, Programs
Debbie Goddard has over two decades of experience as an organizer and activist. She became involved with the secular movement as a college student in 2000 and attended atheist, freethinker, humanist, and skeptic group meetings in Philadelphia, New York City, New Jersey, and central Pennsylvania. Her involvement increased over time: she served on local advisory boards, started a student group, edited a monthly campus freethought email newsletter, and held a work-study position at the Center for Inquiry’s office in Rockefeller Center. In 2002, she was recognized in a Beliefnet “Godless Who’s Who” list as “The Student Activist” and in the Washington Blade as an “out” nonbeliever.
She began working in the Department of Campus & Community Programs at the Center for Inquiry in Amherst, NY, in 2006. After serving as a field organizer and as campus outreach coordinator, she became Outreach Director in 2012 and managed CFI’s U.S. branches and the international student outreach program. She also directed African Americans for Humanism. In 2012, she led a notable billboard and ad campaign featuring black atheists, and in 2009, she coordinated an international campaign highlighting blasphemy laws and free expression. Additionally, she was the lead organizer for the Women in Secularism 4 conference and the annual CFI Leadership Conference.
Debbie is also engaged in LGBTQ activism, civil rights work, and training new organizers in her community. She facilitates workshops and gives presentations on campaign-building, evidence-based activism, diversity and outreach, group organizing, humanism and politics, and other topics for community groups, campus groups, and national conferences across North America.
Debbie can be reached via email, on Twitter (@debgod), or at (908) 276-7300 x302.
Membership Director, Editor-in-Chief American Atheist Magazine
Pamela Whissel has been editor-in-chief of American Atheist magazine since 2011. Her M.A. is from the University of Cincinnati and her B.A. is from the University of Dayton. Prior to coming to American Atheists, she was a local news anchor for a National Public Radio affiliate in Kentucky, a television news writer for the CBS station in Cincinnati, and an announcer for Cincinnati’s public television pledge drives.
Under her direction, the magazine made publishing history when it went from a subscription-only publication to one that is sold in bookstores throughout the US and Canada. In doing so, American Atheist has become the first periodical in US history to appear on newsstands with the word “atheist” in the title.
In addition, Pamela oversees membership programs and the growth of American Atheists’ member support network.
Pamela can be reached via email or at (908) 276-7300 x307.
Geoffrey Blackwell joined American Atheists in September 2016. As litigation counsel, he responds to reports of possible violations of the separation between religion and government, works with government officials to find mutually acceptable solutions to potential issues, and manages litigation if issues cannot be resolved amicably.
Prior to joining the staff of American Atheists, Geoffrey served as Associate Counsel in a New Jersey civil litigation firm. Since May of 2014, he has hosted All Too Common Law, a news podcast with a legal perspective. Every year, he volunteers as a judge for the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, in which law students from 87 countries compete in a simulation of a fictional dispute between countries before the International Court of Justice. He previously served as a member of the Board of Directors of the New Jersey Humanist Network.
While earning his JD from Rutgers School of Law, he participated in the school’s Human Rights Advocacy and Litigation Clinic, served as the President of the Rutgers-Camden International Law Society, and independently researched religious discrimination in employment. Prior to law school, he received a Bachelor’s degree in political science from Columbia College.
Geoffrey can be reached via email, on Twitter (@BlackwellEsq), or at (908) 276-7300 x310.
Jim G. Helton
National Field Organizer
Jim G. Helton is the National Field Organizer for American Atheists. After attending the 2012 Reason Rally, he co-founded the Tri-State Freethinkers and was appointed American Atheists’ Kentucky State Director. Under his leadership, Tri-State Freethinkers adopted the highway in front of the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter and led a protest that received international attention. He played a key role in eliminating Gideon’s bible distributions in public schools and removing abstinence-only sex education.
Mr. Helton’s activism at the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter landed him appearances in the 2017 documentary film Bill Nye: Science Guy and the forthcoming documentary We Believe in Dinosaurs. He has been quoted in countless news outlets, including The New York Times, Miami Herald, and Washington Post. He is a fixture in local media and has given interviews for international television specials in France, Switzerland, and elsewhere.
As National Field Organizer, Mr. Helton works with affiliates, local partners, and state directors to challenge religious privilege and fight to protect church/state separation at the local level by building coalitions around specific issue campaigns, including medically accurate sex education, LGBT non-discrimination ordinances, and religious exemptions.
Sonia Fisher has worked with American Atheists since 2015. She oversees the fulfillment of orders from the American Atheists store, handles accounts receivable and payable, and serves as the primary point of contact for vendors and contractors who work with American Atheists. Sonia manages American Atheists’ state registrations, auditing, and inventory. Before joining American Atheists, Sonia worked with Operating Engineers Local 825.
Sonia can be reached via email or at (908) 276-7300 x303.
Anthony J. Crincoli
Anthony J. Crincoli is a program assistant for American Atheists. He is a proud New Jersey native and Rutgers University graduate who earned his degree in Psychology and Evolutionary Anthropology in 2014. As program assistant, his responsibilities include fulfilling orders from the American Atheists store, providing research assistance for American Atheist Magazine, and tackling a variety of organizational and supportive tasks. Having worked previously as a professional archaeologist, he feels right at home surrounded by the material culture contained within the Charles E. Stevens American Atheist Library and Archives.