Board of Directors

Meet the current leadership team of the Humanists of Minnesota. These volunteers generously give their time and talent to further the voice of humanist values in our world.

Get in touch with us through our contact form.

ELLIE HAYLUND
President

Ellie serves as president of HumanistsMN as well as the co-chair of the Marketing Team. She has been involved with the organization since 2015. She is passionate about bringing visibility to the concept of humanism and cultivating the next generation of humanists. She enjoys live music, crafting, reading, and video gaming. Ellie lives in Minneapolis with her husband and fellow board member, Nick, along with their two sweet rescue dogs, Wally and Tater Tot.

 MITCH THOMPSON DIRECTOR AT LARGE
MITCH THOMPSON
Vice President

Mitch serves as vice president for HumanistsMN and routinely performs audiovisual-related tasks at the organization’s meetings and events. He says discovering humanism has clarified a personal evolution by giving it a name, and HumanistsMN is an exceptional vehicle to continue to drive that evolution. Mitch believes deeply that if more people knew about and understood humanism, they would equally find a home to clarify their own naturally occurring belief systems. Active in the Twin Cities film and television industry, Mitch is also the drummer and leader of a long-lived Minneapolis band called Umbrella Bed. He has served on many other Twin Cities nonprofit boards including DEMO, AEON, Compassionate Action for Animals, and as president of the Harrison Neighborhood in Minneapolis.

JOHN WALKER
Treasurer

John is the HumanistsMN treasurer and unofficial live-streamer. He was raised Catholic, but ironically, it was the Catholic education at the University of St. Thomas that pushed him away from the church in favor of agnosticism and humanism. His interests in physics, psychology, philosophy, biology, and music inform much of the content in sessions that he hosts at our monthly Secular Saturday events. When he isn’t at such events, you can find him rock climbing, baking, or woodworking.

STEPHANIE SCHWINN
Secretary
STEPHANIE SCHWINN
Secretary

Although Stephanie is relatively new to HumanistsMN, she’s long been interested in finding ways to develop her character, deepen her self-awareness, and work toward building a better community and planet. The humanist world view resonates with her because it empowers humans to take responsibility for ourselves and the world around us. HumanistsMN is a community of like-minded people dedicated to those same goals. Her education and training as a social worker and previous experience with community organizing has given her the knowledge and experience to serve in a meaningful way with HumanistsMN. Her areas of particular interest are community outreach, membership growth, and separation of religion and government. In her free time she enjoys reading, pursuing health and wellness, going to music and art festivals, and visiting her favorite coffee house.  

 NICK HAYLUND TREASURER treasurer@humanistsofmn.org
NICK HAYLUND
Director At-Large

Nick has been involved with HumanistsMN since 2015, previously serving as treasurer. He is a member of the Marketing Team. Nick enjoys being a part of an organization that works to foster discussion and actions that can result in a more ethical community. For this upcoming term especially, he will work to make our group more recognizable to the next generation of humanists. Outside of HumanistsMN, Nick enjoys all things “data and analytics” (in and outside of work), music, traveling, comics, golf, and gardening. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and fellow board member, Ellie, along with their two amazing rescue dogs, Wally and Tater Tot.

ABIGAIL JACKSON
Director At-Large

Abigail was originally drawn to HumanistsMN because of her interests in human rights, social justice, and working toward a more just society that makes decisions based on evidence and compassion. Since becoming a member, she has not only become more involved in these issues, but also found a community. She’s grateful for the wide array of programs organized by members, such as Secular Saturdays, Community Gatherings, discussions about current events, mindfulness meetings, and volunteer projects. She appreciates the many opportunities to learn, think critically, get involved, and get to know like-minded people.  When not participating in HumanistsMN events, she teaches psychology, takes her dog on walks around St. Paul, cooks vegan food, and watches entirely too much Netflix.

AUDREY KINGSTROM
Director At-Large

Audrey is HMN’s program coordinator. She earned a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York City in the early 1980s, which was instrumental in extricating her from a religious upbringing and belief system. Upon returning to her native Minnesota in the mid-90s, Audrey discovered contemporary humanism through First Unitarian Society and HumanistsMN. She became a Humanist Celebrant and has since poured her energies into building the humanist movement. During the 2010s Audrey served on the HMN Board for eight years as an at-large member and president. She is now returning after a hiatus of four years. With HMN experiencing unprecedented growth this past year, Audrey looks forward to working with the Board to help strategize for the future.

Sophie Phuong Le
SOPHIE PHUONG LE
Director At-Large

Since joining HMN as a grad student in 2017, Sophie has been actively involved in enriching our community, from facilitating virtual book discussions during the pandemic to transitioning back to in-person TED salon-style discussions. She currently contributes to our DEI advisory board, advocating for inclusivity and diversity. As a pediatric pharmacist, a woman in tech, and a U of MN faculty member in interprofessional health, Sophie strives to integrate scientific rigor with compassionate care in her professional and volunteer efforts. She aims to make HumanistsMN more welcoming and accessible to members from many walks of life and cultural backgrounds. Professionally, she aspires to transform pharmacy deserts into accessible health hubs in underserved areas. As a Board member, Sophie is committed to guiding meaningful and actionable initiatives that embody our humanist values to create lasting improvement in our community.

SUZANNE PERRY
Director At-Large

Suzanne edits our monthly electronic newsletter and helps maintain our website. She spent much of her career as a journalist and was happy when she retired a few years ago to be able to throw off the mantle of “objectivity” and advocate for causes she believed in. One that is dear to her heart: separation of government and religion. Suzanne helps organize HumanistsMN’s activities to commemorate the National Day of Reason, where we remind Minnesota legislators that public policy should be based on secular principles. She loves travel, plays, and movies, and (sadly for her mental health) is a political junkie. She lives in Brooklyn Park with her husband.

PAUL RUPP
Director At-Large

Paul came to humanism on a long, winding path from Christian deconstruction. His values today reflect this continuously winding path, which is why serving HMN where possible carries such importance for him. He cares deeply about the wellbeing of people, especially those in marginalized communities, as well as education, reproductive rights, separation of religion and government, community building that combats loneliness, and spreading the values of secular humanism. In his working hours, you can find him doing process improvement and data analytics. In his free hours, you can find him waxing philosophical over a Belgian Quadrupel, singing, pretending to know how to forage, and nerding out over games and TV.

 JERRY SMITH DIRECTOR AT LARGE
JERRY SMITH
Director At-Large

A longstanding HumanistsMN member, Jerry has served on its board since 2019, when he retired from his career as a college professor. He hosts or co-hosts a variety of HMN events, including Happy Hours (live and online); Discussion, Debate and Dinner (D-Cubed and D-Squared); the Think! Book Club; and the Humanists Unforgettable Bike Ride Into Stillwater (HUBRIS). Jerry is a serious reader, a semi-serious gardener, an out-of-shape biker, and an occasionally successful fisherman. He lives in St. Paul with his wife, Juliet, and Teemu, their new chocolate lab puppy, surrounded by their five adult children and four grandchildren, all of whom live in the Twin Cities metro area.

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