RICHARD STRAVINSKY, PRESIDENT
Rick grew up in the Boston area and came to San Diego in 1977 upon graduating from the University of Massachusetts with a BA in Management. He later earned an MBA from the University of San Diego (USD) and, most recently, a certificate in Nonprofit Management from USD. Rick worked as a contracts executive in local firms such as SAIC and Qualcomm before beginning a modest retirement in 2007.
Rick’s family background is that of blue collar Catholics with a determined approach to getting through life, aided in many cases by the false solace of alcohol and other drugs. Rick’s journey has included Catholicism and agnosticism as a youth, 12 step immersion, Unitarianism, Church of Religious Science and Buddhism. A primary reason for Rick’s involvement in Humanism is to promote youth outreach and secular education.
Rick has extensive experience on nonprofit boards such as Casa de Amparo, the Rwandan Orphans Project and Sledgehammer Theatre. One of his favorite volunteer experiences was helping the Center for Policy Initiatives (CPI) pass the Living Wage Ordinance in San Diego in 2010.
Rick lives in Hillcrest. Rick’s three grown children live locally. Rick is a huge baseball fan (Red Sox/Padres), an avid walker/hiker, beach roller skater/biker, muscle car aficionado, and popular media junkie.
Debbie Allen, Vice President
Debbie was raised in a non-religious "Christian" home (i.e. worshipping the "trinity"–Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy). Among her close relatives were Catholics, Mormons, and Lutherans, who exposed her to prayer, religious doctrine and observances, and great music. Being naturally curious about the universe she concluded by junior high that god did not exist... at least not the one she had been introduced to, and she concluded she was an atheist. Looking for a "likeminded" community as an adult, Debbie converted to Reform Judaism because of their commitment to social justice, intellectual integrity, and their acceptance of her nonbelief.
Prior to joining the Humanist Fellowship Debbie was a devoted volunteer at her synagogue, serving on the Board of Directors and as chair of several committees. Debbie is "retired" from a career as a psychotherapist in private practice and investigator in neuropsychological research at the UCSD School of Medicine.
Debbie loves the beach, has trouble dragging herself off a dance floor, and will always be an active participant in any debate. She is happily married to an understanding and generous man who is patient with her many commitments to the secular community.
Michael H. McCarron, Vice President
Michael is a lifelong advocate for children's welfare and a dedicated supporter of the Big Brothers and Big Sisters organizations. He was named the Big Brother of the Year for California in 2005. A militant atheist and humanist, Michael is passionate about social justice, economic inequality, climate change and progressive politics and values.
"I hope to live in a world where every person has equal opportunity."
Michael is the founder of MHM Glass Etching, Inc. He generously creates unique etched gifts for all of our visiting speakers and award recipients. He lives in downtown San Diego with his wife Tammy and young son Hunter. The family has a passion for international travel.
Nicola Duggan, Secretary
Nicola has two daughters aged 8 and 11 and lives in North County San Diego with her husband Michael. Nicola currently volunteers for HFSD and has a board position with Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, San Diego chapter. Additionally she volunteers for Planned Parenthood and is a volunteer legal advisor for the nonprofit Drug Discovery for Tropical Diseases.
Her hobbies include skiing, weightlifting, and reading. She is a tireless advocate for secular humanism.
Astrid Falkenberg, Treasurer
Astrid is retired from UCSD where her career included finance and project management assignments. A recently naturalized US citizen, Astrid is a native of Germany. A bit of a linguist, Astrid speaks English and German fluently and dabbles in Frech and Italian. An avid traveller, Astrid is working her travel bucket list with recent trips to Turkey, Greece, China, Italy and plans an extended visit to Paris.
Astrid identifies as an agnostic and passionately subscribes to the humanist principle of personal fulfillment for all without theism or supernatural beliefs.
Wilfredo was sent to a fundamentalist Baptist Sunday School and church as a boy and later attended a Catholic church. His parents and other relatives are very religious. But he has been a Freethinker for well over two decades. In addition to serving on the board of the Humansit Fellowship, Wilfredo is a member of the East County Heathens and co-organizer of the Recovering from Religion group where he supports those who have recently thought themselves out of religion.
Wilfredo’s hobbies include reading, watching foreign and independent films and nature documentaries, hiking, working out, fishing, travel, and attending Freethought events and SDSU football and basketball games. He has traveled extensively in Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America and believes that international travel provides one with an education that cannot be obtained in any classroom. One of his favorite quotes is from Mark Twain: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”
Wilfredo strongly believes in the “First Commandment of Freethought”: Think for yourself! He lives in east Chula Vista with his wife Marites and their five cats.
Stephen is a 25-year member of the San Diego community, having arrived from the northern reaches of the Bible Belt via the Navy’s aviation training base in Pensacola, Florida. An agnostic by birth and Southern Baptist by upbringing, he is now an atheist, although as a helicopter pilot he is known to understandably invoke the name of Jesus in times of great stress.
Stephen has held a wide number of leadership and managerial positions during his eight year Navy career and fourteen years in the civilian helicopter community, and he understands the importance of bringing a spirit of enthusiasm and the highest degree of professionalism to whatever role he undertakes. He established and runs his own company, the Bureau of Rotorcraft, and is currently on assignment in Europe.
He is excited about becoming more involved in the local and national humanist community, and in particular the HFSD. Stephen is married to Stewart, a retired Army Colonel and his husband of 19 years."
Sean is an active member of the secular humanist, skeptic and atheist communities in Southern California. He was raised in a secular home. However, he was baptized Catholic, attended a Lutheran preschool, worked for a national Christian evangelist organization throughout high school and attended seminary school with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). He has since devoted much time into scholarly research on modern religions, the Bible, the Qur'an, and the philosophies and history surrounding them.
Sean has always been an excited fan of science and has two bright young boys with his beautiful freethinking wife. They have been the driving forces behind Sean's passion to reduce the negative impacts of religion and dogma in general on societies. He has always followed the idea that one should never be a spectator of suffering or confident ignorance. Sean's focus is in community outreach for nonbelievers and participating in public debates and discussions to educate believers.
Apart from learning and teaching others about "life, the universe and everything," Sean loves to play the blues on his guitar; so long as his wife and boys are dancing and playing the drums.