Stepping Back from Secular Movement Leadership, Lyz Liddell to Leave CFI

September 14, 2016


Lyz Liddell, who recently came on board to serve as CFI’s Vice President of Programming, has decided to step down for personal reasons unrelated to her position at CFI or the organization. 

Lyz explains her decision in the following statement: 

When Robyn Blumner first approached me about the possibility of working on Openly Secular again, I couldn’t have been more excited. I was one of the original members of the Openly Secular team and led the project for its first 18 months before my work at the Secular Student Alliance demanded I step back for a while. I love the campaign and the work it’s doing, and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to work on it again.

Then I led Reason Rally 2016. That was the experience of a lifetime, and I knew going in that it was going to be an incredibly demanding, difficult task—and I wasn’t wrong. But I didn’t anticipate quite how much of a toll it would take on me, and when the time came for me to turn to the Center for Inquiry and my projects here, I found myself exhausted instead of excited. While I had hoped that diving in and immersing myself in my work would reignite my interest, that hasn’t been the case, and after a lot of heartbreak, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s best for the organization, the projects, and myself if I step back. Greta Christina advocates that “self care isn’t selfish,” and I’m in need of some self care.

I have been absolutely astounded by the sense of community and camaraderie I found within the CFI and RDFRS staff. They have been welcoming and accommodating and supportive every step of the way, and I’m sad to be leaving such a fun group of people. I’m also impressed with the incredible lineup of programs and projects the two organizations bring together, from representation in the UN to active local branches to a dedicated academic following. The organization—and the entire secular movement—has incredible potential ahead of it, and I’m looking forward to seeing what lies ahead. I can’t lead it myself right now, but I’m rooting for those of you who are.

“Lyz has been such a gift to the freethought movement,” said Robyn Blumner, CEO of the Center for Inquiry. “From the Secular Student Alliance to the Openly Secular Campaign and of course the 2016 Reason Rally, Lyz has shown herself to be an expert hand at organization and turning big ideas into reality. We were excited to have her join the Center for Inquiry, and of course we are disappointed that she feels the need to step away from leadership in the secular movement and leave CFI. We respect her decision to take a different path, and sincerely wish her the best in whatever she does next.”

Moving forward, we are very pleased to announce that Cody Hashman will take on some of these duties as CFI’s new Program Manager. Cody has been with CFI since his internship in 2011. In 2013 he was formally hired on as a CFI On Campus Field Organizer, and has since become a valued member of CFI’s Outreach operation, handling an array of tasks. 

“Cody has been an exceptional member of our Outreach team, establishing himself as someone who takes on big challenges and crucial responsibilities,” said Blumner. “I am confident he will do an outstanding job in his new role.”