Our Staff

Robin Hankins, Executive Director

Rev Robin HankinsRobin Hankins has been drawn to the ministry since age 11, and was first in her family to attend church. She attendedthe Free Will Baptist Church in Ypsilanti, Mich., Calvary Christian Academy High School and Baptist Bible College. It was there that Robin met her first love, a woman. Feeling that she had to choose between the person she loved and God, she made the heart-wrenching decision to leave the church.

Ten years later, Robin attended a town hall meeting in Tampa, Florida, where the inclusion of sexual orientation in the county’s human rights ordinance was being protested. She saw people waving the Bible – the Bible that Robin so loved –, using it as a sword to injure LGBT people.  Shortly afterward, she accepted the position of chairperson of the board of directors of Equality Florida, which she held for seven years.

Robin is now focusing her efforts on helping LGBT people find authenticity and reclaim relationship with family and community, by providing resources that promote mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.

Robin has been a publisher and activist since the early ‘90s. She is an associate minister at Unity Church of Clearwater, Florida, and is ordained by the Unity Progressive Council and the Lynn Andrews Center for Sacred Arts and Training.

 

 

 

 

 

Robin Tuthill, Deputy Director

Robin Tuthill was born and raised in St. Petersburg, Florida. After high school she spent four years in the Air Force, then worked her way through college and graduate school with the help of the GI Bill (in the '70s). In the '80s, she married, had a child, and launched her writing career. In the '90s, she divorced, explored, and met her life partner in 1996. Because of a job transfer, Linda, Robin and their two toy poodles relocated to Chicago in 2005, where they are thrilled to live in a socially progressive city where being “out” is safe.

In her early forties, Robin answered a mid-life urge to minister and got a master’s degree in religious studies, specializing in Buddhism. She taught comparative religion classes and was responsible for creating the Journal of the Society for the Study of Metaphysical Religion (JSSMR). She wrote for the St. Petersburg Times and Evening Independent; edited the manuscript Emma Curtis Hopkins: Forgotten Founder of New Thought and A Religious History of Tampa Bay; and authored three instructor’s manuals for Oxford University Press to accompany the textbook World Religions Today. She has worked with As I Am Executive Director Robin Hankins since 1995.

 

 

 

 

Vonn New, Producer & Technical Director

Vonn New grew up in Kansas and studied political science and biology at the University of Kansas and botany at the University of Florida.  In 1980, she was on her way to a career in the sciences when someone put a prototype of an IBM PC on her desk to try out and she discovered a talent for making computers do whatever she tells them to.  She rode the wave of the early PC and networking revolution, eventually traveling the world teaching IT professionals how to install and configure networks.

After coming out in 1996, she took a break from technology to devote her energies to social justice work.  From 2001 to 2005, Vonn was the Central Florida director of Equality Florida, where she was responsible for voter and candidate education, volunteer mobilization, citizen lobbying efforts, local government and community coordination,  media relations, public speaking, and organizing direct and online actions. She moved to upstate New York in early 2006 to work in an arts non-profit, but was badly injured in a car accident shortly thereafter.  During her recovery, Vonn returned to her technical roots and retrained herself in website design, digital audio, and graphic design.

Vonn is a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and is actively engaged in a ministry of integrating sound, movement and Quaker worship.  She is involved with Friends for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Concerns and is the clerk of her local meeting's Peace and Social Action committee.  She is the parent of two adult sons and is also an active performing musician.