Volunteer Leadership Council

(Photo by John Curley)

About the Volunteer Leadership Council


As our organization continues to expand in both size and impact, it is more important than ever to maintain and develop the spirit of volunteerism in every aspect of our growth, and to provide greater service and support to our hard-working Volunteer Coordinators (VCs) and the volunteer community at large. The Volunteer Leadership Council (VLC) was formed to support these efforts.


The Volunteer Leadership Council exists to champion the human spirit of volunteerism, creating a foundation for a culture of appreciation and empowerment within the Burning Man community and beyond.

Mission and Purpose

The VLC is an advisory body, grounded in Burning Man’s 10 Principles, that supports the greater Burning Man community by providing guidance regarding training, conflict resolution, resource sharing, and by identifying and sharing best practices in volunteer leadership.


  • To create a dialog that will ensure that the unique perspective of the volunteer is faithfully represented in larger decisions being made for the Burning Man Project and any other body in our network
  • To maintain and develop the spirit of volunteerism in every aspect of our global growth
  • To help strategize the future of volunteer programs
  • To provide critical support within our extended network
  • To ensure that volunteers feel appreciated at all levels
  • To ensure volunteer ethics inform decisions wherever appropriate as we evolve
  • To gather best practices around volunteerism from various BRC teams and the Regional Network and make them available to our community

Active Project Areas

  • Volunteer Appreciation
  • Documentation and Training


Current Members:

  • Diana Jimènez Quintana (aka Patches) – Director, Nowhere (Spain) / Peer Support VC / Day Manager VRT
  • Dove Russo (aka Starfish) – Co-founder POrtal Burn, Upstate New York Regional Contact (2012-2016), Playa del Fuego Board Member (2013-2016)
  • Erica Williams (aka Nipps) – DPW Fluffers Manager
  • Harley K. Dubois – VLC Founding Member / Burning Man Project Co-Founder / Chief Culture Officer
  • Helen Hickman – BRC Art Support Services VC
  • Kristy Hilands – Head of Participatory Culture, Volunteerism Department lead
  • Marcia Crosby – VLC Founding Member / former Community Services Manager for Cafe, Arctica, Temple Guardians
  • Maryann Hulsman (aka Orange) – VLC Founding Member / former Everywhere VC, current Gate Manager for Community Events
  • Misa Rygrova – Regional Contact for Czech Republic Eastern Europe, Gate Perimeter & Exodus Lead, Meta Regional (International) Alumni / Burning Man Fellow Emeritus
  • Terry Schoop – Community Services Manager for Department of Mutant Vehicles, Earth Guardians, Greeters, Lamplighters, Playa Info, Recycle Camp, and Volunteer Resource Team

Past Members:

  • Affinity Mingle – VLC Founding Member Emeritus, RIP
  • Jocko Magadini – VLC Founding Member / former manager of the Volunteer Resource Team
  • Kez Quin – Volunteerism Program Manager (2017-2020)
  • Stuart Mangrum – Director of the Philosophical Center

VLC Nominee Criteria

In order to maintain a healthy and diverse council with balanced seats, the nominees should strike a balance of the VLC’s required criteria and qualities; not every person will need to have all qualities which will vary over time based on the current needs of the council.

The council will generally seek nominees who are able to envision the big picture and think strategically, have respect within the Burning Man community, have enough time to invest and participate, and hold at least five years of volunteer and Burning Man experience. There are a wide variety of necessary qualities to be considered as a candidate.

Contact Information


Volunteer Appreciation Research Project

The Volunteer Appreciation Research Project is an undertaking of the Volunteer Leadership Council. Over the course of one year, the project team interviewed volunteer leaders to explore team practices and cultures across the landscape of the global Burning Man community, to learn more about how they work, particularly in regard to volunteer appreciation.

Download the PDF version of the Volunteer Appreciation Research Project for on-screen viewing or printing.

PDF reading may require a download of the (free) Adobe Acrobat Reader, or (free) Foxit Reader (for Windows and Linux).