Krista Hiddema is a social justice activist with nearly thirty years of experience in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors. She lives by the motto that all oppression is interconnected, and she seeks to serve as a Voice for the Voiceless.
Krista spent six years as the vice president in Canada for Mercy For Animals, an international non-profit dedicated to protecting farmed animals. Her work on twelve undercover investigations of Canadian slaughterhouses and factory farms helped expose the truth of what happens behind the closed doors of these facilities. This work secured landmark legal victories for animals and led to five exposés on CTV’s W5, a CBC Marketplace episode, and other national and international media coverage.
Krista has spoken internationally on matters of farmed animal protection, and major media outlets have published her work.
Krista holds five degrees and designations, including a master’s degree focused on the human costs of the North American pork industry. Krista is currently working on her doctorate in social science at Royal Roads University with an expected completion date of February 2022.
Her particular area of academic interest is the intersectionality of oppression, and in particular she is focused on studying the value of individual relationships with farmed animals. She is doing this through application of the feminist care tradition in animal ethics, and in how these relationships are expressed through various artistic mediums.
Krista is also a member of the Editorial Team for the Journal of Critical Animal Studies.
Read more about Krista on her website.
Jeri is an organizer for the San Francisco chapter of Direct Action Everywhere. She believes in animal liberation and that animal rights and human rights are significantly entwined where we have to solve issues around poverty and classicism along with speciesism and animal liberation.
Dani Alexander is a growing figure of the Animal Rights community. She worked to form several animal activism organizations. She has been a notable member of PETA for her work against SeaWorld and the dog labs of Texas A&M, and was instrumental in the removal of mink lashes from a local eyelash retailer.
Dani first entered the activism community several years ago, when she volunteered to attend a local Rodeo protest. Since then, she has worked with local activism leaders and PETA organizers continuously. She has organized over 100 protests, demonstrations, and other actions, and is a regular attendee at actions all throughout the United States. Dani focuses on PETA style events and demonstrations and has a working relationship with several PETA organizers due to years of volunteering. She has worked on PETA campaigns against SeaWorld, Texas A&M dog labs, Animal Dissection in schools, and many others. Dani lives and works in Houston, Texas.
An accomplished trial lawyer and problem solver, David Ebert has extensive experience litigating, trying—and resolving—complex commercial matters in state and federal courts, as well as before mediation and arbitration tribunals in New York and around the country. David also acts as outside general counsel for his corporate clients, routinely advising on day-to-day issues as well as best practices and long-term strategies to anticipate and avoid conflict.
Among the many types of cases he has litigated, David has handled matters relating to intellectual property, licensing, telecommunications, trade secrets, patent licensing and infringement, advertising, manufacturing, confectionaries, business fraud, lawyer and accountant professional liability defense, misappropriation of ideas, unfair competition, defamation, employment discrimination and wrongful termination, restrictive covenants and real estate.
David is also regularly engaged to represent lawyers and law firms, and other individuals and types of entities, in partnership, shareholder and limited liability company disputes, judicial accountings, dissolutions and disciplinary actions.
His far-reaching experience in complex commercial litigation informs his practical and straightforward approach to his work as outside general counsel for small and mid-sized entities. David’s approach is to work to understand his clients’ business goals, preferences and practices, risk tolerance and culture so that he can make informed and individualized strategy decisions and recommendations as issues arise.
Ryuji has always been a creator in his heart. He started playing piano when he was 3, took up painting shortly afterwards and started filmmaking and photography when he was 12.
After graduating high school, he moved to California to attend film school at Chapman University. However, just before his sophomore year, he found out about the horror show that is the animal agriculture industry and chose to be vegan.
He switched his major to education, and spent the rest of his college career working and interning at schools and other educational organizations to learn how change happens in the world.
Now that he’s graduated, he creates social media content to create a vegan world. His videos have so far been viewed hundreds of thousands of times by people all around the world and visibly impacted hundreds if not thousands of people.
Ryan has practiced animal rights law since graduating from law school. He is the CEO and Director of Litigation for Advancing Law for Animals, former General Counsel to Beagle Freedom Project (now Rescue Freedom Project), and has worked for Animal Legal Defense Fund and the Nonhuman Rights Project. Ryan also maintains a private litigation practice doing limited work in financial, contract, and commercial real property disputes.
Vanessa is an attorney and animal advocate. She is General Counsel at Advancing Law for Animals, a non-profit legal advocacy organization for our non-human friends. Vanessa also maintains a private consulting practice. Prior to animal advocacy, Vanessa practiced complex civil litigation, with experience in consumer protection, public-entity liability, and general business litigation.
Jocelyn is a full-time organizer with the Save Movement, and she is an organizer for Direct Action Everywhere. She participates and at times organize events with Anonymous for the Voiceless, PEACE (Promoting Equality, Acceptance, and Compassion Everywhere), NARD, PETA. She also volunteers at local sanctuaries (Portland area and Bay area).
Robert has 20 years of experience in the field of branding, design and communications. He is Free from Harm’s founder and director since 2009. He also acts as editor of the website and contributes regular articles.
You can read about his activism here: robertgrillo.com/work/activism/
Paul is a board member of Rowdy Girl Sanctuary and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. Paul has also been an advocate and full-time professional in the animal protection movement for the past 25 years. He served as the first CEO of Best Friends Animal Sanctuary during 2001-2009 and has served as executive coach and strategic consultant for some of the top national organizations in the animal protection industry.
Paul was the creator and executive producer of “Save the Animals, Save the Earth” campaign, Asheville VeganFest and the “City of Asheville Vegan Challenge”, the first-ever “city-proclaimed” vegan challenge in the US.
In his role as Chair of Rowdy Girl’s, Rancher Advocacy Program, R&D Committee, Paul is coordinating with subject-matter experts from diverse disciplines to develop business and financial models for transition from animal farming to the three core RAP Tracks: Solar Farming, Wind Farming, and scale Veganic Farming.
The primary deliverables of RAP’s R&D Committee are: (1) Development of a General Assessment Methodology (model) for ranchers interested in exploring transition from animal farming; (2) Development of “Transition Kits” that provide financial costing and ROI estimates for transitioning to the three core RAP Tracks; and (3) a RAP Consultancy of subject matter experts available to support Ranchers through all stages of transition.
Will is a campaigns and policy officer at The Vegan Society. The world’s first vegan organisation, The Vegan Society coined the term “vegan” in the 1940s. The UK-based charity is working to help livestock farmers transition to plant-based agriculture. It carries out research, runs campaigns and undertakes policy work. It also helps people all over the world to live a vegan lifestyle.
Marlene Narrow is the host of Vegan Nation radio (a weekly informational 1/2 hour radio show that airs on WCUW 91.3 FM Worcester Community Radio, Massachusetts, USA, every Thursday, 4pm to 4:30pm EST. Vegan Nation broadcasts worldwide online at wcuw.org. Archived shows: vegansradio.wordpress.com and wcuw.org/vegannation. (Vegan Nation radio commenced in January 2015.) Ms. Narrow is also a World Peace Diet Facilitator – advocating the vegan message of The World Peace Diet: Eating for Spiritual Health and Social Harmony. Marlene holds a bachelor of science degree in Health Education from Worcester State College; and she has experience with bovines, pigs, and horses.
Nigel Osborne is Executive Director of Egg-Truth, an on-line resource designed to educate and inform consumers about the true nature of global egg production, the impact on the animals, and reveal the consequences on human health from egg consumption. Nigel has years of experience related to animal rights and on-line advocacy. He personally supports a variety of organizations from farm sanctuaries, animal rescue organizations and animal rights groups. Nigel’s extensive background in the publishing, outdoor advertising, printing and web design industries over the last 25 years provides him with a strong, creative acumen and business management experience. Through Egg-Truth.com and it’s social media channels, Nigel seeks to increase awareness among the public about global egg production and expose the conditions for the billions of hens condemned to laying every year.
Jody Rasch is the former Managing Trustee of VegInvest Trust, a private equity trust that specializes in companies that reduce animal use and promotes a vegan lifestyle. Prior to this he headed the Social Performance Group at Moody’s Corporation working on projects including microfinance and social investing. He developed the Moody’s Social Performance Assessment (SPA) which provides a gap analysis of social practices for microfinance institutions.
Jody has also served on various advisory boards including Women’s World Banking’s Gender Performance Initiative, the SMART Campaign’s Certification Task Force, Grameen Foundation’s Social Performance Advisory Committee and the Global Impact Investing Rating Service (GIIRS). He has presented on social and financial issues at conferences worldwide, including Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America, Asia and the United States. Prior to this, Jody worked at Moody’s Risk Management Services as part of the training group heading up product training for derivatives and corporate finance and as project manager for RiskCalc a corporate risk modeling product.
Prior to joining Moody’s in 2002, Jody owned, for 15 years, a training company that conducted financial training programs for international commercial and investment banks. He also headed the New York derivatives sales desk of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and has worked in the corporate treasury departments of two Fortune 500 companies. Mr. Rasch has a B.A. degree in Economics from the University of Michigan and holds an MBA in Finance from New York University.
Jody is on the Board of Directors of three not for profit organizations: Battery Dance Company, which conducts cultural diplomacy in over 60 countries and the United States through its “Dancing to Connect” program; and VegFund which supports grass roots activists in promoting a vegan lifestyle and Woodstock Farm Sanctuary.
Dr. Ted Crawford is a board certified family practice physician who is the Medical Director for Sun Life Family Health Center, a Community Health Center in southern Arizona. Sun Life is the largest provider of primary care in Pinal County, Arizona.
Dr. Crawford was born and raised in rural Iowa where his father owned a livestock trucking business which transported cattle and hogs to the stockyards and slaughterhouses of Omaha and Chicago. Dr. Crawford and his wife Barbee adopted a whole-foods, plant-based lifestyle over six years go and after experiencing the many positive benefits on their own health, he began promoting and advocating this way of eating to his patients. He has given several presentations to groups and at conferences often bringing patients of his along to share their testimonials. He was featured in the recent documentary “Eating You Alive”.
Dr. Crawford graduated from medical school at Des Moines University of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery. He did his post graduate residency training in the U.S. Air Force and moved to Arizona in 1988.
You can learn more by going to Dr. Crawford’s website at www.drherbivore.com.
A Texas vegan activist, Kat Mendenhall, Purveyor of Handmade Vegan Goods, is on a mission to disrupt the fashion industry by offering a line of cruelty-free cowboy boots and other non-leather accessories. A passionate boot maven she decided to ditch animal leather when she learned cows are raised solely for their skins, which are preserved in toxic chemicals resulting in deadly illnesses on young workers along with poisoning the environment. Kat believes animals should not suffer for fashion and creates high-end beautiful products that replace the use of animals without sacrificing quality.
She is a master vegan lifestyle coach and educator certified by Main Street Vegan Academy, a culinary nutrition expert certified by The Academy of Culinary Nutrition, certified in plant-based nutrition through the T. Colin Campbell Foundation/eCornell University, and a Food For Life Instructor certified by Physicians Committee. On www.katmendenhall.com you can read about her boots and fashion goods, teaching and cooking services, get recipes, lifestyle, and business tips from her blog, and schedule her to speak or provide a cooking demo at your next event.
Jaime started out in the hospitality industry, was trained at a college level for Culinary and Hotel Management and was running successful large restaurants by the age of 21. She began her bond with animals at the age of six and eventually got into starting young horses. At the age of 13 she made the connection where her food was coming from – she stopped eating meat. Later she worked for a private farm Sanctuary for 6 years, rescuing over 50 farmed animals and rehabilitating using natural horsemanship methods. She’s always rescued wildlife and was a founding member of a large dog rescue group in 2012. She furthered her understanding of Animal Behaviour and Welfare in 2015 after taking a course through University of Guelph. There she grasped there was no ethical form of using animals, and began living a vegan life. Jaime is now the Director of Marketing at The Frauxmagerie on Georgian Bay and is Co-Founder & Executive Director at Love of Brian Farm Sanctuary, home of Brian the Steer.
Jaime brings forth an extensive knowledge of livestock health and behaviour, homeopathic treatment and knowledgeable activism for the meat and dairy industry abolition. She creates ads and directs social media for the plant-based cheese company, The Frauxmagerie Ltd. out of Meaford, Canada. Jaime is responsible for all new product launches, orchestrating package design and branding for the dairy-free company that’s been in operation for 9 months and already taken the vegan cheese market by storm.
Jaime has been contacted by a few cattle farmers wondering how to transition to vegan farming – that’s what led her to meet Renee online. When she learnt there were others already making these major changes from Texas reaching across the world, she had to be a part of it. She offered her Marketing skills, along with extensive animal knowledge and personal accounts of running Sanctuaries. She is most passionate about outreach and hoping to eventually offer information sessions for Canadian cattle farmers. Jaime sees a cruelty-free future resulting from this support group – the world is ready for the Rancher’s Advocacy Program.
Austin Kirtan is a spiritually inspired band that provides a modern take on an ancient practice. Mixing traditional harmonium chants with lively, upbeat tracks, the group takes listeners on a musical journey that moves the heart and soul. From mellow, acoustic chants to high-energy “rock out kirtan parties,” the music is as diverse as the audience it draws. The band enjoys sharing the joy and happiness that come from the kirtan practice with their growing community.
Tracing back thousands of years, kirtan is a form of interactive group singing and chanting which awakens our spiritual consciousness. It is an uplifting practice which takes people to a meditative state far beyond the stress and worries of life. A widespread spiritual practice originating in India, kirtan has grown in popularity in the U.S. over the last decade and is being embraced by spiritual communities across the country. Kirtan draws people from all walks of life who are seeking a deeper sense of peace and harmony.
Angie and Miguel are an acoustic duo from the Clear Lake, Texas area. They play all around the surrounding Houston area as cover artists. Angie met Miguel at one of her singer songwriter competitions and fell in love with his style from day one. Miguel sings and plays guitar with a very soft and sweet, melodic sound. Angie plays flute and ukulele using more of a powerhouse vocal. Two of her favorite artists are Janis Joplin and Amy Winehouse. They are currently writing music together to be heard by the end of the year. The two together make a very dynamic duo. Their venture on plant based dieting started in the new year and has changed both of their lives and such a positive way.
Before becoming a Food for Life instructor, Linda Middlesworth developed a healthy, low-fat, whole-foods, vegan mentoring program. Her personal mission is to help people regain their health and well-being through nutrition education and by showing them how to lead a lifestyle of compassion to promote both healthful eating and animal advocacy. She mentors her clients with grocery store tours to help them identify and make healthful eating choices. Linda supplies them with recipes and informational books from Dr. Neal Barnard, Dr. John McDougall, Rip Esselstyn, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. Michael Greger, and Dr. T. Colin Campbell. Monthly vegan potlucks and/or speakers and dine-outs are held to encourage a sense of community. Linda often lectures at schools, universities, churches, state agencies, and libraries.
Linda will be presenting information on eating a healthy, whole foods, plant based diet. This will include cancer and diabetes prevention and survival. Also, she will include the difference between being a plant based eater and a vegan and how our health is intertwined with our food choices. This will include the ethics of our food choices.
A Texas vegan activist, Kat Mendenhall Purveyor of Handmade Vegan Goods, is on a mission to mend the world through whole-plant based nutrition and cruelty-free products. She combines her nutrition studies and culinary training to implement effective coaching and cooking services for her clients. In addition, Kat shows her passion as a boot maven in the creation of her custom handmade vegan cowboy boots and non-leather accessories. She is a master vegan lifestyle coach and educator certified by Main Street Vegan Academy, a culinary nutrition expert certified by The Academy of Culinary Nutrition, certified in plant based nutrition through the T. Colin Campbell Foundation/eCornell University, and a Food For Life Instructor certified by Physicians Committee. On www.katmendenhall.com you can read about her coaching, teaching, and cooking services, boots and fashion goods, get recipes, lifestyle and business tips from her blog, and schedule Kat to speak or provide a cooking demo at your next event.
Kat will be speaking about finding your unique passion and using it towards animal advocacy.
Renee King-Sonnen, a native Houstonian, is the Executive Director and Founder of Rowdy Girl Sanctuary in Angleton, Texas. She remarried her husband Tommy Sonnen, a multi-generational cattle rancher in 2009 and moved to the ranch. She fell in love with farm animals, having no idea her life was about to transform. After witnessing time and again the baby calves going to the sale barn she became extremely depressed. In October 2014, she went vegan as a result and began researching factory farming and the compassionate alternative, farm sanctuaries. She desperately consulted with leaders in the vegan movement, determined to do whatever she could to create sanctuary out of what was once a beef cattle operation in the heart of cattle country.
Jane Velez-Mitchell is the founder and content editor ofJaneUnChained, a multi-platform social media news outlet that produces original video content on animals welfare and the compassionate lifestyle.
She has won four Genesis Awards from the Humane Society of the United States for her reporting on animal issues. VegNews named Velez-Mitchell Media Maven of the Year in 2010. In 2013 Mercy for Animals awarded her their Compassionate Leadership Award. In 2014, she was honored for fighting animal abuse by the Animal Legal Defense Fund. In 2015, she received the Nanci Alexander Award at PETA’s 35th anniversary celebration where Paul McCartney performed.
For six years she hosted her own show on HLN/CNN Headline News, where she ran a weekly segment on animal issues that consistently broke news. Previously, Velez-Mitchell reported for the nationally syndicated Warner Brothers/Telepictures show Celebrity Justice, where she did numerous stories on animal issues championed by celebrities. Previously, Velez-Mitchell was a news anchor/reporter at KCAL-TV in Los Angeles and WCBS-TV in New York. She is the winner of both a Los Angeles Emmy and a New York Emmy for her reporting. Velez-Mitchell is a graduate of New York University and began her career with reporting stints in Ft Myers, Florida, Minneapolis and Philadelphia.
Velez-Mitchell is the author of four books. Her 2014 non-fiction New York Times bestseller, Exposed: The Secret Life of Jodi Arias offers a detailed psychological analysis of a salacious trial that gripped the American public. Her other New York Times bestseller is her memoir, iWant: My Journey from Addiction and Overconsumption to a Simpler, Honest Life. Secrets Can Be Murder delves into the secrecy and deceit embedded in tragic scenarios. Addict Nation: An Intervention for America with co-author Sandra Mohr focuses on our culture’s addictive nature and our obsession with overconsumption.
Velez-Mitchell directed and produced the documentary Anita Velez: Dancing Through Life which won a coveted Gracie award in 2001.
JaneUnChained.com is home base for a fast growing, multi-platform video news source that is globally respected for its coverage of animal welfare issues and events. Its fast-growing Facebook platform – facebook.com/JaneVelezMitchell – has 212,000 followers and a post reach that consistently tops one million, often approaching two million. @jvm on Twitter has 187,000 followers and Velez-Mitchell is also growing her Instagram, Pinterest and Tumbler platforms. JaneUnChained does a regular email blast to more than 6,000 additional followers and growing.
Velez-Mitchell hosts #LunchBreakLIVE, a daily FacebookLIVE cooking show that features animal lovers, chefs and a variety of celebrities. #LunchBreakLIVE has been featured on TMZ Live and A&E’s FYI Network.
Sailesh Rao is the Founder and Executive Director of Climate Healers, a non-profit dedicated towards healing the Earth’s climate. He authored “Carbon Dharma: The Occupation of Butterflies” and “Carbon Yoga: The Vegan Metamorphosis” and Co-Executive Produced “The Human Experiment”, “Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret”, “What The Health”, and “The Compassion Project”.
Dr. Crawford was born, raised, and educated in Iowa having graduated from medical school at Des Moines University of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery. He did his post graduate residency training in the U.S. Air Force and moved to Arizona in 1988.
Dr. Crawford and his wife Barbee adopted a whole-foods, plant-based lifestyle over six years go and after experiencing the many positive benefits on their own health, he began promoting and advocating this way of eating to his patients. He has given several presentations to groups and at conferences often bringing patients of his along to share their testimonials. He was featured in the recent documentary “Eating You Alive”.
Reversing and Healing…being you own best doc!
How many chronic diseases resolve with our current American healthcare system? How many of the pharmaceutical medications do we take that actually heal the condition it is attempting to treat? How many times has a doctor asked you the simple question, “What do you eat?”
Dr. Crawford will share his upbringing in rural Iowa where his father owned a livestock trucking business which transported cattle and hogs to the stockyards and slaughterhouses of Omaha and Chicago. He will describe the ingrained culture most of us grew up with and how this culture of unhealthy lifestyle has inflicted us with the many medical issues that most Americans suffer from.
He will offer a solution to these medical problems that plague us by simply implementing a few healthy changes in our lives that can reverse most disease and deliver true healing rather than merely covering up symptoms.