Key Personnel

Jack Norris Jack Norris

President, Executive Director

Jack is a cofounder of Vegan Outreach. He was inducted into the Animal Rights Hall of Fame in 2005. Jack is also a registered dietitian, and is responsible for all of VO’s writings on nutrition. With Ginny Messina, he cowrote Vegan for Life.

Jack grew up in Cincinnati, OH. He attended Cornell College in Iowa, where he was a Division III All-American in the pole vault. He has a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics, philosophy, and sociology. He performed his dietetic internship at Georgia State University. For fun, Jack plays ultimate frisbee; takes hikes with his spouse, Alex; and hangs out with his rescued companion turtle, Richard.

Jean Bettanny Jean Bettanny

Vegan Mentor Program Coordinator

Jean has been volunteering for VO for many years. Most recently she has taken charge of the Vegan Mentor Program to make sure mentees and mentors are matched up appropriately. Jean also follows up with people who request our Guide to Cruelty-Free Eating, to see if they need any other help. Finally, Jean maintains the Google Maps of colleges and high schools for our Adopt a College program.

Jean has been a passionate advocate for animals since 1994 and a supporter of Vegan Outreach since 2000. Before settling in Port Townsend, WA, she had two careers, one as a computer programmer / systems analyst and later as a hairstylist / salon owner. She earned a degree in Romance languages from the University of Maine in 1966. She has lived all over the US, and in Germany and Argentina. Some of her hobbies are partner dancing with her husband, Tom, playing online chess, movies, playing bridge, and traveling via RV with Tom to dances all over the Western states while sampling great vegan restaurants along the way.

Nikki Bollaert Nikki Bollaert

Direct Marketing Consultant

Nikki Bollaert oversees VO’s direct marketing programs and fundraising infrastructure.

Nikki has worked in the field of development and philanthropy for over twenty years, building development programs at nonprofit organizations and higher education institutions, and through her consulting practice. She’s spent the past decade devoting her skills and experience to animal protection and advocacy organizations.

Nikki holds a master of nonprofit management, and is a Certified Fundraising Professional and a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy. She is the proud mom of two amazing and compassionate kids and shares her home in Lafayette, Colorado, with four four-legged furry friends.

Eileen Botti Eileen Botti

New York City Outreach Coordinator

Eileen focuses her outreach efforts on college campuses throughout the NYC region. Eileen first joined Vegan Outreach in the spring of 2008. To date, she’s leafleted 98 different schools and has handed out more than 175,000 booklets.

Eileen grew up in the Hudson Valley of New York. After becoming involved with animal advocacy during college, she studied vegan cooking and baking at New York City’s Natural Gourmet Institute of Health and Culinary Arts. She created vegan pastries in bakeries all over New York City, and started a custom cakes business to show people how delicious vegan treats can be. In addition to working as a vegan pastry chef and animal advocate, Eileen has also worked as a music therapist, serving people with disabilities, seniors, and homeless adults. In her free time, she loves hiking, cycling, and spending time in the great outdoors, and is currently studying urban planning with a goal of creating more environmentally sustainable communities through transportation alternatives.

Alex Bury Alex Bury

Organizational Development Consultant

As a consultant, Alex helps VO’s Director of Development, Lisa Rimmert, with fundraising projects and VO’s Board of Directors with strategic planning. Alex brings vast fundraising experience to VO after working at PETA and HSUS for over a decade. She is also passionate about expanding the social justice practices of the animal rights community.

Alex earned a degree as a professional chef at the Culinary Institute of America and owned the Sonoma county, gourmet vegan restaurant Sparks in the early 2000s before realizing she could help animals most by raising funds.

An enthusiast of endurance sports, Alex has completed the Death Ride, a 130-mile bike ride that includes 20,000 feet of climbing. She also loves to hike uphill and, as a native Alaskan, to cross-country ski. Alex lives in Davis, CA, with her partner Jack, VO’s Executive Director, and her turtle, Richard.

David Carter David Carter

Motivational Speaker & Diversity Specialist

As a highly sought-after speaker, David presents the benefits of a vegan lifestyle to a wide variety of audiences, with an emphasis on communities of color.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, David is a defensive lineman and free agent in the National Football League. More famously known as The 300 Pound Vegan, David was drafted into the NFL after graduating from UCLA in 2011. Throughout his career he has played for the Arizona Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Chicago Bears. During his third season while in Dallas, David made the decision to go vegan overnight after years of nudging from his wife, Paige, and watching the Forks Over Knives documentary. Three years later, David is now an ethical vegan, animal rights activist, international public speaker, and humane educator.

Aside from advocating and educating, David enjoys eating a lot, training, researching, and proving you don’t have to take a life to gain muscle.

Paige Carter Paige Carter

Diversity & Community Expansion Specialist

Paige focuses on implementing VO’s Community Expansion Program by organizing public speaking and other events for diverse communities, as well as reaching them through social media, videos, and interviews.

Paige went vegan eight years ago after reading Kim Barnouin and Rory Freedman’s book Skinny Bitch. However, it took her husband, David Carter, The 300 Pound Vegan, six years of convincing before he finally relented; and in 2014, together they created The 300 Pound Vegan, LLC., a company that aims to educate people everywhere about the importance and value of veganism through social media, motivational speaking tours, books, and various initiatives. Paige is also a self-taught and published photographer, graphic designer, and CEO of The 300 Pound Vegan.

Paige is most passionate about sharing veganism with the younger generation in inner-city areas like the one she grew up in, in South Central, Los Angeles. In her spare time, Paige enjoys cooking, designing, reading, and spending time with their giant vegan Great Dane, Gibson.

Michelle Cehn Michelle Cehn

Social Media Manager

Michelle runs VO’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages. She comes to Vegan Outreach with more than six years of experience in social media management and has worked with organizations including Farm Sanctuary, PETA, PCRM, Mercy For Animals, and Vegan.com. Michelle is on a mission to make the world a kinder place through social media and other creative activism including through her bite-sized vegan videos and her lifestyle website, World of Vegan.

Michelle has been passionately vegetarian since age eight, and became vegan in college, where she started an animal rights group and spent many afternoons leafleting at universities, concerts, and events. Michelle is an entrepreneur at heart and loves photography, outdoor adventures, and vegan mac and cheese. Michelle lives in Oakland with her dog, Chance, her bunny, Pancakes, and her husband, Dan.

Steve Erlsten Steve Erlsten

Northern California Outreach Coordinator

Steve does outreach throughout the northern half of California. One of VO’s most consistently prolific activists, Steve gives out thousands of booklets day after day.

A lover of the natural world, Steve was driven to action after reading about the environmental impact of hog farming. He achieved zero-net-energy consumption at his home through major renovations, but promotes a vegan diet as the most effective means of diminishing individuals’ ecological impact. Steve says, “Major home improvements are a great way to improve our world, but that’s a decision you can only make once. Each of us can choose to help protect animals and save the environment every time we sit down to eat.” Before coming to Vegan Outreach, Steve used his free time to help establish some of the largest vegan and environmental festivals in the country. Steve enjoys cooking and being out in California’s wild open spaces – camping, swimming, and biking.

Kevin Gallagher Kevin Gallagher

Operations Manager

As Operations Manager, Kevin handles a number of functions such as monitoring our booklet inventory and coordinating printings.

Kevin has been involved with Vegan Outreach since the mid-1990s and joined Vegan Outreach cofounder Jack Norris for the Colorado leg of the first cross-country college leafleting tour. He was a member of Vegan Outreach’s Board of Directors from 2004 to 2015. Kevin was born and raised in suburban Chicago and was a vegetarian from his early high-school years due to the example of his mother. While attending Cornell College in Iowa, Kevin became vegan. After graduating with a BA in philosophy and political science, Kevin settled in Seattle and obtained a BS in neurobiology and physiology from the University of Washington. Kevin has worked for the University of Washington, where he cofounded and directed the Resource Center for Student Organizations, for ten years.

Sean Hennessy Sean Hennessy

Greater Ohio Outreach Coordinator

Starting in August 2016, Sean will be doing outreach in the state of Ohio and surrounding areas.

Sean is currently finishing a master’s degree in agricultural and applied economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he spent four semesters as a graduate teaching assistant in agricultural economics. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in community and international development from the University of Vermont.

Previously, Sean worked at the American embassy in South Africa as an agricultural specialist for the US Department of Agriculture, conducting research there during the summer of 2015. He has also volunteered in several animal advocacy positions, including through Vegan Outreach’s Vegan Mentor Program.

Outside of promoting a vegan diet, Sean enjoys jogging, reading, and salsa dancing.

Emmanuel Márquez Emmanuel Marquez

Mexico Outreach Coordinator

In January 2015, Emmanuel embarked on Vegan Outreach’s first full-time tour of Mexico. He traveled to 12 of Mexico’s 31 states, as well as its Federal District, as VO’s first-ever Mexico Outreach Coordinator.

Emmanuel hails from Monterrey, Mexico, where he was born and raised. He graduated from the Universidad Autónoma del Noreste with a degree in psychology. In addition to animal rights, Emmanuel is also an activist for environmental, feminist, and social justice causes. Some of Emmanuel’s favorite activities include spending time with friends and family, hiking, visiting museums, attending concerts, and watching movies.

Jevranne Martel Jevranne Martel

Canada Outreach Coordinator

Based in Ottawa, Jevranne will be leafleting colleges throughout most of Canada and doing other forms of outreach in her local area.

Jevranne has been a passionate vegan and animal advocate since finding out how animals are treated in August of 2013. She has recently been a full-time volunteer animal activist, organizing events such as leafleting, demonstrations, and video viewings in the Ottawa area.

Before finding out about animal issues, Jevranne was dedicated to motivational speaking and life coaching and has used these skills to help motivate and coach others to be effective activists. Jevranne prides herself in using kindness, compassion, and understanding in her interactions and is now proud to be a part of Vegan Outreach.

Yuri Mitzkewich Yuri Mitzkewich

Southeast Outreach Coordinator

Yuri Mitzkewich is Vegan Outreach’s Southeast Outreach Coordinator. A tireless VO volunteer for years, starting fall 2014, Yuri became part of Vegan Outreach’s staff, leafleting colleges throughout the Southeast.

Yuri studied marine biology and foreign studies at the University of Maryland. Post-college, Yuri toured as a musician in various punk and reggae bands. During this time he developed a love of volunteering, and has been active with various organizations, including Greenpeace, RAN, and Service Employees International Union. After seeing the film Peaceable Kingdom in 2007, Yuri became vegetarian and eventually vegan, and began campaigning to end vivisection and marine mammal captivity. When not leafleting, Yuri enjoys distance bicycling, spending time in his hammock around Key Biscayne, and perfecting his skills creating the best vegan pizza in Miami.

Josie Moody Josie Moody

Office Manager

As Office Manager, Josie sends out literature orders, responds to those who reach out to Vegan Outreach with questions, and a whole host of other tasks that keep Vegan Outreach the well-oiled machine that it is.

Josie has a degree in English and Spanish from Western Washington University. After working for years in the food service industry and feeling frustrated with all of the wasted animal products she’d see, she’s excited to work for Vegan Outreach on the other side of the spectrum, preventing animals from being slaughtered. When not working, she likes to spend her time listening to vinyl soul records, rollerskating, and cuddling with Tiger, her adorable Cairn Terrier.

Pooja Rathor Pooja Rathor

India Outreach Coordinator

As VO’s India Outreach Coordinator, Pooja travels the country leafleting, primarily at colleges.

Pooja is a resident of Dwarka, a city in the greater New Delhi area. Always an animal lover, she became her family’s first vegetarian at the precocious age of 4 and is now the first vegan in the family. Pooja grew up surrounded by birds, cats, dogs, and cows. She takes care of more than 50 stray dogs in Dwarka, as well as 4 cows, feeding them and providing healthcare when needed and sterilization.

Pooja has a dual degree in computer science and fashion design. Beyond animal rights and sharing veganism, she has a passion for promoting cruelty-free clothing and cosmetics. Pooja is also fond of spending time in nature, trying new foods, and spending time with her close-knit family and friends.

Lisa Rimmert Lisa Rimmert

Director of Development

As Director of Development, Lisa is the main contact for Vegan Outreach working with our donors to ensure they are involved with the organization at their preferred level. She runs various fundraisers and oversees our vegan mentor program.

Lisa brings to VO more than nine years of experience in marketing and fundraising and has volunteered for a variety of animal protection causes. She has a master’s degree in public relations from Webster University in St. Louis, and a bachelor’s in mass communications from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Lisa lives with her husband and their rescued dog and cat in Denver, where she performs improv and standup comedy, manages the snarky blog Weird! Why Aren’t You Vegan?, and eats all of the Ethiopian food in town.

Katia Rodríguez Katia Rodriguez

Mexico Campaigns & Spanish Media Coordinator

Katia helps run VO’s Español pages and also leaflets – in fact she holds the all-time record for the most booklets handed out in a single day with 6,496 booklets at her alma mater, the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León (UANL).

Katia went vegetarian after seeing a video at a concert for a local animal shelter and eventually went vegan. She has volunteered and interned for many animal rights organizations. Katia feels a strong passion for speaking up for animals used in labs and completed her biology degree without dissection or vivisection. She is now working to end those practices at UANL.

Katia enjoys attending concerts, reading, horror movies, 90s cartoons, science, Star Wars, and eating brownies. She lives with her adopted Egyptian rat, Arwen, and her three adopted dogs, Nirvana, Camila, and Nicky.

Victor Sjodin Vic Sjodin

Director of Outreach

Victor oversees VO’s Outreach Coordinators, ensuring that as much of the world is reached with VO’s literature as possible. Victor has been VO’s leafleting specialist for some time and has vastly increased the success rate of many of our Outreach Coordinators and volunteers.

Victor has been leafleting college campuses throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico since 2008. In this time, he has reached over 847,000 individuals with a Vegan Outreach booklet. Formerly VO’s Director of International Outreach, Vic paved the way for our exceptionally successful Mexico program and has a strong interest in expanding to other countries.

Victor was born in Sweden and grew up in the New York area. He studied philosophy and geography at Hofstra University. Victor enjoys reading, stand-up comedy, learning about nutrition, and being out in nature.

Lana Smithson Lana Smithson

New England Outreach Coordinator

Lana has been distributing Vegan Outreach’s literature since 2006 and is our key leafleter in the Northeast. A resident of Maine, Lana focuses her attention on schools in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Quebec. She has also leafleted extensively in Florida. In addition to VO’s work, she has done other animal advocacy, including producing informative public access cable TV shows, collecting signatures for the Florida farmed animal ballot initiative, and participating in animal rescues.

Lana graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in biology and a minor in animal science from Middle Tennessee State University. She previously worked in marine biology and microbiology. For fun, she enjoys swimming, scuba diving, skiing, and painting.

Lori Stultz Lori Stultz

Rocky Mountain Outreach Coordinator

Lori started working for Vegan Outreach in the summer of 2015. After traveling the country for a year leafleting colleges, she is now focused on the Rocky Mountain region of the country. Lori is also a regular contributor and editor of VO’s Blog.

A Colorado native, Lori completed her undergraduate degree in religious studies and psychology at Naropa University in Boulder, CO. She spent her first two years at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, WY, where she was first introduced to the issues surrounding today’s farmed animals, as well as other animal-related issues. Lori has done a great deal of volunteering for the local Boulder Vegan Meetup group, and she spent the summer of 2014 in Norfolk, Virginia, interning for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Lori has also volunteered for groups and organizations that help individuals with developmental disabilities and mental health concerns. Her favorite hobbies include: running, swimming, reading, writing, being outdoors, and spending time with friends and family.

Breege Tomkinson Breege Tomkinson

Director of Finance

As Director of Finance, Breege makes sure all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed. She pays the bills, balances the checkbook, keeps our registrations in dozens of states up to date, and handles a number of human resources functions.

Breege hails from the East Coast, having been born in New Jersey and spending most of her time in Connecticut and Vermont. She moved to California in 1999. Prior to VO, she spent 5 years with Nonprofit Financial Administrators (NPFA) working with animal rights and environmental organizations. Prior to NPFA she spent 6 years at the Animal Protection Institute managing the accounting department. She has a certificate in accounting from UC Davis and is currently working toward her BS in Accounting from Colorado State University. In her free time, Breege can be found eating Ethiopian food, at various coffee shops, at the gym, riding her bike or hanging with her three lazy cats.

Sam Tucker Sam Tucker

Australia & New Zealand Outreach Coordinator

Sam began working for Vegan Outreach in early 2015. He does outreach through Australia and New Zealand.

Sam grew up in Hamilton, New Zealand. After reading a book highlighting the plight of factory farmed animals, he went vegan at 13 and and began his own animal rights radio show. He became passionate about using media as a tool to create social change and hosted or co-hosted on a variety of different radio shows and stations. This eventually led him to study communications and journalism at the Waikato Institute of Technology. He has also worked as an information technology support assistant. Outside of advocating for animals, he enjoys writing his own songs, playing guitar, camping, road trips, biking, video games, and attending punk and hardcore concerts.