Key Personnel

Jack Norris

Jack-HeadshotPresident, 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.

Rachel Black

Rachel-HeadshotOutreach Coordinator

Rachel began working for Vegan Outreach in the fall of 2014. She travels throughout the US, leafleting college students and encouraging others to get active for the animals.

Before working at VO, Rachel volunteered in Philadelphia for The Humane League. She leafleted, did public outreach, letter writing, and participated in campaigns. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Tyler School of Art, where she used her paintings as tools of communicating the issues surrounding factory farming in America. For fun, Rachel goes camping and hiking when she can, and she continues to make art.

Eileen Botti

Eileen-HeadshotNew 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.

Jon Camp

Jon-HeadshotExecutive Vice President

As Executive Vice President, Jon oversees VO’s outreach department, ensuring that as much of the world is reached with VO’s outreach efforts as possible. Jon has also been known to leaflet a time or two and has handed out over a million booklets for Vegan Outreach.

Jon grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, IL, and focused on guitar studies and music theory at Columbia College in Chicago. During and after college, Jon made a living as a guitar teacher, but gave that up to focus on animal advocacy efforts. In 2004, Jon started working for VO and has considered it a labor of love. In his free time, Jon likes to work out, run, read, and write guitar music.

Sarah De Munck

Sarah De MunckOnline Advertising Coordinator

As the Online Advertising Coordinator, Sarah creates and manages all aspects of Vegan Outreach’s advertising campaigns on Facebook.

Sarah grew up in Rochester, NY. She became a vegetarian in 2002 after reading the book My Year of Meats by Ruth Ozeki. In 2010, she went vegan and became involved in local animal advocacy, including volunteering monthly at Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, NY.

In 2013, Sarah left a 13-year career at the American Red Cross to pursue full-time animal activism. She is the Assistant to the Executive Director for Jewish Vegetarians of North America, and she keeps the popular vegan-friendly alcohol guide at in working order. In her free time, Sarah enjoys knitting, barre fitness classes, and reading. She currently lives in Baltimore, MD.

Jose Elias

Jose-HeadshotOutreach Coordinator

Jose began working for Vegan Outreach in the fall of 2014. He travels throughout the US, leafleting college students and encouraging others to get active for the animals.

A Michigan native, Jose moved to the East Coast, where he interned in Boston with The Humane League for a year before joining Vegan Outreach. Along with animal advocacy, he has interests in photography and graphic design.

Steve Erlsten

Steve-HeadshotNorthern 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.

Emmanuel Marquez

Emmanuel-HeadshotMexico Outreach Coordinator

In January 2015, Emmanuel embarked on Vegan Outreach’s first full-time tour of Mexico. He’ll travel 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’s currently in his last semester at Universidad Autónoma del Noreste, where he’ll graduate 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.

Yuri Mitzkewich

Yuri-Headshot-1Southeast 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-HeadshotOffice 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.

John Oberg

John-HeadshotDirector of Communications

As Director of Communications, John runs VO’s social media presence and plays a role in developing the look and content of our booklets and merchandise, as well as VO’s strategy. Additionally, he is the head manager for the outreach that VO takes part in summer after summer on the Warped Tour, North America’s largest traveling music festival. John is also a master leafleter and has given out over 375,000 booklets since getting started with activism in 2009.

John grew up in the Detroit area and learned compassion for animals from his mother, Karen Oberg. Together they rescued and rehomed cats, and protested deer culls. By the age of 22, John learned of the horrors of factory farming and became a vegan and vegan advocate. He graduated summa cum laude in 2012 with a Bachelor in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from Arizona State University. He’s passionate about traveling, playing soccer, and rooting for his beloved Detroit Red Wings.

Toni Okamoto

Toni OkamotoVegan Food & Lifestyle Coordinator

As the Vegan Food & Lifestyle Coordinator, Toni creates blog posts and online cooking demonstrations which aim to educate those exploring a vegan diet. Toni also assists with VO’s fundraising efforts and with office duties at our California headquarters.

Toni dedicates her life to farmed animal rights advocacy and bringing awareness to the lack of fresh food accessibility and nutrition education in low-income and people-of-color communities. Prior to working for VO, she worked for Animal Place sanctuary, and is also the founder of the highly successful blog Plant Based on a Budget. Her blog has been featured in Reader’s Digest, Huffington Post, Colorlines,US News & World Report, and many other international news sources. For fun, Toni enjoys swing and salsa dancing, cooking and eating, running, and hanging out with her feline companion, Yosha.

Kassy Ortega

Kassy-HeadshotWashington, DC Outreach Coordinator

Since 2013, Kassy has been VO’s go-to outreach coordinator for Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Washington, DC.

Kassy has been vegetarian, now vegan, since watching the film Earthlings in high school. She studied business administration and marketing at Central Penn College and has done animal protection in federal affairs and grassroots campaigning. When she’s not leafleting, Kassy spends time being active with her rescued canine companion, Paco; and also attends pole fitness classes.

Lisa Rimmert

Lisa-HeadshotDonor Relations Manager

As Donor Relations Manager, 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.

Victor Sjodin

Vic-HeadshotSenior Outreach & Strategy Coordinator

Victor has been leafleting college campuses throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico since 2008. In this time, he has reached over 700,000 individuals with a Vegan Outreach booklet. Known amongst many as the most effective leafleter ever, Victor plays a big role in advising leafleters in how to reach the most individuals per hour spent leafleting.

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-HeadshotNew 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.

Breege Tomkinson

Breege TomkinsonDirector 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 TuckerAustralia & 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.