Patti began volunteering with Vegan Outreach in 2012 and joined the board in 2019. She holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and master’s in business administration. She currently works as a project manager in engineering services.
Patti grew up in Iowa surrounded by, but oblivious to, animal agriculture. While she had always been a champion for companion animals and wildlife, it wasn’t until a thought-provoking philosophy class and a series of personal experiences that she became mindful of the unnecessary cruelty resulting from animal-based diets. She initially became vegetarian and ultimately vegan as a result of these experiences.
Mark has been involved with Vegan Outreach since 1995, when he helped fund our launch to become a national organization. In 2004, he became a member of the board.
Mark became aware of veganism from his sister in the late 1980s; and then in 1990, while a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he joined the campus group Students for Animal Rights. In 1995, Mark attended the vegan School of Natural Cookery and began disseminating recipes through his online cookbook at Vitalita.com.
Mark worked at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at UIUC until he graduated with a Master of Science in Computer Science in 1992. From there, he went to work on European Community projects in Italy for three years. After returning, Mark started his own IT systems consulting firm specializing in Oracle software implementations.
When not stuck in front of a computer, he enjoys baking, traveling, yoga, and getting around by bike.
Nelli is proud of her lifelong activities with various social justice groups. She became vegan in 2013 and extended her activities for social justice to all animals through leafleting, tabling, food pantries, promoting vegan-messaged billboards, letter writing, speeches, protests, and participating in various vegfests. She joined the Vegan Outreach board in 2023.
Nelli was an attorney for 35 years, focusing on probate and elder law. Now retired, she continues her activism with local groups and enjoys walking dogs at the local county shelter.
Jack Norris, RD
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.