Activist Profile: July 8, 2015
Where are you from and where do you live now?
I’ve moved about every four years, so I have the privilege of choosing which place to say I’m “from.” I spent a lot of my formative years in the St. Louis area and have a special place in my heart for that city and its people. I currently live in Denver with a dog, a cat, and a human who is attending medical school here. Where we’ll go next, who knows!
What got you interested in veganism and animal advocacy?
I’ve always loved companion animals, and it progressed from that. I started learning about veganism – and consequently became vegetarian – thanks to my close friend’s sister, Stephanie Ernst, who happened to blog about animal rights among other things. She gets the credit for anything good I’ve done for animals since then. I went vegan a couple years later after attending an animal protection conference. Meeting other vegans definitely made it feel accessible.
You’re the Donor Relations Manager for Vegan Outreach. What does that entail?
I help people help animals. With a lot of support from my brilliant colleagues, I coordinate VO’s fundraising campaigns and events, membership program, and Vegan Mentor Program. Every day, I get to work with compassionate people who make leafleting possible – and what I hope I do each day is make sure they know how important they are.
I heard you do improv comedy! Where do you do this, and what’s that all about?
You heard right! I do improv in Denver with a team called Free Gluten. Besides being fun and funny, improv is based on some core ideas that seep into and improve the rest of life: collaboration, openness, appreciating “imperfection,” living in the now, and so much more. I want everyone reading this to sign up today for an improv class.
Even though you raise funds to make leafleting happen, you also get out to leaflet from time to time. How has that been, and do you have any advice for those hesitant about leafleting?
My first time leafleting was pretty intimidating. I went out with my VO colleagues who were already pros. It turned out to be really fun! People were receptive and polite, and I felt so productive doing it. I’ve learned that you get out of leafleting what you put in. If you are pleasant and confident (even if you’re totally faking it), people respond positively. It’s so important to get this info in front of people, and it’s at least equally important that people get to meet a vegan – a pleasant, confident vegan who believes enough in this cause to be out spreading compassion.