Welcome to Our Hen House. Meet our vegan flock …
Jasmin Singer (Executive Director) is a writer and activist living in New York City. In addition to her work for Our Hen House, which she co-founded in January 2010, Jasmin has written for numerous magazines and blogs, and recently wrote a chapter in the anthology Defiant Daughters: 21 Women on Art, Activism, Animals, and the Sexual Politics of Meat [Lantern, 2013]. Jasmin has appeared on The Dr. Oz Show, HuffPo Live, and can be seen in the documentaries Vegucated (for which she was also the Creative Consultant) and The Ghosts in Our Machine. She is a former contributing writer for VegNews Magazine, and was named by VegNews as one of twenty standout stars of the animal rights movement. From 2007-2010, she was the campaigns manager for Farm Sanctuary. Her workshops have been presented at conferences, universities, law schools, and VegFests around the globe. Jasmin has been featured in media outlets such as CNN, Freakonomics, The Atlantic, and the New York Observer. Prior to her animal activist career, Jasmin was an actor-educator with an AIDS-awareness theatre company. As an actor, she has also performed in (and produced) the show Mortified, and was last seen on stage in the lead role of Exhibit This at the NYC Midtown International Fringe Festival. Email her at jasmin [at] ourhenhouse [dot] org.
Mariann Sullivan (Board President and Program Director) is a lawyer and an adjunct professor of animal law at NYU Law School, Cardozo Law School and Columbia Law School. She found her way into animal law through the Committee on Legal Issues Pertaining to Animals of the New York City Bar Association and eventually served as chair of that committee. She is also the former chair of the American Bar Association’s Tort Trial Insurance Practice Section’s Animal Law Committee. With David Wolfson, she is the author of a trilogy of articles on farmed animals and the law: “Foxes in the Henhouse: Animals Agribusiness and the Law, A Modern American Fable” in Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions; “What’s Good for the Goose… The Supreme Court of Israel, Foie Gras, and the Future of Farmed Animals in the United States,” in the 2007 volume of the Duke Journal of Law and Contemporary Problems; and “If it Looks Like a Duck: New Jersey, The Regulation of Common Farming Practices, and the Meaning of ‘Humane,’” in Animal Law and the Courts. Mariann is also the author of “The Animal Welfare Act: What’s That?” which was published in the New York State Bar Association Journal. She has spoken at various conferences and animal law related events throughout the country, as well as Animal Rights Africa’s Animal Law Review Consultation Workshop in Johannesburg. Mariann has served on the board of directors of Farm Sanctuary and The Animals Agenda, and currently serves on the board of Animal Welfare Trust and Animal Welfare Advocacy. She was a visiting professor of animal law at Lewis & Clark Law School’s Center for Animal Law Studies in the Fall 2012 semester, and is a former adjunct professor of animal law at Brooklyn Law School. Email her at mariann [at] ourhenhouse [dot] org.
JL Fields (Board Member) is a vegan lifestyle coach and educator – certified by the Main Street Vegan Academy – at Go Vegan with JL! A devoted culinary student, she has studied at the Natural Gourmet Institute and Organic Avenue, and completed the Intensive Study Program at The Christina Pirello School of Natural Cooking and Integrative Health Studies. JL is vocal about everything from plant-based food and vegan activism, fitness and body image, and making big changes post-40. She shares plant-based education, recipes and cooking techniques, as well as animal rights information and resources, on the popular blog JL goes Vegan and in her weekly online column “I Eat Plants” for the Life Style section of The Journal News (Westchester, NY). She is the editor of the community blog Stop Chasing Skinny. JL is the founder and lead consultant for JL Fields Consulting. She teaches nonprofit management at the Business Institute at Long Island University-CW Post.
Alison Mercer (Board Member) currently serves as director of annual programs for a higher education institution in Georgia. Over the last ten years she has held numerous progressive roles and is now currently running a million dollar campaign. In her spare time, Alison serves on the Advancement of Women committee and chairs the Executive Leadership Academy for Women. When she’s not working, she’s writing on her blog about vegan recipes and animal rights issues, as well as serving as an activist with her local animal rights organization, Georgia Animal Rights and Protection (GARP). Alison is also an active participant in numerous charitable organizations, including Right to Hike, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Fringe Festival and PAWS Atlanta. Alison lives in Decatur, Georgia with her husband, dog and cat.
Elisa Camahort Page (Advisory Board) co-founded BlogHer, Inc., in 2005 with Jory Des Jardins and Lisa Stone, and serves as the company’s COO. With Elisa leading the BlogHer conference business, it has grown from a single conference hosting 300 attendees in 2005, to many diverse events that hosted more than 5,000 attendees in 2013. Elisa’s work leading consumer insights and public relations has resulted in coverage from many leading media outlets, including USA TODAY, New York Times, Washington Post, Advertising Age, Forbes, Fast Company, CNN, TODAY Show, the Wall Street Journal, and more. BlogHer, Inc. was named among the AlwaysOn OnMedia Top 100 for 2010-2013, as one of America’s Most Promising Start- ups by BusinessWeek, and as Innovator Of The Year by InfusionSoft. BlogHer’s flagship site, BlogHer.com, was named one of the Top 100 Websites for Women by Forbes for 2010-2012. Together, BlogHer’s co-founders were among the Fortune Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs in 2013, in the Ernst & Young Winning Women Class of 2011, have been named among the most influential women in Web 2.0 and technology by Fast Company, and among the seven most powerful people in new media by Forbes Magazine. In 2011, they were jointly awarded the PepsiCo Women’s Inspiration Award and in 2008, the Anita Borg Institute Social Impact Award. Elisa has also been honored as an NCWIT Hero, and AlwaysOn PowerPlayer, and as one of the AWM’s Sixty@60. Elisa is a founding Fellow of the Society for New Communications Research and serves on the Board of Directors of the 42nd Street Moon Theatre in San Francisco, the programming advisory committee for SXSW Interactive and SXSW V2V, Advisory Board for Food on the Table, the Board of Advisors of the Anita Borg Institute, and as a Member of the Digital Hollywood Women’s Entertainment and Technology Board.
Carol Leifer (Advisory Board) is an accomplished stand-up comedian and an Emmy-winning writer and producer for her work on such television shows as Seinfeld, The Larry Sanders Show, Saturday Night Live and The Academy Awards. She has starred in several of her own comedy specials, which have aired on HBO, Showtime, and Comedy Central. Carol’s book, entitled When You Lie About Your Age, the Terrorists Win is a bestseller. In promoting her book, Carol recently appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Late Show with Danyvid Letterman, The View, The Today Show, Real Time with Bill Maher, Fresh Air with Terry Gross on NPR, and The Howard Stern Show on Sirius/XM. Carol recently guest starred on Curb Your Enthusiasm as the “Lemonade Mom.” She was one of the writers for last year’s Oscars with hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin and for her work on that, she was nominated for an Emmy.
Dan Piraro (Advisory Board), creator of the BIZARRO cartoons, was raised in Oklahoma in the late 1900s and escaped as soon as possible. In addition to 13 collections of BIZARRO cartoons, Piraro has published two books of prose, including “Bizarro Among the Savages” (Andrews McMeel, 1998), and a political satire disguised as a children’s book recounting the Bush administration’s foray into Iraq called, “The Three Little Pigs Buy the White House” (St. Martins, 2004). BIZARRO has won an unprecedented three consecutive “Best Cartoon Panel of the Year” awards from the National Cartoonists Society, and in 2010 was given their highest award, “Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year.” Piraro regularly speaks and performs comedy across the country, and works as an animal rights and environmental activist. For his animal rights-themed cartoons, he has won numerous awards from the Humane Society of the United States. He also writes a monthly humor column for VegNews Magazine. Since 2002, Piraro has sporadically toured the U.S. with his one-man stand-up comedy show called “The Bizarro Boloney Show”. Piraro has appeared on CNN and “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross on NPR. In 2007, Dan Piraro reached the self-proclaimed pinnacle of his career thus far when he and BIZARRO appeared as a clue on the popular game show, “Jeopardy!” and was included as a clue in a New York Times crossword puzzle.
Brad Goldberg (Advisory Board) spent 35 years in the investment management business as Senior Vice President for Jennison Associates, a subsidiary of Prudential Financial until his retirement in 2002. In 2001, he organized Animal Welfare Trust as a private operating foundation dedicated to animal protection and welfare issues and in 2003 founded Animal Welfare Advocacy, which is dedicated to promoting the well-being of animals through the legislative and political action process. In 2005, Brad became Chair of Humane Education Advocates Reaching Teachers (HEART) which is a public charity with a mission of teaching youth compassion and respect toward all living beings and the environment. He is also an officer of the New York Coalition for Healthy School Food, which was co-founded by Animal Welfare Trust. Brad is a trustee of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) for which he serves on the Finance, Audit and Investment committees. He is also a trustee of the Cultural Institutions Retirement System, which manages and administers retirement and welfare plans for cultural, charitable and educational institutions. Brad received his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois in 1966, and an MBA from New York University in 1968. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).
Gena Hamshaw (Advisory Board) is a certified clinical nutritionist and the author of Choosing Raw, a blog devoted to vegan and raw recipes, positive body image, and a mindful approach to health and healing. Her work has been published in O Magazine, VegNews Magazine, Food52, and Whole Living Daily. In her old life, Gena was a book editor. In her current life, she is a pre-medical post-baccalaureate student, and plans to apply to medical schools this coming spring. Having spent many years of her life battling an eating disorder and a host of digestive problems, Gena is particularly interested the mind body connection and its role in the healing process. She hopes to bring a compassionate and intuitive, yet evidence-based approach to a career in health care.
Donny Moss (Advisory Board) is a documentary filmmaker and activist living in New York City. He is the producer and director of the award-winning documentary, Blinders, which exposes the truth behind the tradition of New York City’s infamous horse-drawn carriage trade. More recently, he produced a short documentary called Christine Quinn: Behind the Smile. Donny lives in New York City with his husband, Jim, and their animal companion, Max.
James E. McWilliams (Advisory Board) is a writer and associate professor of history at Texas State University, San Marcos, historian. His books include Just Food: Where Locavores Get It Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly (Little, Brown) and A Revolution in Eating: How the Quest for Food Shaped America (Columbia University Press). His work on food and agriculture has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Slate, Forbes, Travel and Leisure, The Los Angeles Times, The International Herald Tribune, and the Texas Observer. He regularly post articles at theatlantic.com and blogs at eatingplantsdotorg.wordpress.
Danielle Legg (Outreach Manager) is elated to be a member of the flock here at Our Hen House. Growing up on a farm, her first best friends were not the usual 4-legged companions, but instead were pigs, goats, cows, and sheep. In April 2009, after watching a short Mercy for Animals exposé on chickens, her previously-held view that some animals were friends, while others were food, changed forever. After visiting Farm Sanctuary in May 2010, she became committed to devoting her life to protecting farmed animals. In 2010, she organized a screening of MFA’s Fowl Play, and followed the screening with an event that paid veg-curious folks to get full on amazing vegan eats. During the summer of 2011, Danielle participated in several weekly vigils with Toronto Pig Save, which gave her the opportunity to talk with both the drivers of transport trucks, and the employees of the slaughterhouse. The highlight of that summer was tabling with We Animals and The Ghosts in Our Machine at the Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival. Danielle currently lives in Ontario NY, and frequently volunteers at Snooter’s Farm Animal Sanctuary, across the pond in Ontario, Canada. When Danielle isn’t on the farm, she’s doing all she can to change hearts and minds about animals used for food. This summer, she’ll begin her studies in nutrition, with the goal of earning a bachelor’s degree in Nursing. Danielle’s dog, Arcot, is her constant companion, and her cat, Pekoe, can most often be found demanding attention by tapping the laptop keyboard with her massive polydactyl paws.
Amanda Riley (Web Coordinator) was inspired to go vegan through music just before her high school graduation in 2008, and has been active in the vegan movement ever since. She earned her BA in psychology in 2012 from Rutgers-Newark, where she hosted a student vegetarian club for a year in addition to volunteering with various organizations in New York City. Most recently, she promoted veganism during three weeks of Warped Tour 2013 with Action for Animals. Amanda currently lives in New Jersey, where she enjoys attending vegan gatherings, changing people’s minds through their stomachs, and making frequent vegan food pilgrimages in the area and beyond.
Piper Hoffman (Columnist) is a writer and attorney living in Brooklyn with her husband, two cats, and occasional foster kittens. She has a B.A. magna cum laude from Brown University and a J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School. Piper has professional experience with the laws related to animal rights, employment, poverty, homelessness, women’s rights, and being childfree. She blogs at piperhoffman.com and her writing has been published by Salon, Forbes Woman, and others.
Keri Cronin (Columnist) is Chair of the Visual Arts Department at Brock University. She is a member of the Advisory Council for the National Museum of Animals & Society and also curated their Summer 2012 exhibition, “Be Kind: A Visual History of Humane Education, 1880-1945.” She is the author of Manufacturing National Park Nature: Photography, Ecology and the Wilderness Industry of Jasper (UBC Press, 2011), and co-editor (with Kirsty Robertson) of Imagining Resistance: Visual Culture and Activism in Canada (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2011).
Liz Dee (Associate Producer) is a fifth-generation candy maker with a vegan sweet tooth, and co-owner of Smarties Candy Company. She practices and advocates for compassion and freedom for all beings. A firm believer in Gandhi’s idea of being the change you wish to see in the world, Elizabeth is always looking for new ways to put her master’s degree in media, culture, and communication to good use through effective animal advocacy. She is fond of getting lost in a book, practicing yoga, and writing. Elizabeth celebrates life with a brave cat, a cuddly dog, and a kind man she bumped into one day on the corner of West 4th Street and Mercer.
Craig Middleton (Podcast Coordinator) is a singer and actor who studied theatre at Syracuse University. After visiting Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary a little over a year ago, he decided to go from vegetarian to vegan. He was a huge fan of the Our Hen House podcast and is now extremely excited to be a part of the team. He lives and works in Brooklyn as a personal assistant, and is so happy to now also be working to help change the world for animals.
Eric Milano (Sound Technician Consultant) is an Emmy Award nominated sound designer and mixer based in New York City. The films and television he has worked on have won or been nominated for Oscars, Emmys, Golden Globes, Independent Spirits and a Peabody. They have been featured or won awards at such renowned film festivals as Sundance, Cannes, Berlin, Toronto, SXSW and many others. When not attempting to sound super impressive, Eric deeply enjoys being super ordinary. He loves the Our Hen House hens and is very happy to be a part of the flock. You will often find Eric working at his home-based Love Loft Studios with his 3 rescue kitties, 1 rescue wife and 1 mixed breed baby girl not far away.
Ben Braman (Tech Guy) is a vegan activist living in Tucson, AZ. At a young age, he became enthralled with computer programming and the early Internet, which inspired a self-taught career in web development. Ben’s latest creation is VeganFeed.com, a site that showcases vegan media as it is published. In addition to his online advocacy, Ben is an event organizer for the Tucson Vegetarian & Vegan Meetup group, a passionate and growing assemblage of hundreds of members, as well as founding the Vegan Tucson Meetup group. In his spare time, Ben enjoys talking to new vegans and the vegan curious, often pointing them to podcasts, blogs and videos, such as the ones created at Our Hen House.
Laurie Johnston (Graphic Designer) is one half of the eco-friendly design duo Two Trick Pony. As Co-Pony, Laurie’s day is filled with all sorts of adventures – like designing new greeting cards for obscure occasions (like “Happy Veganversary”), screen-printing said cards by hand, and playing fetch with her studio buddy Wally, the rescued Schnoodle. At a young age, Laurie began her road to animal activism with her love of animals – stuffed animals, that is. It probably came as no surprise to her parents that she stopped eating animals once she made the connection between Lamby, her childhood stuffed toy, and the meat on her plate. Fast forward a few decades, and she has found a way to use her creative skills and art school degree to help animals, both with her volunteer work for Our Hen House, as well as other animal organizations near her home in Central Massachusetts. Laurieshares her home with her husband Jake (aka “Mr. Pony”), Wally, and a few old cuddly friends (like Lamby).
Robin Lamont’s most recent novel is The Chain, the first in a suspense series featuring an animal rights investigator. Prior to becoming a writer, she worked as an actress, an undercover investigator, and an Assistant District Attorney in Westchester County (in that order). Her first book If Thy Right Hand won Suspense Magazine’s Best of 2011 and the Gold Medal in the 2012 Independent Publisher Book Awards. She now writes full time and volunteers for animal advocacy groups. Visit Robin’s website to learn more.
Alessandra Seiter (Hen Press Coordinator/Contributing Writer), a sophomore geography major at Vassar College, is committed to combatting oppression in its many forms through intersectional activism. She serves as co-president of the Vassar Animal Rights Coalition (VARC) and blogs at Farmers Market Vegan. When not writing, blogging, or organizing campus events, Alessandra enjoys cooking, baking, practicing yoga, and biking. Follow Alessandra on Twitter at @FarmerMarketVeg or on Facebook.
Katrina Donovan Fleming (Reviewer) is a writer, teacher, artist, gardener, and returned Peace Corps volunteer who became vegan two years ago at the tender age of 40. She lives just outside of Boston with her husband and two cats, and writes a blog called Suburban Snow White, where she muses on creating and enjoying an animal-friendly life. She is also a regular contributor to Vegbooks. A professionally trained flutist, Katrina now dabbles in banjo, a development likely inspired by Kermit.
Rose Singer Sullivan (Resident Dog) is the official dog of Our Hen House. When she is not going for a run along the Hudson River, Rose enjoys sitting directly on top of you, french-kissing you without your permission, chomping on carrots and bananas (she is vegan, after all), and making sure that you are fully aware when things are INAPPROPRIATE! Rose is the brains behind Our Hen House and is usually the one to keep the rest of us on track.