Welcome to Our Hen House. Meet our vegan flock …
Jasmin Singer (Executive Director) is a writer and activist living in NYC. In addition to her work for Our Hen House, which she co-founded in January 2010, Jasmin has written for numerous magazines and online outlets, including The Huffington Post and Mind Body Green, as well as in anthologies including Defiant Daughters: 21 Women on Art, Activism, Animals, and the Sexual Politics of Meat [Lantern, 2013], Running, Eating, Thinking [Lantern, 2014], and Circles of Compassion [Vegan Publishers, 2014]. Her own personal memoir about food, Always Too Much and Never Enough, will be published by Penguin Random House’s imprint, Berkley, in February, 2016. Along with her partner, Mariann Sullivan, Jasmin was the co-host of the Our Hen House TV Show (a co-production with Brooklyn Independent Media) in 2014 and 2015, and remains the cohost of the award-winning weekly Our Hen House podcast. She 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 contributing writer for VegNews Magazine, and was named by VegNews as one of twenty standout stars of the animal rights movement. From 2007-2010, Jasmin 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 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 NYU Law School, Brooklyn Law School, and Cardozo Law School. Mariann is the cohost of the award-winning, weekly Our Hen House podcast, and is the host of the Animal Law Podcast. Email her at mariann [at] ourhenhouse [dot] org.
Board of Directors
Elizabeth Laurel Dee (Board Member) is a co-owner and Vice President of Smarties Candy Company. A fifth generation candy maker, her areas of expertise include communications and food quality and safety. Elizabeth holds a bachelor’s degree in Government and French from Wesleyan University, where she was a NESCAC all-academic team scholar-athlete. She earned her master’s degree in Media Culture and Communication from New York University. Elizabeth is passionate about mindful living, practicing Jivamukti yoga, and freedom for all beings (including ourselves!). She volunteers with Mercy For Animals and speaks on their behalf as a humane educator. Elizabeth lives with her husband and their rescue pup in NYC and shares pieces of her mind on Twitter and Instagram.
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.
Alexander Gray (Board Member) is Principal and Co-Founder of the New York contemporary art gallery Alexander Gray Associates, where he oversees exhibitions, programming, and institutional relations. Prior to establishing the Gallery, Alexander held numerous leadership positions in the arts, including Artadia: The Fund for Art and Dialogue; Artpace San Antonio; Art Matters Foundation; the National Campaign for Freedom of Expression; Visual AIDS; and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Alexander is a trustee of the Archipenko Foundation, and serves on board of Artpace San Antonio, Art Matters Foundation. He has lectured extensively at schools and universities, including New York University; Yale University; School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; University of California, Los Angeles; Art Center College of Design; and the University of Victoria.
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.
Michael Suchman (Board Member) is the Co-Founder of Vegan Mos, a blog that promotes veganism by sharing original recipes for delicious vegan food, and shows the intersection between animal rights and LGBT rights. When not running the show at Chelsea Foot and Ankle, Michael can be found either in the kitchen trying out new recipes, watching Dr. Who, or taking photos the old-fashioned way, with an actual 35mm camera. Michael is a recovering lawyer and Certified Vegan Lifestyle Coach & Educator by the Main Street Vegan Academy. After practicing in the field of Corporate Litigation for twelve years, he was tired of representing corporations over the interests of individuals. Since then, he has come to recognize that the law needs to work more on helping all individuals, regardless of species. Michael lives in Williamsburg, Brooklyn with his husband Ethan and their vegan dogs: Riley and Charlie.
Matt Ball (Advisory Board) is a globally recognized authority on animal advocacy, factory farming, vegan diets, and applied ethics. Matt is currently Senior Advisor at VegFund, a cutting-edge global animal advocacy organization. Previously, Matt co-founded Vegan Outreach and served as the group’s Executive Director for more than 20 years. His vision and experience built the organization into a leading force for the animals, with many thousands of active members around the world. Matt has presented at and written for diverse forums over the past two decades, and is the author of many essays and several books, including: The Animal Activist’s Handbook (Lantern Books, 2007) and The Accidental Activist (Lantern Books, 2014). He lives in Tucson, AZ with his wife Anne Green, Director of Operations for Our Hen House. Their daughter Ellen, a lifelong vegan, attends Pomona College in Claremont, CA.
David Cabrera (Advisory Board) is Principal and Co-Founder of the contemporary art gallery Alexander Gray Associates in New York, where he oversees the management of the Gallery, including financial, personnel, and operations. David has been an activist and volunteer with numerous issues rooted in compassion going back to the early 90s. He was a member of ACT-Up, a Gay Men’s Health Crisis volunteer, and he is currently a hospice volunteer counselor, providing vigil sitting through Visiting Nurses Services of New York and speaking on the subject. In the field of animal awareness and veganism, he and his husband, Alexander Gray, have been sponsors of Our Hen House and Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s Food for Thought podcasts. David has volunteered at Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary since 2011, where he is now President and Chair of the Board of Directors. He lives in New York City, and Germantown, NY with his husband.
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.
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.
Danielle Legg (Advisory Board) is elated to be in the coop here at Our Hen House. Growing up on a farm, her first best friends were not the usual two-legged companions, but instead were pigs, goats, cows, and sheep. Danielle attended Medaille College in Buffalo, NY earning her license in Veterinary Technology. She also attended Buffalo State College, completing her Bachelors Degree in Psychology. In 2009, after watching a short Mercy for Animals exposé on chickens, her previously-held view that some animals were friends, while others were “just food,” was completely turned upside down. A visit to Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen lit a fire to fight for the animals whose voices are too often ignored, and that fire has not dimmed. This past New Year brought Danielle to Brooklyn NY — with her dog Arcot, her cat Pekoe, and her passion to change the world. Danielle relocated to Brooklyn to be closer to vegan doughnuts, and a scene that is her lifeblood: animal activism. She never misses an opportunity to change the world for animals; the subway and her Our Hen House tote make those conversations an everyday occurrence.
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 David 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.
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.
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.
Joy Pierson (Advisory Board) is a co-owner of New York City’s Candle 79, Candle Cafe and Candle Cafe West. In addition, Joy and her partner, Bart Potenza, established Candle Cafe Vegan, a wholesale line, which is sold at Whole Foods Markets nationally. A Nutritional Counselor since 1985, Joy is a magna cum laude graduate of Tufts University. Joy has written three cookbooks, lectured, and consulted extensively about food and nutrition, and leads workshops and courses on the joys and health benefits of plant-based cooking. Board chair of the Coalition for Healthy School Food and member of Social Venture Network and Green America, Joy has appeared on The Food Network, The Today Show, CBS News This Morning, Good Morning America, LX/TV, and Good Day New York. Her quest and vision is to continue to change people’s awareness of health, well-being, and their effects on the planet and future generations by bringing farm-fresh, plant-based food to as many people and tables as possible
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.
Anne Green (Director of Operations) was Vegan Outreach’s founding Vice-President in 1993. A teaching professor of German at Carnegie Mellon University during that time, Anne’s salary underwrote Vegan Outreach’s first years and allowed the group to become established. During her tenure at Carnegie Mellon, she published widely, was elected President of the American Association of Teachers of German, and received her college’s top award for excellence in teaching. In 2007, she left academia to work full-time for the animals as Vegan Outreach’s Director of Development and Programs. Her efforts helped increase VO’s income more than 2.5 times and expand the Adopt a College program to reach nearly one million students in Fall 2013. When she’s not eating them, Anne enjoys learning about and growing plants, especially those of the Sonoran Desert of Tucson, where she lives with her husband, Matt Ball, co-founder of Vegan Outreach. Their daughter, Ellen Green, has been vegan all her life and is studying Molecular Biology at Pomona College. Anne is excited to be a part of the Our Hen House team to help change the world for all animals.
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).
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.
Alessandra Seiter (Media Coordinator), a junior geography major at Vassar College, is committed to combating oppression in its many forms through intersectional activism. Guided by radical humility grounded in anti-speciesist, anti-racist, and feminist principles, she serves as co-president of the Vassar Animal Rights Coalition (VARC) and blogs at Chickpeas and Change. When not writing, blogging, or organizing campus events, Alessandra enjoys cooking, baking, practicing yoga, and biking. Follow Alessandra on Twitter at @ChickpeasChange or on Facebook.
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.
Our Hen House is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Contributions are tax-deductible as allowed by law. We are grateful for your contributions.