Food Empowerment Project is guided by a capable and experienced team of volunteers with a wide range of skills and interests in social justice.
Our Board Members
Monica Cendejas has a B.A. in Economics and Spanish from Stanford University, where she held an outreach position with El Centro Chicano. She has studied many different issues relating to food economics and has worked with a variety of non-profit organizations. Monica previously worked with the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition and Communities for Clean Ports and is currently working on her J.D. at the University of San Diego.
Rick Kelley works for an Oakland workers’ rights nonprofit. He helped start a community group with other local activists called Neighbors Opposed to Backyard Slaughter, which advocates for an approach to urban agriculture that doesn’t include animal exploitation. Rick has previously worked in drug policy reform, helped form a Minneapolis legal collective focused on empowering and supporting communities likely to be targeted for their political activism, and is active in supporting the organizing efforts of California prisoners’ locked in indefinite solitary confinement. His current interests lie at the intersections between food justice, animal and workers’ rights, and collective efforts for social change.
lauren Ornelas is F.E.P.’s founder and serves as the group’s executive director. She is also the former executive director of Viva!USA, a national nonprofit vegan advocacy organization. lauren has been active in the animal rights movement for more than 20 years. After spending four years as national campaign coordinator for In Defense of Animals, lauren was asked by Viva!UK to start and run Viva!USA in 1999. In cooperation with activists across the country, she worked and achieved corporate changes within Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s, and Pier 1 Imports, among others. She served as campaign director with the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition for six years. Watch lauren’s TEDx talk, The Power of Our Food Choices.
Tatiana Siegenthaler has a B.A. in Finance and International Relations from The Externado de Colombia University. She worked at EARN, a nonprofit organization focused on microsavings. Prior to joining EARN, Tatiana worked as the Legislative Coordinator for a community-based group. She organized legislative campaigns around social justice issues, such as raising the minimum wage, tenants’ rights, healthcare reform, and more. She’s currently enrolled in the Herbal Therapeutics Program at the Ohlone Center for Herbal Studies and is dedicated to helping with issues connecting animal rights and social justice.
Our Advisory Board
Jason Bayless is a diverse activist with a wide range of experience. Jason worked at PETA in a number of positions including Senior Youth Outreach Specialist, Circus Monitor, and Senior Projects Specialist. He has traveled the country documenting and reporting animal abuse and neglect within the entertainment industry. A born workaholic, Jason works long hours, finding out new ways to improve the lives of both human and non-human animals. As a member of The International Association of Internet Broadcasters (IAIB), Jason now spends his free time producing, editing and recording videos and podcasts on a variety of topics.
Lawrence Carter-Long is the Executive Director of the Disabilities Network of NYC, which works to shape policy, build community and increase civic, social and economic opportunities for people with physical and sensory disabilities in the Big Apple. In addition, Lawrence is a long time animal advocate and has facilitated workshops on effective outreach and communications across the nation for over 15 years.
Jake Conroy has been involved in a wide range of social justice activism since the mid-90s. He helped build the foundation of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty USA, one of the most successful grassroots animal rights campaigns in history. As an organizer and designer, Jake brought a new look and creative feel to grassroots campaigns through professional newsletters, brochures, web design and merchandise. Currently Jake works for an international environmental organization that uses direct action and pressure campaigns to help enact responsible corporate policies. He can also be found lecturing at universities around the US and spending too much time hunting down cruelty-free treats.
John Eckman serves as technology advisor and web developer for Food Empowerment Project. He is the Managing Director of a strategy, design, and technology services agency in Boston, MA. He’s an open source software advocate and developer active in the WordPress and Drupal communities, as well as an organizer of WordCamp Boston and a speaker on digital strategy, content management, and open source. Vegan since 2006, John has built sites and provided technology support to numerous mission-driven nonprofit organizations.
As Director of State Affairs at Justice at Stake, Debra Erenberg oversees policy advocacy, coalition building, and organizing to ensure our courts are fair, impartial, and open to everyone. Debra has also served as the Midwest Regional Director for Amnesty International-USA and Organizing Director for Rainforest Action Network. In two decades of advocacy for social justice, animals, and the environment, Debra has worked with organizations including NARAL Pro-Choice America, America Votes, the Great Ape Project, and the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
Alissa Hauser is a longtime nonprofit executive, and currently the Executive Director of The Pollination Project, a foundation that makes daily seed grants to individual changemakers. She co-founded and co-Directed the Engage Network, a nonprofit that works with large organizations to use best practices in citizen-driven organizing. Alissa was also the former Executive Director of the environmental organization, Circle of Life, and in addition to F.E.P., serves on many nonprofit boards and advisory boards including Youth Empowered Action Camp, Bread for the Journey and Go Inspire Go.
Laura Hudson recently received her Ph.D. from the University of California Davis. Her degree is in Cultural Studies (with Designated Emphasis in Critical Theory) while her work focuses on Critical Animal Studies, Media Critique, Film Studies, and Studies in Food and Culture. Her dissertation focuses on the representation of animals in film and popular culture, and how these representations affect our views of both human beings and other animals. A former staff person for Viva!USA, she has experience in active campaigns promoting ethical food choices as well as theoretical ones.
Jennifer Knapp serves as F.E.P.’s pro bono counsel. She is a senior associate at the law firm of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, P.C., the premier legal advisor to technology and growth enterprises worldwide, where she practices corporate and securities law. In addition to providing pro bono legal counsel to a number of organizations, she volunteers her time on various animal-related issues. She graduated with High Honors from U.C. Santa Barbara with a B.A. in Sociology, and she received her law degree from U.C. Hastings graduating Magna Cum Laude.
LuQ (aka Luke McDermott) is a professional software critic who has worked with Grey2K in MA, the Boston Vegan Association and has co-led several feminist, vegan or intersectional discussion groups. LuQ is a half-life vegan and the author of a vegan website.
Chad Miller has been involved in animal rights and social justice activism for the last fifteen years. While attending college in Louisiana he was active in anti-racist work. Chad is currently the co-owner of Food Fight! Grocery, an all-vegan market in Portland, OR. In addition to working at Food Fight! Chad helped to found the Let Live Foundation and works to connect vegan activism with other justice issues.
Rey Ortega is President and Founder of Sun Flour Baking Co, Inc., founder of The Alternative Baking Company, and he has been in the natural foods industry for nearly 15 years. Rey’s passion for natural foods comes from his desire to spread delicious vegan food to as many people as possible. Rey also owns SK Publishing, a company that specializes in vegetarian children’s books.
Deborah “Bee” Uytiepo is the founder of Healing is Giving, an educational organization that organizes community events hosted by vegans. Bee also founded V.I.B.E. (Vegan. Inspired. Business. Empowerment) Resource Group, an organization that helps vegan business owners network, share resources and host fundraisers. She serves her community as an organizer, activist and small-business consultant. Bee is the author of a forthcoming three-book series titled Vegan Heart, Vegan Connections and Vegan Leadership. She lives in Marin County, California, where she owns a women’s wellness practice called Beelight.
Zoe Weil is the president of the Institute for Humane Education (IHE) and the author of several books, including Most Good, Least Harm and Above All, Be Kind. She has been a humane educator for over twenty years, has taught tens of thousands of young people about living with respect and compassion for others, and has trained thousands of adults to be humane educators. IHE offers the first Master of Education program in Humane Education as well as a Humane Education Certificate Program and weekend training workshops across the U.S. and Canada.
David Williams is a Licensed General Contractor, a Certified Green Builder and in 2006 he earned his Permaculture Design Certification. This pioneering science integrates technology and biological systems to lessen the impact of human waste and resource consumption on the planet. David also participates in a local community garden where he grows an assortment of vegetables, and where all surplus foods are shared with both the members and the local Alameda Food Bank. Here he is allowed to practice the Permaculture Principles of Ethics: Care for the Earth, care for people, and set limits to consumption, reproduction, and share the surplus.
Anastasia Yarbrough is a social change consultant at Inner Activism Services, LLC. She works with organizations and activists to be more sustainable, effective, and life-affirming. For the last ten years she has been involved in animal rights, community development, women of color’s empowerment and wellness, and ecological justice. She has also served on the board of the Institute for Critical Animal Studies and regularly facilitates anti-oppression workshops on language and communication tactics. She earned her B.S. in Integrated Natural Resources from the University of Vermont.