Ahimsa lights the way

personnel

Council of Trustees and Officers

Freya dinshah (NJ)

Freya dinshah (NJ)

Trustee / President / Treasurer / Editor

about freya

Freya Dinshah became AVS president in 2000 after being secretary since 1960. She has been a Trustee since 1960. She is editor of American Vegan magazine (2000-present) and author of The Vegan Kitchen, the first US cookbook (1965) with vegan in its title. Freya is coauthor with her daughter Anne of the book Apples, Bean Dip, and Carrot Cake: Kids! Teach Yourself to Cook (2012).

She has been a key organizer for local and national events to encourage compassionate, healthful living. Freya has taught cooking classes to people of all ages for over fifty years. She is a lifetime vegetarian and vegan since 1960. She serves as nutrition educator and teaches basic cooking skills to children ages three to eighteen at afterschool programs in southern NJ.

Contact:  [email protected]

vance lehmkuhl (PA)

vance lehmkuhl (PA)

Corp Secy / Director AVC

about Vance

Vance Lehmkuhl is a longtime vegan journalist and event planner with a track record in communications and the marketing of vegan initiatives. Prior to his stint at the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News (where he worked in various online capacities and wrote Philly’s first vegan newspaper column), Vance worked in the Communications department at the Pew Charitable Trusts and managed circulation at the Curtis Institute of Music Library. He also helmed two large-scale exhibits in the main entrance area of the Free Library of Philadelphia and wrote on a variety of topics for more than a decade at Philadelphia City Paper.

Anne dinshah (NY)

Anne dinshah (NY)

Trustee / 1st VP / North American Trademark Director / Managing Editor

about anne

Anne Dinshah has been a trustee since 2001. She became AVS vice president and managing editor of American Vegan in 2013. As of 2021, she is North American director of The Vegan Trademark.

Anne is a lifelong vegan, third-generation vegetarian, mom to Clint who volunteers for AVS, and as of 2019 guardian-“mom” for Nardos. She is the author of Dating Vegans and Healthy Hearty Helpings. She coauthored the kids’ cookbook Apples, Bean Dip, and Carrot Cake with her mother Freya and the book Powerful Vegan Messages with her late father Jay. Anne credits Freya for instilling in her a love of cooking and Jay for a love of speaking to large audiences.

Anne has a MEd in sport administration from U of Texas – Austin, BA in American studies from U of Notre Dame. She has had a career as a professional rowing coach for over thirty years. She brings her leadership and knowledge of teamwork from sports to building AVS’ winning team.

Contact:  [email protected]

Barata El (NJ)

Barata El (NJ)

Trustee

about Barata

Barata El is an Outreach Volunteer who often emcees AVS events. He is a lifelong resident of South Jersey; he became vegan July 1 1991. Barata has a B.A. in theater arts from Rowan University. He married a beautiful native Jamaican woman in 1988 who is not vegan, so he totally understands love and socializing with people who aren’t vegan yet. He has written articles for American Vegan magazine and is an accomplished poet.

Sarah Filippi-Field (PA)

Sarah Filippi-Field (PA)

Trustee / 2nd VP

about sarah

 

Sarah Filippi-Field is a South Jersey native and Rutgers University-Camden alumni, graduating in 2019. She became vegetarian in 2011 and vegan in 2015. She has been a volunteer at American Vegan Society since September 2015 and became second vice president in November 2018. In addition to animal rights activism and trying new vegan food, she enjoys hiking, playing the violin in a string ensemble, and traveling.                   

Contact:   [email protected]

andy mars, phd (NJ)

andy mars, phd (NJ)

Trustee

about andy

Andy Mars first served AVS as a trustee when he was asked by founder Jay Dinshah in the mid-80s and returned to the council after Jay’s death in 2000. Dr. Mars has been director of his totally vegan camps for kids since 1993 and runs K-12 school and enrichment programs. He is the director of Veg Kids and of the Kids Made a Difference foundation as well as the rabbi of Bnai Tov vegan synagogue. His personal mission is: “Helping make a difference in the lives of kids; helping kids make a difference in life.” 

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REBECCA ASLAM, MS, RD, LDN (MA)

REBECCA ASLAM, MS, RD, LDN (MA)

Nutrition Advisor

about Rebecca

Rebecca Aslam is a nutrition advisor for AVS and American Vegan magazine. She has written many articles published in American Vegan and at times is also an assistant editor. She is a registered dietitian working to educate both patients and employees at a teaching hospital in MA. She is a lifelong vegan and fourth-generation vegetarian. She loves experimenting with vegan cooking and is a member of the AVS Speakers Bureau.

SAURABH DALAL, (DC/NY)

SAURABH DALAL, (DC/NY)

General Advisor

about Saurabh

Saurabh Dalal is an engineering consultant and physicist who is passionate in promoting a vegan lifestyle and ahimsa (nonviolence) as compelling solutions to many global issues. Saurabh is a lifelong vegetarian and vegan since 1991 for ethical reasons. He volunteers for many groups, has been a board member/board advisor for numerous like-minded organizations, has been active in the Jain community internationally, and is an avid ethical investor for decades. He explores ways of integrating sound science into related areas of his activism.

 

Anthony Dissen, MPH, MA, RDN (NJ)

Anthony Dissen, MPH, MA, RDN (NJ)

Nutrition Advisor

about Anthony

Anthony Dissen is a registered dietitian nutritionist, focusing on plant-based nutrition and lifestyle medicine. He works as a professor at Stockton University in the School of Health Sciences, and teaches courses on human nutrition, therapeutic nutrition, community and public health nutrition, health communication, health literacy, and the medical humanities. In addition, Anthony provides presentations and workshops on nutrition, health, and wellness for a number of different nonprofit organizations throughout NJ.

 

Sarina Farb (KS)

Sarina Farb (KS)

General Advisor

about Sarina

Sarina Farb is vegan educator, speaker, and liberation activist working to make the world a better place for all beings. She has given hundreds of lectures across the country including a recent TEDx talk on the myth of “humane meat”, and has started and led numerous grassroots groups, events, and campaigns to promote veganism. In 2023 she co-founded and organized the International Vegan Earth Day March which saw simultaneous marches and actions in more than 50 cities in 26 countries around the world.

Prior to advocating for veganism full-time, Sarina spent several years teaching high school chemistry and environmental science and holds degrees in biochemistry and policy studies from Grinnell College, where she founded her first vegan group. She is passionate about combining heart and science to empower people to think critically and see past corporate propaganda. Her work and writings have been featured in numerous publications and books.

 

Gabriel Figueroa (TX)

Gabriel Figueroa (TX)

General Advisor

about Gabriel

Gabriel Figueroa has been a Life Member of AVS since 1992, vegan since 1990. Gabriel has felt connected to AVS since attending the Garden Party and Council Meeting in 1992. The impact of the Dinshahs and AVS on his life was significant as a young vegan, and it continues to influence him today. His service to AVS comes from a desire to give back to this important organization.

Gabriel holds bachelor of arts degrees in philosophy and religious studies and a master of business administration. He is currently an account manager for a major technology company. Gabriel was the co-founder and co-owner of Rabbit Food Grocery, a 100% vegan store in Austin TX, that operated from 2012 to July 2023. His active participation in the Austin vegan community since 1993 has played a critical role in its becoming one of the most vegan friendly cities in the nation. Gabriel shares his life with his three adopted cats who constantly remind him that animals are people too.

Sharonda Harris-Bunton (NJ)

Sharonda Harris-Bunton (NJ)

Culinary Advisor

about Sharonda

Sharonda Harris-Bunton is the owner/chef of Vegans Are Us restaurants in Vineland and Atlantic City NJ. Sharonda has a BA in sociology. She is a certified nutritionist, personal trainer, and certified instructor to teach bootcamp, strength training, Tabata HIIT training, bootcamp, and kickboxing. Sharonda is also an actress and model.

Sharonda’s mission is to convert one person at a time to vegan by using her comforting soul food. Many customers share that they have completely changed their nutrition plan to vegan since visiting Vegans are Us and are sticking with it. This is the best kind of news Sharonda likes to hear.

 

Sherimane Johnson (PA)

Sherimane Johnson (PA)

Culinary Advisor

about Sherimane

Sherimane Johnson is the Vegan Chef and owner of Night Owl Vegan (the Philadelphia-based vegan meal plan service), NaturallySweet Desserts (a vegan bakery) and Plant Powered Shift (a coaching program that assists in the transition to a vegan lifestyle). Sherimane’s experiences with the health benefits of a vegan diet and lifestyle encouraged the creation of the businesses and interest in sharing the benefits with others. Sherimane works with the local farms and high schools in the community to connect farms and the youth to inspire interest in veganism, food insecurity, and environmental stewardship. Sherimane holds a B.S. in Behavioral Science from Mercy College in NYC.  She enjoys cooking, vegan food festivals, and old school hip-hop.

Gwen Kaminski (PA)

Gwen Kaminski (PA)

Development Advisor

about Gwen

Gwen Kaminski joins AVS as a Development Advisor. She is a career nonprofit professional who has devised and implemented high-impact initiatives across fundraising, marketing, and public programs to further the missions close to her heart. Gwen served previously in leadership roles with America’s first sanctuary for farmed animals, as well as our nation’s founding companion animal shelter. She currently steers development efforts for the National Anti-Vivisection Society, supporting the advancement of its work to end animal experimentation. Gwen is a committed vegan who does her best to leave the world better than she found it. She is grateful to be a part of AVS’ historic and noteworthy work toward this very purpose.

Victoria Moran (NY)

Victoria Moran (NY)

General Advisor

about Victoria

Victoria Moran, General Advisor, has been vegan for over 35 years and a longtime supporter of
AVS. Moran is an inspirational speaker, host of the Main Street Vegan podcast, and the founder and
director of Main Street Vegan Academy, training and certifying vegan lifestyle coaches. She is also the
bestselling author of thirteen books covering topics from philosophy to cooking, and she is the lead
producer of the documentary, A Prayer for Compassion, introducing vegan living to people of faith. She
lives in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City with her husband, rescue dog, and handicapped
pigeon.

Philip Murphy (PA)

Philip Murphy (PA)

Advisor of Advancement

about philip
Philip Murphy is a nonprofit institutional advancement professional and longtime vegan activist who serves as Director of Advancement for Bay Area-based Jain online education organization Arihanta Institute.

Philip has been active in pan-dharmic communities for nearly three decades, including serving as a director at the Cambridge Insight Meditation Society, the Insight Meditation Society of the Pioneer Valley (Easthampton, MA), and the New York Insight Meditation Center. As the fouding principal of vegan advocacy initiative Ahimsa Dharma Anti-Speciesist Action (ADASA) he has led succcessful initatives for the adoption of plant-sourced food policies at the Buddhist Action Coalition NYC and the Thich Nhat Hanh Program for Engaged Buddhism housed at the world-renowned Union Theogical Seminary. He has a special interest in illuminating the common foundation in virtue ethics shared by pan-dharmic faith traditions and the American Vegan Society, including AVS founder Jay Dinshah’s Pillars of Ahimsa.

Philip has presented on veganism at Climate Healers’ Vegan Convergence of the Peoples (V-COP), Vegan Option Canada, Animal Rebellion Ireland, and VegfestUK. His related writings have been published in Força Vegan and OpenDemocracy. A graduate of Johns Hopkins University, Philip also has earned certifications in Mindfulness Facilitation from the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC), and in Authentic Leadership from Naropa University (Boulder, CO). He currently resides in Bucks County, PA with his wife, Anne, and the five rescue greyhounds for whom they serve as guardians.

Contact: [email protected]

Ana Negron, MD (PA)

Ana Negron, MD (PA)

Nutrition Advisor

about Ana

Ana M. Negrón, M.D., was born and raised in Puerto Rico. Dr. Negrón is a board-certified family physician who has made cooking with patients integral to her practice. She helps people transition to a whole-plant diet, thereby reducing the inflammation which is at the root of most chronic medical conditions. Dr. Negrón volunteers at a clinic for the uninsured and teaches family doctors the role of food in medicine. Her book, Nourishing the Body and Recovering Health: The Positive Science of Food published by Sunstone Press, is an antidote to our reliance on pharmaceuticals.

 

ERIC NYMAN (NJ)

ERIC NYMAN (NJ)

General Advisor

about Eric

Eric Nyman owns and operates Wildflower Vegan Café in Millville NJ, one of the longest-running all-vegan eateries in the state. A longtime vegan and second- generation vegetarian, he enthusiastically advises start-up vegan businesses and seeks to create environments conducive to enlightenment. Eric minored in history and holds a BA in philosophy from Montclair State University and enjoys spending time outdoors, reading, and woodworking. He wishes his vegan son would eat vegetables and all exploitation would end, but isn’t sure which will happen first.

John Pierre (CO/CA)

John Pierre (CO/CA)

General Advisor

about JP

John Pierre, General Advisor, has loved American Vegan Society since he first met H. Jay Dinshah at a conference in 1994 Jay introduced JP to ahimsa. Jay’s lectures were great, but what JP cherished most was when everyone else was going to various other lectures, JP would walk the other direction to the bookstore to be with Jay in the quiet times when Jay was working.

JP is a nutrition and fitness consultant, famous as a personal trainer to celebrities, rock stars, and Fortune 500 CEOs. People know they will get fit with JP, they eventually value the ahimsa message too.

JP is the author of the book Pillars of Health and runs an animal sanctuary in Colorado. Livingwithharmony.org

CHRISTINA PIRELLO, MFN (PA)

CHRISTINA PIRELLO, MFN (PA)

Culinary Advisor

about Christina

Christina Pirello’s love affair with food began at a young age. She would put her cooking skills to the test when she was diagnosed with terminal leukemia. Meeting (her now husband) Robert Pirello would change her life forever; he helped her adopt a healthier lifestyle and diet, and she overcame the odds of her diagnosis and developed an expertise in cooking with whole-natural foods. She is an expert in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda, acupuncture, macrobiotics, and has a Masters Degree in Nutrition. She teaches vegan/macrobiotic cooking, has authored eight cookbooks and is the hostess of the Emmy Award-winning TV show Christina Cooks.

MARK RIFKIN, MS, RD, LDN (MD)

MARK RIFKIN, MS, RD, LDN (MD)

Sustainability Advisor

about mark

Mark Rifkin is a nutrition advisor for AVS and American Vegan magazine. He holds a master’s degree in health education from Towson University and is a registered dietician. A vegan since 1986, he has been speaking on nutrition and food-related topics since 1997. He is a member of the AVS Speakers Bureau.

Miyoko Schinner  (CA)

Miyoko Schinner (CA)

General Advisor

about miyoko

Miyoko Schinner became a General Advisor to American Vegan Society in 2023. She is a long-time member of the American Vegan Speakers Bureau and was the cover story of American Vegan magazine for Summer 2017. Miyoko is also honored during Vegan Cuisine Month every February 22 for her achievements as a food developer.

Miyoko is an award-winning chef, author, speaker, and entrepreneur. She is the founder of Miyoko’s Creamery, a leading plant-milk dairy company whose products are sold internationally. Miyoko has been recognized by major media outlets as a cultural icon and is on the coveted inaugural list of “Forbes 50 Over 50,” as well as being named one of INC. Magazine’s “Top 100 Female Founders of 2022,” a “Game Changer” by Food and Wine magazine, and a “Vegan Revolutionary” by UN Women.

Calling herself an epicurean activist, she has worked tirelessly for over thirty years to reimagine a food system built on sustainability, equity, and compassion for animals. Her popular cookbooks, products, and thought leadership have inspired people across the globe to reconsider their food choices and take personal joy and responsibility in helping to participate in a better food system.  She has been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, Food and Wine, Bloomberg, The Washington Post, The Guardian, and most major media platforms.

Miyoko “walks the talk” with how she lives her life. She is the founder of Rancho Compasión a farm-animal sanctuary that is home to over 100 animals of different species, as well as cofounder of LEAP (Leaders for Ethics, Animals, and the Planet), a youth program that teaches sustainability and compassion.

JANANI SHIVAKUMAR (NJ)

JANANI SHIVAKUMAR (NJ)

Youth Advisor

about Janani

Janani has a passion for climate justice, animal rights, and human rights. She is the founder of Girls Play Global, a grassroots nonprofit that educates and empowers girls in rural India through soccer. She is also a member of the Youth Agricultural Revolution that lobbies for the end of factory farming.

Janani hopes to pursue a career with a focus on social justice and continue advocating for global issues. In her free time, she loves running, playing with her dog, and eating delicious vegan food!

Seth Tibbott (OR)

Seth Tibbott (OR)

General Advisor

about Seth

In 1980, Seth Tibbott founded Turtle Island Foods, now “the Tofurky Company,” on $2500 savings from his 8-year career as a teacher/naturalist. The company’s first product was a tasty fermented Indonesian soy product called tempeh. For 15 years Seth pursued his dream while losing his shirt as a pioneer of the early plant-based foods movement.

In 1995, he introduced the first nationally marketed vegan holiday roast named “Tofurky”. Currently, 55 Tofurky products are sold in 27,000 stores worldwide. Seth has chronicled his “40-year overnight success story” in a new book, In Search of the Wild Tofurky.

Staff

Staff working at our headquarters in NJ and/or remotely

THERESA ANDERSON (NJ)

THERESA ANDERSON (NJ)

North American Vegan Trademark Manager and Special Projects Manager

about theresa

Theresa Anderson works for American Vegan Society as the North American manager of The Vegan Trademark and AVS special projects assistant. She has an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in data processing technology from Burlington County College (now Rowan College at Burlington County). Theresa became vegan in 2008 for ethical reasons, and she began volunteering for AVS as an office assistant in 2018.

Theresa is passionate about helping animals. She has volunteered her free time for wildlife transport, capture and rehabilitation, diamondback terrapin road patrol (Great Bay Terrapin Project) and horseshoe crab rescue (ReTURN the Favor). Theresa is also the volunteer membership coordinator for NJveg. As a South Jersey native, she enjoys wildlife watching in her own backyard. She also loves theatre and all things Disney! She shares her life with her many cat companions who have shown her the true meaning of unconditional love.

Contact: [email protected]

Vickie Collette (NJ)

Vickie Collette (NJ)

North American Vegan Trademark Assistant and Events Assistant

about vickie

Vickie became vegetarian in the mid-1980’s; she decided to try a completely plant-based diet in 2008 and has been enjoying exclusively vegan cuisine ever since. Her main goals were to better her health and to protect the environment. When she moved to NJ from Philadelphia in 2004, she noticed there were vast number of fast food chains and restaurants, but not many serving healthy fare, which made it difficult to eat out. She found American Vegan Society (AVS) on the internet and has been enjoying AVS events ever since. “AVS has educated me on the purpose of veganism. At the AVS-hosted dinners and educational programs I was introduced to new friends who have similar interests.”

Contact: [email protected]

regan falkenstein (PA)

regan falkenstein (PA)

Communications and Merchandise Assistant

about regan

Regan Falkenstein became the AVS Communications and Merchandise Assistant in 2023. She was a volunteer greeter at American Vegan Center since 2021. She has been a vegan since 2019, and was vegetarian prior. Regan went vegan for the animals. 

She is a 2019 graduate of Drexel University with a bachelor’s degree in Design and Merchandising and a minor in Communications. She has been working in merchandising since graduating in both brick and mortar and online formats.
As a resident of Philadelphia in the Old City district and self-proclaimed foodie, she loves to stay up to date on vegan cuisine at local restaurants. In the summer months you can find her spending time outside with her dog Suzie. 

Contact: regan@americanvegan.org

carrie fitch (TX)

carrie fitch (TX)

Membership and Development Specialist

about carrie

Carrie Fitch joined American Vegan Society in June 2023 as the Membership and Development Specialist. In this role, she applies her database, writing, and administrative expertise to further AVS’s donor development and fundraising activities. She has a BA in English from State University of New York College at Fredonia and has worked in non-profit development for the past 7 years.

Carrie became plant-based in 2005 to maintain optimal health and has encouraged others to improve their health outcomes by embracing more whole plant foods and removing animal products from daily consumption. Still on the journey to being fully vegan, she appreciates the opportunity to support AVS and its mission to promote a compassionate, healthful, and sustainable lifestyle. When she’s not working, Carrie enjoys screenwriting, traveling, singing, exploring world cuisines, creating healthy plant-based versions of her favorite desserts, and spending time with family and friends.

Contact: [email protected]

carolyn githens (NJ)

carolyn githens (NJ)

Graphics Director / Assistant Editor / Events Assistant

about carol

Carolyn Githens is graphics director/assistant editor for American Vegan magazine and an AVS events and marketing assistant. She has a BA in fine arts from Stockton University.

Carol became vegetarian in 1981, vegan in 1986, and began working at AVS in 2006. Her cats (Simba and Naomi) are vegan too. Carol has taught vegan cooking classes as community outreach. She is also vice president of Vegetarian Society of South Jersey.

Carol’s interests include animal rights activism, music, nature, and outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, kayaking, and discovering new places off the beaten path.

Contact: [email protected]

Watta Kesselly (PA)

Watta Kesselly (PA)

AVC Events and Cuisine Manager

about watta

Watta began with American Vegan Society (AVS) as a food demonstrator at the American Vegan Center (AVC) in 2022. Her demos drew such crowds that Watta was invited to join the AVS staff in Summer 2023 as the AVC Events and Cuisine Manager. Watta is a food enthusiast with a passion for event planning: She loves to curate fun, lively, and information-packed events to facilitate community engagement.

Watta serves as a volunteer in several additional nonprofit and vegan organizations to educate and uplift people in the community who are curious about a vegan lifestyle. Along with her passion for community and food, she brings a wealth of knowledge about behavioral health, artistic creations, and teaching. Watta has a master’s degree in education from Temple University. Her hobbies are African dance, outdoor activities, strength training, reading, and exploring Philly vegan restaurants.

Contact: [email protected]

Darren Kramer  (NJ)

Darren Kramer (NJ)

Operations and Outreach Manager

about darren

Darren joined American Vegan Society in 2023 as Operations and Outreach Manager. He holds a B.A. in political science from Rutgers University and has been a dedicated activist with organizations such as The Pinelands Preservation Alliance and Food Not Bombs. Darren became whole-food plant-based over 20 years ago as an outgrowth of his deep interest in nutrition and optimal health.

Contact: [email protected]

Elisha Letizia (NJ)

Elisha Letizia (NJ)

North American Vegan Trademark Assistant and Social Media Manager

about elisha

More info coming soon!

Contact: [email protected]

frank mcgough (NJ)

frank mcgough (NJ)

Office Assistant

about frank

Frank has been an office assistant at American Vegan Society since summer of 2022. Frank went vegetarian in 2020, and vegan at the beginning of 2023. A South Jersey native, Frank graduated from Drexel University with a BA in history and political science. Frank has spent over 20 years volunteering with youth and young adults with intellectual differences. Frank enjoys history, philosophy, sports (especially rugby and ice hockey), music, movies, dad jokes (the cornier the better), and is rarely seen without his trusty water bottle.

Contact: [email protected]

LISA MELIAN (nj)

LISA MELIAN (nj)

North American Vegan Trademark Assistant and Events Assistant

about lisa

Lisa became vegetarian in her late 20’s after reading a pamphlet from the Vegetarian Society of South Jersey about the egregious and needless suffering of animals. With continued learning, she eventually became vegan. Lisa has a BS in graphic design and a Masters degree in speech-language pathology. However, her real passion lies in spreading the message of compassion to those who will listen. She has volunteered for years with local NJ veg groups, taught cooking classes, and enjoys educating through general outreach. She has volunteered with the American Vegan Society for many years and is now working with them as a Trademark Assistant.

Contact: [email protected]

kevin quasti (PA)

kevin quasti (PA)

Marketing Assistant

about Kevin

Kevin Quasti is a 2022 graduate of Penn State University, where he majored in economics and minored in philosophy. A vegan-in-progress, Kevin enjoys learning new ways to replace animal products using his skills in the kitchen. When not working for AVS, he likes to read, watch documentaries, practice martial arts, and write stories that satirize the meat industry.

Contact: [email protected]

dave saul (NJ)

dave saul (NJ)

Maintenance Manager

about dave

Dave Saul is the maintenance manager for AVS’ buildings: the educational center, the office and warehouse, and four small outbuildings. Dave is interested in learning about veganism and enjoys discovering likable vegetables at AVS’ daily staff lunches. He grew up on a large dairy farm in South Jersey. 

Contact: 856.694.2887

Key Volunteers & Interns

We have many volunteers, those listed below volunteer the most hours. If you would like to volunteer with us, please get in touch.

clint dinshah (NY)

clint dinshah (NY)

Office Assistant / Fitness Mngr / Proofreader

about clnt

Clint Merrick Dinshah performs a variety of jobs at AVS. His biggest task is Fitness Manager where he reminds everyone to maintain their health by taking breaks from the office work and have fun outdoors doing activities such as croquet, tennis, baseball, hiking, or even yardwork. He coordinates team outings such as kayaking and bike rides. Clint also makes cooking videos for kids, does mailings with Freya, and especially enjoys being the human snow plow or raking leaves. Clint is a full-time student whose favorite subject is physical education.

lois Dinshah (NJ)

lois Dinshah (NJ)

Office Volunteer / Proofreader

about lois

Lois Dinshah enjoys proofreading American Vegan magazine and volunteering in the office with tasks such as payroll taxes. She has been vegan since 1962. Lois enjoys gardening and her houseplants, doing yardwork, and taking line-dance class. She has 6 children, 14 grandchildren, and 12 great grandchildren. She likes to talk to animals and plants; she notes that the squirrels in her yard are too fast for conversation.

Deborah Emin  (PA)

Deborah Emin (PA)

Outreach

about Deborah

Deborah Emin has been involved in environmental causes for decades before realizing the necessity to go vegan in 2013. As a writer, activist, and teacher, she has learned best by doing the work of helping others. Outreach is a passion.

Having the opportunity to integrate the American Vegan Society’s books and informational material into her pop-up bookstore, The LOCALS’ Bookshop, will allow Deborah to travel throughout her northeastern PA area spreading the news, sharing the message of loving the planet and all who live in and on it. Her motto is: #GoVegan #ReadBooks.

Contact: 917-655-3745
DeborahEminBooks.com

Lauren Herrschaft (PA)

Lauren Herrschaft (PA)

Outreach Asst

about Lauren

Lauren Herrschaft has been volunteering as AVS Outreach Assistant since December 2019. Lauren was drawn to AVS due to our deep roots in the animal rights movement and our positive impact on the lives of human and nonhuman animals over the years. Lauren currently assists the AVS team in fostering strong relationships with their members and donors and loves meeting new people (and animals!). Lauren’s current careers are in healthcare marketing and real estate investment.

She has been vegan since December 2017 and is an ethical vegan activist on a mission to increase peace and equality worldwide for all living and breathing beings. She looks forward to the day when where all animals have rights, all human beings’ basic needs are met, and mother nature is respected, protected, and in balance.

She currently lives outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with her amazing husband and their rescue companion animals; a little chi-weenie dog named Cali Marie and two curious cats named Lucky and Charm. She loves spending time with her loved ones, being in nature, hiking, reading on the beach, and traveling.

Katie Hurst (PA)

Katie Hurst (PA)

Marketing, Events, and Outreach Assistant (internship)

about Katie

Info coming soon!

Dazsha James (PA)

Dazsha James (PA)

Marketing, Events, and Outreach Assistant (internship)

about dazsha

Dazsha James is a Marketing, Events, and Outreach Assistant, a student co-op position through Drexel University at American Vegan Center. She is a second-year student at Drexel University, majoring in Communications.

She has been a vegetarian since she was 8 years old. Dazsha began her journey with her mother, who eventually became vegan. With guidance and encouragement from her mother, Dazsha lives a primarily vegan lifestyle. She enjoys experimenting with vegan cooking and baking, and introducing vegan foods to family and friends.

Intersectional veganism is important to Dazsha, which takes into account both culture and total liberation. Dazsha has a passion for reading, fashion, travel, music, and social justice.

Nardos Seiler (NY)

Nardos Seiler (NY)

American Vegan Center Greeter

about nardos

Nardos Seiler loves his volunteer job. He enjoys helping customers find a great snack, shirt, or book. He gives out food samples to passers-by, encourages people to come inside to meet Hope Belle Ahimsa (the life-size plush cow), and does photography for use on social media. Nardos likes to be active and have fun. His favorite sports are tennis, swimming, and soccer. He grew up his first four years of life in Turmi Ethiopia with a meat-centered diet. When his father (a relative of Anne Dinshah, Peter, had built a school there) died suddenly, the village asked if Nardos could come to the U.S. for his education. Nardos connected with his innate compassion (and Anne’s delicious vegan cooking) to become a good help in the kitchen and a vegan of his own choice.
He is AVS’ youngest regular volunteer, born in 2014.

Marian Wade (PA)

Marian Wade (PA)

American Vegan Center Greeter

about Marian

Marian Wade has been a volunteer with American Vegan Society September 2021. She works as a Greeter at American Vegan Center (AVC) in Old City Philly. She and her husband have been vegan since August 2017. She is a retired BSN (bachelor of science in nursing) and a Certified Case Manager, so Marian has experience teaching people and enjoys helping people who come into AVC. She enjoys her time there, especially meeting folks from around the country. Her favorite items sold are the quiches from High Fidelity Bakery.

Rebecca Weinstein (PA)

Rebecca Weinstein (PA)

Marketing, Events, and Outreach Assistant (internship)

about Rebecca

Info coming soon!

Magazine team

American Vegan Magazine Team

 

See above for FREYA DINSHAH (Editor),  ANNE DINSHAH (Managing Editor), CAROLYN GITHENS (Graphics Director/Assistant Editor), VANCE LEHMKUHL (News Editor), MARK RIFKIN (Environmental Editor), THERESA ANDERSON, CLINT DINSHAH, and LOIS DINSHAH (Proofreaders), REBECCA ASLAMANTHONY DISSEN, and ANA NEGRON (Nutrition Advisors)

Paul Carr (MA)

Paul Carr (MA)

Assistant Editor

about Paul

Info coming soon!

DARREN DINSHAH (NJ)

DARREN DINSHAH (NJ)

Assistant Editor

about Darren

Darren Dinshah became an Assistant Editor in 2023. His love of the written word and his passion to help the animals drive him to volunteer in this role. Darren is the nephew of AVS founder Jay Dinshah, so Darren also volunteered in his youth.

Darren has a bachelor’s degree in history from Rowan University. He works as a sales consultant for a major telephone company. He resides in beautiful South Jersey with his wife and two kids. His favorite vegan meal to make is bruschetta, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes, and a hearty veggie burger with all the toppings. For fun beyond volunteering, Darren enjoys DIY home-improvement projects, kayaking, biking, and many mental games such as sudoku. 

FAYLEE FAVARA (WA)

FAYLEE FAVARA (WA)

Assistant Editor

about Faylee

Faylee Favara was a vegetarian for 20 years and has been a vegan for 15 more! She is a professional theater director and educator as well as a prevention specialist focused in gender and violence. As a freelance proofreader and copy editor, she finds joy in volunteering with AVS.

CHRISTINA GORE (CO)

CHRISTINA GORE (CO)

Proofreader

about Christina

Info coming soon!

 

Ashton Hicks (NY)

Ashton Hicks (NY)

Assistant Editor

about Ashton

Ashton Hicks has been an Assistant Editor for American Vegan magazine since Spring 2017. She is a former AVS marketing and communications intern. Ashton graduated from SUNY Fredonia with a B.S. in Biology and Leadership Studies Minor. She enjoys spending time with family and friends as well as learning about lifestyles that are different from her own. She enjoys learning about the vegan lifestyle, and although Ashton is not vegan yet, she highly recommends the food. She loves reading all the diverse submissions to the magazine and is always looking forward to reading the next piece! 

Yuyao Huang (MA)

Yuyao Huang (MA)

Assistant Editor

about Yuyao

Yuyao Huang is currently pursuing a master’s degree in nutrition and looking forward to working as a dietitian to help people with healthful eating. She was a cuisine intern with AVS during spring/summer 2016 and continues to help the team remotely as an assistant editor. In her free time, she enjoys nature, music, crochet, and good foods.

CARRIE PLUMMER (MI)

CARRIE PLUMMER (MI)

Assistant Editor

about Carrie

Carrie Plummer has been vegan since 1989 and is a founding member of Northern Vegans. Carrie and her husband, Jeff, happily homeschool their born and raised vegan son, Henry.  Carrie is an advocate for health freedom, practices yoga regularly, enjoys hikes, nature, and music and has discovered from her son that even the tiniest of creatures need rescuing. The Plummers learned more about life, love, and veganism in the summer of 2020 when Henry found Pierre, a grasshopper with a severed jumping leg.  Pierre lived with the family for 5 months before he passed on.

JIM RONGA (FL/NJ)

JIM RONGA (FL/NJ)

Proofreader

about Jim

Jim has a bachelor’s degree from St. Joseph’s University (Phila PA) and a doctorate from Sherman College of Chiropractic (Spartanburg SC). He has been practicing at Haddonfield Chiropractic Center for past 42 years, and has been adjunct professor at Peirce College (Phila PA) for 25 years and Rowan University (Glassboro NJ) for 10 years.

DAWN VINSON (TN)

DAWN VINSON (TN)

Assistant Editor

about Dawn

Dawn Vinson became an assistant editor for American Vegan magazine in 2024. Dawn is a life member of American Vegan Society and has been vegetarian or vegan since high school.

She has an extensive background in database management, marketing, communications, and project management. Her professional career includes tenure at FedEx, Medtronic Sofamor Danek, and the Downtown Memphis Commission, where she produced a variety of special events from annual meetings to concerts to Memphis’ first Bike to Work Day celebration and first large-scale electronics recycling drive.

A native Memphian, Dawn received a Bachelor of Arts degree in the College Scholars program at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville with a primary focus on French and English literature. She currently provides comprehensive writing, editing, research, communications, and project management services to nonprofit organizations and small businesses. She is a former chair of the Tennessee Clean Water Network board of directors and a former president of the Memphis Calligraphy Guild.

For fun, she enjoys reading, paper and book arts, sewing, crochet, embroidery, and just making stuff in general.

 SHERRY ZITTER (MA)

SHERRY ZITTER (MA)

Proofreader

about Sherry

Sherry Zitter is a troubadour of veganism and social justice, who lives in rural Massachusetts with her wife Forest and her dog Johann. She has been vegan since 2008 and vegetarian since 1977 inspired by Frances Moore Lappe’s Diet for a Small Planet.

Sherry is a social worker and lifetime activist, who has written a booklet on veganism, “Kindness Counts,” and enjoys trying new vegan recipes and talking to the vegan-curious while tabling or out in the community. 

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