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Our Team 2

Ali Fairchild

Leadership Program Director
Des Moines, IA
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Ali oversees FFAC's Leadership Program.

Ali has a Ph.D. in educational leadership and has worked as an educator for over a decade. Passionate about education and leadership, Ali focuses her activism on training students to effectively advocate for change in their communities. Prior to joining FFAC Ali worked in clinical research at Washington University (St. Louis, MO), as an instructor at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside (Kenosha, WI), and as a professor at Cardinal Stritch University (Milwaukee, WI). Ali is plant-based nutrition certified and enthusiastic about helping people understand the immense and diverse impact of our food choices on animals, the environment, and both individual and public health. Outside of her work as an educator and activist Ali enjoys cooking, reading, and being in nature.

Amy Halpern-Laff

Policy Director
SF Bay Area, CA
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Amy Halpern-Laff cultivates relationships with environmental, faith-and values-based, municipal, and social justice communities.

Amy has held leadership roles in organizations promoting education equity, criminal justice reform, and civic engagement. Early in her career, she practiced law and mediation. Amy earned her BA from the University of Pennsylvania summa cum laude and her JD from Stanford Law School. In addition to her work with FFAC, she is co-executive director of Ethics in Education Network, advocating for ethics-centered schools that instill lifelong habits of open-minded inquiry. Amy interviews educational thought leaders about ethical schools, with an emphasis on expanding our universe of obligation to all sentient creatures.

Brece Clark

Lead Educator
Tecumseh, MI
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Brece Clark serves as the Lead Educator for our Detroit hub, overseeing educational outreach in the surrounding area.

Brece Clark holds a bachelor's degree in biology and has dedicated his career to serving animals. With a professional background in training horses and a family legacy of operating a dairy farm, his connection to animals runs deep. He is trained in wildlife rescue, cruelty investigations, and zookeeping, equipping him with a broad skill set. Over the past eight years, Brece has worked tirelessly in the non-profit sector, contributing to various animal welfare organizations and education programs. As a testament to his commitment to education and community building, he founded his own organization that now hosts a popular weekly podcast. Outside of these roles Brece was a former basketball coach and is a current professional basketball official, where he upholds fairness and sportsmanship.

Carrie Moran

Senior Advancement Manager
Traveling in the Pacific Northwest
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Carrie Moran manages FFAC's fundraising and communications.

Carrie spent nine years working as an academic librarian before shifting focus to nonprofits in 2020. They have a Masters of Library and Information Science from Drexel University, and their research background is in using empathetic user experience design methods to create safer spaces for people to learn & connect. They're a queer, feminist & human rights activist who is passionate about food justice.

Claire Deshaies

Lead Educator
New York City, NY
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Claire Deshaies serves as the Lead Educator for our New York City hub, overseeing educational outreach in the surrounding area.

Claire is currently pursuing her master's in Animal Studies through the Environmental Studies department at New York University. Before living in NYC, she earned a BS in Psychology at Oneonta State and an Animal Behavior and Conservation Certificate through Hunter College. As an FFAC educator in NYC, Claire coordinates and gives presentations to city-based High Schools and Colleges about the many impacts of factory farming. Outside of school and work, she enjoys spending time (and sharing a vegan diet) with her rabbit, and running local 5K races.

Danica Kubick

Operations Coordinator
Biddeford, ME
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Danica helps manage FFAC's operations.

Danica is a recovering attorney excited to be redirecting her skills acquired from fifteen years in the law and five years in animal shelter management into her work advocating for farmed animals and a more just and sustainable food system with FFAC. Danica earned her BA in Biology from Connecticut College, her JD from The George Washington University Law School, and a plant-based culinary certificate in Austin, Texas. In her free time, Danica loves to run and hike, volunteer with her local community gardens and animal shelter, cook vegan food, read (especially about history), and otherwise enjoy life with her husband and kitty.

Eemon Ghasemiyeh

Lead Educator
Chicago, IL
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Eemon Ghasemiyeh serves as the Lead Educator for our Chicago hub, overseeing educational outreach in the surrounding area.

Eemon likes to travel the world and find interesting challenges while he explores. He’s currently on a trip that’s taken him to Central, South, and now North America. His favorite sport to play is soccer (he’ll play with anyone, anywhere, anytime) and his favorite sport to watch is basketball. He also makes music videos and creative visual projects. He’s a proud Iranian, Irish, and American. For Eemon, time spent with family and friends is time well spent.

Eemon came into the FFAC sphere after a revolutionary and humbling talk from Mohan Gurunathan during tUrn week at Santa Clara University, and was lucky enough to squeeze into the legendary summer 2021 cohort. He is a diehard Rowster. After briefly working on the Rotten Truth series and being a panelist on a few meat and masculinity panels, he is so grateful to be joining the Summer 2023 Cohort as an Educator!

Erin Zhang

Lead Educator
San Francisco, CA
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Erin Zhang serves as the Lead Educator for our San Francisco hub, overseeing educational outreach in the surrounding area.

Erin is a passionate vegan foodie who recently joined the team as an educator where she focuses on spreading the FFAC message to students across the Bay Area. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Policy from Occidental College and has previously conducted research within the alternative protein sector in Shanghai. Her international background and experience spearheading the vegan movement in China has allowed her to relay her passion for sustainable foods and animal welfare to individuals across the world. In her free time, Erin loves playing rugby and exploring new vegan recipes.

Jesse Tandler

Managing Director
Los Angeles, CA
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Jesse Tandler oversees programming, people operations, and implementation of FFAC’s strategy.

A writer, academic, and educator for nearly two decades, Jesse earned a B.A. from UC Berkeley in 2002 and an MFA from the New School in 2007. Shortly thereafter, he began teaching high school students about the ethics of our food culture. Later, during his PhD work, he continued to include environmental and animal ethics on the syllabi of his undergraduate classes at the City University of New York, where for five years he taught philosophy, literature, writing, and rhetoric. In 2017, he moved to Los Angeles to apply his years of research and educational experience in the non-profit sphere. Outside of FFAC, you may find him practicing yoga, appreciating beauty in its myriad forms, reading in one of his preferred languages, or teaching food politics at UCLA.

Joleen Gomez

Administrative Assistant
Lancaster, CA
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Joleen Gomez supports the day-to-day operations of FFAC.

Joleen began working with FFAC as an intern in 2019 in her freshman year at the University of California, Berkeley. In addition to her work with FFAC, Joleen has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and assisted with club events on campus. She previously worked for Lifesource Charter School as a private tutor, and continues to work at the nonprofit UC Theatre. She is currently a senior majoring in Environmental Economics and Policy and pursuing a minor in Public Policy. She enjoys taking care of her pet redfoot tortoise and visiting forests in her spare time. Joleen hopes to contribute solutions for mitigating climate change in the future.

Kara Lombard

Director of Operations
Minneapolis, MN
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Kara Lombard oversees operations, IT, and human resources.

After spending most of her professional career in the business sector, Kara left to pursue her dream of working for an organization whose mission is to end factory farming. Kara brings years of experience in leadership, operations, strategy, and people development to the FFAC team. She is a social scientist by training, earning a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Iowa State University, but considers herself a continual learner who is always open to new ways of thinking. Kara loves animals of all kinds and spends her free time with her much loved Pithuahua, Fergus, and kitty-cat, Casper. Weekends and vacations often find her volunteering at farmed animal sanctuaries, both locally in Minnesota and across the country. She’s an enthusiastic gardener in the summer and loves to cook and bake bread.

Keith Allison

Lead Educator
Cleveland, OH
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Keith Allison serves as the Lead Educator for our Cleveland hub, overseeing educational outreach in the surrounding area.

Keith has spent the last twenty years in classrooms, where he has worked as a teacher, paraprofessional, and guest presenter in hundreds of different classrooms. He enjoys communicating and interacting with students of all ages. Keith is also a poet and spoken word artist, author of three books, video editor, and event host. He enjoys reading, hiking, watching movies, and spending time with family and friends.

Leo Balik

Outreach Coordinator
Worcester, MA
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Leo connects students with FFAC's programming.

Leo joined FFAC in January 2023. They recently graduated from Clark University with a Bachelor of the Arts in Geography and a minor in French and Francophone Studies. Currently, they are pursing a Master of Public Administration and expect to graduate in May. Prior to joining the FFAC team, they worked as a Humane Educator at a farm animal sanctuary, and they have been involved in the climate justice movement and on-campus mutual aid projects, in addition to advocating for nonhuman animals. Outside of school and work, they enjoy reading, watching movies, painting watercolor portraits of animals, cooking yummy plant-based food, and giving their dog Chai lots of belly rubs.

Luca Haliotis

Communications Coordinator
Schenectady, NY
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Luca Haliotis supports FFAC's communications.

Luca joined FFAC in March 2023. Previously, Luca has specialized in content creation, graphic design, community outreach, and program facilitation within multiple nonprofit organizations. They are also a Humane Educator at Catskill Animal Sanctuary! Luca is passionate about creating accessible and inclusive spaces that welcome and celebrate all species. They received dual Bachelor’s degrees from SUNY New Paltz in Visual Arts and Psychology, and completed a fellowship with UAlbany’s Emerging Nonprofit Leadership Accelerator program. Outside of FFAC, you can find Luca exploring hiking trails, creating digital art, or in deep conversations with their friend Imogen (a rescued turkey).

Matthew Cooper

Technical Manager
Portland, OR
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Matthew Cooper supports FFAC's technical needs, including website and data management.

Prior to working for FFAC, Matthew taught web development and has helped organize several grass-roots campaigns to educate the public about our food system. He earned a graduate degree in Computer Science from New Jersey Institute of Technology, and believes in the use of technology and data to help drive social change. In his free time, Matthew does nature photography and volunteers at animal sanctuaries.

Monica Chen

Executive Director
SF Bay Area, CA
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Monica Chen is responsible for overseeing the administration, programs and strategic plan of the organization.

Monica attended some of Katie Cantrell’s first presentations at UC Berkeley in 2010. She joined the team in 2018 and helped found FFAC’s intern program. Prior to FFAC, she enjoyed working with students at elementary, middle, and high school levels. In addition to classroom teaching, Monica has worked in residential environmental education, taught sexual health, and served as an instructor for the Prison University Project at San Quentin. She currently volunteers her time as a crisis support counselor, and her activism is focused on the interconnectedness of social justice issues. Monica received her BA from UC Berkeley and her Master’s in Education from the University of New Mexico. Outside of activism, Monica loves walking and spending time with her guinea pig, Emcee.

Natalie Amezcua

Lead Educator
Los Angeles, CA
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Natalie Amezcua serves as the Lead Educator for our Los Angeles hub, overseeing educational outreach in the surrounding area.

Natalie is an educator and world traveler, committed to understanding the interconnections of systemic issues that detriment humans, animals, and the planet. Upon graduating in 2016 with a B.A in Liberal Studies and a teaching license from University of West Florida, she moved to Asia, where she taught in both rural and urban sections of South Korea and China for several years. In 2021, Natalie returned back to the U.S to complete her Master’s degree in Humane Education from the Institute for Humane Education with Antioch University. Today, Natalie combines her experience in education and her passion for social justice in order to bridge gaps in equity and promote a healthier, solution-driven world for all.

Although her passions and professional experiences are continuously growing, one thing that happily remains constant are her hobbies, which include her adoration for her dog, Phoebe, backpacking, and watching Netflix with a facemask on.

Rowdy Keelor

Senior Educational Outreach Manager
San Diego, CA
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Rowdy manages educational outreach for FFAC's programming.

Over the past decade, Rowdy has fulfilled a diverse range of positions in the nonprofit world, co-founding a cigarette recycling organization in Asheville, NC, coordinating community outreach for one of the largest no-kill animal shelters in the Southeast US, and organizing for Dogwood Alliance to protect Southern forests. Rowdy loves making music and is a heck of a drummer.

Ryan Gourley

Director of Strategy and Innovation
Des Moines, IA
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Ryan oversees strategy and innovation for FFAC's programming.

As an educator, coach, and community-builder, Ryan is committed to amplifying the impact of systems change leaders and sustainable food citizens. To this work, he brings over 15 years of experience in leadership, organization, and community development within the health, sustainability, and education sectors. Ryan earned his bachelor's degrees in psychology and communication studies from the University of Iowa, and master's degrees specializing in social entrepreneurship and sustainability leadership from the University of Michigan. Outside of his work with FFAC, he enjoys connecting with nature and other animals, reading applied psychology and philosophy, and watching documentaries and sci-fi. His greatest passion is helping changemakers reach their highest potential, and he’s excited to continue along this path with the Leadership Collective.

Tanwi Wangikar

Leadership Program Coordinator
New York City, NY
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Tanwi coordinates leadership development for FFAC's programming.

Tanwi first joined New Roots as a fellow in spring 2022, and has been involved with the community since then. In May 2023, Tanwi graduated from NYU, where she majored in Environmental Studies and with a focus on the environmental impacts of our food system. At NYU, she completed a thesis on farm transition programs, and continues to support sustainable dining initiatives at NYU Dining. In her spare time, Tanwi loves developing new vegan recipes. Tanwi also enjoys gardening, reading, and taking naps with her canine companion and partner in crime, Coco.Tanwi first joined New Roots as a fellow in spring 2022, and has been involved with the community since then. In May 2023, Tanwi graduated from NYU, where she majored in Environmental Studies and with a focus on the environmental impacts of our food system. At NYU, she completed a thesis on farm transition programs, and continues to support sustainable dining initiatives at NYU Dining. In her spare time, Tanwi loves developing new vegan recipes. Tanwi also enjoys gardening, reading, and taking naps with her canine companion and partner in crime, Coco.

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