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Our Team

Monica Chen

Executive Director
SF Bay Area, CA
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.

Matthew Cooper

Technical Developer
Portland, OR
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.

Noa Dalzell

Advocacy Institute Cohort Leader
Boston, MA
Noa Dalzell leads a cohort of college interns as part of our Advocacy Institute.

In her full-time job, she works to advance policies that will disincentivize factory farming as State Policy Director of a 501(c)(4) called Food Solutions Action. She is also pursuing her Masters in Public Administration at Northeastern University, where she is centering her graduate work around factory farming, and recently published a report on Factory Farming and Climate Injustice. Previously, she directed the State Climate Policy Network at Climate XChange, a national network of 16,0000+ advocates and policymakers working to pass effective and equitable climate policy.In her free time, she ice skates, runs, plays basketball and takes care of her pet rabbit!

Ali Fairchild

Director of Programs
Des Moines, IA
Ali Fairchild oversees FFAC’s Advocacy Institute and Leadership Collective.

Ali has a Ph.D. in educational leadership and has worked as an educator for over a decade. Ali is passionate about education and focuses her activism on working to support students increasing their knowledge about and engagement with our current food system. 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 is enthusiastic about helping people understand the immense and diverse impact of our daily 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. Ali is an avid practitioner of mindfulness and is enthusiastic about meditation. Ali’s rescue cat, Apollo, loves receiving as much of her attention as possible!

Joleen Gomez

Administrative Assistant
Lancaster, CA
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.

Amy Halpern-Laff

Policy and External Relations Director
SF Bay Area, CA
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.

Meghan Jones

Social Media Manager
Seattle, WA
Meghan Jones coordinates presentations and outreach in the Seattle region and manages FFAC’s social media campaigns.

Meghan joined FFAC in January of 2018 to start a new branch in Seattle. Prior to her work here, Meghan was the communications lead for an educational nonprofit in Bellevue, WA. Meghan has a B.A. from the University of Washington in Political Science and Comparative History of Ideas, with a focus in critical human and animal studies. While at UW, she also re-founded the Campus Animal Rights Educators student organization, and worked as an academic research assistant. In her spare time, Meghan loves hiking, reading, and leading tours at Pigs Peace Sanctuary. 

Rowdy Keelor

Educational Coordinator
San Diego, CA
Rowdy Keelor coordinates presentations and outreach in the San Diego region and supports FFAC’s festival outreach programs nationwide.

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. He is involved with a number of musical projects and hosts a variety show in Portland that raises money for a different nonprofit every month. He is not afraid to use his goofy, lanky demeanor to promote a good cause. More pasta.

Carolyn Keen

Development and Communications Director
New York City, NY and Wilson, WY
Carolyn Keen oversees donor support, grants, and other fundraising activities, and marketing, social media and communications.

Carolyn served as a senior administrator at Scripps Institution of Oceanography for many years, where she had the opportunity to work with climate and Earth scientists engaged in field and remote observations that inform our understanding of climate change. She moved to New York City in 2016 to serve as Assistant Director for two climate change science and education centers at the Earth Institute at Columbia University. She holds a BA in Modern Literary Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and an MA in Animal Studies from New York University. She loves all of the riches NYC offers, but is grateful to spend summers in the mountains of Northwestern Wyoming.

Alexis Miller

Educational Coordinator
Denver, CO
Alexis Miller coordinates presentations and outreach in the Denver region.

Alexis has worked in a variety of educational settings and earned her Masters of Arts in Teaching and undergraduate degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Her senior thesis focused on farmed animal rights. She has spent the last five years doing farmed animal sanctuary work, engaging surrounding communities through education and outreach across the US and internationally. Alexis and her dog George live in an all-vegan Co-Op in Boulder, CO, and enjoy hosting events that support and educate the community on plant-based/vegan living. In her free time, Alexis likes to bike, hike, climb, or do pretty much anything that involves movement outside in nature.

Vidisha Rai

Educational Coordinator
SF Bay Area, CA
Vidisha Rai handles presentations in the Silicon Valley area and provides support for community events, student opportunities, and outreach throughout the Bay Area.

Prior to her work at FFAC, Vidisha has worked in various social justice settings including the Hindu American Foundation, State Assemblymember Ash Kalra's office, and currently works with Live Nation to promote sustainability practices at its venues. Vidisha holds a degree in communication studies and political science from San Jose State University. In her spare time, Vidisha enjoys aspiring to live a low-waste lifestyle, seeing live music, learning about holistic health, and going out in nature.

Elly Ren

Program Coordinator
Atlanta, GA
Elly Ren supports FFAC’s Advocacy Institute and Leadership Collective.

Elly began working with FFAC as an intern in 2020 in her junior year at Johns Hopkins University, where she studied Environmental Science and International Studies. While at JHU, she was also involved in various food and environmental justice efforts, including the fossil fuel divestment campaign, pouring rights campaign, and her campus’s vegan/vegetarian club. In her free time, Elly likes to browse TikTok, forage for wild plants, volunteer at community gardens, and read books on critical animal, race, and gender studies.

Chris Shapard

Communications Coordinator
Salt Lake City, UT
Chris Shapard coordinates presentations and outreach in the Salt Lake City region, manages FFAC email communications, and oversees online event planning.

Chris has worked as the Salt Lake City Director for FFAC since late 2016. He previously worked with a national non-profit coordinating media projects and grassroots outreach, after which he spent a summer working for a farmed animal sanctuary in Indiana. Chris attended the University of Utah where he studied marketing and sociology. Chris is a Utah native and feels most at home in the mountains, where he is just as comfortable on skis as he is on his feet, and coaches a youth ski team on the weekends. In the snow-less seasons, he loves trail running, hiking and camping in the beautiful Utah wilderness. In between all that he might be reading a non-fiction book, watching a sci-fi movie, or being bad at the guitar.

Rachel Shippee

Director of Operations
SF Bay Area, CA
Rachel Shippee oversees FFAC finances, compliance, and HR.

Rachel started with FFAC in 2016 as Chicago Director, launching the chapter and organizing community-building and fundraising events. She has over a decade of experience working and volunteering with a range of animal advocacy organizations. Rachel holds a Bachelor's degree in Physical Education and Health, with experience teaching grades K-12 and coaching high school softball and tennis. Continually inspired by FFAC’s supporters and staff, Rachel is sustained by the power of one person’s passion to inspire transformation far and wide. In her leisure time, Rachel finds peace in the great outdoors, especially on her bike, and petting Trina, her partner’s cat.

Kiely Smith

Advocacy Institute Program Manager
New York City, NY
Kiely Smith manages FFAC's Advocacy Institute.

Kiely (pronounced KAI-lee) studies Animal Studies as a graduate student in NYU’s Department of Environmental Studies, holding an undergraduate degree in Cognitive Science from UC Berkeley. Through FFAC, Kiely is privileged to mentor young people who drive social change around animal ethics, environmental preservation, workers’ rights, and food justice. Outside of work and studies, Kiely enjoys dog-watching in Central Park.

Jesse Tandler

Managing Director
Los Angeles, CA
Jesse Tandler oversees FFAC's curriculum, is responsible for presenter and volunteer training, and coordinates outreach in the Los Angeles area.

A writer, academic, and educator for more than a decade and a half, 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. When he’s not honing FFAC’s curriculum or supporting its presenters, 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.

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