Having been elected to Council by the membership three years ago, and as Chair of Council by my fellow trustees last November, I'm proud to be nominated by both CEO and Vice-Chair, and would welcome the democratic mandate to continue contributing to the society's important work.
This year marks my 25th as a vegan, and I've been a member of the society for almost as long. In this time, I've engaged with the organisation in almost every way possible – new vegan, volunteer, Local Contact, donor, customer, supplier, employee of a Vegan Society trademark holder, job applicant, member of staff (consultant Technical Director for three years), proposer of AGM motions, trustee, and now Chair of Council.
I've also been significantly engaged in the broader vegan community – organising London Vegan Drinks and London Vegan Meetup (a free social group with even more members than The Vegan Society); running an Animal Rights and Animal Welfare group for Mensa; founding Vegan Rights (UK) to protect vegans' rights after Brexit; chairing Vegan Campaigns' Vegan Pledge; and volunteering for various other animal advocacy organisations, vegan events, and farmed animal sanctuaries.
Having completed around 20 courses on the charity sector, including graduating with distinction from Charity FastTrack 2019, and winning the Mentors' Choice Award for Culture and Communications, I've additionally advised various non-profits on formation and fundraising.
At The Vegan Society, I've sought to improve transparency – both in external communications, and internally. For example, as a trustee, I proposed a successful motion to improve the information that we provide about animal testing in relation to our trademark; and as Chair, I've introduced a weekly update for Council to demystify the Chair's regular communications with the CEO.
I've also sought to improve Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI). For example, as a trustee, I proposed a successful motion on improving recruitment diversity; while one of my first actions as Chair was the implementation a resolution that I'd seconded some months earlier to arrange anti-racism training fortrustees and senior staff. I've also been pleased to support other trustees' motions on EDI initiatives (such as gender-inclusive language) and to propose and second Black and multiply-marginalised candidates for Council, who bring valuable experience and expertise to the Board.
Sadly, there has been some backlash to such initiatives within the vegan movement. And I've been afforded a little insight in the regular abuse targeted towards vegans from marginalised backgrounds. While many vegans may be vegan "for the animals", the vegan movement (of which the society is one element) is made up of humans. And to maximise the good we can do for nonhuman animals (and any other factors driving our veganism – such as the environment) we need to maximise the growth of veganism by creating a movement that welcomes those of any race, culture, gender, sexuality, class, ability, age, etc.
Finally, as the third Chair since last summer, working with the second CEO over a similar timeframe, I'd welcome your vote to provide some continuity in the volatile times.