2018 Speakers

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Dama Wells-Foster

Dama Wells-Foster is the Owner/Co-Founder of Sol D'Licious Kitchen who can't wait to show you how to create a couple of her favorite, gluten-free friendly, easy, guilt free, healthy sweet treats.


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Ginny Messina

Ginny Messina, MPH, RD has written ten books for vegans including Vegan for Life, Vegan for Her, and Even Vegans Die. Her newest book is Protest Kitchen: Fight Injustice, Save the Planet, and Fuel Your Resistance One Meal at a Time. She writes and speaks about vegan nutrition, preventing ex-vegans, and the importance of body positivity in the vegan community. Her presentation aims to give aspiring vegans the confidence to take steps toward a more plant-based diet, and to help seasoned vegans make their diet even healthier.


Planning a healthful vegan diet isn't difficult when you follow just a few simple guidelines. This presentation aims to give aspiring vegans the confidence to take steps toward a more plant-based diet, and to help seasoned vegans make their diet even healthier.

JL Fields is the founder and culinary director of the Colorado Springs Vegan Cooking Academy. She is a Master Vegan Lifestyle Coach & Educator, Food for Life instructor, chef instructor in the culinary program at the University of New Mexico-Taos, personal chef, career coach, and a corporate consultant offering wellness training, brand representation, and strategic planning services. JL is the author of the revised and updated Vegan Pressure Cooking and The Vegan Air Fryer and co-author of The Main Street Vegan Academy Cookbook and Vegan for Her: The Woman's Guide to Being Healthy and Fit on a Plant-Based Diet. She is the co-creator of The Real World Vegan Meal Plan, producer and host of the cooking show Real World Vegan Cooking and the radio program Easy Vegan, and writes the monthly vegan dining review for the Colorado Springs Gazette.


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Marla Rose

Marla Rose is an award-nominated journalist, columnist and author as well as the co-founder of Chicago VeganMania, the largest free vegan festival of its kind in the Midwest, now in its 10th year. Besides writing most of the content and managing social media for Vegan Street, she has been integral in building Chicago's vegan community. For the past several years, she has been writing feature stories for magazines, acted as programming director for Chicago VeganMania and has spoken about effective communications at the Animal Rights Conference, Vegetarian Summerfest, and several other conferences and festivals. She also recently wrote the cookbook and guidebook, Fun, Festive and Fabulous: Vegan Holidays for Everyone.


Dominick Thompson is a leader in the vegan community and founder of Crazies and Weirdos®, a successful New York based start-up company that produces hip, sustainable clothing made in New York from recycled and organic materials.  He is also the founder of The RUNNING HERD, a sports and fitness brand, dedicated to the working professional, with plans to open training facilities in 2019.  Prior to his current role as a social entrepreneur and activist, he was a healthcare executive responsible for the business development and management of critical relationships with hospital systems and other provider types responsible for delivering services to both small and large communities throughout the eastern region of the United States. Despite this rigorous schedule, at the core, he is still an activist as well as an athlete. Not just any athlete, but a working athlete whose weekly training schedule includes cycling, swimming, running, calisthenics, boxing, cross-fit, cross-training, weight and power-lifting. He also competes year round in 10-12 endurance races per year, including marathons, triathlons, and ultra-races.  Because of this and his assertive activism, Dominick has received global recognition and has been featured in NPR News, ABC News, Men’s Health Magazine, Men’s Muscle and Fitness Magazine, Esquire, Veg News Magazine, bodybuilding.com, PETA and more.  His social media platform is strong and continues to grow while producing some of the most inspiring, impactful content to over 190,000 followers.



2018 Panelists

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Jeff Birstler

Jeff Birstler is an astoundingly normal guy who sits for a living and occasionally stands at a table. He is a biostatistician at UW-Madison. He uses his background in statistics to inform his activism. Since his first “Cube of Truth” demonstration in August 2017, he has organized events with Anonymous for the Voiceless, Direct Action Everywhere, Friends of Animal Liberation, and The Humane League. Over the summer, Jeff runs the THL table at the farmers’ market on the capital square - but you’re likely to see other activists there instead. His focus is on behind-the-scenes work to train and encourage new activists to participate in outreach.


Quincy Markowitz

Quincy is the co-founder of Farm Bird Sanctuary (est. 2016), a bird-only rescue with a focus on those with special needs. Farm Bird Sanctuary promotes a strong vegan message and care standards while helping people connect with birds, which she feels are often overlooked in the animal rights scene. Quincy has also been with Heartland Farm Sanctuary as their avian consultant for over six years, and earned her degree in Animal Welfare from the UW-Madison.

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Claire Clark

Claire is a senior at UW-Madison studying math and geography, preparing for a career in urban planning. While in school, she is also doing research with the Kaufman Lab for the Study and Design of Food Systems and Marketplaces, and she runs the student organizations Cleaning Up Campus, Urban Planning Undergraduates, and Nature and Animal Protection. Though plans and careers shift throughout life, she knows she will always work toward food justice for human and non-human animals alike. Other interests of Claire's include sustainable high-density development, accessible and efficient public transit, and effective community organizing, and she loves to talk about these ideas, eat delicious plant foods, and explore new cities.

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Harmony Franken

Harmony Franken is a vegan single mom of 1 teenage human boy, 5 rescue and special needs dogs, 2 turtles, and a cat! She owns her own vegan massage spa in the town of Hartford, where she also resides. Harmony dedicates her extra time to helping the cause for animal liberation. She participates in vigils, silent protests, marches, interruptions, and cubes of truth. She is an organizer and leader for the Milwaukee chapter of the Save group, but also volunteers with PETA, DxE, and many small and local humanitarian groups.