2020 VegFest Speakers:
Speaker biographies are below presentation times
Presentation Room #1
11:00-11:45: Living a Better Life John Salley, Former Detroit Piston, 4-Time NBA Champion, and Health & Wellness Advocate
12:15-1:00: Improving Your Health Score by Improving Your Diet Dr. Joel Kahn, cardiologist, and Marc Ramirez will share how a plant-based diet can help improve your cholesterol and overall Health Score.
1:15-1:45: Dr. Pamela Popper, Executive Director of The Wellness Forum
2:00-2:30: Understanding the Lives of Farm Animals Dan McKernan, Founder and President of Barn Sanctuary.
2:45-3:15: Self-Defense: Building An Immune System That Fights Back Dr. Akua Woolbright, Nutrition Program Director, Whole Cities Foundation, will share concrete steps you can take to protect your health and teach you which foods, super foods and herbs to stock up on to fortify your immune system and fight off disease.
3:45-4:45: How Not To Diet Dr. Michael Greger, Nutrition Expert and New York Times Bestselling Author will be discussing his new book.
Room Host: Brece Clark, SASHA Farm field educator and animal caretaker
Presentation Room #2
11:00-11:45: Farmed Animals: What the Law Says. What You Can Do. Molly Tamulevich, Humane Society of the United States, Michigan State Director, and Kate Brindle, Public Policy Coordinator, Farm Animal Protection, Humane Society of the United States
12:15-1:00: Cooking Demonstration with Quiana Broden, owner of The Kitchen Restaurant and the popular Cooking With Que podcast.
1:30-2:15: Making Michigan Humane for Farm Animals Amelia Hughes, Board Director, Second Vice Chair at the Michigan Humane Society.
2:45-3:30: Cooking Demonstration with Nour Danno Health Coach and creator of the popular Instagram page, VeganWithNour, with over 300,000 followers
4:00-4:45: Cooking Demonstration with Nicole Braxton TBA
Room Host: Maia Anthony, Activist and VegMichigan consultant
Interpreters will be provided for the deaf & HOH in Room #1
John Salley is a former Detroit Piston who played a big role in the 1989 and 1990 championship seasons. Salley won a total of four NBA Championships in his career. After basketball, John became a very popular talk show host and still makes regular appearances as a commentator on a variety of programs. Today, John focuses his attention on promoting health and wellness with a focus on the benefits of a plant-based diet. He has spoken all over the country and has given his time to help support many activists groups. In 2015, he famously encouraged US First Lady Michelle Obama to go vegan “for the planet”. John has been a good friend to VegMichigan over the years and one of most popular presenters at VegFest.
Dr. Michael Greger, MD A founding member and Fellow of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, Michael Greger, MD, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues. He has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, testified before Congress, and was invited as an expert witness in the defense of Oprah Winfrey in the infamous “meat defamation” trial. He is a graduate of Cornell University School of Agriculture and Tufts University School of Medicine. His books— How Not to Die and the How Not to Die Cookbook became instant New York Times Best Sellers and he has just released his latest book, How Not to Diet. He has videos on more than 2,000 health topics freely available at NutritionFacts.org, with new videos and articles uploaded every day.
Dr. Joel Kahn, M.D. is a Clinical Professor of Medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine. He has authored five books, the latest of which is the The Plant-Based Solution. He is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of the University of Michigan School of Medicine. He writes health articles, is a commentator on Fox 2 News, has a national public TV show, The Whole Heart Solution, and has been seen on The Doctors and Dr. Phil show. Dr. Kahn has treated thousands of acute heart attacks during his career but he’d like to prevent them from happening in the first place. He has been plant-based for over 40 years and lectures across the country on optimal health and diet. He can be found at www.drjoelkahn.com.
Akua Woolbright, PhD, Nutrition Program Director, Whole Cities Foundation, is an expert in teaching people how to use plant-based foods to help prevent and reverse disease, and that is the passion she brings to her community-based work. Dr. Woolbright joined the Whole Foods Market corporate offices in Austin, TX in 2009 where she helped to create and implement the company’s national healthy eating program. She moved to Michigan in 2012 to help lead the company’s community engagement efforts that took place prior to the store opening in Midtown Detroit. She currently runs the foundation’s Let’s Talk Food Nutrition and Culinary Education Center in Midtown Detroit where hundreds of students attend healthy eating lectures, cooking demonstrations, and support groups each week.
Nour Danno was a TV news anchor in Lebanon and also studied nutrition and physical education at Notre Dame University’s Lebanon branch before she moved to the United States in 2018. Nour is currently a health coach and does a health segment on Channel 7 News on a semi-regular basis. She has just finished writing her first book, Vegan with Nour, which will be released in May. Nour has over 300,000 followers on her veganwithnour Instagram page where she discusses the health, ethical, and environmental benefits of a plant-based diet.
Quiana “Que” Broden is a renowned vegan food blogger that has 15 years of experience in the food service and entertainment industries as a personal chef and food connoisseur, respectively. With existing relationships with local, social and community groups, ongoing relationships with specialty grocers, and her elite clientele, she has pushed forward her mission to teach people how to EAT TO LIVE, by introducing more plant-based meals into everyday lives. Cooking with Que has become the space to allow Vegans and Meat-eaters to coexist. With live demonstrations and living recipes, Cooking with Que satisfies every appetite at the table.
Amelia Hughes is the co-founder and CEO of Atelier Meow, a collective of animal advocates and creative industry professionals working on projects that promote kindness to all animals. Amelia is also a filmmaker and Executive Producer of Planet Vegan and The Cat Rescuers. She has over 25 years of experience in animal advocacy and protection, including rescue and cruelty investigations. Amelia serves as a strategic advisor to animal care organizations and sanctuaries, farmers transitioning out of animal agriculture, and brands creating cultures and policies that are animal-friendly and cruelty-free. Amelia serves as Second Vice Chair on the Board of Directors of the Michigan Humane Society. She chaired the MHS 2020-2023 Strategic Planning Committee and currently chairs their Animal and Community Well-Being Committee.
Molly Tamulevich serves as the Michigan State Director of the Humane Society of the United States. She began working with animals in 2007 in Mérida Mexico where she became interested in the link between social status and pet ownership. For the past ten years, she has been a volunteer and consultant for numerous animal welfare agencies in Michigan, including the Animals and Society Institute and Michigan State University’s Graduate Students for Animals. She received her Master’s degree in Community Sustainability and Human-Animal Studies from Michigan State University in 2014 and currently serves on the Board of Directors for Attorneys for Animals. She is honored to be able to serve as an advocate for the animals of Michigan and looks forward to working with the veg community to help the state’s farm animals.
Kate Brindle is a board member of Attorneys for Animals and she works as a Public Policy Coordinator in Farm Animal Protection for the Humane Society of the United States. Kate is a graduate of the Michigan State University College of Law, where she served as an Associate Editor of the Journal for Animal and Natural Resource Law, and President of the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund. While at MSU, she also clerked for the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Litigation Department and won the Wanda A. Nash Award for advancing the field of animal law. Prior to attending law school, she worked for the Animals and Society Institute and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. She is passionate about drawing connections and forming alliances across various political and social justice issues. She also holds a bachelor’s degree from New York University and a master’s degree from Eastern Michigan University.
Brece Clark is a field educator and animal caretaker at SASHA Farm Animal Sanctuary. He has dedicated his life’s mission to learning and caring for animals. Brece comes from a long line of dairy farmers and grew up on a dairy farm in mid-Michigan. He began training horses at the age of six, ultimately developing a career in professional horsemanship. He also spent time as a zookeeper at Binder Park Zoological Society in Battle Creek, MI. As his views regarding animals began to change, in 2016 Brece joined Animal Equality where he traveled the country speaking out for animals on the iAnimal campaign tour. He now focuses his activism at the local level, speaking to audiences on the subjects of animal ethics, environmental sustainability, and human health. Brece also helps care for the over 250 rescued farmed animals at SASHA Farm Animal Sanctuary.
Dan McKernan is the founder and president of Barn Sanctuary in Chelsea, Michigan. Dan has hands-on experience with farm animals after attending Farm Sanctuary’s Farm Animal Care Conference and is still in contact and receives guidance from Susie Coston, Farm Sanctuary’s National Shelter Director. He is a passionate advocate for animal welfare, environmentalism, and a plant-based diet. Dan is also a seasoned technology and design professional who has built websites and apps for health/fitness companies, nonprofits, technology startups and more. He has worked on projects for Special Olympics International, Special Olympics Unified Relay, Mandela Kids, Boy Scouts of America, and Camp Fire USA.
Nicole Braxton is the founder of Around the World in 7 Days! LLC, a wellness organization focused on sharing a message of health and restoration within the community. She is certified in clinical wellness and trained with a French Chef. She specializes in providing wellness workshops along with cooking classes and producing plant-based cuisine to a variety of organizations in the Metro-Detroit area. Nicole also has a cooking program on 3ABN’s Dare to Dream Television network and an additional TV program coming out this Fall. After studying Cross Cultural business at Hong Kong Baptist University and receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Bowling Green State University, Nicole started pursuing her passion for good health cuisine. On her journey to learning more about plant-based cooking, she trained with a French Chef gaining priceless knowledge about nutrition, medicinal properties of food as well as the fine science of herbs and spices. It was her desire to empower communities to make smarter health choices, address health concerns and teach the benefits of eating a plant-based diet. It is her belief that health is a journey that can be liberating when equipped with principles and practical steps.
Marc Ramirez is a former University of Michigan football player and TEDx presenter who lost 50 pounds and reversed type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, psoriasis, ED, obesity, and frequent heartburn through the power of food. On December 3, 2011, he and his wife, Kim, began a whole food, plant-based lifestyle. In just two months Marc no longer needed his 5 medications, including insulin shots. He and Kim felt thrilled with the results, but they also felt frustrated because not enough people know that this way of eating might help them too. In order to raise awareness about the power of plants, they decided to create the non-profit Chickpea and Bean Inc. (Kim is Chickpea because she’s a chick and Marc is bean because, well, he loves beans!) Together they strive to educate people about the power and benefits of a plant-based lifestyle.
Ms. Maia Noni Anthony is a native of Detroit, Michigan. She can be seen and heard in films, on television, radio commercials and on social media as host of “Eats in The D.” After years of developing a love for a plant-based lifestyle, in 2018, she received a Culinary Educator Certificate from Whole Cities Foundation with a focus on Plant-Based Nutrition. She is active in fighting against unjust social and civil rights issues and has used her voice to organize and host countless social events featuring local and national professional entertainers, business owners, educators, and civil servants.
Pam Popper, Ph.D, N.D. is a naturopath, an internationally recognized expert on nutrition, medicine and health, and the Executive Director of Wellness Forum Health. The company offers educational programs to both consumers and providers that facilitate InforMED™medical decision-making, diet and lifestyle intervention, and improved long-term health outcomes. Through its own network of providers, Wellness Forum Health offers direct-to-consumer healthcare services. Pam serves on the Physician’s Steering Committee and the President’s Board for the Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington D.C. She served as part of Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s teaching team at eCornell, teaching part of a certification course on plant-based nutrition. She has been featured in many widely distributed documentaries, including Processed Peopleand Making a Killing and appeared in the acclaimed documentary Forks Over Knives. She is the author of Food Over Medicine: The Conversation That Can Save Your Life.