2011 Speaker and Workshop schedule

Speakers and Workshops
Our Speaker Room will be the center of a lot of exciting, interactive events mixed in with some of the most engaging leaders in the vegan movement.

11:00  Pamela Ziemann

Workshop: Giving Voice to Your Cause

Animated Storyteller, International Communication Trainer and Author, Pamela Ziemann is ready to share a
unique learning experience to help you put an effective voice to your passion.

Veganism is about truth, making connections and radical inclusion. Improv is like a marital art training for your spirit that aligns your deepest, authentic self with your everyday personal interactions. Learn to be a powerful and compassionate vegan ambassador. Join us for an experience of playful exercises, group games and vocal expression that will increase your confidence and ease in a meat-eating world.

Pamela has been leading communication and improvisation workshops throughout Canada, Australia, and the United States since 1996. Having overcome her own fear of public speaking, she has compassion for those she works with and a passion for effective vegan advocacy.

Much more than a communication expert, Pamela guides her clients to connect their inner passion with their outer cause. She helps them articulate their message in a way that’s intuitive, thoughtful and powerful.

Pamela is the author of “Giving Voice to Your Cause,” which blends 60 unique speaking tips with real world examples of what it takes for social enterprises to accomplish their mission.

12:00  Kenny Torrella
Inspiring Compassion: Putting Our Ethics on the Table

Did you know that chickens pass information along from one generation to the next, or that pigs are smarter than dogs? Few of us give much thought to “food” animals, yet these fascinating creatures’ lives are rich with complex emotion and intelligence. Learn how industrial farming has changed the way cows, pigs and chickens are treated and how our food choices can become a powerful tool in preventing cruelty to animals.

A vegetarian for years, it was seeing undercover footage illustrating the sheer pain, fear, and innocence in the eyes and faces of animals locked in cages on factory farms and standing on the kill floors of slaughterhouses that drew Kenny into veganism and full-time animal advocacy work.

Kenny has volunteered with various national farmed animal and vegan advocacy organizations. In college, he formed a student animal rights organization, where he led other students in various proactive outreach events. In 2010, Kenny moved to Ohio and worked on a historic campaign to help prevent cruelty to over 27 million farmed animals in the state – including egg-laying hens, breeding pigs, and calves raised for veal.

Kenny has spoken on factory farming and grassroots activism at colleges, high schools, and festivals throughout the Midwest.

1:00  Panel
Powered by Plants: the Unlimited Potential of Vegan Fitness
Forget the notion that eating meat is essential to maximize your strength and power. Join this energetic panel of elite vegan bodybuilders and athletes, and learn how a plant-based diet can help you build muscle, gain endurance, and improve your flexibility and recovery time. This inspirational workshop will leave you pumped!
With Robert Cheeke, Jon Hinds, Amanda Riester, Nicole Sopko, and Brian Duda.

Robert Cheeke
- Vegan Bodybuilder, Motivational Speaker, Author
Robert grew up on a farm in Corvallis, OR where he adopted a vegan lifestyle in 1995 at age 15. Today he is an Amazon.com best-selling author of the book Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness - The Complete Guide to Building Your Body on a Plant-Based Diet.
As a two-time natural bodybuilding champion Robert has been considered one of VegNews Magazine's Most Influential Vegan Athletes. He tours all over North America regularly giving talks about his story transforming from a skinny farm kid to champion vegan bodybuilder.
Currently Robert works full-time for Sequel Naturals as a national representative for Vega, a line of vegan whole-food products, as a representative of the new pro-vegan film Forks Over Knives and also works full-time running Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness on www.veganbodybuilding.com , which includes writing books and filming documentaries. Robert lives in Portland, OR and Los Angeles, CA throughout the year and continues to spread the vegan way of life leading by example as an accomplished vegan athlete.

For more information about Robert please visit veganbodybuilding.com

Amanda Riester
- Bodybuilder

Growing up in a family of professional boxers, Amanda began her journey into athletic competition at 12 when her father began teaching her to box. She later went on to become a 4-time golden gloves champion and trained for the 2000 Olympics. She is a certified USA Boxing coach, judge and officiant. In 2005, Amanda was diagnosed with cancer, and during treatment rapidly gained 45 lbs, going from a size 0 to a 13. Soon after remission she hit the gym again with a vengeance. She got certified as an AFAA personal trainer and group fitness instructor.  After over 10 years in the world of combat sports, she hung up her gloves and began bodybuilding.  So far in 2011, Amanda has placed 1st runner up at the Windy City Classic Natural Bodybuilding Championships and won FIRST place at the Natural North America Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships. She has several more competitions lined up for this year, and hopes to earn her pro card. 
Although she spends several hours a day in the gym, her heart really belongs in animal rescue and liberation.  She has spent 11 years volunteering in pit bull rescue. She is the proud mommy of 3 rescued pit bulls and wife to an amazing husband. She works full time as a professional animal communicator and pet loss grief counselor and feels so blessed to be able to call that her "job."

Nicole Sopko
- Yoga instructor
Nicole Sopko is a Chicago-based yoga teacher who has been living a vegan lifestyle for the past 15 years and views that transition as her first yoga practice. She is also a dedicated student of Sri Dharma Mittra, who encourages students to recognize the light in all beings. A believer in the power of yoga as a lifestyle, Nicole feels that a playful yoga practice enables a person to approach the more mundane aspects of life with a lighter heart and a more accepting attitude. Her yogic journey has played a big role in her life and she feels lucky to have the opportunity to share that journey with others.  www.nicolesopko.com    

Brian Duda
- Bodybuilder
The son of a power lifter, Brian grew up around a gym where everyone looked so strong and healthy, and he thought this was how people should be. He became interested in bodybuilding after seeing the movie Pumping Iron which introduced the world to strength icons Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno, Franco Columbu and many others.

After working out most of his life, Brian became vegan about 10 years ago. He quickly realized that his body did not need all those stereotypical protein sources to big muscle, and believes he gotten in better shape since becoming vegan. The diet and lifestyle help him feel healthier, both mentally and physically and gives him great sense of happiness knowing that he is reducing the amount of animal suffering in the world.

Brian uses what he has learned over the years to help promote a healthy vegan lifestyle, not just for bodybuilders, but for everyone.  He created a website www.strongvegan.net as a starting point for people looking at going vegan.

Aside from bodybuilding,  Brian is a huge animal lover and supporter of veganism and animal rights. He is also co-owner of Canary Confectionary and a skilled maker of raw truffles and desserts. Stop by their booth
in our Food Court.

Jon Hinds of MonkeyBar Gym will not be participating in the panel. We regret any disappointment.

2:00  Jon Camp
Getting the Goods: Impacting Animals Through Effective Vegetarian Outreach
Adopting a vegetarian diet allows us to spare dozens of animals a year from suffering. Getting involved in vegetarian advocacy allows us to spare thousands. Using humor and drawing from his years of outreach on college campuses, Jon will discuss simple ways that each one of us can effectively spread vegetarianism and reduce a great amount of animal suffering. Whether you're new to activism or a seasoned veteran, this is one talk you won't want to miss!
Jon Camp is Director of Outreach for Vegan Outreach. He has spent the last seven years traveling the country on behalf of VO's college outreach program, reaching out to students about the plight of farmed animals. Jon has been to over 400 schools throughout North America, distributing Vegan Outreach materials and giving talks.

3:00  Cynthia Bathurst

Lifetime Bonds: At-Risk Youth and At-Risk Dogs Helping One Another

Cynthia Bathurst, Ph.D., joined Best Friends Animal Society as National Director, Project Safe Humane, in 2008 after more than twenty-five years in contract mathematical analysis. During that time, she co-founded D.A.W.G. (Dog Advisory Work Group) as a nonprofit and started a court advocacy program for court cases involving animal abuse. In 2007 she co-founded and piloted Safe Humane Chicago, a reincarnation of D.A.W.G. that focused on the principle that a safe community is a humane community and that Chicago must work together toward a safer, more humane city.  Cynthia also serves as Commissioner on Chicago’s Commission on Animal Care and Control, a member of the Chicago Animal Shelter Alliance, co-chair of the Task Force on Companion Animal Welfare and Public Safety for the Chicago City Council, a member of the Chicago City Clerk’s Dog Owner Task Force, and Vice Chair of the Cook County Partners Against Animal Cruelty Advisory Board to the Cook County Board. The American Veterinary Medical Association awarded her their 2009 Humane Award, an award given to a non-veterinarian who has advanced animal well-being, shown exemplary dedication to the care of animals, and contributed to the community and society. She currently serves as President of the Chicago Animal Shelter Alliance.
SafeHumane Chicago is acommunity-wide alliance to replace violence by promoting compassion and caring for people and animals and providing positive, beneficial activities and needed resources. It educates the publicabout responsible pet ownership and safety; promotes programs that stop the violence associated with dog fighting and animal abuse; and connects pet owners to available resources and expertise. By taking steps to instill kindness and to reduce violence in our communities, the campaign works to create safer, more humane neighborhoods across Chicago. In recognition of this powerful initiative, Best Friends Animal Society, as anational partner, is taking this Chicago model to other major cities as Project Safe Humane.

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