The mission of GEAR is to foster gender equity, diversity, and inclusion by supporting, connecting, and elevating womxn, non-binary people, and transgender people in the animal rights movement.


Gender Equity in Animal Rights (GEAR) aims to foster and support the inclusion of — and equality of opportunity for — womxn, non-binary people, and transgender people (WNBTP) in the animal rights movement.

We envision a movement in which womxn, non-binary people, and transgender people:

  • Have full and equal access to roles, resources, and positions of leadership.
  • Feel supported and are supportive of each other, hold one another up and speak positively of each other, look out for each other, and provide each other access to opportunities.
  • Are safe, prepared, and welcomed to join the movement and to progress into leadership roles.
  • Experience no discrimination, sexual harassment, or other sexist, gender-exclusionary, WNBTP-disparaging behavior.
  • Are valued for their skills, knowledge, and unique experiences.

GEAR is committed to working toward this vision inclusively; we are especially interested in lifting up WNBTP who are also members of other marginalized groups. As members of a global movement for gender equity, we will collaborate with our counterparts in other movements and industries, and are committed to including men as both partners in this work and beneficiaries.


  • Leadership: paving a path forward for womxn, non-binary people, and transgender people in the movement
  • Community: building a strong network of support to uplift womxn, non-binary people, and transgender people in the movement and understanding our power to affect change together
  • Equity: correcting imbalances in the animal rights movement that have resulted in greater consideration and opportunity for men than womxn, non-binary people, and transgender people
  • Diversity and Inclusion: fostering a movement that values and incorporates a variety of perspectives, especially those of historically marginalized group members
  • Respect: cultivating an atmosphere of trust and treating all human and non-human animals with kindness and compassion


GEAR is organized by a dedicated team of volunteers, outlined below.

If you're interested in joining the steering committee, please see the steering committee member application here.

Nicole Brodeur (founding member) is a producer and angel investor based in Portland, Oregon. She serves on the boards of Ars Nova, the Portland Area CSA Coalition, Story Pirates Inc., One Tail at a Time PDX and the Institute of Higher Awesome Studies. Nicole is a founding member of Womxn Funders in Animal Rights and sits on their Leadership Council. She manages the Payne-Brodeur Giving Fund, which supports a variety of non-profit causes.

Neysa Colizzi (founding member) is a 20-year vegan. Professionally, she is a leader in Bain & Company’s Results Delivery® practice and is an experienced trainer and facilitator in organizational change management and behavioral science. Neysa has worked with organizations across the globe, including all continents, and spanning many industries such as consumer products, retail, pharma/biotech, financial services, mining, automotive, technology, and nonprofit. Neysa has a B.S. in Industrial and Operations Engineering from the University of Michigan and master’s degrees in Business Administration from Kellogg Graduate School of Management and Industrial Engineering from McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern University.

Andrea Gunn (founding member) is the Executive Vice President for The Humane League (THL), leading strategic initiatives to strengthen programs and culture, sustain growth, and maximize impact for animals. The Humane League is ranked as "Best In America" by the Independent Charities of America and has been named "Top Charity" by the charity navigator Animal Charity Evaluators for all of their rating periods. Andrea is studying business at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and will earn her Executive MBA in 2021. She resides in Charlotte, NC.

Carol Kline is a tourism professor in North Carolina where she teaches a course on Animals, Tourism, & Sustainability; her research agenda is focused entirely on animal welfare in tourism and gender /racial equity issues. She launched Fanimal in 2018 to help early and mid-career individuals find animal-focused careers.

Caroline Love (founding member) is an entrepreneur in the Future of Food industry and has been building plant-based food companies for the past decade. She is the COO of Climax Foods, using data science to reach the pinnacle of food. Caroline also sits on the board of directors for The Game Changers Foundation, a documentary executive produced by James Cameron, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and other plant-powered athletes. Caroline serves on the Leadership Council of WFAR: Womxn Funders in Animal Rights. Prior to the food world, Caroline began her career as a journalist in television news as an anchor and investigative reporter. Caroline lives in Northern California.

Stuart McDonald lives in Richmond, Virginia, and serves as Communications Manager at Compassion Over Killing. She received her bachelor's and master's degrees in Social Justice and Human Rights at George Mason University, where she studied racial battle fatigue and activist burnout in the LGBTQ community. That work has informed her transition to the animal rights community, where she continues to write about issues of racial justice, gender equality, and bodily autonomy as they pertain to animals and activism.

Allison Jai O’Dell is The Humane League’s Data and Analytics Engineer. She previously enjoyed a career in academic libraries, working to advance research and learning through development of international data standards and user-friendly information-seeking platforms. She has an M.S. in Library and Information Science, an M.A. in Book Arts, and a passion for advancing equity and inclusion in the workplace.

Lisa Rimmert (founding member) lives in Maryland with her husband and their rescued dog and cat. She is passionate about animal rights, as well as gender and racial equity. She serves as Vice President of Strategic Communications for Vegan Outreach.

Michelle Rojas-Soto (founding member) serves as Managing Director of Encompass. Her work is focused on the connection between social justice and animal rights. Prior to Encompass, she was managing director of Better Eating International. Michelle has a Master’s in Biology from Caltech and a Master’s in Business Administration from USC. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

Shawna Weaver is the training specialist for The Humane League. She has fourteen years of teaching experience, from k-12 to college instruction. She is the creator and coordinator of the Pet Safe Housing project which serves families and companion animals escaping domestic violence. Shawna has master’s degrees in Psychology and School Counseling and a PhD in Sustainability Education. Formerly an environmental/social justice researcher, she is now compiling her research for publication.

Former Steering Committee Members: Chelsea Gale, Erica Meier, Jennifer Fearing, Kelly Witwicki, Stacey Owens

We'd like to thank and recognize Alicia Robb, Katie Cantrell, Krystal Caldwell, Leah Garces, Lydia Harris, Sharon Nuñez Gough, and Nirali Shah for their contributions to GEAR's creation and initial projects.