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 (WNBPTP) 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, WNBPTP-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 WNBPTP 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.
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 resides in Charlotte, NC.
Caroline Love (founding member) is the President of the Blue Horizon International Foundation. Previously, she led sales at JUST, Inc (formerly Hampton Creek) and was the VP of Operations. As a consultant, she has helped build the most exciting companies in the Future of Food industry and advises VC groups bringing new funds to the space. Caroline sits on the Board of Directors for The Game Changers documentary, and serves on the Leadership Council of WFAR: Womxn Funders in Animal Rights. Caroline began her career as a journalist in television news working as an anchor and investigative reporter in South Carolina.
Erica Meier (founding member) is the Executive Director of Compassion Over Killing (COK), national non-profit animal protection organization based in Washington, DC. Working to expose cruelty to farmed animals and promote veg-friendly eating as a way to build a kinder world, COK’s strategic efforts include undercover investigations, legal advocacy, corporate outreach, and public education. Before working at COK, Erica was an animal control officer in DC, rescuing sick, injured, and homeless animals as well as enforcing animal protection laws.
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.
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.
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.
We'd like to thank and recognize Alicia Robb, Chelsea Gale, Jennifer Fearing, Katie Cantrell, Kelly Witwicki, Krystal Caldwell, Leah Garces, Lydia Harris, Nirali Shah, and Stacey Owens for their contributions to GEAR's creation and initial projects.