Sarah Conroy, President

photo 1After a career in several states, Sarah settled on Maine in 2002.  Sarah currently serves as President and is a proud cofounder of VegME!  Sarah’s focus is to guide VegME! on its journey putting “veg resource with veg need in Maine”.  Sarah also founded the Maine Vegan Meetup group and formerly served as a board member for the Maine Animal Coalition.  Sarah adopted a vegan lifestyle in 1999.  She began her quest to bring veganism to others in furtherance of her wish to alleviate animal suffering, but is thrilled and surprised to discover that she is just as interested in learning and growing in the areas of health, nutrition and sustainable practices along with the many other reasons the adoption of a plant-based lifestyle will help to heal us all.  She is honored and a bit awed to be surrounded by those whose many talents can bring the method and the message from both within and outside Maine to our fellow Mainers. Sarah is perpetually curious and an animal lover with eclectic taste in music and books. She is a strategically focused, collaborative leader who appreciates humor! Most importantly, she is the proud mom to two rescued canine-americans, Tosh and Evie. 

Besides VegME!, Sarah is an HR Director for a small, environmentally focused college in Maine. Sarah also serves on the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Maine State Council.  Throughout her career, she has written broadly about HR issues, delivered solutions across the HR spectrum and encouraged other HR professionals to have a voice in both the boardroom and the legislature.

Sarah can be reached at sarah@vegme.org

Angela Bell, Secretary

A native of northern Maine, Angela took a big step away from ‘The County’, where hunting and animal farming is a way of life, and moved to the ‘big city’ in 2001.  Angela has been a vegan since 2005, unable to continue to be part of the cruelty and the environmental downfall.   Angela soon began to recognize the impact of this lifestyle on her health, confidence and spirit and began to do outreach work with Maine Animal Coalition, Vegan Meetup, and The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.   Angela chaired Maine Animal Coalition’s Vegetarian Food Festival in 2009 and ran her first marathon, the Maine Marathon, in 2011 to raise money for The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.  She believes the best way to change people’s minds is to lead by example with patience and kindness, and vegan cupcakes.

Angela lives in the center of Portland and works in Whole Foods Market in the Whole Body department and is excited to show customers vegan supplements and vegan sport’s nutrition products, as well as cruelty free beauty products.  She loves to run, continues to do marathons, and is in the process of creating a YouTube vegan variety show with a friend.  You can find her blog at http://veganrunner77.blogspot.com/.

Angela can be reached at angela@vegme.org

Deb Schwink, At-Large Board Member

af6c64a0-00b3-4589-97e1-4fd1f8a11d0cA midwest native, Deb became vegan in 1991, after attending an animal rights conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She got a BA in Sociology from UW-Madison and then went to work in northern California for marketing and art departments of software companies. Before heading to work in California, Deb volunteered at a local working farm caring for the animals. She also did graduate work at JFK University and then moved to a remote part of the northern California coast, where she started an internet natural fabric business which she later turned into an all-vegan, natural living store in Edmonds, Washington.

In 2005, Deb and her husband bought an old dairy farm and transformed it into a farm animal sanctuary called “Sweet Potato Farm.” It was named after one of their most friendly rescued sheep who today is elderly and blind but is still most appreciative of his favorite sweet potato treat. A job opportunity brought Deb’s family out to the east coast, and today they live in Durham, Maine with their elderly flock of sheep, a couple of young sweet rescue pigs, some chickens, cats, dogs and a llama. Deb is currently an engineering student at SMCC and is very interested in getting more active in the local vegan community.

Deb can be reached at deb@vegme.org

Wayne Monson, Treasurer & Diversity Coordinator

Wayne became a vegetarian in 1994 and worked for several years at the famous Cafe Viva restaurant in NYC where he began to learn about and promote vegan lifestyle choices. Wayne’s education and training is in the music recording industry, he worked at LOHO studios in NYC and Acme studios in Rochester, NY. Originally from Maine, he returned to the area to be closer to family and the pine mountains of western Maine. Wayne has been a bass player for over 20 years and was involved with several music groups from alternative to folk. He also is on the board of the non-profit organization 7 Generations for Native Americans of Maine and New Hampshire since 2007.

Wayne can be reached at wayne@vegme.org

Alexander Peppe, Webmaster

10414620_10156334933330603_2945038103363172125_nAlex has been vegan since he was 14, originally inspired by Sarah Gilbert and Wikipedia; he now does it for ethical reasons and for love of the animals. He’s a piano tuner/technician by trade, serving Southern Maine, with a BS in computer science and mathematics from USM.

After several years of taking summer road trips around the country and visiting farm animal sanctuaries, he decided to settle down and start his own. He now lives in Limington in a log cabin along with nine goats, three cats, and several ducks and guinea hens.

Alex can be reached at apeppe@vegme.org. Photo by Helen Peppe

Leslie Linder, Support Service Lead, New Vegans

Leslie Linder lives in Penobscot Maine and is from the Blue Hill area. She earned her Master of Divinity at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN.  Leslie has worked at The Next Step Domestic Violence Project, serving Hancock and Washington Counties, since 2001. She is a certified Linkage trainer on the link between family violence and animal abuse. Leslie shares a rural farmhouse with her mother, Mary Jane, as well as two retired racing greyhounds, seven formerly stray cats, and a tortoise (twenty years and counting!). Leslie has been vegetarian since 1996 and vegan since 2011. She went vegetarian out of concern for animals and due to growing education about all the issues she transitioned into veganism. Leslie has written articles that have appeared in Bangor Daily news, the Ellsworth American, and Circle Sanctuary Magazine. As a vegan, Leslie is a fan of cashew cheese, kale chips, and farm sanctuaries. She loves reading VegNews magazine or listening to the Our Henhouse podcasts.

Leslie can be reached at  leslie@vegme.org