Peace Advocacy Network (PAN) promotes a peaceful existence through veganism, social justice, and respect for the Earth’s inhabitants and resources. PAN, founded in 2010, is a grassroots group that strives for the absence of violence in the lives of people and animals by eliminating oppression and inequality.
Meet our team
Board of Directors
Leila VaughanPresident and Co-Founder
Dara LovitzVice-President and Co-Founder
Brandon GittelmanCo-Founder and Director of Fundraising
Leila has been vegan since 2001 and is passionate about helping other people go vegan. She has organized six vegan pledge programs and helped coordinate countless others. Leila is a mom to a vegan toddler and works as a nonprofit and tax attorney.
Dara is an Adjunct Professor of Animal Law and works for a non-profit CLE organization. She is the author of Muzzling A Movement: The Effects of Anti-Terrorism Law, Money, and Politics on Animal Activism and Catching Falling Cradles: A Gentle Approach to Classic Rhymes. She has been a vegan and animal activist since she met Leila Vaughan in 2004.
Brandon has been advocating for animals for more than 10 years. As a co-founder of PAN, he has served in a variety of capacities, including leading campaigns, fundraising, media relations, and legislative advocacy. Brandon has extensive experience providing valuation, corporate finance, financial planning and analysis, strategic planning, and transaction advisory services to corporate and nonprofit organizations.
Gary KaplanWeb Director
Christopher-Sebastian McJettersSocial Media Manager
Meredith has been vegan since 2006 and became involved in the PAN Vegan Pledge when living in Northern VA. She continued volunteering with PAN when she moved to Philly in 2014 and joined the board in 2018. Meredith works in Human Resources at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Carmella Lanni-Giardina is co-owner of V Marks the Shop, Philadelphia’s first all-vegan convenience store. A former food blogger turned digital analyst from the Bronx, NY, Carmella has shifted her career path into growing veganism as a connector across various social constructs. She organizes events, such as Philly Vegan Pop Flea, as a means to show the contributions of vegan & veg-friendly businesses, non-profits and individuals to the local economy. while growing community in all-inclusive spaces. Carmella now resides in Philly with her partner (in life & business), Carlo Giardina in a home run by 3 wacky cats named Connie, Mozzie & Millie. She still likes posting food photos on Instagram once in a while.
Gary has been vegan since 1999 and has been involved in vegan/ animal rights activism for most of that time. Gary is a registered nurse.
Christopher-Sebastian divides his time between London, England, and New York City. A copyeditor by profession, Sebastian is a staff writer at Vegan Publishers, and part-time lecturer on speciesism at Columbia University. He is also an offsite volunteer coordinator for VINE Sanctuary and senior editor for VINE Sanctuary Press. He sits on the advisory board for Black Vegans Rock. Plus, he provides part-time writing and research support for A Well-Fed World. His work focus on examining the complex relationships between animal violence, anti-black racism, queer liberation and classism. He explains why veganism is a useful tool for deconstructing multiple systemic oppressions.
Elaine joined the board in 2015. She’s been vegan for over five years and participated in the Phoenixville Pledge. Before that she was vegetarian for a very long time and has been volunteering with PAN since 2010. Elaine has two degrees, one in fashion and one in graphic design. She is currently a graphic designer. She enjoys crafts and is big on recycling
Jeesely joined the board in 2016. She is a graduate of the Phoenixville Vegan Pledge along with her husband and now runs the Phoenixville Vegan Pledge. Last year she was a co-organizer for Phoenixville’s first VegFest, a vegan food and street festival. She loves to cook and loves the challenge of veganizing dishes. In her free time she enjoys reading and taking foodie road trips with her family and friends.
Deanna MeylerVegan Pledge Program Director
Tami AndrewVegan Pledge Program Manager
Rachel BlackPhoenixville Vegan Pledge Program Organizer
Johanna GreskoPA Vegan Pledge Program Organizer
Danielle PowersNYC Vegan Pledge Program Organizer
Farah SirajWest Philadelphia Vegan Pledge Program Organizer
Krystal ValentinNYC Vegan Pledge Program Organizer
Deanna Meyler has been vegan since 1998. She has a PhD in sociology, advanced certification in Community Leadership, and is a certified Vegan Lifestyle Coach & Educator. Deanna is the founder of An Everyday Vegan, a lifestyle website, and the Philly Vegan Food Tour. In addition, she organizes large group visits/fundraisers to local farm animal sanctuaries as the Philadelphia Coordinator for Animal Connection. Deanna’s personal mission is to make the world a better place one meal at a time.
Tami Andrew is the Vegan Pledge Program Manager at PAN. She has been a devoted animal activist since going vegan many years ago and has participated in a number of campaigns, volunteer opportunities, and has fostered dozens of animals of all species. Tami is a graphic designer and avid cross-stitcher who spends her spare time watching hundreds of horror movies and then writing long rants about how they relate to speciesism and equality.
Rachel Black attended Temple University where she received BFA in Painting. She then stayed in Philadelphia for the next 5 years where she worked for two animal welfare non-profits. During these years Rachel fought for veg food options, enacting the Meatless Monday program in four school districts, organized dozens of community events around compassionate living, and helped grow a thriving network of volunteer activists around the country, mentoring them to advocate for a more environmentally friendly and compassionate way of living through plant-based eating. She also gave hundreds of presentations on the devastating effect of modern animal agriculture in high schools and colleges. Rachel is now a teaching assistant at a Charter School in a suburb of Philadelphia and a presenter for Factory Farming Awareness Coalition. Rachel believes our society can change for the better, and hopes to inspire our future generation to make conscious decisions that positively affect them and the society they live in
Johanna Gresko joined our team in 2019 to organize a vegan pledge program in Philadelphia. Johanna graduated form Penn State in 2017 with a Community Development and Environmental Economics degree. She enjoys doing outreach and grassroots activism in an effort to make living vegan more mainstream. In her free time she enjoys practicing yoga, running, cooking veggies, and doing anything outdoors.
Danielle Powers is a PAN Vegan Pledge Organizer in her hometown of NYC. Her journey as an activist began in 2016 when she first participated in direct action campaigning to challenge the subjugation of other animals. Shortly after, with the help of her newfound community and the transformative experiences she gained through engaging in direct action, Danielle became vegan — further prompting her exploration of and inclination to confront the manifold forms of systemic violence that are normalized in society.
Now, Danielle has taken up work in multiple social justice spheres seeking to bridge movements and empower those within them to critically examine and disrupt all systems of violence, regardless of who it harms. Along with her advocacy for nonhuman animals, Danielle works at an educational nonprofit, supporting underserved public high school students striving to access college; volunteers as a reading tutor at her local public elementary school; organizes with Science for the People, an advocacy network seeking to mobilize the scientific establishment to serve social needs rather than corporate and militaristic interests; and employs her musical background to support local grassroots efforts as a flutist in the Rude Mechanical Orchestra, a radical marching band.
Farah Siraj is a performing artist, human rights and animal rights activist and a passionate advocate of veganism. She earned her Masters in Liberal Arts from the University of Pennsylvania where she focused her thesis on animal rights, human security and global sustainability. She loves to travel, hang out with animals (including humans), read and cook vegan food for her friends and family.
Krystal Valentín is an NYC Vegan Pledge Organizer for the Peace Advocacy Network, as well as a former volunteer mentor for PAN’s 2016 NYC Vegan Pledge. Her passion for animal rights developed in childhood, leading her to become a vegetarian at age nine and a vegan ten years later in 2014. She holds a BA in Psychology from Brooklyn College and currently works at a preschool. Krystal hopes to further her education in the areas of food anthropology and diet/nutrition in order to become a better activist for humans, non-humans, and the environment. In her free time, she frequently volunteers with organizations such as Woodstock Farm Sanctuary and Chilis on Wheels. She can often be found re-watching Frasier on Netflix, listening to true crime podcasts, and studying the art of German longsword.