Steven Jay Gross, Ph.D.
CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD
A former Fortune 1000 business consultant, Steve Gross helped to pioneer the wave of savvy, new outreach strategies to corporate America that has transformed both animal advocacy and corporate support for animal welfare improvements in the last 20 years. Steve has led negotiations between animal advocacy groups and some of the nation’s largest companies, including Burger King, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Safeway, and Whole Foods. Prior to this work, Steve co-founded and ran the Illinois Humane Political Action Committee, passing an unheard-of 10 animal protection laws in a decade with an average annual budget of less than 50 thousand dollars. Steve also served as one of the founding board members of the nation’s largest animal welfare certification, Global Animal Partnership (GAP), and was the longest serving member of their board when he was replaced as Farm Forward’s GAP representative by Aaron Gross in 2017. Steve lives with his partner and dog in La Mesa, California.
Aaron Gross, Ph.D.
FOUNDER & CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
Aaron S. Gross, Ph.D. has played a leadership role in a wide variety of national and international farmed animal welfare campaigns in the Americas, India, and the Middle East since the mid-1990s. While collaborating with novelist Jonathan Safran Foer on Foer’s internationally best-selling critique of industrial farming, Eating Animals (Litttle Brown 2009), Aaron saw the need for an organization devoted entirely to ending factory farming and founded Farm Forward in 2007. Aaron has served as FF’s CEO from the beginning and grown the organization into a leading national nonprofit with ten full time staff. Alongside Foer and director Christopher Quinn, Gross is a co-writer for the new Eating Animals documentary film narrated by Natalie Portman. In addition to his advocacy work, Aaron is an internationally respected expert on religion and animals. He is a tenured Associate Professor at the University of San Diego where he teaches courses on animals and religion, food and religion, and modern Jewish thought. He has authored two scholarly books and numerous articles dealing with animal and food ethics from both religious and secular perspectives, including his critically acclaimed The Question of the Animal and Religion: Theoretical Stakes, Practical Implications (Columbia University Press 2015). Gross currently serves as President of the Society for Jewish Ethics and on the Faith Advisory Council of the Humane Society of the United States. He lives with his partner and dog in San Diego.
Ben Goldsmith began his full-time animal advocacy work in 2004 and joined Farm Forward at its inception in 2007. Under Goldsmith’s leadership Farm Forward has developed a reputation for strategic innovation that has led to the largest animal protection groups in the country–the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Global Animal Partnership, the Humane Society of the United States, and others–hiring Farm Forward for a range of consultations that have ultimately improved the lives of hundreds of millions of farmed animals. Goldsmith’s work has helped to bring about industry-wide improvements for farmed animals, including a first of its kind commitment from Unilever, the third largest consumer goods company in the world, to invest in technology that will help end the horrific practice of killing male layer chicks.
DIRECTOR OF STRATEGIC PROGRAMS & ENGAGEMENT
Andrew deCoriolis brings extensive experience in sustainability, grassroots organizing, and corporate leadership in both the public and private sectors. Prior to joining Farm Forward, Andrew was part of the executive leadership team at Lucid Design Group, a leading software company that empowers civic, commercial, and educational customers to track and reduce their energy consumption. While at Lucid, he started what has become the nation’s largest energy-reduction competition, built business partnerships with energy service companies including Siemens and Constellation New Energy, and developed innovative efficiency programs with Fortune 500 companies including Google and Starbucks. Andrew’s work has engaged more than half a million program participants, led to millions of kilowatt-hours saved, and has been covered in leading periodicals including the Wall Street Journal and GreenTechMedia.
Michael McFadden, Esq.
GENERAL COUNSEL, POLICY & PROGRAM DIRECTOR
After receiving his bachelor’s degree in marketing and finance, Michael became passionate about factory farming issues while studying environmental law at the University of Virginia. He joined Farm Forward in 2011 and advises the organization on all matters of law and policy. He also heads Farm Forward’s efforts to provide low cost and pro bono consulting services to other non-profits interested in improving their farmed animal welfare policies and enhancing the effectiveness of their campaigns.
Christopher Carter, Ph.D.
FAITH IN FOOD FELLOW
Christopher is an Assistant Professor of Theology at the University of San Diego whose work explores how religion and the institution of factory farming affect food choices within the African American community. He is a United Methodist pastor and holds a seat on the steering committee for the prestigious Animals and Religion Group of the American Academy of Religion. As a Farm Forward Faith in Food Fellow, Rev. Dr. Carter is studying the impact that the U.S. food policies and practices that created the factory farm have on people of color.
DIRECTOR OF ENGAGEMENT
Erin Eberle joined Farm Forward with a rich background in food justice work and social activism, including founding and running a plant-based consulting firm in Portland, Oregon. She excels in creative marketing strategy, development, and social engagement. Erin also writes on various topics including food policy, organic farming, and ethics in the food industry. She has a passion for and a pulse on all things food and farming related.
DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT OPERATIONS
Jennifer is a former Development Director and nonprofit consultant for more than a dozen organizations. She is an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister with experience in organizational leadership, serving as national Program Coordinator for the UU Ministers Association, Assistant Minister at First Church San Diego, and Intern Minister at two UU congregations in Ottawa, Canada. She earned her Masters of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School.
Claire Fitch, MSPH
DIRECTOR OF OUTREACH
With a background in food systems, public health, and environmental ethics, Claire directs Farm Forward’s outreach to institutions, food retailers, and foodservice companies to improve the welfare of farmed animals by aligning institutional food policies with consumers’ values. Prior to joining Farm Forward she managed the Food Systems Policy program at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, and was a U.S. Borlaug Fellow in Global Food Security. Claire has written extensively on issues related to animal agriculture, institutional food procurement, and labor in the food system. She earned her MSPH in Human Nutrition from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2014.
Melissa Hoffman, M.S.
HUMANE EDUCATION AND PROGRAM SPECIALIST AT JIFA
Melissa Hoffman is the Humane Education and Program Specialist at JIFA where she works with Jewish institutions and communities to develop materials, programs, and policies that foster compassion, respect, and responsibility for all living beings. She earned her M.S. in Animals and Public Policy from Tufts University, has worked extensively as a cantorial soloist and Jewish educator, and is an animal care volunteer at the International Bird Rescue in California.
PROGRAM COORDINATOR AND KOSHER MEAT & ANIMAL WELFARE SPECIALIST AT JIFA
Yadidya works to increase access to and popularity of higher welfare kosher meat products. Yadidya is a certified shochet (kosher slaughterer) who has worked in an industrial kosher slaughterhouse and has taught about shechita (kosher slaughter) and animal welfare throughout the country.
Rev. John Gibb Millspaugh
DIRECTOR OF EDUCATIONAL CAMPAIGNS
The grandson of Iowa farmers, Rev. John Gibb Millspaugh, M.Div., M.P.A. graduated from Harvard Divinity School and Harvard’s Kennedy School in 2001. His award-winning justice work has focused on modern slavery, LGBTQ rights, and climate justice, and includes organizing over four hundred congregations to collectively write and adopt a denomination-wide Unitarian Universalist “Ethical Eating” statement on food justice. The statement is the first known instance of a national U.S. religious body adopting an intersectional position statement on food.
Before coming to Farm Forward John served as a congregational minister, edited the justice ministry anthology A People So Bold, directed an international food justice nonprofit, and volunteered as President of the UU Animal Ministry (a role he continues). John’s thoughts on social ethics have been featured in the Boston Globe, the Orange County Register, C-SPAN, and the Los Angeles Times.
CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER
A former Fortune 100 technology and product executive and co-founder of several startups, Don has made a career of doing big things with small teams. From Microsoft and Apple to eBay and Yahoo, he has focused on delivering products with commercial and social value by recruiting and leading small, diverse teams that can deliver a wide range of products. A few years ago Don stepped away from commercial software development to focus on projects with compelling humanitarian and environmental goals. With his small team of “Gaia Hackers,” Don collaborates with select non-profits to deploy responsive technology to achieve mission-driven objectives.
Jim Keen, DVM
DIRECTOR OF ANIMAL WELFARE SCIENCE
Dr. Jim Keen, DVM, is a veterinary infectious disease eco-epidemiologist and sustainable agriculture proponent with 25 years of research and field experience in livestock health and production medicine, veterinary public health, zoonotic infections, and biomedicine. His primary focus is on livestock well-being in conventional agriculture settings. Jim’s path to animal protection began at the USDA’s Meat Animal Research Center in Nebraska, where he blew the whistle on long-term abuse of research farmed animals, resulting in a highly publicized exposé in the New York Times.
Diane & Marlene Halverson
SENIOR ANIMAL WELFARE CONSULTANTS
Diane and Marlene Halverson have been on the front lines of efforts to improve conditions for farmed animals around the planet for more than two decades. Diane’s remarkable list of accomplishments includes helping create standards that made Niman Ranch pork the most humane pork available nationally,founding the Animal Welfare Institute’s farm animal welfare program, obtaining the first USDA label that featured animal welfare claims, advising some of the world’s largest food retailers, working closely with Robert F. Kennedy and the Waterkeeper Alliance to stop factory farm pollution, and receiving (alongside Temple Grandin) the Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge Foundation’s Humane Ethics in Action Award. Marlene’s significant contributions to animal welfare include publishing more than a dozen articles on animal agriculture, authoring key reports for the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board, bringing Swedish deep-bedded swine housing systems to the U.S., assisting in the creation of alternative pork production programs at Iowa State University, and working with teams of scientists and farmers to draft comprehensive cattle husbandry standards.