Supporting Portland's Vegan, Vegetarian, and Veg-curious Community


Board of Directors

Peter Spendelow

Peter Spendelow - President

I've been a Northwest VEG board member since November 2004 and was President from July 2006-June 2015 and again starting July 2016. I've been employed by the State of Oregon since 1985 as an environmental specialist working on recycling and solid waste issues, and have combined that experience with my Northwest VEG experience to work on issues regarding how our food choices affect our environment. Northwest VEG's work is very important to me. I know of no other work more important for our environment, our health, and the other animals we share this Earth with, than to help people move to a plant-based diet.

Rachel Stein

Rachel Stein - Vice President

As a long time vegan (and, before that, vegetarian), I try hard to be a good ambassador for animal rights, environmental, and human issues. As a nonprofit professional, I love continual improvement and working to create efficient processes and governance. I am really enjoying using these skills and interests to help improve and publicize Northwest Veg and its work. I am involved in event planning (VegFest and the 10th Anniversary Party), bylaws, finance, and various other aspects of the organization. I have a degree in nonprofit management and extensive volunteer and professional experience with nonprofits, so I have a lot to offer to a growing organization in strategic planning, management, marketing, and other areas. I am excited about getting to know more vegans in the Portland area and helping plan events that will introduce even more people to Northwest VEG, and to the vegan lifestyle and all it has to offer.

Deanna Cintas

Deanna Cintas - Secretary

I moved back to Portland in 2006, and became vegan in 2007. I have been active in the Portland community ever since. As a community activist who loves to meet new people and support them in a vegan lifestyle, I love being a part of Northwest VEG. I have contributed to Northwest VEG by planning events such as the 10th Anniversary Party, Compassionate Thanksgiving, and more, tabling at community fairs, managing aspects of their social networking, acting as secretary during our board meetings and helping with logistics and other ideas. This is a great organization and I enjoy being a part of it!

Linda Sant'Angelo - Treasurer

Northwest VEG plays a prominent role in providing education and support about a plant based lifestyle to our community in so many exciting ways. The members of this organization continually inspire people to think outside the box. I love being a part of keeping things moving along and I would be happy to continue to serve as treasurer.

Larry Simpson

Larry Simpson

I became a vegan approximately 9 years ago due primarily to the belief that the body can be self-healing if we support it with the correct nourishment. This was my narrow view of veganism at the time, which due to association with NW VEG has broadened to include issues such as animal cruelty, clothing, and our responsibility to make life choices that support our universe. I became interested in the board through participation as a kitchen assistant at Portland VegFest and exposure to the guest chefs and speakers. It became clear that this group supported all of our efforts to educate and support those who were attempting to change their lives. I look forward to assisting and supporting NW VEG to reach a broader group of individuals to have a positive impact on their lives. NW VEG is a dynamic, growing organization and I want to part of that growth.

Cindy Koczy

Cindy Koczy

I have been a Northwest VEG board member since 2006, and am also on the board of Vegan Iron Chef. I enjoy being involved with our Master VEG Program, monthly potlucks and tabling events. My dedication and compassion for the movement makes me a valuable addition and I look forward to continuing to promoting all the the benefits of plant based diet. Power to the vegheads!

Amanda Otto

Amanda Otto

It means so much to me to serve on the board of Northwest Veg and contribute to an organization that shares my values and passion for animal rights and compassionate living. Vegetarian since 2005, I made the transition to vegan in 2010 and haven't looked back since. A native Oregonian, I work as a Training & Development Manager at Willamette University and hold a Master of Science in Educational Leadership and Policy degree from Portland State University. I am primarily contributing my time on the board to the 22 Day Veg Challenge and Finance Committee.

Cathy Berlot

Cathy Berlot

Becoming vegan is one of the most important things I have ever done. I am excited to be able to help plan activities sponsored by Northwest VEG that help me to share my ever-growing awareness of how what we consume affects other animals, our own health, and the health of the planet. I was excited about being involved with our first 22 Day Veg Challenge, and the accompanying Vegan Mentor Program, which continues to be an ongoing resource of Northwest VEG. I am also on the Board of Directors of One Step for Animals which has produced a wonderful leaflet that explains that the single step everyone can take to make a profound difference for animals is to stop eating chickens. I would be happy to provide these leaflets and tips on leafleting to anyone who is interested. You can reach me at

Shea Cope

Shea Cope

I recently joined the board in late summer 2016, and am excited to work with like-minded people who share some of my strong values of compassion towards animals and sustainable living. I also can't wait to make a bigger difference in the vegan community in the future! I became vegan in 2012 after backpacking around the world for six months; a trip that completely changed the way I live my life and see the world. I'm a native upstate New-Yorker, grew up in North Carolina, briefly lived in Ireland and Connecticut, and then found myself in Portland, Oregon in early 2014. I immediately felt right at home in the PNW and look forward to raising my daughter in this wonderful part of the country surrounded by the vegan values that are so important to us!

Marsha Rakestraw

Marsha Rakestraw

I was a co-founder of NW VEG and part of the board for many years, and after a hiatus am proud to have rejoined this group of hard-working and passionate people. Vegetarian since 1989 and vegan since 1998, I’ve spent much of my adult life working for a just, compassionate, healthy world for all. I’m excited to bring the skills and experience I’ve gained through my activist work, my background as an educator, and my 10-years of work for the nonprofit Institute for Humane Education, to empowering and supporting others in making ethical food choices and working to create a healthy and compassionate food system.


Jaclyn Leeds

Jaclyn Leeds - Executive Director

I am delighted to be serving as Executive Director of Northwest VEG. A native of New Hampshire, I moved to Portland in 2010 to study animal protection law and fell in love with Oregon. The work that Northwest VEG undertakes in providing educational resources and sharing the many benefits of a plant-based lifestyle, as well as in building community in the Pacific Northwest, feels like a natural fit for my own passion. In addition to advocating on behalf of human and non-human animals and the planet, I enjoy hiking with my rescue dog Ebony and teaching yoga. I look forward to meeting you at one of our many events, and I welcome your ideas as we continue to grow and thrive. You can reach me at

Lucille Dawson

Lucille Dawson - Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator

Hello, friends! I am so excited to be joining NW Veg as the Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator. I am coming to the organization from several years at the City of Portland's bureau of Parks & Recreation where I worked as a Recreation Coordinator serving at-risk populations. I am passionate about veganism as a pathway to better health and a cleaner, cruelty-free planet. I look forward to the opportunity to educate and enrich the lives in our community through working with all of you at our many workshops, classes, and events. You can reach me at:

Board Meetings & Documents

Each month, usually at 10am on the second Saturday, the Northwest VEG board of directors and employees meets to discuss various issues including membership, volunteering, finances, communications, publicity, event planning, and social activities. Members are welcome to attend these meetings and participate in the discussions. However, if there are items that need to be decided by voting, only board members may vote. If you are interested in attending, please contact