Who We Are

Board of Directors

Willow Hoechsmann

Willow grew up in southern Alberta, just a few minutes from one of the largest cattle slaughterhouses in Canada. The sight of countless cattle being held for slaughter haunted her. Shortly after moving to British Columbia in 2001, she went vegetarian. In 2008, she went vegan.

While working towards her BA in psychology, Willow focused her attention on humane education principles and became increasingly discouraged by the mainstream view of animals as mere commodities and not sentient beings. She is currently working to receive CCP certification through the Credit Institute of Canada.

In 2006, after volunteering with the Wildlife Rescue Association and the BC SPCA, Willow started searching for groups that helped farm animals. She met Liberation BC directors Glenn and Joanne while volunteering for the US-based charity Farm Sanctuary, and found comfort in discovering others who shared her concern for the welfare of all animals.

Willow joined the board of directors in 2008 as Treasurer.

Sophie Middleton

Sophie Middleton grew up on her family’s pig farm in Pitt Meadows. She was the assistant manager of this factory farm during her teens and was a member of the 4-H Lamb Club.  Her early experiences with animals and her interest in the environmental movement led her to become a vegetarian by 20 and a vegan by 30.  After completing her BA in Sociology and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University she worked at the New England Anti-Vivisection Society in Boston for four years in the 1990s. In her role in the Humane Education department and as Director of Administration she deepened her understanding of animal rights issues and renewed her commitment to working for change. When Sophie returned to Canada she worked in the environmental movement for 5 years with two local non-profits before going back to complete a Masters of Information Studies at the University of Toronto.  She currently works as a librarian in Vancouver.

Mary-Chris Staples

Mary-Chris became involved with Liberation BC in 2010.  Always an animal lover, (presently the proud adoptive mother to two dogs!) Mary-Chris has no idea why it took her so long to truly become aware of the horrors endured by animals in our world.  It was a PETA pamphlet in 2010 and the book Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer that finally hit home and she went vegan instantly.  A high school math teacher, she is working to implement educational programs that will bring more awareness of the plight of animals to students.

Almira Tanner

Almira became a vegetarian at the age ten after a friend simply asked, “If you love animals, why do you eat them?” It wasn’t until she began researching the health effects of dairy in 2010 that she learned about the cruelty involved in milk and egg production; and she became vegan shortly after. Almira has volunteered for Liberation BC since 2010, but became more involved in 2013 when she returned from two years of schooling in Alberta. Primary interests include vegan outreach, intersectionality, and the dairy industry. In addition to being on the board of Liberation BC, Almira is active with other animal rights groups and initiatives, works as an Occupational Therapist, coaches gymnastics with Special Olympics, and is a wannabe runner.

Past Board Members

Roger Clarke

Roger Clarke has been with Liberation BC since 2006, beginning with the campaign against KFC. He went vegan in 2005 after a year of being vegetarian, and many years of rationalizing before that. Roger moved to Vancouver in 2005. In 2012, he received his PhD in philosophy at the University of British Columbia. Roger serves as Liberation BC’s Events Co-ordinator.

Rebecca Gindin-Clarke

Becci Gindin-Clarke became involved with Liberation BC in 2006, shortly after having moved to Vancouver from the US.

A lifelong environmentalist and animal lover (whose favourite food was chicken), Becci defended worms and bugs from grade school classmates on the playground and chose to stop eating pigs and fish at the age of 8.  While involved in fair trade and anti-sweatshop activism at the University of Colorado in 2003, she learned about the realities of animal exploitation.  She went vegan the next year and began to volunteer with the university’s animal rights group, CUPAW.  In 2004 she received her BA in Linguistics.

Becci serves as Director of Research and Information and is in charge of writing content for the Liberation BC website and blog. She is also an artist and has drawn two Liberation BC colouring books, My Animal Friends and Furry Friends.

Glenn Gaetz

Vegan since 1997, Glenn decided to become more active in the animal rights movement after he moved from the US to Canada in 2005.

He grew up on a small homestead in Vermont with cows, pigs, and goats. The pigs and cows were raised for meat and the goats were raised for milk. More recently he spent a month as an intern at Farm Sanctuary in California, helping with animal care.

Glenn received a BA in English & Philosophy from Boston University in 1997. He worked for several years in marketing at a publishing company in Boston. Now he works on fundraising campaigns for nonprofits as an Online & Creative Consultant with a Vancouver-based agency, doing graphic design, web development, and other creative work. He spends his days helping a variety of charities raise money to support their missions, and in his free time he works to promote a world where animals are treated with genuine respect.

He recently received a Certificate in Dialogue and Civic Engagement from Simon Fraser University. He has been using the knowledge he gained from this certificate program to organize Animal Advocacy Camp and Liberation BC’s Animal Rights Community Dialogue Series.

Joanne Chang

Joanne became involved with Liberation BC in 2005, shortly after moving back to Vancouver from Boston.  She grew up in Asia, where she enjoyed eating a wide variety of animals and witnessed the killing of many species of animals at live markets.  A vegetarian since 1989 and vegan since 1994, Joanne has been a quiet advocate of animals since high school.  She took her first after-school job at the age of 16 in order to donate her earnings to PETA.  Joanne served for several years as a board member of Vancouver Humane Society.  She also spent a month at PETA Asia Pacific where she assisted in an expose of a government run-dog shelter in her home town of Taipei.  Joanne is a graduate of Boston University with a degree in Philosophy.