Advisory Council

Cam Awesome

Cam Awesome is a well known professional speaker and personality. He is an Emmy Nominated, 7 time USA National Champion, 4 time Golden Gloves National Champion, 3 Time Olympic Trails Champion Heavyweight boxer, and former Captain of the USA National boxing team. Cam Awesome is also a proud Member of the National Speakers Association. Cam is a Diversity & Inclusion consultant. Cam adopted a plant-based vegan lifestyle in 2012. Since then, Cam has emcee’d over a hundred vegan events around the country out of the van he lives in part-time.

Leah Burns

Georgette Leah Burns holds a PhD in Tourism from Murdoch University and is a foundation member of the Environmental Futures Research Institute at Griffith University. Currently a Senior Lecturer in the School of Environment and Science at Griffith University, she previously held positions as Head of the Tourism Department at Hólar University College and Head of Tourism research at the Icelandic Seal Centre. As an environmental anthropologist, Leah’s research on wildlife tourism interactions spans topics such as ethics, coexistence, sustainability, resilience, interpretation and management. She grew up surrounded by horses, donkeys, goats, magpies, dogs, cats and chickens – who spent nearly as much time inside the house with her as she did outside with them, leading to a lifelong caring for the non-humans with whom we share this planet.

Nick Coughlin

Nick Coughlin is the founder of The Good Kid Project, which is rooted in the belief that children taught to extend kindness and mercy toward animals are more likely to become good kids who are kind and considerate in their relations to one another. A lifelong animal advocate, Nick lives in Minnesota with his cattle dog, Pico. He has testified before the Minneapolis city council in support of a ban on wild animal circuses, worked for Farm Sanctuary as an education coordinator, and volunteers regularly for different animal advocacy organizations. Nick believes that teaching kids to treat all animals with kindness is one of the most important things we can do.

John Delconte

John Delconte, PhD, is an instructor in creative placemaking in regional planning at the University of Massachusetts Arts Extension Service and New England College. His research is about how to define, measure, and test the vibrancy of places. He is also the founder of Smallwander, a consultancy and tour operation that helps small towns connect with cultural tourists through placemaking. Prior to that, he was a medical writer in the pharmaceutical industry and served as a board member of several arts- and culture-related nonprofits.

Kenny Flowers

Kenny Flowers is the Assistant Secretary for Rural Economic Development at the North Carolina Department of Commerce. In that role he provides guidance for the Department in its efforts to support rural communities and help foster rural prosperity. Kenny leads a team of community and economic development professionals that help communities make the preparations and infrastructure investments needed to attract business and industry, and spur economic growth. Prior to his employment with NC Commerce, Kenny was the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Community and Regional Development at East Carolina University’s Office of Innovation and Economic Development.

José-Carlos Garcia-Rosell

José-Carlos Garcia-Rosell is a Senior Lecturer in the Multidimensional Tourism Institute (MTI) at the University of Lapland, Finland and Adjunct Professor at the Faculty of Tourism, University of Maribor, Slovenia. He holds a Master in Agricultural Economics (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna), Licenciate in Marketing (University of Oulu) and PhD in Management (University of Lapland). He works in the fields of responsible tourism business, corporate social responsibility (CSR), business ethics, and responsible management education. José-Carlos grew up with an affinity to animals. Dogs, cats, rabbits and other animals were an important part of his life as a child and teenager. During his studies at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, he followed with particular interest the discussions on animal welfare in relation to farm animals. In his current research work, he explores human-animal relations within a responsible tourism context.

Ichu Godwill

Ichu Godwill is a Graduate Research Assistant at the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture of Mississippi State University. He is working on ecological monitoring methods for three species of pangolins in Central Africa. Prior to joining MSU, Ichu was part of a capacity building program called the MENTOR-POP (Progress on Pangolins) Fellowship Program, organized by the US Fish and Wildlife Service in collaboration with the Zoological Society of London. During this time, Ichu conducted pangolin ecological and socioeconomic research across protected areas in Cameroon. At the end, he co-founded a network of pangolin conservationists (Pangolin Conservation Network) in which he continued pangolin research and conservation education across protected areas in Cameroon. Ichu also worked with the Central Africa Bushmeat Action Group (CABAG), a network of partners working to address the threat of the commercial bushmeat trade on Central Africa’s wildlife. He is passionate about pangolins and their conservation and is a member of the IUCN SSC Pangolins Specialists Group.

Patricia Heid

Patricia is currently a graduate student in Nutrition at Meredith College in Raleigh, NC. After becoming a registered dietician, she plans to specialize in educating and counseling clients about plant-based eating. Patricia also holds a PhD in Hispanic Languages in Literatures from the University of California-Berkeley. Fluent in Spanish, she intends to help remedy and prevent obesity and diabetes in the Hispanic community. Patricia, her husband, and her seventeen-year old daughter have been following a vegan diet for over 12 years, for reasons of health, ethics, and sustainability. During this time, Patricia has studied and trained in Buddhist mindfulness practices, and she embraces the guiding principle of “loving-kindness toward all sentient beings.” While raising her daughter full-time, Patricia developed her skills in vegan cooking and baking. By sharing her expertise and her delicious food with friends, she hopes to attract them to following a plant-based diet (at least more of the time), and possibly committing to this more ethical lifestyle. Patricia’s love of animals has deepened and intensified in a personal way since her family adopted their cat, Wesley, who is a gentle companion and friend throughout each day.

Hin Hoarau-Heemstra

Hindertje (Hin) Hoarau-Heemstra is a Dutch animal lover and academic who lives in Northern Norway since 2009. She works as associate professor at the Nord University Business School in Bodø, Norway. Hin studied international development studies (MSc) and social and political studies of the environment (Bsc) and worked as a consultant on sustainability issues in the Netherlands. From 2010 until 2015 she did her PhD studies on innovation in Nordic whale-watching. Experiencing the majestic nature and the gentle giants of the North Atlantic, and writing about the relations between humans and marine mammals in these pristine environments, made her even more aware, concerned, amazed and interested in Homo sapiens amongst other animals. Hin´s interests in marine environments have also led to many diving holidays in tropical waters in order to experience and contribute to responsible and ecological tourism in developing countries. However, her personal and professional interests are not limited to marine species; Hin studied ethical issues of reindeer tourism and is interested in other forms of animal-human contact in tourism destinations like horse riding and dog-sledding. Hin makes sure she has a daily dose of animal cuddling with her dog Mika or the Icelandic horses she rides in her spare time. One of her ambitions is to share knowledge, amazement and respect for animals in her teaching at university and upbringing of her two daughters. Hin´s goal is to understand the relations between animals, tourists and businesses in tourism destinations and to use this knowledge for the improvement of the living conditions of animals in tourism contexts.  

Kirstin Lamoureux

Dr. Kirstin Lamoureux is an accomplished professional with 20 years of experience as an educator, researcher and practitioner in tourism and hospitality. Currently, she is serving as a Visiting Professor of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Virginia Tech University. She is also a passionate animal rights advocate. In addition to being professor, she has also been involved in projects focusing on sustainability around the world. She has served as a consultant for the US government, World Bank, the UNWTO, the Ecotourism Society, and Conservation International, among others. She holds a Ph.D. in Strategic Planning and Public Policy, a Master of Tourism and a Graduate Certificate in Animal Studies.

Jonas Kambale Nyumu

Jonas Kambale Nyumu is a national of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). He is an Assistant Lecturer at the Tayna Center for Conservation Biology – Université de Conservation de la Nature et de Développement de Kasugho (TCCB-UCNDK) which was created with particular emphasis on wildlife conservation in order to build capacities for wildlife conservation in the area and beyond.  He is a currently enrolled for a PhD in wildlife management at the University of Kisangani in DRC. His research focuses on local depletion in socio-ecological hunting systems: ethno-zoological approach and terrestrial mammals’ population monitoring using camera traps in Yangambi landscape (DRC). Jonas also has special interest in Pangolin Conservation after participating in an 18 month US Fish and Wildlife Service/Zoological Society of London Fellowship program known as the MENTOR-POP (Progress on Pangolins) Program which focused on building capacity for the conservation of pangolins in Central Africa. Today, Jonas is Coordinator of a capacity building program aimed at improving the Capacity of TCCB-UNCDK to train students capable of addressing emerging threats to wildlife in DRC with special interest on pangolins.

David Quinn

David Quinn is a native of Greensboro, NC, a born and bread UNC Tar Heel, and a resident of Asheville, NC for almost 50 years. He is a retired urban planner with the State and spent his career working in communities throughout WNC. After retirement he spent 10 plus years consulting, seven of those with HandMade in America. He is a widower with two sons, a grandson and a blind granddog living in Charlotte. His home is on the side of a wooded mountain where he loves admiring the wildlife that traverse my yard; bear, deer, fox, wild turkey, hawks, owls and an occasional snake. All are wonderful neighbors and welcomed!

Erich Schlenker

As Managing Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, Erich helps students and community members develop, incubate and launch new ventures. Erich brings a range of experience to the position. Most recently, he assisted a start-up international mining company in addressing SEC and regulatory issues, implementing financial controls, securing operating capital, and building relationships with government officials in Guyana South America. Prior to moving to the High Country in 2008, Erich founded and operated Synaptis, a Raleigh-based software training company. He also brings 11 years experience at Intel Corporation, where he helped define, launch and implement the Intel Inside Program worldwide.

Samantha Smyth

Samantha graduated from Appalachian State University with a Tourism Hospitality Management degree. During her time at App State she worked as a sustainability fellow for the Office of Sustainability educating students about the various green initiatives impacting the campus. She now lives back in her hometown of Baltimore where she works as a farm hand and baker at a family farm- to -market cider mill. There she takes care of a tribe of female goats and makes old fashioned apple cider donuts. Samantha has been a contributing editor for Fanimal.

Nora Tahbaz

Nora Tahbaz is currently working on getting her Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Policy at Scripps College in Claremont, CA and she hopes to continue onto law school after she graduates to pursue a career in Environmental Law. As a young African American woman, Nora hopes that she can call attention to environmental justice issues that disproportionately impact people of color in the United States and across the world. Nora is also minoring in economics and hopes to learn more about the connections between the economy and the environment and how we can improve them both without having to sacrifice one over the other. As the youngest member on the 2021 Advisory Council, Nora hopes to be able to reach out to and connect with more young conservationists/environmentalists and work with them to achieve Fanimal’s goals.

Julie Tanner

Julie Tanner is an experienced corporate responsibility and sustainability leader with expertise on a broad range of human rights, environment and corporate governance issues. As a Managing Director at Christian Brothers Investment Services, she enlists companies in the fight against human trafficking and forced labor and in the protection of nature and the transition to a low-carbon economy. Previously, she worked at The National Wildlife Federation, where she created a program to encourage financial institutions to incorporate environmental criteria into business decisions and report on policies and practices to protect people and wildlife. She has a strong track record of innovation, coalition-building, and successful negotiation with boards and management of major US and European corporations and an established record of publication, media, public speaking, and professional service. She serves on the boards of The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility and is a member of the Steering Committee of the Investor Alliance for Human Rights.

Francis Tarla

Francis Tarla is a human Capacity developer with a background studies in Animal science (MSc from University of Florida, Gainesville). He was the principal of the Regional Wildlife College in Garoua, Cameroon, for French-speaking Africa for 11 years; Coordinated the USFWS MENTOR-POP Fellowship Program. He is currently teaching at the University of Dschang and coordinating a two-year project that aims at combatting bushmeat trafficking in Central Africa at national policy level. His interest in working with animals began as a dream be a livestock breeder and got his first goat when he was 6 years old.

Teisha Wymore

Teisha Wymore brings a breadth of experience in food systems and sustainable agriculture to Faminal’s Advisory Council. Her research and program development around the role of animals in our food systems helped a statewide effort in educating and developing relationships between institutional, municipal and corporate consumers and local food markets. As a program leader for North Carolina State University, she engaged Universities to align academic research with local food systems, working on creating Local Food Councils networked throughout local communities, and through local governments. In addition, she has applied experience with working with livestock, and more importantly, she is a is a lifetime “Fanimal” and student of the natural world. Currently, Teisha happily enjoys life as a dogmom, and poultry parent in Durham North Carolina. She serves on the Durham Board of Adjustment, and is a residential real estate advisor

Aaron Yankholmes

Aaron Yankholmes holds a PhD in Tourism from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Currently a Senior Lecturer in the School of Business at the University of Huddersfield, he previously held academic positions at the University of South Wales, Breda University of Applied Sciences, Bournemouth University, Institute for Tourism Studies and Macau University of Science and Technology. His research interest spans a wide range of topics in tourism and events management. Currently he is pursuing two main lines of research that relates to sustainability and the interrelationships between people, places and spaces. Aaron is an active member of the numerous societies and associations concerned with animal rights and welfare.