My name is Em Heppler. I wake up excited to help animals every day. After just over a decade of working double time, I finally have the freedom to live and work mostly undetracted.
I'm a bleeding heart with an analytical mind. Before finding my passion to help animals, I was pursuing computer science. With an eclectic set of skills based in emotional intelligence and scientific thinking, I have a knack for hearding cats (both literal and metaphorical).
Empathy is likely my defining quality. The understanding it brings has helped me excel as a social worker, designer, and strategist.
Increase the availability of plant-based foods - Making it easier for businesses and consumers to choose plant-based foods is a critical task in shifting demand away from animal products.
Motivated by a passion to help animals, I'm using a combination of skills as a marketer, designer, and consultant to help food service providers increase the number of plant-based options they offer.
I went vegetarian and then vegan three weeks later. This was the single best decision I ever made in life.
Took a year off school and distributed over 100,000 vegan outreach materials at schools, campuses, and youth events.
I completed a 4-year honours degree in 2 years, with a focus on social movements.
I successfully lead a campaign to shut down a local fur store.
After a bout of burnout I found it difficult to lead projects, so I shifted to supporting animal rights organizations with everything from the process of incorporating as non-profits to web design.
The project's main goal was to reduce the consumption of animals by making plant based foods much more available and affordable for youth.
I co-founded The Animal Activist Support Line, a free, 24/7 support service offered by professional counselors for animal activists struggling with burnout.
Life is fairly awesome. I've long since reached a healthy work-life balance, and my work provides me with freedom to help animals most of the time.
While working nightshift at Tim Hortons, I took extra classes to graduate early.
I coordinated the internship and youth outreach program at CALM Action.
Through high school and university I took a 200% course-load, while working and doing activism. This level of stress was not sustainable. This was a very difficult time in my life.
I have a nephew and three nieces that make me smile more than I knew I was capable of.
Founded an organization focused on supporting youth survivors of sexual violence.
Fundraised for anti-poverty initiatives and for programs that reduce the impact of sexual violence among youth.
Joined the amazing team at Mercy For Animals and then transitioned into the role of Associate Director of Innovation.
Began working with investors, philanthropists, and food service providers on initaitives to increase the availability of plant-based foods.
I'm a polymath by necessity. My forte is in strategy and design, but in order to get work done in non-profits where funding limits hiring a team of professionals, I have had to develop skills as a designer, writer, presenter, fundraiser, rabble-rouser, paralegal, researcher, network technician, recruiter, construction worker, executive director, manager, board member, video producer, web developer, bookkeeper, chef, counselor, and organizer.
"Can I help accomplish X?" - probably. I put myself fully into my work and will only take on projects that I am certain can be completed well. If I don't have the skills to help you, it's likely I can help you find someone who does.
Good strategy comes from understanding. Whether you're trying to dismantle a business built on cruelty or bit by bit replace the existing global food network with a vegan one, systems thinking provides a framework to effectively plan where to focus efforts and what tactics to use.
PR and effective communication is one of the most important tools for a social movement. It is not enough to care deeply, we need to communicate in a way that inspires action.
Design is persuasion. The words and images we use are the difference between encouraging action or apathy, whether for an individual, an institution, or the general public.
Helping as many animals as I can is what drives me. This doesn't just mean getting the world to go vegan, but getting the world to go and stay vegan as fast as possible.
My strategies are informed by an understanding of other social movements and I stay versed in choice architecture, behavioural economics, social psychology, and other fields that are particularly applicable to our work in the animal protection movement.
I do one thing well at a time. I always build projects in a way that they can self-perpetuate and scale. I would always choose to build a real castle, over 10,000 sand castles. Challenges excite me.
Mindless Eating Solutions
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
The Art of Learning
Drive: What Motivates Us
The Obstacle is the Way
Farm Sanctuary + Ithaca
Playa Del Carmen
Lead optimization and innovation projects. Worked with leadership internationally, touching on Corporate Campaigns, Education, Administration, and Food Policy. Helped hire 20+ positions. Aided fundraising efforts and donor relationship management. Researched the plant-based food space and major food service providers.My role: Associate Director (2016-2018) / learn more
I've helped groups such as Animal Justice Canada, Toronto Pig Save, Cedar Row Farm Sanctuary, Sexual Violence Prevention Network, The Affordable Food Project, Humane Voters, and dozens of others with a bit of everything including web development, strategy, the process of incorporation, hiring, fundraising, PR, and much more.My role: Pro Bono Consultant (2011-2016) / learn more
The Animal Activist Support Line was a 24/7 support service for animal activists, struggling with burnout and other stresses associated with the life of an activist. Burnout is unfortunately the norm in this movement and it severely reduces our ability to create change. The Animal Activist Support Line exists to help the people that help animals.My role: Co-Founder, Tech Admin, Counselor (2015-2016) / learn more
If you share a passion to help animals/people and want to connect, I'd love to hear from you.
If you need help quickly , please preface the subject line with "URGENT" (e.g. you need a website and/or press release within 24 hours).