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About Em - Menu
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Hi, I'm Em.

I work on innovative projects that help animals.
My strengths are in strategy, communications, and design.

I take on one major project at a time beyond my work consulting. If you need help on an initiative, email me at Em@non-profit.work

about me

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. 

2019 focus

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.

timeline

Helping Animals

  • Age 14 - went vegan

    I went vegetarian and then vegan three weeks later. This was the single best decision I ever made in life.

  • Age 17 - Youth Outreach Project

    Took a year off school and distributed over 100,000 vegan outreach materials at schools, campuses, and youth events.

  • AGE 19 - Graduated University

    I completed a 4-year honours degree in 2 years, with a focus on social movements.

  • Age 20 - Shutdown Fur store

    I successfully lead a campaign to shut down a local fur store.

  • Age 21 - Probono work

    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.

  • Age 23 - Vegan Food Project

    The project's main goal was to reduce the consumption of animals by making plant based foods much more available and affordable for youth.

  • Age 25 - Built HelpActivists.org 

    I co-founded The Animal Activist Support Line, a free, 24/7 support service offered by professional counselors for animal activists struggling with burnout.

  • AGE 27 - Life Continues

    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.

Life

  • AGE 15 - Got into Social Work
  • Age 16 - Graduated HighSchool

    While working nightshift at Tim Hortons, I took extra classes to graduate early.

  • Age 18 - CALM Internships

    I coordinated the internship and youth outreach program at CALM Action.

  • AGE 20 - Burnt out badly

    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.

  • AGE 21 - Became an uncle

    I have a nephew and three nieces that make me smile more than I knew I was capable of.

  • AGE 22 - SEXUAL VIOLENCE CENTRE

    Founded an organization focused on supporting youth survivors of sexual violence.

  • AGE 24 - Fundraised 1.5mil

    Fundraised for anti-poverty initiatives and for programs that reduce the impact of sexual violence among youth.

  • AGE 26 - Mercy For Animals

    Joined the amazing team at Mercy For Animals and then transitioned into the role of Associate Director of Innovation.

  • AGE 28 - Plant-based foods consulting

    Began working with investors, philanthropists, and food service providers on initaitives to increase the availability of plant-based foods.

Hobbies

Travel
Reading
Strategy games
Running
Herding cats 
Food

my skillset

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.  

strengths

  • strategy + coordination

    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 + communications

    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

    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.

my approach

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. 

my days

  • Favourite Stoop

  • Ometepe

  • My boy

  • Adventures in Central America

  • e

    Granada

  • Finger Lakes

work & life

Patterns keep me productive and happy. I usually work from 7am until 8pm, every 2-3 hours taking a break to excercise and eat. My mornings go to creative tasks that are cognitively demanding to do well, such as design. My evenings go to simpler tasks like responding to emails, web maintenance, and preparing for my next day. At night I learn, play, and socialize. At the end of it all, I dream.

Work-life harmony is important to me. I take breaks often to rest and adventure.  

Recently Read Non-Fiction

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

Recent Travel

Peru


Farm Sanctuary + Ithaca


Nicaragua


Playa Del Carmen


Brazil


LA

Upcoming Travel

Montreal


Luxembourg


Thailand


Ottawa

Intellectual Pursuits

Economics
Psychology
UX
Choice Architecture
Chess
Game Theory
Systems Design
Strategy
Anthropology

Adventure & Play

Travel
Dancing
Virtual Reality
Rock Climbing
Fiction
Running
Food
Music
Augmented Reality
Hiking    

highlights

  • Blog Image

    Mercy For Animals

    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
  • Blog Image

    Pro Bono Work

    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
  • Blog Image

    Animal Activist Support Line

    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

connect

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).

 Em@non-profit.work