Meet our current commitee members, who along with our huge team of volunteers, work together to run our organisation!
Kym Staton – President
Kym has had a huge fascination and affinity with animals and nature from a young age, and went vegan on the fourth of January 2012 after deciding he no longer felt comfortable enslaving other beings. By october of that year he still had only met two other vegans in real life. One night he came across a website called ‘meetup’ and noticed that there was no vegan group on there. On a whim, a few keyboard clicks later ‘Sydney Vegan Club’ was born. He then headed over the facebook out of curiosity and noted that there was no groups for vegans on there either. ‘Tap, tap’ and this void was also filled.
Sydney Vegan Club exploded over the coming weeks and months as hundreds of connections became thousands. After about a year, social connections sprouted educational events and projects, and Kym made the big decision to quit his full time job of a decade as a music teacher to devote himself to vegan education and community building. Between 2014 and 2018, SVC evolved organically from a meetup group to a group exploring outreach and education and then in 2018 progressed in structure to become a fully fledged vegan education organisation with non-profit status (VEA).
His achievements (with the help of many amazing volunteers) from 2012 to 2018 include:
* Organising, funding and hosting FORTY-FOUR x FREE 2.5 hour public vegan education events in Sydney since 2014 – featuring talk, film and food tasting, bringing 2.5 hours of vegan information to over four thousand people.
* Giving 38 talks about vegan education around Australia
* Co-writing the Sydney Vegan Club (now VEA) 30 page 30 day Vegan challenge and leading a team which has mentored over two thousand new vegans through this challenge in sydney since it was launched in feb 2014
* Planning and hosting twelve New Vegan Support Meetings at Surry Hills Neighbourhood Centre
* Holding over seven hundred free meetups and ticketed vegan events in Sydney and Melbourne including cooking classes, nutrition seminars, food events and other social events
* Planning and hosting forty-one free public screenings of A Plastic Ocean film around Australia, showing this information to over 5,000 people
Kym is hugely motivated by inspiring positive change in Sydney, but occasionally likes to have a breather and do a bit of camping, road trips and surfing. He’s also a part-time singer/songwriter and is writing an album of rock/roots/folky kind of music, and loves performing in bars, pubs and cafes.
Ralph Graham – Secretary
Ralph became vegan in 2008 and loves being involved in the Sydney vegan community, socially and with activism. “I stopped eating animal products for a year to maintain my health then realised what was needlessly happening to the animals. I went vegan and never looked back.”
Ralph has been hugely active and dedicated to VEA since its genesis, attending most events and volunteering on countless occasions, and has made a massive contribution to its growth and development.
Yao Xu – Treasurer
Yao is a project manager in tech and soon to be a data scientist. She describes herself as a ‘nerd’. Apart from science and technology, she’s also a big fan of drawing and music. She also likes food, wine, and espresso martinis.
Yao has been a long term and dedicated member of the event hosting team of our free vegan educational events, volunteering her time to dozens of events and doing a fantastic job chatting with guests and answering their questions about veganism.
VEA is a registered not-for-profit organisation: INC1800300