Our speakers are passionate about educating people how to live a healthy, sustainable, plant-based lifestyle that is healthier for people, animals and the planet!
"THE GAME CHANGERS"
Executive produced by James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jackie Chan, The Game Changers follows James Wilks - elite Special Forces trainer and winner of The Ultimate Fighter - whose world is turned upside down when he discovers a group of world-renowned athletes and scientists who prove that everything he had been taught about protein was a lie. Directed by Oscar-winner Louie Psihoyos, The Game Changers mixes real-time, groundbreaking science with cinematic stories of struggle and triumph. The film features some of the strongest, fastest and toughest athletes on the planet - and it's backed by them too - with additional EPs including Lewis Hamilton, Novak Djokovic, and Chris Paul. Wilks' journey exposes outdated myths about food that not only affect human performance, but the health of the entire global population.
EMCEE | VEGAN EVAN
VeganEvan is a passionate and talented young animal advocate committed to creating a healthy, compassionate, and regenerative world. He is President & Spokesperson for Animal Hero Kids and also a spokesperson for the Solutionary Species movement. VeganEvan has spoken in front of large audiences at several major events throughout the country including the What the Health-Cowspiracy Conference, Central Florida Earth Day, the Animal Liberation Conference, Tampa Bay VegFest, the National Animal Rights Conference, Asheville Vegan Fest, VegFest Oahu, and many more!! He has been awarded the Russell Simmons Creative Animal Hero Kids Award, and in 2016, he earned PETA’s Cutest Vegan Kid award. More recently he was awarded the Shining World Leadership Award for Compassion from the Supreme Master Ching Hai Association. VeganEvan is a voice for the animals everywhere he goes! He enjoys leafleting, protesting, doing marches, Open Rescue, disruptions, and making videos and rap songs! Evan also participates in Anonymous for the Voiceless Cubes of Truth and Vigils with the Save Movement wherever he travels. Most of all, he loves visiting all of his rescued friends at the sanctuaries where they are happy, safe and free from harm.
Justin is the co-founder of the Fort Myers Anonymous for the Voiceless Chapter. Anonymous for the Voiceless is an organization that hosts public demonstrations in which its members show the public videos of factory farming conditions and have conversations with the public about the subject of animal rights. Justin has been helping members of the public reach a vegan conclusion in their thought process about animals since November of 2017. In order to increase his effectiveness in creating a kinder world for animals, Justin has attended numerous academic trainings and lectures spanning across the subjects of societal change, individual behavioral change, animal ethics, and nutrition. In addition, he spends much of his free time studying debates, ethics, environmental science, and nutrition that relates to animal agriculture.
DR. RONALD KNAUS
Dr. Ronald Knaus is a psychiatrist in Saint Petersburg, Florida. He received his medical degree from Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences and has been in practice for more than 20 years.
Cyd Notter is a graduate of the Center for Nutrition Studies, a certified instructor for The Starch Solution and other dietary courses, a past newspaper columnist, and the founder/author of The “Plan A” Diet. She offers a variety of health and cooking classes, provides nutritional coaching on both individual and corporate levels, speaks to local groups, and has worked with school district employees and a hospital’s fitness center. Her book, titled The “Plan A” Diet, released in October, 2019.
Carey Ralston is on a mission to help end loneliness, isolation and overwhelm by creating safe spaces called Hallways where people can connect, inspire and learn from others who have walked in their shoes. The first Hallway that Ralston opened is called the Plant Powered Hallway. In this Hallway, Carey shares her own (very personal) story of anxiety, depression, and divorce and how she overcame it all with a change in her lifestyle and food choices. Since she started her Plant-Powered journey in mid 2016, Carey has worked with 100's of families, individuals, business owners and non-profits, shared her story and her food with thousands of people and has created over 25,000 plant-powered meals! Carey’s work has been featured in several local and national publications including USA Today, The Jones Show, The Nice Guys Podcast, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, The News Press and The Naples Daily News. Carey is a dedicated leader with a local non-profit who serves individuals living with mental illness. She teaches plant-powered cooking classes weekly to empower their membership and improve their overall health. Ralston has also partnered with local community leaders and mental health advocates to create a Culinary Arts Program. This program is designed to train individuals, living with mental illness, culinary skills so they can become gainfully employed. Carey Ralston has found her purpose through her pain and now wants to share her story (and her food) with as many people as she can!
DR. BRIAN TASCHNER
Dr. Taschner has been practicing Cardiology in his hometown of Fort Myers, Florida since 2005. He completed his undergraduate education at the University of Florida where he was accepted into the Junior Honors Medical Program, and later graduated from the University of Florida College of Medicine in 1998. He completed his Internal Medicine Residency at Virginia Commonwealth University where he served as Chief Resident of Internal Medicine, and subsequently completed his Cardiology Fellowship at Saint Louis University where he was the Chief Cardiology Fellow.
Chadwin Taylor has experienced a dramatic weight loss journey and discovered that his son has autism — both which have led him to a vegan lifestyle. Although he claims to be no guru in the world of fitness, special needs or vegan nutrition, Chadwin offers a humble perspective on taking personal responsibility over the lives we live and the world we shape. One choice at a time, he has reshaped his relationship with food, with animals, with Mother Earth and has learned his most valuable lesson from his 6 year old son — unconditional love.
XYLO ZOHN SMITH-PAJARES
Xylo Zohn Smith-Pajares, also known as XYZo, strives to uplift, educate, and inspire everyone with whom he interacts. He is currently finishing his undergraduate career at Florida Gulf Coast University, studying Contemplative Studies & Entrepreneurship, with plans to open healing centers. In addition to instructing hundreds of Yoga classes throughout his time at FGCU, he has been an event facilitator & community organizer, playing a key role in several events of many kinds. He is tremendously excited to continue sharing his passions with the greater community through VegFest!
ADAM A. GRAHAM
Adam A. Graham is a chef, author, teacher and the creator of The Live Food Experience, an immersive opportunity to explore the world of raw and living foods with a master chef and instructor. Chef Adam has run retreats and taught classes around the world. He has worked closely with Dr. Gabriel Cousens at The Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center and also ran a raw foods retreat center (Camp Rawnora) in Southwest Michigan for 3 years. He is the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Raw Food Detox and Zen and the Art of Gadgeting. He is available for coaching, consulting and all things related to raw foods, sustainable living and wellness.
Marcus currently works with all types of clients, including everyone from Professional Athletes to Local Youth Athletics and even serves as fitness liaison to the Fort Myers PD SWAT Team. Marcus is the literal definition of optimal physical shape and condition with a physique to match. However, Marcus’ tale has a twist: Back in 2013 when Marcus was in great physical shape (he played professional basketball) and had only eight (8) percent body-fat, everything about his appearance and conditioning signaled all was well. Except, Marcus had a near death experience.
Marcus took his experience in life and decided to make it the core for his mission in life and so now he strives to help as many people as he can achieve optimal health through a Plantbased – Vegan life and show them how to also maximize their fitness levels AND show them that you can do BOTH together.