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Meet the Vegan Hacktivists: Gabriele Bernotaite

Written by Vegan Hacktivists Team | January 31, 2024

This month, we're diving into the story of the voice behind the content from Vegan Hacktivists and Violet Studios. Meet Gabrielė, VH's Communications Director! Originally from Lithuania, Gabrielė now travels the world and advocates for animals by spreading the word to help other organizations help animals. Dive in to discover the challenges Gabrielė has encountered since joining VH, what could have prompted her to embrace veganism earlier, and what led her to a career in communications!

How long have you been with VH, and what is your role here?

I started volunteering with VH in October 2023 to test out the waters, and in November, I joined the team as the new Communications Director! I create all sorts of public and internal-facing written content, as well as advise other organizations on any communications and social media-related issues they may be encountering. In addition to that, I get to work with our amazing volunteer writers who deliver top-notch work.

What do you enjoy the most about being part of the VH team?

I enjoy being surrounded by the nicest, incredibly talented people who are all driven toward the same goal with the highest impact in mind. At the same time, the team manages to achieve so much within a relatively small timeframe, yet never promotes a culture where you're always expected to work at a high intensity and with never-ending velocity.

Working in such an environment is not only inspiring but has also been an eye-opener for me. Burning out is not the answer to productivity, and I’m happy to be working alongside people who set an example (or who share their experiences in their journey toward it) of healthy boundaries in their work. Especially in the animal advocacy space, where activism is deeply rooted in our lives, it’s very easy to overlook these boundaries. Of course, everyone has different limits, but nonetheless, everyone has them.

What are some challenges you've faced in your role? Share with us if, and how, you were able to overcome them.

Working in a capacity-building organization is completely different from working in pressure campaigning or advocating for nationwide policy changes. Initially, it took me some time to get the hang of it, especially since working in communications requires almost a meta-like approach to it. You need to understand what kind of content your audience is expecting from you. The same people who may be deeply affected by campaigning messages from a campaigning organization can be totally indifferent to such framing from a capacity-building organization! And it totally makes sense – people have different sets of expectations for different outlets.

The same way you would be surprised if characters from “Breaking Bad” started speaking the way characters speak in “Star Trek”, you’d also react differently if we at VH took on a completely different communication style.

You have to understand how the organization is perceived by its target audience and what content actually provides value to both the “sender” and the “receiver” in the line of communication. Shifting from a campaigning mentality, where you help people help animals, to one where the focus is on helping other organizations help animals more efficiently was key in overcoming this challenge.

What do you do in your spare time?

Whenever I get asked this question, I always jokingly say that my spare time is learning to have spare time. I’ve spent a large part of my life sacrificing my health for studying or work, followed by “revenge procrastination,” where I would try to make time for leisure activities at the cost of my sleep. Now, I’m much more focused on my health, and I’m happily rediscovering my love for art galleries, reading poetry or books about self-improvement, immersing myself in '90s or 2000s entertainment, and a recently found joy in running!

[Blog] Meet the Team: Gabriele (1)
Gabriele at The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

One thing I actively focus on is not trying to be the best at my hobbies. Even with running, I consciously avoid looking up certain things online that would prompt me to evaluate my progress. I just try to enjoy the things I do and celebrate each opportunity to do so. It’s truly freeing to experience activities without the pressure of outperforming yourself or others.

Oh, and I love going to different cafes for matcha! Ever since I went to Japan and discovered that matcha doesn’t have the anxiety-inducing effect that coffee does, I never went back.

[Blog] Meet the Team: Gabriele (2)
Gabriele at a "Sanrio" store in Japan.

What is something that others may find surprising or unexpected about you?

I think it’s somewhat counterintuitive that, even though I pursued a degree in communications and ended up working in the field, I'm actually quite reserved and initially not outgoing at all. As a kid, I always dreamt of becoming a writer, but I never envisioned myself in communications, mainly due to my introverted nature. My entry into this field wasn’t primarily because of an interest in communications itself.

My university program focused on the creative industries, to which I was strongly drawn, and it also incorporated elements of communication studies. So, even though this turned out to be exactly what I wanted, it feels like I entered this sphere almost accidentally! However, I absolutely love what I do now and couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

Though, the idea of doing different work, as long as it’s connected to the animal advocacy space, has always remained a possibility in the back of my mind.

Which songs or artists are you currently listening to?

I switch back and forth between multiple phases all the time. Just recently, I was listening to a lot of underground rap, then I shifted to nu-metal, and now I'm mostly into techno, trance, and house. It's hard to narrow down the list to a few songs, but the first song that pops into my head is “I Remember” by Deadmau5 and Kaskade. It's so beautiful that I just keep coming back to it.

What made you go vegan?

I was vegetarian for quite a long time before going vegan. However, I think the reason I was vegetarian was because I did it based on a revelation I had, rather than a documentary that would've changed my perception. I did see (very briefly) some videos from slaughterhouses when I was a little kid, which led to the idea of becoming vegetarian in the first place.

But at some point, my mindset shifted, this time focusing not on whether the animals are killed for the product, but on the status of the animals. I thought, “Who am I to inflict suffering upon another living being? Who am I to decide upon this cruelty to someone else?” From there on, I knew that consuming animal products was not an option anymore. In hindsight, I do wish I had watched a documentary about animal agriculture earlier, so that I wouldn't have felt all that time that being vegetarian was enough.

What is your go-to favorite dish to make? (Feel free to drop in a recipe!)

My absolute go-to dish is a tofu scramble, especially a tofu shakshuka (originally a North African/Israeli dish)! It seems that no matter how much I plan to try a different scramble recipe, I always end up making that one.


  • Travelling the world changed my life.

  • I could never get sick of matcha (surprise).

  • If money, time, and skills were not an issue, I would be doing the same thing I’m doing now!

  • All animals are great, but my favorite is the fuzzy (and sometimes venomous) caterpillar.

  • Veganism is the most joyful decision of my life.

[Blog] Meet the Team: Gabrielė (3)
Gabrielė clearly excited about the vegan Caesar salad.

About the Author
Vegan Hacktivists Team

We are a mission-driven tech organization focused on building data-driven, disruptive, and innovative projects to help see an end to animal exploitation.