Meet the Vegan Hacktivists: James Morgan
As our in-house operational expert-turned-executive director, James has been responsible for implementing operational improvements, whilst supporting start-up animal protection organizations by providing advice, supporting our grant program, and leading a web design volunteer team.
He has over a decade of experience in product management and business process improvement at several FTSE 100 tech companies in the UK. James has been vegan since 2014 and enjoys world cinema, swimming and cooking. James is passionate about enabling the most effective grassroots organizations to grow quickly and sustainably via no-cost solutions.
Volunteering at VH
You originally got involved with VH through Activist Hub before stepping into the role of Director of Operations and now ED! Can you tell us how you got involved with VH and your progress in the organization?
Like many others I stumbled across VH via Reddit and was blown away by exactly how much tech and design services had been delivered within such a short period of time, all the while to the highest standard. I instantly thought "I have to be a part of this!" and realized my ten years in tech put me in a good position to offer some volunteering hours to the organization.
Activist Hub initially caught my attention because I had done many hours of street activism, and I was always left wondering whether those conversations I had with the public had any impact. Since Activist Hub answered my questions I knew this had huge potential to supercharge the thousands of activists that hit the streets each week around the world.
After building connections with groups around the world by introducing and onboarding them to the platform, I got to know the VH team much better. From there, I saw that I could help grow the organization by focusing on operations, which freed up other team members to focus on fundraising and major projects.
What drives you and your work at VH?
I love to see other groups become successful with the help of Vegan Hacktivists. I’m amazed at how diverse the skills are within VH as well as the passion of our people so to see the impact of our work accelerate the growth of other impactful advocates is what keeps me hooked.
What’s your grand vision for VH and the year ahead?
I want to see two things at VH this year. First, a growing and happy team of people within VH who give their time and focus to such a worthy cause. Secondly, I want to see what our services unlock for groups that we have helped around the world, whether that’s their branding and logos on display at events or in public, or hearing how their website has allowed them to serve their community or attracted funding for their project.
Getting to know you
We’re so impressed that you’re stepping into the role as ED in a volunteer capacity. Can you tell us about your professional work, and what do you like most about your role in your day job?
I have a full-time day job in TV technology which I love! I’ve gained lots of experience and skills in my time in industry that have allowed me to grow in my path as a volunteer in the animal protection movement, and vice versa! What I like most is turning the noise and chaos of data or information into something that can be used to drive change.
In the spare time that you may have between work and volunteering, what are interests and hobbies that you enjoy?
My partner and I are both involved in the animal protection movement, so when we’re not working or volunteering, we’re talking about opportunities and challenges in the movement. When we do have a few hours spare we’re watching a brilliant movie - we’re both outspoken critics!
What are some software programs or apps that you use in your day-to-day life and could not live without?
As a foodie, Happy Cow and Vegan Friendly. I swear by them to discover food options wherever I am! However, day-to-day I’m always looking for tech that can remove friction in processes and make it easier to get the job done, from voice dictation and automation, to Trello for keeping on top of the day ahead!
What's your favorite destination for food?
I’m so lucky to have London on my doorstep that I’ve always been spoilt for choice when it comes to things to do and places to eat. However, as a German speaker I’ve travelled around Germany a lot and I can never turn down a trip to Berlin. The history, culture and music scene are reasons to visit, but the variety of vegan restaurants means there’s something new every time I visit - whether that’s donuts, kebabs or fine dining!
How long have you been vegan and what made you go vegan?
I’ve been vegan for almost ten years after reading Eating Animals and seeing that I had no logical argument in favour of consuming animals or their bodily fluids. Before that I was vegetarian for around 7 years after reading Animal Liberation and then checking out peta2.org where I saw some very educational videos set to Moby’s moving music in the background.
What are your favorite vegan snacks from the UK?
I'm in love with chocolate chip cookies from Co-Op, but most of all I love prawn cocktail Wotsits. These are like Cheetos but with a sour flavour that are definitely uniquely British and an acquired taste, as I found out when sharing some at a Vegan Hacktivists meetup, with the majority finding them disgusting. Each to their own!
What is a piece of advice you'd give to someone looking to get involved in veganism? Firstly I would say to get out there and show up to a meetup local to you, using animalrightsmap.org. On your way there, think about what skills you have that would allow you to level up your outreach. This can be difficult, but ask yourself a few questions about what skills you might have from your hobbies or career - can you draw, are you good at networking and talking, or do you have strong admin skills? By understanding what extra you can offer, offer these skills at your meetup, or ask if anyone knows of some good organizations that could benefit from your time.
If the world was already vegan: I would fly from place to place to eat at and review the most vegan restaurants on Happy Cow or Vegan Friendly!
My favorite animal: the humble pigeon
My life has been changed by: kimchi and noise-cancelling headphones
I’m looking forward to: meeting and helping some of the brand new organizations that are popping up around the world. It seems advocates are forming new groups at record pace with varied objectives!