Kathryn Sussman was born and raised in Toronto, and has also lived and studied in the U.S. and the U.K. It was during her time as a PhD student that she decided to follow her passion and began interning in the Bahamas, working with Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins. From these experiences Kathryn’s position on cetacean captivity flipped, and she began working with others to try to bring about an end to whale and dolphin captivity in Canada.
Over the years, her drive to help cetaceans and other animals has snowballed into a career in advocacy. Kathryn is now an experienced and effective advocate who has worked with all levels of government, and has also helped with foreign initiatives to improve public health and safety and animal welfare. She is a firm believer in transparency and accountability and has consistently challenged hidden decision-making, pressing for proper disclosure and holding officials to account.
Kathryn Sussman Consulting helps charities and NGOs in their efforts to bring about legislative and regulatory change for animals around the globe. Her projects include fighting to end captivity of far-ranging and deep-diving species ill-suited to zoos and aquariums, working to stop animal exploitation such as the use of wild animals in circuses and other entertainment acts, improving legislation regarding animals used in research, and trying to get more regulations in place regarding the exotic pet trade. She is thrilled to be working with Gen to bring you the Now You Know podcast and raise wider understanding of how we can improve our treatment of the non-human animals with whom we share our planet.
Geneviève Douyon is a Montreal native. She grew up in northern Quebec‘s James Bay on a reservation amongst the Cree nation until the age of 5 where she lived with her parents who worked in the medical field. She used to see bears (and once even a polar bear!) foxes, wolves and all kinds of other critters on a regular basis. She then left Chisasibi to move back to Montreal to start school.
She often attributes her love of animals and the environment to those first five years of her life. So naturally, in school she had a big interest in anything pertaining to animals and the environment.
She now works in the veterinary field and has experience dealing with a wide array of animals including cats, dogs, birds, raptors and other exotic pets, cetaceans and even elephants in a wildlife rehabilitation setting.
Geneviève is fascinated by non-human animal communication, behaviour and cognition, the ethics of captivity and the one health approach. She herself worked a couple of years for a zoo and a marine mammal rehabilitation centre where she was faced with situations she didn’t always agree with and where the ethical lines would sometimes blur. She is a big fan of the work of researchers like Dr.Lori Marino, Dr. Naomi Rose, Dr. Ingrid Visser and Dr. Denise Herzing.
Sophie Vadnais was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec. She is an animal technician with more than 25 years experience working in animal care with mammals, birds, reptiles and other exotics. Sophie has extensive experience volunteering abroad at sanctuaries, and has worked with apes in Africa, Elephants in Asia, primates and various other species at rescue centers in Costa Rica. She has also assisted with dolphin conservation projects, working together with local populations.
From a very early age, Sophie was eager to change things that didn’t seem right. She is an eternal optimist who believes that most people do things with the best of intentions, even when sometimes doing them the wrong way. To have the humility to acknowledge mistakes and to change and evolve into a better person is something Sophie admires and tries to achieve everyday in her own life.
Her goals are to help improve animal welfare guidelines for captive animals and, in particular, would like to see a ban on captivity for species that we now know cannot thrive in it: namely cetaceans, elephants, bears and apes.
Sophie is thrilled to be able to work with Kathryn and Gen on Now You Know, and is very optimistic about the positive outcome for all of us sharing this Earth.
TJ Liebgott is a Web Developer that works with small businesses and entrepreneurs to help increase their online visibility. He comes from a cat family, but has been outcast for being a dog person.
He could tell you more about his interests and work experience, but would prefer to use this space to advocate for adopting pets instead of going to breeders or pet stores.
If you’re a cat person, please check out Rescue Angel’s, the no kill shelter his father volunteers at www.rescueangels.ca
Or if you’re a dog person please check out Rat Terrier Rescue Canada www.ratterrierrescue.ca where TJ found his favourite furry little buddy Django.
Let’s help these loving, forgotten animals find their “fur”ever homes!
Richard Atkinson has had a lifelong interest in the sea, and conservation of marine habitats and animals. In addition to supporting Now You Know, he is a trustee of the Cetacean Research and Rescue Unit, a marine research and conservation in Gardenstown, Scotland. In summer 2002 Richard completed a solo, unaccompanied kayak circumnavigation of mainland Britain, raising funds and awareness for Whale and Dolphin Conservation.
In his day job, Richard has founded and led several new science and technology businesses. Richard also coaches leaders of growing businesses, and is an experienced chairman of new ventures. Richard holds an MBA and a degree in Mechanical Engineering, and spent his early career as an engineer at Ford in the UK and Germany.
From Toronto Canada, Ron is well known for his work as a conservationist-wildlife photographer. After slowing down his career as a Cosmetic Dentist, he now spends much of his time travelling the world to photograph wildlife that are in danger, from the actions of mankind.
“My vision is to create natural but artistic images that will be engaging and appeal to the general public, and thus help to bring the story of these animals to the forefront, creating awareness of the effects of climate change, pollution, urban sprawl, industrialization, and poaching”. Ron hopes to institute a positive change to our world through his photography.
Ron has documented the plight of our polar bears in the Arctic, Whales, Leopard Seals and Penguins in the Antarctic, Grizzlies in northern BC and Alaska, Elephants and Hippos in Africa. From the extinction of Rhea in Patagonia, and Wolves in Yellowstone, to witnessing the wildfires in California and the flooding right here at home.
Winner of many photographic awards, Ron has had several one man, and group shows and is an active and sought out speaker on Wildlife photography and nature conservancy .
“I am very proud to join the team here at Now You Know, making a difference by advancing the awareness of the plight of our animals from the actions of mankind.”
Ron has published 12 photography books that are available on www.Blurb.com Please visit his website: www.rgphotoart.com
Supun Hettiarachchi is a podcast producer and works with entrepreneurs, small businesses and professionals to enhance the reach of their voice to more people with podcasting. Coming from a belend of backgrounds in audio productions and IT, he founded his podcast production service, Podlab.
Being a cat person and also a dog person, his home is also home for a cat family & a puppy.
Morgan van Leest is a 18 year old musician, producer, and composer, born and raised in Toronto, Ontario.
He is about to embark on his first year of university at Dalhousie in Halifax, Nova Scotia, studying for a bachelor of arts majoring in cinema and music.
Morgan has a keen interest in world and environmental issues. Morgan composes and produces his own music, in a diverse range of styles incorporating influences from all genres, currently focusing on electronic and orchestral music.
Morgan’s music can be found on SoundCloud here: https://soundcloud.com/crmsnofficial
Alice has recently moved from Paris to Montreal in search of a place that is environmentally-conscious. Since she was a little girl she has been fascinated by animals and nature. In France, she has a rabbit that she holds dear to her heart. She spends time studying Design at Concordia University and is learning how to create products that are sustainable and practical. She loves to hike, ski and swim: you can catch her at the wood working shop making cool products!