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Our Mission

At CompassionWorks International, we believe in kindness, respect, unity, dialogue, community, commitment, strategic action, one world for all beings, neighbors talking to neighbors, and friends sharing with friends.


And, like you, we envision a day when all animals are able to live their lives free from harm and suffering


But change for animals will not happen unassisted. The animals held captive by the entertainment industry, used for medical testing, and slaughtered for their fur, skins, and flesh need our collective voice. They are counting on us to speak loudly, clearly, and effectively on their behalf to let the world know that they are sentient beings with families, feelings, and a right to freedom.


At CWI, we provide the assistance needed to bring hope to animals. We believe that by implementing professional, strategic actions within our communities, every one of us can be a beacon of light that spreads awareness about the pain and suffering that occurs inside the tanks, under the big tops, at the hands of trophy hunters, and behind the shuttered doors of factory farms and medical testing facilities.


Stand with CWI as we create a free and fair world for all beings.

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2023 mid-year Report

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Carrie LeBlanc, MA

President and Executive Director

As the Founder and Executive Director of CompassionWorks International, Carrie works diligently to improve and enhance the techniques and strategies in the animal advocacy movement. Her leadership has led to the demise of circuses and exotic animal performances, and helped to change hearts and minds with regard to issues of animal captivity and trophy hunting.


Prior to founding CWI, Carrie worked with many notable organizations including Mercy For Animals, Compassion Over Killing, FARM, and Darwin Animal Doctors. As a recognized expert in the fields of nonprofit management and fundraising, Carrie has successfully raised millions of dollars for charity work, helped to restructure and stabilize numerous nonprofit organizations, and has consulted for or advised over a dozen nonprofits focused on animal protection.


An animal activist from a young age, Carrie became vegetarian shortly after graduating from high school and went vegan twenty years later after learning of the tragic plight of male chicks hatched into the egg industry. A year after becoming vegan, Carrie founded Go Vegan USA, a project focused on community-based activism, and ran the founding chapter in Santa Barbara, California. Amongst other activities, Carrie co-founded the Animal Rescue Fund of Santa Barbara, has been a board member on her local chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and has published several articles related to veganism, nonprofits, and fundraising.


Carrie holds a bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology and a master’s degree in art history both from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and is a published art historian. She currently lives in Henderson, Nevada where she enjoys spending time with her husband and her canine companion, Bambi.


Julie Cappiello

Board Secretary and Social Media Advisor

When Julie was in eighth grade, she was voted "most likely to become an animal rights activist" in her graduation yearbook. Now, years later, she is a vegan and animal activist for more than six years and focuses on urging fellow animal activists to get involved in their local communities. As a descendent of former circus-owners, animal "trainers", and circus aerialists, Julie spends her days working for animal-free circuses and helping animals (ab)used for entertainment.

Jennifer A. Myers, JD, MBA 

Board Member


Jen has served on many nonprofits boards.  Vegan for nearly a decade and attempting to raise conscience vegan kids, Jen’s current passion project is getting healthy vegan lunch options into their schools.   Previously Jen developed business plans for profits & non-profits alike, coached boards through growth, planned brainstorming retreats, and dabbled in animal rights during her previous career as a lawyer.

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Niki Gianni, DVM 

Board Member

In 1999, Niki became inspired by tragic situation of Lolita the orca, who is held captive at Miami Seaquarium. Lolitas's confinement inspired Niki into a long and dedicated commitment to helping animals. Through the years, she has volunteered with almost all of the major animal rights organizations including PETA, Mercy for Animals, and Animal Outlooks, as well as organizing her own protests. She is the 2008 recipient of Mercy For Animal's Chicago Youth Activist of the Year award as well as the 2010 National Youth Activist of the Year award presented at the Animal Rights National Conference. 

Niki has been vegan since 2006 and a veterinarian since 2019. She became a veterinarian

to use her voice and expertise to stand up for all animals, regardless of species or presumptive “worth” to humans. Niki remains inspired to further rights for all animals and to facilitate educational opportunities for other young animal advocates.


Stefanie Kraus

Board Member

Stefanie is a designer, photographer, and animal advocate. She runs her own design consultancy and dedicates 30-40% of her time doing pro bono work for animal sanctuaries and rescues.

She has been involved with animal welfare organizations for more than ten years. Helping animals through volunteering, advocacy, and board strategy became her second career.


Stefanie currently serves on the Board of Directors of Cat Town Oakland and does pro bono work — including online marketing, photography, social media, and more — for a number of animal sanctuaries across the US.

Stefanie lives in Portland, Oregon with her partner Michael and their three feline companions.

Tony "the Aussie"

Volunteer Coordinator and Photographer

Tony is new to the world of animal advocacy, but brings a wealth of experience with him to CompassionWorks International. Both a professional photographer and a successful entrepreneur, Tony has already expanded our cache of photography that we use to create dynamic and effective protest posters and leaflets. He has also served as the official photographer of the Worldwide Rally For Cecil.


Tony is additionally serves as a committee member of CWI's Vegas VegFest and coordinates all volunteer activities surrounding the fest. He is currently working to broaden CWI's range of events to include other vegan gatherings and festivals in the Las Vegas valley.


He looks forward to continuing to assist in building CWI's range of programming and visual content, while also perfecting his vegan ice cream recipes!

Advisory Board


Gayle S. Boesky, Esq., Attorney

Ady Gil, Philanthropist

Matthew Goodwin, Former Board President, VegFund and Entrepreneur

Bryan Monell, Undercover Investigator and Animal Activist 

Kristen Moyer, Attorney

Kevin O'Connor, Activist

Thomas Ponce, Executive Director, Lobby For Animals

Julia Murray Portugal, Attorney

Deb Robinson, Attorney and Captive Animal Expert

Martyn Stewart, BBC Filmmaker and Undercover Investigator


CWI'S Vegas VegFest Committee


Carrie LeBlanc

Lauren Boehme

Claire Ramsey

Amber Allen

Elizabeth Petroff

Tim Rafalski

Steven "Juce" Smith

Susie Izzo

Beverly Wood

Lead Volunteers:

Will Demaree


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