About the Pod Advisory Committee

Formed in 2021, the PPC Pod Advisory Committee (PAC) is a panel of ten dynamic Pod leaders in the PPC Pod Network who represent more than 14,000 Pod members from around the globe. Members of the PAC were chosen based on the success and growth of their Pods, their unique perspectives, skills, and dedication to PPC’s vision, and their innovation regarding community engagement in whole food, plant-based initiatives and programming. (Read more in our press release.)

Members of the PAC represent five countries, and, as Pod leaders, are integral to the plant-based grassroots movement, having invaluable first-hand experience which can ignite, transform, and enrich PPC’s endeavors to create vibrant global change. PAC members have the unique opportunity to take on a more impactful role within the Pod Network, share what has worked in their communities, network with other Pod Leaders, consider PPC’s outreach strategies, suggest new initiatives, and create greater change in the global whole food, plant-based movement. Read their bios below!

The Pod Advisory Committee envisions a vibrant Pod Network that: IGNITES creative leadership in communities across the globe; WEAVES together leaders’ diverse strengths, skills, and expertise for collective benefit; TRANSFORMS leaders’ ability to catalyze a societal shift in the health of people and the planet. The time is now!

Maya Acosta

Maya Acosta is a co-leader of the Plant-Based DFW PlantPure Communities Pod located in Dallas, TX. For years Maya has been passionate about helping everyday people understand that they have the power to upgrade their health. Her outreach work first began at her husband’s vascular center. Dr. Rizwan H. Bukhari is a vascular surgeon and co-leader of their Pod. Maya’s desire had been to provide resources for their patients in order to empower them. This outreach work eventually moved to a broader audience, and Dr. Riz and Maya formed the organization called Plant-Based DFW and became Pod leaders. Prior to COVID-19, they would hold 2-3 monthly events for the community that consisted of guest lectures, plant-based potlucks, documentary screenings, and walks with the doc.

Due to the pandemic, Maya began outreach to their Pod and greater audience via their Plant-Based DFW Podcast. She has hosted plant-based physicians, dietitians, health coaches, and chefs who speak about the benefits of consuming a plant-based diet. She has also invited everyday people to share their testimonies on how plant-based nutrition has halted, and in some cases reversed, disease. Today, Maya creates content for their YouTube channel as another way to share information with their Pod. The channel includes Podcast interviews, lectures, food demos, videos on the benefits of lifestyle medicine, and videos on how to grow your own green leafy vegetables using a hydroponics system.

Deborah Davies

Deborah Davies is co-leader of Plant Pod Cymru, the first Pod to be established in Wales, UK. The group has gone from strength to strength and enjoys lively engagement with members. In September 2020, Dr Michael Klaper honoured Plant Pod Cymru with a talk and Q&A session live on Zoom. Deborah took early retirement from her post as an administrator at Swansea University in 2019 having been a student/employee there since 1990. She studied languages and holds a Master’s degree in Italian.

Deborah feels strongly about animal rights and has been involved in campaigning and educating the public on this issue for several years. Since retiring she has had time to expand her knowledge of plant-based nutrition and is an enthusiastic advocate for a whole food, plant-based lifestyle.

Harriett Emerson

Harriett Emerson is the Pod Leader for Salt Lake Thrive which was founded in 2017 in Salt Lake City, UT. Since then, Thrive has hosted almost monthly community educational meetings in Salt Lake City, including events online since Spring 2020. Thrive is also seeking to partner with food pantries, churches, and other community organizations to increase awareness of the many benefits of a plant-rich lifestyle. 

Harriett has a Master’s Degree in City Planning and, as a Community Planner, has assisted many local, state, federal, and nonprofit organizations with developing and implementing strategic plans. 

Talia Greene

Talia Greene is the Pod Leader for the Pod known as Plant-Based Trinbagonians on the sunny Caribbean Island of Trinidad and Tobago. From inception her Pod has held various potluck events, plant-based challenges, and a community grow box, and remains committed to adding more content. 

Talia is very passionate about living a plant-based lifestyle having experienced and witnessed a whole body transformation and health benefits since becoming plant-based five years ago; the proven scientific supporting evidence that is provided for whole plant foods being the optimal base of nutrition helps keep her encouraged to spread the word. She aspires to reinvent the awareness of whole foods locally as a pivotal aspect of health and wellness as the population grapples with high statistics of noncommunicable diseases.

Talia shares this message of gratitude and inspiration: Thank you to PlantPure Communities and all other Pods who have embarked on such a life changing mission — you got this!

Nivi Jaswal

Former corporate executive, Nivi Jaswal, has had quite a journey from marketing Processed Foods & Beverages to becoming a Mayo Clinic trained Board-certified coach. That journey was shaped by her ketogenic diet and various structural biases she faced in the international corporate world being a young, ambitious, and high-achieving woman of color. 

After healing on a whole foods, plant-based diet, Nivi launched her Boston-based nonprofit The Virsa Foundation and accompanying Pod, which primarily focused on serving communities in Punjab, India before the pandemic. A Bachelor’s in Psychology and an MBA in Consumer Behavior Marketing has enabled Nivi to develop a unique nonprofit that is committed to ethical, responsible behavior-change research, coalition building, and campaigning with a focus on Intersectional Feminism and Veganism. From underserved rural women artisans in India to low income underserved women of color in the U.S, Nivi’s work celebrates the Divine Feminine with plant-based nutrition and Veganism at its core.

Sally Lipsky

After a diagnosis of late-stage cancer, Sally Lipsky learned about the power of plant-based eating. This changed her life’s trajectory, and she became a plant-based nutrition educator and author. In 2014, she began Plant-Based Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, PA, as a way to offer much-needed support and connection among those adopting a plant-based lifestyle. 

The Pod offers a variety of resources and events, which used to include monthly meetings in-person at four area locations pre-COVID. They now offer twice-monthly Zoom programs with a topical program and a cooking demonstration, which are posted on their YouTube channel. There is a monthly newsletter and Facebook page to share events, recipes, and information. A free cookbook and additional recipes are available on the Pod’s website, as well as a local directory with healthcare practitioners, instructors, and products related to a plant-based lifestyle. Their community outreach has included food drives and partnerships with local food pantries; connections with local physicians and medical residents; special events like Dining with Plant-Based Docs and Pop-Up Dinners; plus articles, recipes, and letter-to-editors in local media.

Beth Love

Rev. Beth Love leads the Eat for the Earth Pod in Santa Cruz, CA. She is the author of the Tastes Like Love book series. A gifted speaker, facilitator, teacher, and ordained New Thought minister, Beth has motivated and educated people in diverse contexts such as nonprofit organizations, schools, churches, businesses, and the California State Prison system. She has inspired large and small audiences, in-person and through radio and television, from local community TV to The Oprah Winfrey Show. 

Due to her concern about the contribution of animal agriculture to the climate crisis and other environmental issues, Beth started Eat for the Earth, an organization that encourages plant-based and plant-rich diets to sustain all life on Earth. Eat for the Earth provides education; for example, through food preparation classes, their recently completed 31 Days of Inspiration to Heal program, and their traveling educational exhibit. The organization also engages in systems change work; for example, through advocacy with their county board of supervisors for policy changes to increase plant-consumption in their community.

Lianna Levine Reisner

After running a PlantPure Pod in Manhattan, NYC, Lianna – now the Network Director – launched Plant Powered Metro New York in early 2019 with four other local PPC Pod leaders to develop a more coordinated metro-wide movement for whole food, plant-based nutrition. PPMNY was designed to connect and support more leadership in the field and achieve deeper impact through collaboration. 

Lianna was first drawn to plant-based nutrition through the writings of T. Colin Campbell, PhD, and his colleagues who made a compelling case — helping her to lose 20% of her body weight, reverse endometriosis and hormonal imbalances, and heavily reduce her allergies and eczema, among many other benefits. She is now passionate about applying her expertise in collaborative change, community engagement, positive psychology, and network-based organizing to the local plant-based movement. Lianna holds a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and eCornell, and she is a certified Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator through Main Street Vegan Academy. With a Master’s from Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhood School of Management, she has worked as an organization development and change consultant through her practice, Partner for Change, supporting leaders to bring about positive change. She lives in the Upper West Side of Manhattan with her husband and three children.

Jacque Salomon

Jacque Salomon is co-founder of Seeds to Inspire 501(c)(3). In 2018 she and co-founder, Jessica Smothermon, decided to take Jacque’s personal struggles with exploitation and oppression and create opportunities for learning in Phoenix, AZ. However, early in 2020 it was evident that Jacque’s own personal story of healing and restoration of health must also come to the forefront. She has transmuted these two journeys into service to help facilitate learning and support regeneration of health through whole foods, plant-based nutrition in communities most vulnerable to Covid-19, climate destabilization, racialized violence and systemic racism. 

In response to the social, economic, health, and environmental crises, Seeds to Inspire shifted their lens. They decided to hyper-focus on the urgency to reach their underfunded and underrepresented communities comprised mostly of Indigenous, Black, and Racialized people. Through collaborations with PlantPure Communities, they not only provide learning opportunities, but through Seeds to Inspire Pod they are bringing vitality boosting, compassionate foods to communities on and off the reservations in the Phoenix Metro area as well as displaced populations living in tent communities.

Michelle Tree

Michelle Tree is the Pod Leader of Plant-Based Living Winnipeg in Canada. She is a passionate food educator and animal advocate who believes in the power of whole foods to transform communities.

Since founding the group in 2016, Michelle has grown PBLW to 1400+ members, hosted over 40 potlucks and meetups, held rallies, and campaigned for, and spoken publicly about, the benefits of a plant-based diet. Taking advantage of the opportunities for education, Michelle has completed the Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from e-Cornell and the Moving Medicine Forward Master Class in Plant-based Clinical Nutrition.

Michelle’s skill set includes photography and video editing which she does both personally and professionally. In the spring, summer and fall you’ll often find her in the garden, where she grows organic vegetables for her family and friends.