DawnWatch Founder, President and CEO
Born in the US, Karen Dawn grew up and studied in Australia and studied Science at the University of NSW. Immediately after college she worked as a news researcher and writer for various Australian publications and on ABC’s nightly news magazine, “The 7:30 Report.” She moved to New York in the 1990s where she worked in personal fitness, performed live music at clubs such as the Bitter End and CBs, and spent Sundays preparing food at the Saint Francis of Xavier soup kitchen. After reading Animal Liberation in 1998, she was moved to devote herself to helping those most abused by society and least able to help themselves — animals.
Karen founded the animal advocacy media watch DawnWatch.com in 1999. As a spokesperson for the animal rights movement she has appeared on all of the major news networks, most frequently, though not exclusively, at Thanksgiving, discussing her annual turkey rescue. She has hosted talk shows on major radio stations, including Watchdog, which ran for two seasons on the Los Angeles Pacifica station, KPFK. She served on the Genesis Awards voting committee from 2001-2014. Her own opinion pieces have been published in the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, New York Newsday and the UK Guardian, and she has written for The Progressive Magazine. She is a contributor to ‘Terrorists or Freedom Fighters: Reflections on the Liberation of Animals” a 2004 anthology edited by Steve Best and Anthony Nocella, and to “In Defense of Animals: The Second Wave,” edited by Peter Singer. Her first book, Thanking the Monkey: Rethinking the Way We Treat Animals was published by Harper Collins in 2008. The Washington Post included it on a list as one of the best books of the year. It is a general handbook for animal advocacy, which gives background information on any of the issues covered by DawnWatch. The fully updated e-edition came out in 2014.
Bruce Friedrich is executive director of The Good Food Institute (GFI) and founding partner of New Crop Capital (NCC), organizations focused on replacing animal products with plant and culture-based alternatives. He has spent over two decades working for non profits in the animal advocacy world, including as director of vegan campaigns for PETA and as Senior Policy Director for Farm Sanctuary’s policy and litigation efforts, where he initiated the Someone, Not Something project. Bruce co-authored one book, contributed chapters to five books, authored six law review articles and is a frequent contributor of opinion pieces to major newspapers including the Wall Street Journal.
Laura Keats is a television producer who specializes in reality TV. She has produced various animal friendly shows and is the co-executive producer of the hit series Pit Bulls and Paroles, currently in its ninth season on Animal Planet. Vegan and involved in animal rescue, she has joined the DawnWatch board as she would like to see those values reflected more and more in the major media.
Peter Singer is the Ira W. Decamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton and Laureate Professor at the University of Melbourne. He has authored 16 books (and co-authored others) including, Practical Ethics, The Most Good You Can Do, and, most recently, Ethics in the Real World. He is the author of Animal Liberation, published in 1975, and is often referred to as the “father of the modern day animal rights movement” because of that book’s influence. Many of the leaders of the animal protection movement, including the founders of PETA, cite it as a guiding force. DawnWatch founder Karen Dawn gives it credit for her decision to devote her life to animal advocacy work.
Peter Singer has remained involved in the animal protection movement but now works and writes extensively about world poverty and effective altruism. He founded the organization “The Life You Can Save,” (based on his book of the same name) which pushes people to give generously to charity, and guides them as to which charities will do the most good with their funds.
Jack Stephenson — Treasurer/Chief Financial Officer
DawnWatch Chief Financial Officer/Treasurer Jack Stephenson has 25 years’ of experience working at the intersection of financial services, technology and innovation. He has held top tier positions at McKinsey, PayPal and JP Morgan Chase and since 2014 has been at the global payment technology solutions company, First Data, where he is responsible for strategy, partnerships and client solutions in digital commerce and mobile payments.
Jack has served on the boards of the Center for Market Innovation at the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Wildlife Conservation Society and the San Francisco Aids Foundation. He also has two decades experience working with leading environmental NGOs focused on international biodiversity conservation and climate change issues.
Rolf Wicklund – Secretary
DawnWatch secretary Rolf Wicklund lives in Orange County, CA. His company Soaring LLC works in the inflight entertainment industry and he has several patents related to networking and video delivery to passengers on aircraft. He was also responsible for flight crew and passenger software on the first ever fiber optic based inflight entertainment system.
Rolf has worked with animal friendly groups since the late 1990’s and created the initial Dawnwatch website based on designs by award winning cartoonist Dan Piraro.