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Meet Joseph Connelly, the Visionary Behind VegNews Magazine!
Every successful company begins with a visionary and a vision. Meet one of these visionaries, Brooklyn native and current San Francisco resident Joseph Connelly, owner/ publisher of VegNews Magazine. Joe turned his passion for vegetarian living into an award-winning, robust, multi-media voice for the vegetarian community.
The magazine – with a readership of over 200,000 – and website have won multiple lifestyle honors, including nine Maggie Awards (think magazine Oscars) for “Best Lifestyle Magazine” and five Nichee Awards, including its latest in February 2013 for “Best Niche Lifestyle Magazine.”
VegNews Magazine has resources for people who are already vegans and those who want to explore the possibilities. Joe offered some suggestions for the veg-curious crowd:
- Don’t be afraid to try something new. One week, thirty days, just try it. Even after one week, you’ll feel better and notice a difference.
- Don’t worry about labels. There’s no all or nothing. Do what you can and be easy on yourself. Take it one meal at a time, one day at a time.
- Be aware of what’s happening with the food supply. There is a huge food movement now to educate people so they can see what is happening. There are books, magazines (like VegNews), movies (Vegucated, Forks over Knives), videos, and hundreds of blogs.
Joe’s impact on the vegan movement began in 1996 when he was living in Syracuse, New York. There he started the Syracuse Area Vegetarian Education Society to bring the vegetarian community together. While working to develop SAVES, Joe realized that it was inefficient for vegetarian groups all over the country to have to produce their own newsletters – each read by a few hundred people at most. So he came up with the idea that veg groups ought to pool their resources and create a national newspaper to unite vegetarians across the U.S. From this notion VegNews was born, although it would take four years until it became a reality. It debuted on July 1, 2000 as a 28-page black and white tabloid, available free in health food stores.
When asked about its beginnings in 2000, Joe said, “VegNews began as a newspaper. We wanted to make it a national, industry-wide publication, and changed the format once again in 2004, this time into a magazine.”
Joe continued, “VegNews has changed over time but we have remained focused on our mission to unite vegetarians and vegans. Today’s technology has allowed us to reach people across the world through the magazine, the vegnews.com site, social media, and the blogs. VegNews Media even includes vegan travel. This global connection strengthens the community and avoids duplicating resources.”
When asked how VegNews has managed to flourish, to respond to the changing market, Joe replied, “VegNews has a talented and bright staff. They’re on top of the latest technology, and being located in San Francisco helps us stay connected to the latest forms of technology as they come on the market.”
Remembering what it was like to be an entrepreneur with a great idea, lots of hope, and little money, Joe had this advice for young people who want to make a difference by starting a non-profit or an environmentally-friendly business: “Follow your heart. Trust yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice and seek out people who can help you. Passion will get you started, but you also need business sense to get you through.”
Joe has transformed the vegetarian and vegan community with his vision, his passion, his knowledge, and his expertise. Thank you, Joe, for VegNews Media and all you do to keep us informed and connected!
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