Meet our Founder


karine brighten vegan vegetarian speed dating founder

Meet Karine!

I'm Karine Brighten, the founder of Veg Speed Date. I've been vegan for 10 years. I'm an event producer with a decade of experience planning vegan weddings, the famous San Francisco Vegan Iron Chef competitions, the Plant-Powered Health and Fitness Series, and much more. Not to mention... (FLIP ME OVER!)

I’ve been putting on speed date events for vegans and vegetarians in the San Francisco Bay Area, and in Ottawa, Canada’s capital city, for over 5 years!

Why Veg Speed Date?

I started Veg Speed Date because I wanted to help others find the kind of love I found with my sweet hubby – and because I know how hard it can be, especially when you’re looking for a vegan or vegetarian partner! I believe that finding a partner who shares your veg lifestyle is one of the keys to a happy relationship. There’s no explaining or defending to do -- you’re both on the same page. And...

I’ve discovered that the adventure of being vegan or vegetarian is even more awesome when it’s shared!

My Really Big Idea

I love bringing veg singles together. These events are a fun and effective way to make it happen. I’ve produced dozens of Veg Speed Date events over the last 5 years in San Francisco and Ottawa. These events have proven so successful and life-changing that I’ve come up with a really big idea...

…to bring my speed dating events to cities all over North America!

Meet the Rest of our Team

Andy Brighten
Andy BrightenCo-Founder and Information Systems Lead
Andy is Karine’s husband and co-founder of Veg Speed Date. He’s been vegan for 10 years and has hosted speed dating events together with Karine for 5 years. Andy leads development of the information systems and technology behind the Veg Speed Date project. Andy is also a legally trained academic who has worked with the Animal Legal Defense Fund as well as other groups focusing on animal protection law.
Lucas Solowey
Lucas SoloweyCommunications & Public Relations Specialist
Lucas has passionately advocated on behalf of animals and vegetarianism/veganism throughout his life. He brings years of experience in public relations, communications, event coordination, and more to the Veg Speed Date team. He has professionally represented local, national and international charitable organizations and regularly appears in the media. Lucas is excited to take on this role and help bring veg singles together!

Meet our Contributors

Tess Challis
Tess Challis
Tess Challis is an author, vegan chef, and wellness coach.
Her five books include Radiant Health, Inner Wealth, The Two-Week Wellness Solution, Radiance 4 Life, Get Waisted, and FOOD LOVE.

Her greatest passion is helping others achieve both radiant health and inner well-being – all while enjoying the most delicious foods on the planet! In 2015, Tess founded “Be Radiant,” a holistic weight loss group for women. She also runs the Health-o-Licious Cooking Club, as a way of empowering people in their own kitchens from all around the world.

Find out more at And don’t forget to check out some of the informative and insightful articles on veg dating that Tess has written for us, but keep in mind, we save the best ones exclusively for our subscribers, so if you want free access, sign up for our mailing list!

Maya Gottfried
Maya Gottfried
The author of Vegan Love: Dating and Partnering for the Cruelty-Free Gal (Skyhorse), Maya Gottfried has written award-winning books for children and contributed to outlets including VegNews, People online,, The Huffington Post, and Lilith Magazine.

Her most recent book for children, Our Farm: By the Animals of Farm Sanctuary (Knopf) celebrates the residents of farm animal rescue and advocacy organization Farm Sanctuary’s shelters.

The New York Observer wrote of her work, “I can’t wait to see what [Maya Gottfried] writes next for adults. Because everything she had said was real, precise and full of meaning.”

Maya lives in Beekman, NY with her partner, Dietrich and their three adopted cats, Lucian, Bunny, and Gandalf.