Meet the 2022 Banquet Planning Committee

Ever wondered how we pull together the Banquet? Behind the scenes a talented team is working hard on Veg Out!: CAA’s Annual Banquet 2022.  Both experienced and brand new volunteers are busy making it an inspiring and fun event. 

Their work includes:  photographing the venue, developing the slideshow, coordinating  volunteers, and soliciting donations to  upload them to our Auction app. It’s amazing how much goes into planning such a major event. Staff couldn’t manage it without this talented and dedicated group of volunteers.

Find out more about them below:

Brita Maia Bengtson

Brita Maia Bengtson

Brita has volunteered to develop the quiz for our Auction contest. Quizzes have been integral to several of our recent events so we decided to add them to the Annual Banquet as well. Brita stepped up to help come up with a clever, challenging  animal-based theme and research the answer for us. She worked with our Slide developer to get the questions included and developed a spreadsheet to capture and score the answers. 

To get to know her better, Brita answered some questions:

 What inspired you to get involved with planning the CAA Banquet? 

The banquet has always been one of the most important events of the year – not just for fundraising but for building the community and celebrating the work being done by CAA.

What do you love most about being involved with the work you are doing for the Banquet? 

I like getting in touch with my creativity – and for a great cause! 

When you are not helping out with the Banquet, what do you like to do with your time? (work, school, hobbies, etc.)

I am a full time travel coordinator and tour guide. When not working, I enjoy a wide variety of vegan foods – cooking at home and also trying out new restaurants. I spend a lot of time with my two cats and also like meeting the animals at local sanctuaries. 

What are you most excited about/most looking forward to about this year’s Banquet? 

Looking forward to being in person again and eating TACOS!

Michael Sheldon

Michael Sheldon

After first getting his taste of volunteering as part of ThankLiving, Michael was hooked and wanted to continue sharing his artistic and organizational talents with the Banquet Committee. He has been essential to the overall planning of the event and is bringing the team his graphic design and photography skills as well. He has taken photos of all the fantastic donations to the Auction so that we can encourage bidding on the great choices. He is also designing the slide show for the banquet which will be the basis of both the in person and virtual event.  He is game to do whatever is needed and shares his enthusiasm with all.

We asked him some questions to help us get to know him better.

When you are not helping out with the Banquet, what do you like to do with your time? (work, school, hobbies, etc.)

When I am not helping with the Banquet and other CAA events, I am a part of the North East Artist Association and enjoy going to open studios, meeting other artists, growing my network and collaborating on projects together or getting freelance design clients (michael-sheldon.com). I also enjoy attending the bi-weekly plant based pop up in North Minneapolis.

What are you most excited about/most looking forward to about this year’s Banquet? 

I look forward to this event being in-person since this will be my first in-person CAA event I have helped out with.

Rebecca Amundson

Rebecca Amundson

As a new volunteer, Rebecca stepped right up to take on the all important role of coordinating the many volunteers it takes to pull off an event of this size. Being new to the banquet she first had to learn about the event and then pull together the talents of volunteers to match them with the needs of the day. 

Her answers to these questions tell us more about her:

What inspired you to get involved with planning the CAA Banquet? 

I was inspired to go plant based about 17 years ago when I first learned about the injustice within the food industry. Creating awareness and educating others has been, and continues to be, part of how I hope to inspire change. When the world shut down and Covid hit, I was given an opportunity to reflect on my values and assess if I was living my life in alignment with those values. I realized I wanted to do more. I reached out to Compassionate Action for Animals and asked how I could get involved as a volunteer. When the opportunity came up to help support the CAA Banquet, I jumped at the opportunity. I’m excited to support the volunteers at this year’s Banquet.

 What do you love most about being involved with the work you are doing for the Banquet? 

The opportunity to help support other like minded people on the journey to creating change. I love that I get to be a member of the development team, it gives me a sense of purpose and the feeling that I’m doing something to bring awareness to plant based living.

When you are not helping out with the Banquet, what do you like to do with your time?

Things I like to do in my free time are: Spending time with my family, being outside in nature, anything active, travel and taking care of my plants. 

What are you most excited about/most looking forward to about this year’s Banquet? 

Theresa loved assisting with the auction last year and with her new retirement felt she would be in a position to do more this year – taking on the coordination of the auction. She has solicited over 40 donations and helped collect the items as well as photographs and descriptions that will tempt the bidders.  Once it is all done it will be time for the thank-yous and remaining deliveries.

I’m most excited to meet new people and create new relationships.

Sarah Matanah

Sarah Matanah

Sarah stepped up again to put together the online aspect of the auction.  When you scroll through the goodies be sure to think of all Sarah’s work.

She answered some of our questions:

What inspired you to get involved with planning the CAA Banquet?

I love seeing people have a good time at the banquet, and getting to help CAA at the same time. 

 What do you love most about being involved with the work you are doing for the Banquet? 

The auction involves so many people giving in different ways. That makes it especially rewarding.

When you are not helping out with the Banquet, what do you like to do with your time?

Explore on foot and by bike, play pickleball, learn interesting things about languages and walk my dogs

What are you most excited about/most looking forward to about this year’s Banquet? 

Seeing all the people!

Theresa Zingery

Theresa scouting this year’s banquet location

She answered these questions to help us get to know her better.

What inspired you to get involved with planning the CAA Banquet? 

The Banquet is one of the most fun CAA events of the year for my husband and I. It’s a good source of funds for the important work of CAA so I want to help make it a success! 

What do you love most about being involved with the work you are doing for the Banquet? 

I always love to participate in auctions and now I have a chance to help make sure it is even more fun for other people too – and get some cool items that I can get into a bidding war with someone on. 🙂

When you are not helping out with the Banquet, what do you like to do with your time? (work, school, hobbies, etc.)

I enjoy trying new and (semi) exotic foods (vegan of course!), reading cozy mysteries, petting the cats who live with us, pretty walks in nature  and doing jigsaw puzzles with my husband.

What are you most excited about/most looking forward to about this year’s Banquet? 

I can’t wait to see people in person again! And I’m so excited that the Stanford Inn by the Sea is back in the auction!  I also look forward to La Dona food and BEER!!!

Post navigation

Get Involved

Subscribe to our weekly update:


Donate

Volunteer

Veg Resources

Upcoming Events

Sunday, May 1, 2022 - Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Twin Cities Veg Month 2022; Get 15% Off at Local Restaurants!

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Tour of SoulSpace Farm Sanctuary

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Veg Month Dine-Out: J-Selby’s

Saturday, June 4, 2022

CAA’s Bags Tournament