Staff Profile: Mindy Kursban: PCRM’s First Executive Director
Refusing to dissect frogs in seventh grade takes a lot of guts—not to mention compassion. And in Mindy Kursban’s case it was a sign of things to come. An avid reader in high school, she began moving toward a vegetarian diet after reading The Jungle, Upton Sinclair’s pivotal book about the Chicago meatpacking industry. Years later, the Maryland native has brought her concern for animals—and her interest in health—into her work at PCRM.
As PCRM’s chief legal counsel since 1999, Kursban has helped advance PCRM’s issues through a number of brilliantly executed lawsuits and advocacy campaigns. From winning a case against the U.S. Department of Agriculture over the dietary guidelines to helping expose cruel animal research promoted by the Environmental Protection Agency, Kursban has been both imaginative and aggressive in her pursuit of PCRM’s goals. And now she’s taking the next step.
With PCRM’s recent expansion, president Neal Barnard, M.D., needed a strong leader to help manage the organization. Passionate about PCRM’s work even before she came onboard as an attorney—she was a longtime supporter—Kursban was the perfect choice. In March, she took the helm as PCRM’s first executive director. Although she will continue to run the legal department, which includes two other attorneys and a legal assistant, Kursban has also taken on daily management of PCRM operations, working along with Dr. Barnard.
Excited about her new position, Kursban says, “PCRM has accomplished so much during its first 20 years, and I am proud to be a part of this amazing organization. But we have much left to do—to educate people about the many health benefits of a plant-based diet and to eliminate the use of animals in medical research and education. The good news is that PCRM’s potential to effect change has never been greater. We are strong and well organized. And I’m looking forward to working with our wonderful members and staff to accomplish our goals.”
We’re as excited as she is.