Our Team

Meet Our Team

Tom CongerExecutive Director

Tom leads Stray Dog Institute and serves as the program officer for the philanthropic work of related entities. To create a more compassionate food system, he leverages decades of experience providing foresight, strategy, and innovation services to global companies contributing to the food and agriculture value chain—from agricultural inputs and agrotechnology to restaurants and retail. Before joining Stray Dog Institute in 2018, Tom started and sold two companies: Social Technologies (1999–2008) and Give.com (2012–2014). He earned an M.S. in Studies of the Future from the University of Houston’s Clear Lake campus, near the Johnson Space Center, and a B.S. in Political Science from Texas A&M University.

Laura DriscollResearch Manager

Laura serves Stray Dog Institute as Research Manager, acting as staff scientist. She identifies research objectives, produces research reports and online posts, and coordinates research staff and outside contributors. Before joining Stray Dog in 2020, Laura supported food system sustainability and meat reduction campaigns around the world at Greenpeace International. She holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management from UC Berkeley with a focus on political ecology of food systems. Throughout her career, Laura has used participatory social science research to reveal untold stories and elevate sustainability and justice narratives in food and farming. Laura is passionate about healing our food system to bring about a kind, green, and equitable future.

Lauren KohlerFood Systems Program Manager

Lauren is the Food System Program Manager for Stray Dog Institute. In her role, Lauren manages SDI’s working groups on Checkoff Programs, Farm Transformation, and Factory Farm Gas and helps develop and execute SDI’s food system-related grant making, activities, and strategy. Lauren joined SDI in 2019 after graduating from Yale University with a BA in Environmental Studies and a concentration in Food and Agriculture. She previously worked for the Yale Sustainable Food Program for three years as a Senior Advisor, Farm Manager, and Volunteer Coordinator, leading community engagement in food systems learning. Lauren’s work is motivated by a deep caring for people, animals, and the environment.

Alicia RodriguezFellow

Alicia is a fellow at Stray Dog Institute. As a fellow, she explores how philanthropic organizations support local initiatives focused on animal welfare and food system policy. Prior to joining Stray Dog, Alicia was a Policy Fellow at the Harvard Animal Law & Policy Program researching avenues for building more political power for farmed animals. She graduated from Harvard Law School in 2015, where she served as the President of the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund for two years and founded the university-wide Harvard Vegan Society. Following law school, she worked as a corporate litigator at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in Delaware and New York. She subsequently started The Land and Sea Institute, a small nonprofit that supports sustainable food policy in local government.

Chuck LaueCo-founder and Chair

Chuck is Co-founder and Board Chair of Stray Dog Capital, Stray Dog Institute, and Stray Dog Policy. He also serves as Executive Board Chair at Companion Protect, Director of GlassWall Syndicate, Vice Chair at Asurion, and a board member at Gathered Foods Corporation and BlueNalu. Chuck is a board member at The Humane Society of the United States and chairs the boards of Great Plains SPCA and the Humane Society Legislative Fund. Along with his wife Jennifer, he co-founded The Quinn Foundation and Ringo’s Fund, private foundations dedicated to building a more compassionate world for animals, people, and the environment. Chuck follows a vegan lifestyle and is motivated by the need to support supply-side changes that contribute to sustainable food systems transformation.

Jennifer LaueCo-founder and Vice Chair

Jennifer is Co-founder and Vice Chair of Stray Dog Capital, Stray Dog Institute, and Stray Dog Policy. She serves as Director of GlassWall Syndicate and a board member at Companion Protect. She is also on the non-profit boards of Stray Dog Policy, the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault (MOCSA), All About Autism, and Humane Society International. Along with her husband Chuck, she co-founded The Quinn Foundation and Ringo’s Fund, private foundations dedicated to building a more compassionate world for animals, people, and the environment. Jennifer is deeply committed to veganism and building the movement for food systems transformation.

About the Author

To cultivate dignity, justice, and sustainability in the food system, Stray Dog Institute provides nonprofit allies with funding, strategic research, and opportunities for collaboration. Together, we hope to build a more compassionate world for people, animals, and the environment.

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