Veganuary: a Not So Big Miss(ed) Steak

Digital Producer Shea Hennessey explores ways in which we are able to become more sustainable through lifestyle change and dialogue with our peers


02/21/2024 | Shea Hennessey

Shea Hennessey, Digital Producer, Texere Publishing

We take Health & Wellbeing seriously at Texere Publishing. And our diligent and oh-so passionate Wellbeing Champions are always keen to encourage new campaigns to keep us all engaged and healthy of mind and body.

Just before our end of year break, Digital Producer Shea Hennessey shared his personal journey into a plant-based lifestyle and threw the spotlight on the month of “Veganuary.” His pitch was sharp – so what started as a short presentation quickly grew into a challenge for around 30 members of staff.


Here, Shea shares his motives and offers a quick recap of Texere’s trip down Veganuary lane.

Shea Hennessey, Digital Producer and Veganuary Organiser

Unlike many who’ve adopted “the plant-based lifestyle,” I don’t envision a world free of animal produce consumption. Call me a pragmatist, but it’s tough to argue with centuries of firmly embedded culinary culture. My vision is twofold: to see the stigma behind plant-based alternatives removed and to see our reliance on animal produce significantly reduced.


When pitching the idea of Veganuary to the team, it was pivotal for me to acknowledge that, though the lifestyle can be challenging, hurdles can be easily overcome with collaboration. Like my vision for the future, I wasn’t anticipating an overnight cleanse of animal products. It was also important to realize that everyone’s life is different – with individual responsibilities and dependencies. In other words, any level of commitment towards the mission is acceptable. No one should feel alienated from a lifestyle simply because they are unable to go the full nine yards straight from the get-go. After establishing those expectations, all that was left to do was get everyone together and open the door to discussion and support. Within the first few days I was stumbling upon healthy conversations about the ways it forces creativity and exploration in your meals, followed closely by situations in which they’ve caved and given into a craving. This was excellent to hear because it meant that my goal of ensuring that no one felt like there could be “too small a contribution” or that you had to be perfect to be a part of the challenge.

L-R: Vegan Noodle Soup by Markella Loi, Garbanzo Burrito by Rich Whitworth, Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese by Oli Norbury

As a digital producer, there had to be a digital element – so we all came together in an online chat group to share recipes that we had found, discuss plant based products and outlets, and point people to local restaurants with a strong selection of vegan meals. I recall a lengthy conversation about the advantages of owning a soup maker – a perfect microcosm of the attitude seen throughout the challenge. Innovation, excitement, a dash of skepticism, and, perhaps just as importantly, good times.


It’s those moments of relatability that I was looking forward to when approaching Veganuary from this angle – and it’s those moments that will perpetuate beyond. It’s not just about activism – it’s about sharing a common goal and helping one another be better. There are many reasons to adopt a plant-based lifestyle – some of which are shrouded in politics and ethics. I chose to focus on the simplest reason of them all: “Why not?!”

Accompanying the launch of Veganuary at Texere, we were grateful to be able to collaborate with OnHand – a platform that raises awareness and incentivizes volunteering in local communities, with a focus on the corporate world. OnHand was able to bring everyone together in a central hub so we could effectively keep track of who was involved, as well as providing another resource outlet to fuel experiments and conversations. 


I’m excited to discover what other lifestyle changes I can make (or at least try) – armed with the same level of open mindedness as my colleagues during Veganuary. I feel sure that the combination of OnHand and supportive colleagues will give us all plenty more opportunities to “be better” on the road ahead.

Shea Hennessey

Digital Producer at Texere Publishing