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Welcome Hélène

by Terri, Micah, Caitlin, Aja, and Susan

We are thrilled to announce that Hélène Lesterlin has joined the staff of the Good Work Institute as a Worker Trustee and steward of our Development and Communications circles. A social entrepreneur, artist, and community builder, Hélène’s diverse background spans new economy and business practices, coworking and cooperatives, contemporary theater and art, early-stage investment and startups, nonprofit administration, and a fierce commitment to and love of the Hudson Valley. 

Hélène is joining our team at an important moment in the evolution of the Good Work Institute. Alongside our transition to a Worker Self-Directed Nonprofit and Just Transition framework, we are looking to secure the future of our work through deep partnership and collaboration across the GWI community. Hélène’s unique perspective, enduring optimism, and significant skill set is a core asset to this work, and we are grateful to have her bring a new focus on long term growth and sustainability throughout the organization.

From Hélène: “As an artist and activist, I feel that we have an unusual opportunity here in the Hudson Valley to take a stand, to make an intentional choice about how we want to develop and thrive together. I came to the Hudson Valley in 2005 to take a job at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where I was a founding curator at EMPAC – the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center and I didn’t expect to stay so long! But, as others have before me, I found a home here, one that combines natural beauty and an inspiring history with sophisticated, contemporary, human-scale communities. We face a lot of the same challenges as other regions throughout the nation, and as such, if we get it right here, we have the potential to create positive ripple effects. That is why I am so thrilled to join the Good Work Institute, with a mission that focuses on systems change: building the kind of economy and community that can withstand the changes to come with grace, thoughtfully designed for real people, by the community itself.”

In addition to her work on development and communications, Hélène will collaborate on strategic planning, new program development, and organizational management as a Worker Trustee and member of the General Circle. She brings a deep wealth of experience to all her roles, honed through her recent work as startup accelerator manager at The Trillions Co and incubator Idealab NY; associate at IdealabX, the early stage venture fund; board member at Start.coop, a Boston-based accelerator for cooperatives; and as co-founder and managing director of CO, a cooperatively-owned coworking and event space in Rhinebeck. She also brings 15 years of experience in contemporary performance and art, as a visual artist, choreographer, director, and curator, living and working in the US, France, and Taiwan. 

Originally from France, with a childhood spent in Paris, New York, London, and LA, Hélène is now firmly rooted in Saugerties/Woodstock with multi-generational family ties on both sides of the river. She is raising two daughters with her husband, and credits them with firing up her commitment to support women and girls as they forge their paths in business, art, and activism.

Over the past month and a half, Hélène has impressed us all with her intelligence, warmth, and commitment to our mission. We look forward to sharing more with you as her work evolves and she becomes more deeply integrated with GWI and our growing network. Stay tuned for her first “Notes from the Field” article that talks about what it’s like to join our WSDNP and please come out and meet Hélène in person as we officially welcome her to the team at the Greenhouse Grand Opening celebration on Nov 8th in Kingston!