Over the course of this intensive, several month program, fellows develop deep ties to one another and gain vital collaboration and initiative‐building skills while cultivating inner clarity about what it means to do good work.
Teams within the cohort learn by doing – inquiring into key questions and piloting projects related to the possibilities of a more equitable and regenerative economy.
Fellows return to their places enriched by the opportunity to reflect on aligning their work and values and with embodied knowledge about how to collaborate to make change.
The relationships forged within the fellowship are sustained through ongoing Good Work Network events and collaborations that link each cohort with the growing group of innovators and community leaders committed to a thriving future for the Hudson Valley.
Andrew Willner has been a leader, organizer, and advocate for the New York/New Jersey Bioregion for 25 years. He was an early proponent of the Waterkeeper model of water and habitat protection as the founder of NY/NJ Baykeeper. He is principal of the consulting firm, Sustainability Solutions, and from 2008 to 2014 was the Principal Professional Consultant for energy, transportation, and the environment to the Hugo Neu Corporation Andrew has been a city planner, furniture designer, sculptor, boat builder, environmentalist, permaculturist, transition advocate, story teller, and a blogger. He is writing a book, Fish and Ships, a photo narrative of the people, places, and environment of The New York New Jersey Harbor Estuary, one of the most beautiful and vulnerable estuaries in the world.
Angela is a strategist and designer working for a fairer food system. An Iowa native and recent repatriate, she lived in Asia, Europe, and Africa before finding her home in the Hudson Valley. She advises independently and served as the CEO of GKI, a social enterprise advancing human-centered design and systems thinking, and a Partner and Director of Agriculture & Food Security at Dalberg, a global strategy firm. In addition to her advisory work, Angela is pursuing her PhD and lecturing at the University of Cape Town. She is a contributing author to two books on African development. Angela is happiest collaborating with inclusive decision-makers to address complex systems challenges and facilitating strategic conversations about food, social innovation, and sustainable market development. She’s also quite happy rolling out her yoga mat, taking a hike, or puttering around her old farmhouse in Hudson.
Ari , Co-Director of DOORS UNLIMITED, is an artist and construction project manager whose work merges tactics of emergent planning, community ritual and performance. DOORS UNLIMITED has designed innovative structures for engaging advocacy, problem-solving, and creative play. These have taken the form of workshops, festivals, dinners, operas, and research labs, hosted and/or supported by the Art Services Initiative of Western NY, Habitable Spaces Artist Residency & Farm in Central TX, SenseLab in Montréal, the Prattsville Art Center, Sunview Luncheonette in Brooklyn, and the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto. Ari finds the operations that occur within the inherently transitional space of the construction site as potential blueprints for new kinds of participation to develop and take root. Their goal is to encourage broader community involvement and exchange by organizing opportunities for sharing skills, stories and experimentation as part of the building process, prioritizing neighborhood sustainability over profit.
Brenda Perry-Herrera is an artist, educator and entrepreneur who emigrated from Mexico at the age of three and grew up along the U.S. – Mexico border city of El Paso, Texas. While maintaining an active studio art practice, Brenda founded the nonprofit organization, Imagination=Innovation, which promotes ethical thought and action to develop a greater consciousness for the world by means of solution-based approaches in the arts and sciences. Along with her husband, she also founded Art+Technology, an LLC that offers coding and robotics instruction at local grade schools in the Hudson Valley. Her art/work explores themes of social and ecological relevance. In various projects, Brenda has undertaken the roles of researcher, airplane pilot, programmer, scientist, educator, and mother. She currently lives in Cold Spring with her husband and their four-year-old son.
Brooke Tully spent the first decade of her career working in ad agencies, such as Ogilvy, helping clients reach target audiences to build brand awareness, change preferences, and sell products. In 2007, she joined the NGO Rare where she designed and implemented behavior change campaigns that inspired local communities in Mongolia, Thailand, Laos, and The Philippines to adopt more sustainable fishing and hunting behaviors. Operating independently since 2016, Brooke trains conservationists how to design marketing and outreach plans that motivate action. She brings together best practices from her work in commercial advertising, insights from behavioral science research, and her first-hand experience in international conservation programs. Brooke’s workshops, manuals, and online courses focus on practical steps for designing effective and cost-efficient behavior change communications that will spark conservation movements.
Born and raised in Canada, Catherine Stankowski has lived in the Hudson Valley since 2007. A dedicated non-profit worker, Catherine has previously worked for the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Housing Works, and Best Buddies Canada before becoming a director of the China American Psychoanalytic Alliance- a position she has held since 2016. She is a former member of the organizing committee of the now-disbanded Beacon chapter of SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) and is a committed weekly volunteer at the Beacon Community Kitchen. Passionate about books, ethics, racial and food justice, and building a better world, Catherine lives in Beacon with her daughter.
Chris Faroe is a musician, writer, and creative career designer. Using patterns and practices derived from permaculture design and sustainable agriculture, he helps artists, musicians, and other passionate humans map their way towards radically sustainable creative careers. After a childhood spent primarily in the Middle East and Europe, Chris studied music and creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College and poetry translation at Oxford University. Since then he’s toured all over and lived in many places, including artist houses in Brooklyn, a biodynamic farm in Arizona, and an ecovillage on Vancouver Island. When he’s not leading creative mapping workshops or recording his next album, Chris is most likely to be found working on his tiny house build in Beacon, tinkering with veggie-oil-powered ‘80s Mercedes, or dancing around.
Chris Wells is an Obie-Award winning actor, writer, storyteller, community leader and performer working in the cabaret form. Original works: Liberty!, A Fairy Tale, Nowhere to Run, Olsen Terror, Swallow Me, It Will All Work Out, and with Rachel Grimes, RC RADIO HOUR. In 2007, Wells created The Secret City, a non profit dedicated to supporting the work of individual artists and creating community around the arts. The Secret City holds artistic tent revivals in NYC, LA and Woodstock. Wells lives in Woodstock, NY with his husband, painter Robert Lucy. Wells is currently finishing his book, The Bermuda Triangle Inn.
Claudia is a land-based grower and medicine-maker, cultivating an intimate relationship with the landscape and people that make up her environment. She is a community organizer and professional facilitator in conflict resolution, practicing Transformative Mediation and Restorative Justice, with the goal of developing holistic alternatives to punitive isolation practices – whether suspension, incarceration or other forms of social and institutional exclusion. Claudia has known and loved the Hudson Valley her whole life and holds a fierce love for its woods, mountains and swimming holes. She has been a natural mediator since childhood and can remember advocating for classmates and family members from a very early age. In her adult life she has extensively studied and learned about plants and people and the ways in which they intersect, be it through growth, love, healing, oppression, identity or connection. She lives in Milan, NY on a 5-acre mixed forest and apple orchard.
Colette M. Ruoff is a facilitator and leadership coach, with a strong foundation in mindfulness, who creates powerful learning experiences in organizational settings. Colette’s leadership coaching is focused on helping leaders and teams build self-awareness, personal authenticity, relational skills and systems thinking to maximize their influence and capacity to achieve what is most important to the organization. With more than 20 years of experience, Colette has worked as an Executive Coach and Senior Consultant for multiple consulting firms and is currently on the staff of Corporate Balance Concepts, Enact Leadership and Aberkyn. In 2018 she launched her own coaching and consulting company called Terra Nova Leadership Lab. In 2013, Colette founded a non-profit community building organization in the Hudson Valley called SageArts whose mission is to catalyze greater social inclusion of older residents and creates pathways for them to connect and meaningfully contribute.
Da’Shon Davis is a Poughkeepsie native, and continues to live there, where he works as a Residential Supervisor at Access Supports for Living, servicing people with developmental disabilities. At a young age, he became active in community volunteering at events and took classes through Planned Parenthood’s Peer Education Program. He became involved in the Oakwood Friends School’s Summer Youth Advocacy Program during his last year in high school, and this program has been a major part of his life ever since. Da’Shon is looks for peace and positivity in everything he does. He enjoys singing, writing poetry and is working on starting a podcast.
Frances is an arts activist and community organizer who volunteers her time and skills to cultivate equity in underserved creative communities. She has worked for nearly a decade in publishing and nonprofits, and has contributed to numerous publications and organizations including ARTnews, the Museum of Modern Art, and KINDER journal. She is committed to supporting underrepresented artists, using her platform at wip_projects (wip-projects.com) to maintain the professional viability of creative pursuits. Frances also participates in organizations such as the Female Design Council and Art + Feminism that amplify the work of artists whose careers are often overlooked. She is a grant writer for Instar Lodge, a community-fostering organization and creative workspace in Germantown, New York. And she leads a workshop series for creatives to develop foundational skills, including writing an artist statement and putting together a project proposal, to comfortably and confidently communicate their practice in professional ways.
Helen Zuman, author and witch, divides her time between the holler (Earthaven Ecovillage in Black Mountain, NC) and the highlands of Beacon, NY (where she tends a budding homestead with her husband, Gregg). In her first book, MATING IN CAPTIVITY (She Writes Press 2018)—named one of 2018’s Best Indie Memoirs by Kirkus Reviews—she composts her five years, post-Harvard, fomenting an illusory revolution in a cult called Zendik Farm; currently, she writes a column on villaging for LIVELIHOOD, as well as the occasional piece for COMMUNITIES magazine and a monthly essay for her website, helenzuman.com. Her soul-work involves weaving spells—through words and other media—for a robust web of relations and an ever more beautiful world. Humanure—the ultimate problem-turned-solution—provides constant inspiration; the exuberant wisdom of living soil serves as metaphor and guide. She walks at least six miles per day and sometimes drives a giant trike.
Japheth holds a PhD in Universal Algebra from U.C. Berkeley, with experiences around the world, including at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Vanderbilt University, University of Louisville and Chatham University. He is committed to engaging students at all levels in the joyful study of mathematics. A Kingston resident and math professor at Bard College since 2006, with responsibilities on campus and in the Bard Prison Initiative, it pains him that so many people have negative relationships with math. Japheth designs educational experiences through the Bard Math Circle and the New York Math Circle to promote the healthy enjoyment of mathematics. He hopes to co-create more opportunities in the Hudson Valley for children to encounter, explore, investigate, and learn mathematics, leading to discovery and encouragement. He believes we need a vibrant math enrichment ecosystem that opens intellectual opportunities to all.
John grew up in Eastchester, NY, and went to school in North Carolina, Virginia and Wisconsin. His worklife took him to New Hampshire, Connecticut and New York City, and he describes his 25 years in the television industry as “a very good time”. In 2012, John came to the Hudson Valley, and immediately fell in love with the people he met. He joined the Rosendale Theatre programming committee, started talking about the Repair Cafe idea from Amsterdam, and was invited to join the Sustainable Hudson Valley board. John was the Program Manager for Solarize Hudson Valley from 2015 – 2018. Dedicated to seeing their “experiment in repair culture” thrive, John acts as communicator, coordinator and cheerleader. 25 Repair Cafes are now in 10 counties in the HV and Catskills, all locally organized, creative and socially vibrant, with more in the planning. John loves music, his book group guys, the region’s rivers and valleys. He is in awe of his grown son and daughter, but everything now is connected to our profound climate-changing world.
Jon has been using technology to spark social change for over a decade. He is a co-founder of the climate activist group 350.org, a producer of documentary films that have been screened around the world, and a distributed organizer for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. Jon lives in Kingston, where he works at Relay — a startup that empowers non-profits and progressive campaigns to scale their impact through authentic conversations. In his free time, he makes wood-fired pizza, scours the hills for secret swimming holes, and works for justice and sustainability in the Hudson Valley.
Karin Roux works to secure grant funds and complete land conservation projects in Dutchess County, to forever protect natural resources that secure our local food, keep our air and water clean, and preserve wildlife habitat and the distinctive Harlem- and Hudson Valley landscapes that give us a sense of place. Originally from South Africa, Karin has lived on-and-off in the mid-Hudson Valley for 20 of the past 30 years. So far, Karin’s connection with local farms and the natural world has shaped her experiences and appreciation of the Hudson Valley. She is looking forward to this experience with GWI deepening her understanding of life in the area for all who live and/or work here. Karin lives in Kingston, NY with her husband and young daughter; as well as dog, Maggles, and guinea pigs, Nibs and Bibbs.
Lara Shihab-Eldin is an architectural designer, founder of LE Design in 2011, and co-founder of Collected Matters in 2017. In addition to providing architectural design services, her practices research and advise on sustainable materials with a light environmental footprint. With roots in the Middle East, the California Bay Area, NYC, and currently in the Hudson Valley, Lara’s work is influenced by varied landscapes and craftsmanship traditions. She volunteers to encourage environmental stewardship and interdisciplinary outdoor education in her community. Lara recently completed a children’s library space which brings together literacy, play, and ecological design, inspired by the history, landscape, and industry of a Hudson River community. She has worked for architecture and landscape architecture firms including Bernheimer Architecture, Allied Works Architecture, and James Corner Field Operations (on the High Line park in NYC). Lara received a BA from Brown University in Architectural History/Urban Studies, and an M.Arch from Columbia University.
Lisa Taranto has been practicing and implementing ecological design for over three decades. One of her superpowers is curiosity, making her a life long learner. She relishes taking risks, creating something out of nothing, and working with others who are adventurous and thrive in creative challenges. She is currently the Head of Horticulture at Menla Mountain Retreat in Phoenicia.
Maria Reidelbach is an author, artist and local food activist sharing how eating locally grown food is delightful, healthy, and supports farming and land conservation. Innovative, interactive artworks she has created include the annual Stick to Local Adventure Map, a sticker-collecting contest enthusing thousands of visitors and residents alike to visit and learn about local farms, libraries, restaurants and other organizations. Her award-winning Homegrown Mini-Golf, set in an annotated tasting garden, was developed from 2006 to 2016 on Kelder’s Farm. She has authored: the “Yardavore” column in Country Wisdom News, about eating cultivated and foraged flora, fungi and fauna; the Stick to Local Farms Cookbook, with simple, delicious and healthy recipes using local produce; Miniature Golf, an illustrated history; and Completely MAD: A History of the Comic Book and Magazine. She serves as Vice President of the nonprofit Rondout Valley Growers Association. Maria lives, works and eats in Accord.
Melissa Forbes is an artist, yogini, author, teacher, and world traveler. She is the creator of Mandala paintings, artwork for meditation, awakening, grounding, and teaches art yoga workshops worldwide. A yoga professional, Melissa is a graduate of American Viniyoga Institute, Heart of Yoga RYT 200, Suluk Academy, Four Winds Society, was the recipient of a Pollack-Krasner grant, and five-year scholarship at the National Academy. She was an adjunct professor at University of New Haven, teaching art in Saudi Arabia. She is also the author of “No Teaching Yoga”. Through mandala as a true yoga practice, Melissa continues to share her knowledge and gifts in order to help others awaken to their true purpose in life and to foster the connection between all people and things.
Molly Sterrs is a lifelong Hudson Valley resident, leaving only to serve in the US Navy in 2009. Upon returning to her beloved Uptown Kingston, where she currently resides with her partner, Kyle and son, Gavin, she found it much different from the town she left. This offered a wonderful opportunity to get to work to help bridge the gap between “New Kingston” and “Old Kingston.” Molly works as the Community Activator for O+ Festival and the Customer Success Manager at Luminary Publishing, In June of 2018, she was elected to the Board of Trustees for the Kingston Library, and now chairs their Community Engagement Committee. If Molly were a sandwich, she would be a caprese panini.
Nathaniel Williams studied visual art at the newARTschool in Switzerland. After art school he learned and toured theater with a puppet troupe. He currently works as an independent artist and teacher and lives in Philmont, New York. He was a member of Think OutWord’s first core group, a co-founder of Free Columbia and an adjunct professor and doctoral candidate at the University at Albany. He is currently orchestrating the 2020 launch of a new trans-disciplinary program at Free Columbia rooted in contemplative inquiry, aesthetic education and action research.
Noa Jones is Executive Director of Middle Way Education and the Middle Way School of the Hudson Valley, a new progressive school based on Buddhist wisdom traditions in Saugerties, NY. She was communications director for Khyentse Foundation, a Buddhist philanthropic organization, for 16 years and remains chair of KF’s education committee. She spent three years in Bhutan developing education alternatives in association with the Ministry of Education and the Royal Education Council. She a also a writer. Her nonfiction has been published in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Tricycle, The Shambhala Sun, Marie Claire and others. Her fiction has appeared in VICE Magazine, Glimmer Train, and The Raven. She wrote Nature, Creativity, and Our Collective Future (Palace Press, 2007), and contributed to Global Perspectives on Spirituality in Education (Routledge, 2013). She has a journalism degree from UMass Amherst and an MFA in creative writing from Hunter College.
Rachel Yeager has a background in business and brand development with a specific focus on bringing innovative, sustainable, and organic food products to market. After a career in product sourcing and distribution in NYC, Rachel went on to manage the wholesale program at Bread Alone Bakery. She currently works as a brand strategist for women-run design house Limetta Studio. Rachel holds an undergraduate degree from Tufts University, and has studied at Oxford University and The Culinary Institute of America. She spends her off hours exploring workplace equity, community development, and culinary and fine arts. Her passion for local food systems, sustainability, and food justice coupled with her connection to the Hudson Valley fuel her desire to actualize positive social change in the region. Rachel resides with her partner in Rhinecliff, NY, and together they are raising a mini travel junkie/dog enthusiast.
Rob comes from the world of video journalism and visual storytelling in search of collaborations that fulfill needs…both of his community and within his soul. He formerly worked for the New York Times and now works at the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies. Rob grew up in Brooklyn, was educated in the Bay Area and settled in Woodstock six years ago with his midwife wife and two small children. He plays soccer poorly and intends to get serious about his meditation practice.
Sarah moved to the Hudson Valley in the spring of 2017 to be closer to family after spending nearly 20 years on the shores and slopes of Washington State. A desire to build community and share her love of the outdoors with young people led her to spend nearly a decade volunteering as a mentor and snowboard instructor for Seattle youth. Sarah has a Master’s Degree in Natural Resource Management and has worked in the fields of environmental conservation, food justice, corporate accountability, and civic/political engagement. Sarah currently works for Wild Earth, a local organization that cultivates character, confidence, passion and perseverance in young people through transformative experiences in nature. She also serves as Board Co-President for the High Falls Food Co-op. Sarah lives on her cousins’ farm and orchard in High Falls and spends most of her free time going on adventures with her new puppy, Daisy.
Shauna is a community leader specializing in design. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Art degree in Graphic Design from SUNY New Paltz. Shauna is currently employed as a remote Product Designer at TurnTo Networks while she resides in Kingston to lead organizations including AIGA Upstate New York, the Hudson Valley Tech Meetup, and Catskills Conf. She is committed to growing the tech community in the Hudson Valley in a way that is inclusive and meaningful to all who inhabit it.
Siennah is a recent Vassar graduate with a B.A. in Geography. She works at Susan G. Blickstein, LLC, an urban planning firm based in New Paltz. In 2015, Siennah started a mid-Hudson branch for Rescuing Leftover Cuisine (RLC), a non-profit that rescues and donates surplus food. As RLC’s Branch Development Manager, she also guide sthe operations of 16+ other branches. While at Vassar, Siennah nterned at Dutchess County Transportation Council and Hudson River Housing, and also assisted Professor Kafui Attoh from CUNY to analyze and provide recommendations for Dutchess County’s public transit. As a member of Vassar Road Baptist Church, she plays the piano during services and coordinates their community service ministries. Siennah has a passion for community-driven urban planning practices that create, maintain, and reimagine equitable and sustainable urban spaces for all to thrive.
Raised in the Hudson Valley, Susie grew up watching her parents navigate a new language in order to provide a better life for their family. She earned her MFA in Fine Art at Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana, and eventually moved back to New York to raise her daughter . Susie worked in retail for 10 years before feeling the urgent call to found Latinx in 2017, her organization to strengthen the latin community through art and community . Susie hopes to combat the stigma behind being undocumented, while bridging the gap between the latin community and the places they live. In the last year Latinx Project has worked with Latino Cultural Study, Arts Mid-Hudson, La Guelaguetza, and New Wave Latin. Susie is now working on organizing the Creative Market for Women of Color.
Born in Newbugh, Taeshira is goal-driven and eager to succeed. She was born and raised in Newburgh, NY. She holds an Associate’s Degree in Fashion Marketing & Management from Berkeley College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services from Mount St. Mary College. She is also a Certified Life Coach and will be obtaining a Master’s Degree in Social Work, from Adelphi University, in May 2019. Taeshira has a passion for youth activism and empowerment, helping young people create plans that take them from where they are, to where they want to be. Her vision is to empower youth to thrive in the face of adversity, through educational programs. She has a passion for reading, research, and spending time with her best friend, her 9-year-old son Di’Yari.