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.
This is Aileah’s ninth season as the owner and manager of Clove Valley Community Farm in High Falls, NY. Aileah is a passionate vegetable-grower, entrepreneur, teacher, community-builder, and artist… and the farm has been an amazing canvas for all of these! She consistently hosts a variety of community events, including work-parties, equinox or solstice fires, art shows and performances, workshops, potlucks, and an annual plant sale. She loves to host apprentices who come to learn by working together, and to experience her unique land-based community lifestyle. School groups and any individual seeking a healing and educational experience are welcome to come join a work-session and share a meal. Every Wednesday afternoon from June-Oct, Aileah can be found at the Woodstock Farm Festival selling vegetables and herbal tea. She is currently exploring ways to expand her work in the community, and to bring even more community to the farm.
Tanu is an urban planning and policy consultant based in the Hudson Valley, providing planning, research, and program development support to organizations addressing economic development challenges for low and moderate-income communities. She is a Senior Fellow at the Pratt Center for Community Development in Brooklyn, NY, and led Pratt Center’s economic development work in NYC for five years. In this role, Tanu worked with community-based organizations and government agencies on land use planning efforts, industrial development and zoning, and equitable economic growth strategies. She also spent several years in India developing affordable housing and evaluating the impact of housing assistance programs.
Entrepreneur, designer, and fascinated human, Sean Ritchey does things he loves by day, and sleeps by night. Based in Kingston, NY, you’ll usually find him working on creating simple solutions to old problems. He is the co-founder of Threshold Builders (threshold.builders), which designs, fabricates, and builds uncommonly good dwellings, large and small. He is also a longtime board member at the Common Fire Foundation (commonfire.org). Current obsessions include the micro and macros of gentrification, and creating full stack municipal scale solutions for small cities. Creative by nature, and a life-long autodidact, Sean draws connections between many disciplines and skill-sets, in the pursuit of offering deeply useful contributions. He also rides his bike a lot, makes photographs, travels often, writes about things that fascinate him, cooks and eats delicious food, and plays outside.
Kendra is a real estate development professional, new to the Hudson Valley. Kendra spent the past 15 years in New Orleans, LA and Seattle, WA. In New Orleans, Kendra focused on commercial real estate sales, leasing, and property management. She received her masters degree in urban and regional planning with a focus in economic and community development from the University of New Orleans. Kendra currently holds the position of real estate development project manager at RUPCO, a nonprofit affordable housing developer based in Kingston, where she’s working on several impactful commercial and residential projects. In her spare time, Kendra enjoys exploring the Gunks and Catskills on bike and on foot, and recently began climbing.
Kadiatou Sidibe is a Hudson Valley resident originally from West Africa. She is a social entrepreneur and a visionary with three accomplished daughters. She holds a New York State License and a Master’s degree in Social Work with a Global concentration from Adelphi University H.V. Kadiatou believes that by sharing your story in an empowering way one can heal oneself, which in turn heals our community, therefore, our environment. She is a very enthusiastic learner and dedicated to helping others in a more holistic approach. Certified in trauma healing she is currently working with trauma and interpersonal violence clients. As a Certified Empowerment and Life Skills coach, she works with individuals and small groups in her community to help them turn their lives around. Kadiatou loves to garden, cook and socialize with friends. Her favorite stress relievers are going to the gym and practicing interior designing.
Manuel is a recent immigrant from Oaxaca, Mexico. After advancing his English with Ulster Literacy, he was asked to join their Board, as well as tutor math. He then became an intern with the City of Kingston in the Department of Economic and Community Development. Through that experience, he learned more about the needs of the Kingston community. That led to the blossoming of my his career with Radio Kingston. I am currently a tech and production associate and the host of La Dosis Perfecta, a Spanish language music show.
Zoë has called the Hudson Valley home for more than a decade. She is a non-traditional learner with a diverse background in project management and communication, and passion for social justice, local food systems, and community. As a community activist, volunteer, and professional, Zoë leads with curiosity, humor, and practicality. She strives for the ever-elusive life balance – salvaging random supplies for home projects, photographing performing arts, preserving the harvest, connecting with her people, and turning the compost.
FreedomWalker was born in the largest neighborhood in the northern section of New York City called Harlem. She grew up in the major residential, culture and businesses center, an awesome place to nurture her creative skills. FreedomWalker attended Fashion Institute of Technology and The Arts Student League in New York City. Her life was somewhat functioning but she did not feel connected to her mission in life, and found herself asking, “What’s my purpose? ” Since 2014, she has lived upstate NY. She has received a certificate in Creative Art Therapy, and is studying for two more certificates. She has done several TMI Projects and works as radio host for Radio Kingston.
Tarah is the owner of outdated, a vegetarian cafe in Kingston, NY, which she started with her partner Gabriel in 2012. Together they also opened outdated lite, an espresso bar in midtown Kingston in June of 2018. She is passionate about the earth’s heath, animal rights and edible flowers. She is committed to bringing healthy and affordable vegetarian food to the community. Tarah spends most of her free time traveling with her family and finding antiques to furnish her home and shops. She lives in Hudson, New York with her partner and son.
Sue Sie grew up living next door to a German family in NJ who practiced permaculture before it became a word. Her family relocated to PA where she worked at Burpee’s Fordhook Farms during summer breaks and started her own back yard garden. She began her studies at Penn State University in Biology, transitioned to Landscape Architecture and graduated with a B.S. in Architecture in 1982. She worked in NJ firms until 1989 when she moved up to Rhinecliff and began her own practice, Sie Designs. Throughout her career, she has maintained her love for living systems. In 2016 she enrolled in Omega Institute’s Ecological Literacy Immersion Program. This brought about her initiative to increase local food security by helping people grow their own food- “Back Yard to Table”. She also created the Rhinecliff Sustainability Series at the Morton Memorial Library in Rhinecliff, NY and co-founded the Morton Seed Library.
Stephanie Fisher-Meyer is a designer and activist residing in Highland. She’s currently the Brand & Community Manager at Bread Alone where she executes creative design and brand strategy for both internal and customer-facing facets of the brand at large. She spends her off-hours exploring the intersection of personal values and professional development, and daily seeks to integrate intersectional feminism and collaborative leadership into our politics, workplaces, and lives. Having grown-up in the Hudson Valley, she recognizes the inherent value of rooting in a place actively bridging the gap between city and wilderness. She attended NYU and went on to spend a formative portion of her twenties working on farmstead dairies across the country. After a period of wanderlust, she’s finally settled back in the Hudson Valley where she and her husband are raising their own tiny herd of their vibrant daughter, a nervous rescue dog, and a feisty flock of chickens.
Stacey leads the strategy for humanifesto studios, a brand strategy, design, and storytelling studio that works with enlightened leaders to bring their ideas to life in a way that inspires and activates others—to invest, to join, to advocate for their cause, to think differently. Prior to founding humanifesto studios, Stacey was a Principal at SYPartners where she specialized in helping CEOs and their teams discover and articulate their company’s story, then crafting the supporting narrative and experiences to activate their audiences. A California native, Stacey moved from San Francisco to the West Village in 2010, then traded the fast-paced urban lifestyle a few years later for the slow(er) life Upstate, where she lives and works in the Village of Saugerties, NY. She is a graduate of Stanford University and the Harvard Business School, prefers books printed on real paper, and lives as much as she can behind the lens.
Paloma is a Beacon-based event producer with a focus on community engagement, and is the newly minted Market Manager for the Beacon Farmers Market with guidance from Common Ground Farm. Her last project was as the Associate Producer for Full Circle at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, where she led an ambitious 43-person cast of warehouse workers, doctors, teachers, doulas, clowns, professional performers, and other community members in a new production of “Rip Van Winkle; or Cut the Old Moon into Stars.” In that time she also produced the play reading series “HVSF2” at the Philipstown Depot Theatre. Before moving to the Hudson Valley, she was a special events planner and theatrical stage manager in NYC working with such companies as BAM (the Brooklyn Academy of Music), Under the Radar at The Public Theater, Signature Theatre, Jessica Lang Dance, The Bushwick Starr, and fellow Brooklyn-turned-Beacon-ites Banana, Bag, and Bodice.
Melissa Hewitt is Creative Director and Co-Founder of VISITvortex, a local magazine and website dedicated to stimulating the local economy by promoting and introducing the faces behind independently owned businesses and organizations. VISITvortex is a celebration of each season and a portal to the great people and places of the Hudson Valley. Melissa also leads Authentic Sound and Movement groups where women can open up to their truest selves and inner power. All of her work is devoted to bringing people together in supportive and meaningful ways that promote growth, abundance, kindness and true happiness. She is looking forward to seeing what this community can create by working together on a common vision.
Mathew Swerdloff is beginning a new chapter in his life with the GWI Fellowship. A resident of the Hudson Valley for over three decades, he has just retired from a twenty-five year career in public education, as a teacher and an administrator. His new chapter will include devoting much of his time to the work of the Maya Gold Foundation, which he founded with his wife Elise in 2015. Mathew is the President of the Board of the Maya Gold Foundation and is passionate about the Mission and Vision of the organization. Mathew loves being outdoors, hiking in the Catskills and the Schawangunks, and biking the many Hudson Valley trails. He is an Adjunct Professor of Education at SUNY New Paltz and at Manhattan College, where he teaches in the School Leadership programs, and he travels the world teaching for SUNY Buffalo’s International Graduate Program for Educators.
A simple daily act of preparing food with love and intention has the power to bring people together, nurture, heal, inspire and delight. There is no greater satisfaction for Marta than these simple pleasures and they are a guiding principle behind the formation of Potters Table Coffee Shop. With Potters Table, Marta is creating a space for the local community of Cairo, NY to gather, share and be inspired while enjoying fresh baked goods and coffee served in locally crafted pottery. Her menus focus on using seasonal ingredients that support the local economy. For the past 20 years Marta has worked in the tech sector and developed a career as a Director of Project Management all the while nurturing her love of baking. Six years ago she left New York City and is happy to now call the Catskills her home.
Lydia Willoughby believes that access to information is a human right and a civil right and that how we use information to build knowledge can make us more compassionate and joyful. Her work is about manifesting personal liberation balanced with community engagement. Willoughby has a Master’s in Library and Information Science from the Palmer School at Long Island University (2011), a Master of Arts in English Literature from The University of Montana (2006), and is a graduate of Bard College (2003). In 2013, Willoughby was selected as one of Library Journal’s “Movers & Shakers” in the community builder category. In 2014, she was awarded the Vermont Pride Award for Activism in the LGBTQ community. She loves living in the Hudson Valley with her wife and two dogs, and is a nerd for maritime history.
Lauree Ostrofsky helps women leap into careers and businesses they love. She is an author, speaker, coach and hugger with a national following of A-students who lean on and learn from each other. In 2014, she founded the vibrant local community, Hudson Valley Women in Business, with more than 2,000 members and growing. Her books are, “SIMPLY LEAP: Seven lessons on facing fear and enjoying the crap out of your life,” and “I’m scared & doing it anyway” about reinventing her life after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. Find out more about her writing, speaking and hugging at SimplyLeap.com and @SimplyLeap on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Kara Martin Snyder is a question-asking machine, critical thinker, and strategic problem-solver who’s been turning around chaotic situations for individuals and organizations for over 20 years. Helping to create a vital corps of assertive, energized women out in the world is what propels her. After a decade of supporting frazzled, Type-A women at the intersection of functional health & lifestyle redesign, she launched Le vital corps Salon podcast in 2016. As salonnière, Kara interviews successful working women – from artists to entrepreneurs to astronauts – about how they slay BS and sidestep burnout. Additionally, Kara is the creator of the 33K Task List Project, her quest to transform 33,000 handwritten task lists from women into art and explore how we juggle obligation and desire. Her work has been featured in Prevention, Wall Street Journal and Fortune magazine among others. Make yourself cozy in Kara’s digital home at http://vitalcorpswellness.com/.
Jessica is a leadership consultant who has spent the last 20 years working with people to clarify their most meaningful goals and grow into the leaders they most wish to be (or not!). Her passion has been to help organizations identify and develop talent, stimulate new thinking about what groups can do and how they can work together, and facilitate important conversations. After falling in love with the Hudson Valley, she and her partner Matt seeded the idea garden in 2016, and are working to bring each of their backgrounds together into this new venture. An ever evolving concept, the idea garden is a space in midtown Kingston for community events, collaborations, workshops, and ideas to grow, as well as to share and discuss art. Her best days also include dogs, coffee, crafts, reducing waste, and riding her bike.
Helanna has been the Green Teen Coordinator at Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County since 2004. Green Teen combines many of her passions- working with youth, growing food, arts and education. Before that she was a counselor at a crisis shelter for homeless youth. Her experience working with youth in crisis has made her the perfect mentor for participants in Green Teen. The youth often go to her for guidance before they talk to other adults in their lives. She’s worked as a farm apprentice, an educator for various organizations including the Bard Prison Initiative, and as a consultant for a micro-finance NGO in Nigeria. Helanna has a BFA in Photojournalism from RIT and a MPS in Humanistic Multicultural Education from SUNY New Paltz. When she’s not growing vegetables with teenagers, she can be found hanging out with her family and friends, hurrying to a yoga class, or scheming about what her next adventure will be.
Elizabeth Audley is the Director of Community Engagement and Associate Producer at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. Elizabeth has been a professional theater maker for over 20 years; an actor, director, producer, and writer. She’s also worked with arts organizations all over the country as a resource consultant through Arts Action Research, a non-profit arts management consulting group. She was a field organizer for the 2008 Obama campaign in Pennsylvania, and a Certified Urban Gardener in Brooklyn–supporting and facilitating community greening efforts in diverse neighborhoods. She’s been a teaching artist for theaters in Milwaukee, Los Angeles, New York, and beyond, and has directed and taught acting at community colleges and other public universities, where her focus was ensemble-based, devised, and original student-written work. She lives in Beacon, NY with her husband, Martin Anderson, their son, Max, and their dog, Hazel.
Duncan is an artist and event producer living in the woods outside Kingston, NY. In 2005, he created The Bunce Group to give a name to his unique, open-hearted approach to event production and concert promotion. In 2018, Duncan founded Our New Energy Fair (ONE Fair) in the Hudson Valley, an experimental sustainability conference to help people connect with the Earth. Duncan has lived and worked in NYC, Hong Kong, and Boston, producing hundreds of experiences–all tied by their focus on creativity, love, and social good.
Creek is a husband, father, musician, and the owner/director of Seed Song Farm & Center. The 50-acre agroecological farm grows chemical-free produce available through weekly CSA pick-up socials at the farm, while the center conducts food- and farm-based educational programs (for examples, youth summer camp and adult lactofermented food workshops) and collaborative cultural and arts events (such as Halloween Fest with My KIngston KIds, Hudson Valley Brassroots Festival, and seasonal celebrations with Neetopk Keetopk) surrounding the farming. The mission of the enterprise is to re-kindle a cultural reverence for our land by making healthy food and farm experiences available to all, and celebrating the land and its bounty together. Creek formerly was an environmental educator, naturalist, and teacher. He continues to make music at local farm and community events, and to work towards a governance that prioritizes taking care of each other.
Outcomes-focused professional, Carol Reiser has more than 27 years in resource development and strategic planning for nonprofits and higher education. Personally, securing more than $60 million from government, corporate and foundation sources as well as individuals through annual, leadership and major gifts to support collaborations, new initiatives, programs, facility upgrades and operating expenses. With considerable experience in the political, public-policy and advocacy realms as an appointee for both Democrat and Republican Governors – two in Ohio and two in New York – and as a writer for the Speaker of the New York Assembly, Carol is comfortable working among multi-cultural and community collaboratives, which fuels her passion for supporting social change, particularly through education and advocacy. Carol acquired a firm understanding of the impact that education and advocacy has on local and global communities through her professional and volunteer work and her undergraduate education in agricultural communications at The Ohio State University.
Beth Humphrey is an artist, educator and arts education advocate. Since 2007 she has been the Education Curator at the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum in charge of all school programs and community engagement projects. She was born and raised in New York City and studied printmaking at Minneapolis College of Art and Design and surface design at Oregon College of Art and Craft and has shown her work nationally and was a New York Foundation for the Arts Mark Fellow in 2009. In 2005 Beth co-founded Art Lab, an arts based non-profit that promotes free and low cost arts programming for children based in the Hudson Valley. Beth’s work is informed by the belief that community-based arts practitioners bring members of a community together to solve problems, build relationships, and get involved in ways that rebuild social capital. She has raised her family in the Hudson Valley since 1997.
A Farmer, Voice Actor/Actor, Entrepreneur, and Musician. Ashton resides in Kingston, NY with his wife/business partner of 11 years, and their one and half year old son Hendrix, aka; “The Drix.” Ashton is a constant researcher who dreams/calculates big for himself, his family, humanity, this earth, and beyond. Hailing from Salt Lake City, Utah, lived a short stint in LA, and spending the last decade in NYC; his journey has been a constant pursuit to live what he calls a meaningful and fulfilling life.
Aliza Krevolin is the Director of Special Projects at the Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley. She performs a broad range of tasks including managing the scholarship process, assisting in processing grants, convening grantees, supporting the CFO, and planning, managing and implementing special projects such as FeedHV, a food recovery and gleaning app. Aliza previously worked at Generations Incorporated in Boston, MA, where she was the Active Aging Program Manager. Prior to that, Aliza conducted policy research and organized legislative advocacy at Charles Group Consulting and worked in strategic planning and leadership development at Combined Jewish Philanthropies. Aliza holds a graduate degree in social work from Boston University and a bachelor’s degree in sociology and history from Brandeis University. She resides in Ulster County with her wife, Lindsey, and her two rescue dogs and rabbit. Aliza enjoys hiking and kayaking throughout the Hudson Valley in her free time.