Jan Helson, Co-Founder & Board Chair
Favorite Ice Cream: Coffee
Jan is a dedicated philanthropist, passionate entrepreneur, and successful businesswoman. With a professional background in business, she has spent 30 years with her husband and business partner, Tim, launching and managing new ventures. In addition to operating their real estate development company, for 20 years they operated and developed their family niche food manufacturing business, Golden Foods/Golden Brands, into a global leader in the industrial baking industry.
After retiring In 2011, at the age of 51, Jan proclaimed that her “Second Act” would be committed to giving back and helping to make the world a better place for future generations. Jan and her daughter Rachel have written two award winning children’s books, Philanthropy: A Big Word for Big-Hearted People and The Global Game Changers.
The convergence of Rachel’s philanthropic journey and Jan’s professional journey was the impetus for co-founding Global Game Changers Student Empowerment Program in 2013, the next step in fulfilling her “Second Act” commitment. Global Game Changers is a service-learning curriculum aimed at developing children’s character, social-emotional competencies and leadership skills. Thanks to the generous support of Lift a Life Foundation, they recently developed a custom online platform for educators and co-created the GGC Original Series “Cape Kids” to sustain the expansion of their student empowerment program nationwide.
Jan serves on the University of Louisville Nystrand Center of Excellence in Education Advisory Board. She has two grown children, Rachel and Jackson, and lives in Louisville, Kentucky with her husband, Tim and their Australian Shepherd, Amigo!
Rachel Annette Helson, Co-Founder
Favorite Ice Cream: Lavander
Rachel Annette Helson is an actress, director and entertainment entrepreneur. She has appeared on television shows like Law & Order: SVU, The Knick and Power and in the Netflix Original Film The Polka King. In 2009, she became the youngest Broadway producer in history to be nominated for a TONY award for her work on Neil LaBute’s reasons to be pretty. She is making her directorial debut on the short film Hatched starring Melissa Ponzio (Teen Wolf, Chicago Fire) and she co-created the GGC Original Series “Cape Kids” starring David Faustino (Married with Children,) Keith Powell (30 Rock,) Suzy Nakamura (Dr. Ken) and Carolina Ravassa (Overwatch.)
She is the co-founder of One Cute Dog Productions, a full service video communications company that creates branded content, videos and advertisements for clients like Macy’s, The Broadway League, PediaSure, Thermador, Quicken Loans and more.
She has raised over $175,000 for philanthropic causes including breast cancer prevention, improving the education system and eradicating childhood hunger.
At age 15, after finding out that four aunts had been diagnosed with breast cancer, she began producing theatrical benefits to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research and prevention. Rachel’s experience using her talent to help her heart cause is what inspired the creation of the Global Game Changers.
board of directors
Ashley Butler, Lift a Life Foundation
Jan Helson, Helson Development
Rachel Annette Helson, One Cute Dog Productions
Colton Payne, Brown-Forman Corporation
Jay Saling, Saling Wealth Advisors
Kristy Schmitt, Schmitt & Company
Deborah Walker, Civic Volunteer
Joy Billops, Asst. Principal
JCPS Breckinridge-Franklin Elementary
Dr. Judi Vanderhaar, Program Consultant
Kentucky Department of Education
Lisa Middelton, Regional Director
YMCA School Age Child Care