Jan Helson, Co-Founder & Board Chair
Favorite Ice Cream: Coffee
Jan is a dedicated philanthropist, passionate entrepreneur, and successful businesswoman. Along with her husband Tim, she operated and developed Golden Foods/Golden Brands for 20 years and built the brand into a global leader in the industrial baking industry. The convergence of her daughter Rachel’s philanthropic journey and Jan’s professional journey was the impetus for co-founding Global Game Changers Children’s Education Initiative, Inc. (GGC) in 2013. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit now provides social-emotional learning (SEL) and character and leadership development curricula that empower students to overcome apathy, feel empathy, and foster a sustainable connection to service.
Thanks to the generous support of the Novak Family Foundation, GGC was able to develop a custom online platform for educators and expand their student empowerment program nationwide and abroad. The curriculum is now taught to pre-K through 5th grade students in 49 states and 13 countries.
In addition to operating a real estate development company, Jan co-wrote two award-winning children’s books, Philanthropy: A Big Word for Big-Hearted People and The Global Game Changers. Jan serves on the University of Louisville Nystrand Center of Excellence in Education Advisory Board and the National SEL Providers Association Advocacy Committee. She has two grown children, Rachel and Jackson, and lives in Louisville, Kentucky with her husband, Tim and their Australian Shepherds, Amigo and Peanut.
Rachel Annette Helson, Co-Founder
Favorite Ice Cream: Lavender
Rachel Annette Helson is an actress, director and producer in NYC + LA. She is a 2009 graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and can be seen on TV in THE KNICK, LAW & ORDER: SVU and POWER and in the Netflix comedy THE POLKA KING. She has appeared onstage at the Atlantic Theater Company (24 Hours Plays), New World Stages and Playwrights Horizons. And, is the Youngest Producer in Broadway history to be Nominated for a Tony Award.
In 2018, she made her directorial debut on the short film Hatched starring Melissa Ponzio (Teen Wolf, Chicago Fire) and she co-created the Original Series “Global Game Changers” starring David Faustino (Married with Children,) Keith Powell (30 Rock,) Suzy Nakamura (Dr. Ken) and Carolina Ravassa (Overwatch.)
In 2019, she was selected as one of SHOOT Online’s New Directors to Watch and is a member of the Alliance of Women Directors.
She is the co-owner and CEO of Jora Creative, a Film, TV + Commercial Production Company. She is committed to supporting her philanthropic passions that include 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 professional theatrical benefits in her hometown of Louisville, KY and on Broadway in New York City 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 and its’ foundational equation: MY TALENT + MY HEART = MY SUPERPOWER!™
board of directors
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