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 Novak Family Foundation, they recently developed a custom online platform for educators and co-created the GGC Original Series “Global Game Changers” 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: 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