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 nationwide.
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 National SEL Providers Association Advocacy Committee and 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 Shepherds, Amigo and Peanut.
Rachel Annette Helson, Co-Founder
Favorite Ice Cream: Lavender
Rachel Annette Helson is a professional director and actor in New York City.
Her feature film directing credits include THE ENGAGEMENT DRESS (2023 release,) HOW TO LIVE YOUR BEST DEATH (Amazon/LMN distribution – 2022) and YOU’RE NOT SAFE HERE (Amazon/Lifetime distribution – 2021.) In the Winter of 2021, she served as the 2nd Unit Director for the Hallmark Christmas movie A HOLIDAY IN HARLEM. Her 2019 short film HATCHED was chosen as Bitpix’s Short of the Week, an Official Selection of HollyShorts, an Official Selection of StudioFest – where she was a finalist director – and a Film Shortage Daily Short Pick. She was named a New Director to Watch by SHOOT Online Magazine and is a current member of the Alliance of Women Directors and Film Fatales.
As an actress, she has appeared in episodes of THE KNICK, LAW & ORDER: SVU and POWER as well as in the Netflix film THE POLKA KING. In May 2023, she can be seen as a recurring guest star in the HBO Max mini-series FULL CIRCLE written by Ed Solomon and directed by Steven Soderbergh. A graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, she has acted onstage at the Atlantic Theater Company (24 Hour Plays), New World Stages and Playwrights Horizons.
Rachel holds the proud distinction of being the Youngest Producer in Broadway history to be Nominated for a Tony Award for her work on Neil LaBute’s REASONS TO BE PRETTY – and has been featured in publications like the New York Times, Backstage and Forbes.
board of directors
Joy Billops, Principal
JCPS Greenwood Elementary
Dr. Judi Vanderhaar, Program Consultant
Kentucky Department of Education
Lisa Middelton, Regional Director
YMCA School Age Child Care