March 13, 2017
Perry Bacon, Jr., a Louisville native, is a former TIME magazine and Washington Post reporter and NBC News senior political reporter and current ESPN fivethirtyeight.com senior political writer. The Root calls him “one of the few African-American ‘shoe leather’ political reporters on TV” because of his penchant for leaving his computer and the newsroom behind to hit the streets in search of answers for pressing political questions.
Louisville native John Yarmuth launched his publishing career when he founded Louisville Today magazine (1975) and later the Louisville Eccentric Observer (LEO) a weekly newspaper (1990). Since 2007 he has represented Kentucky’s 3rd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
August 23, 2017
Elizabeth Mayhew is currently the Brand Editor for Reese Witherspoon’s Southern-inspired brand, Draper James, a contributing editor at NBC’s Today Show and a monthly columnist for The Washington Post. She also is the author of FLIP! for Decorating (Ballantine). She has worked for a number of publications including REAL SIMPLE, House Beautiful, Southern Living, and Woman’s Day. A native of Louisville, Kentucky and a graduate of Georgetown University, she now lives in New York City with her husband and two teenage kids.
Multiple Emmy winner Shannon Cogan is a news anchor at WAVE 3 News, the NBC affiliate in Louisville, Kentucky. Shannon has 23 years experience in the news field, having worked in some of the biggest markets across the nation, including Miami, Dallas, and Orlando, where she covered the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster and the 2000 presidential election. Shannon is a graduate of Indiana University.
October 30, 2017
Jan Helson is a dedicated philanthropist, passionate entrepreneur, and successful businesswoman who has been committed to the growth of Louisville throughout her whole life. She has spent 25 years with her husband and business partner, Tim, launching and managing new business ventures.
Their successful businesses include their real estate company Helson Development Corporation, founding and managing the community space that eventually became Louisville’s Americana Community Center, and a family niche food manufacturing business, Golden Foods/Golden Brands, which has become a global leader within its field.
Jan has served on the boards of StageOne Family Theatre, Ursuline Campus Schools Development Committee, the Fundraising Committee at the Bluegrass Center for Autism and many other educational organizations. Currently, Jan serves as the Host of the Compassionate Louisville Youth Education Constellation.
Jan and her daughter Rachel Annette wrote a children’s book called Philanthropy: A Big Word for Big-Hearted People, designed to inspire kids to give back. In 2011, the Community Foundation of Louisville provided funding to Junior Achievement of Kentuckiana to introduce “PHILANTHROPY” into classrooms throughout the Kentuckiana region and to create the first JA Philanthropy House at the Kentuckiana JA BizTown, utilizing artwork, text, and lessons from the Helson’s’ book.
In 2011, at the age of 51, Jan took her commitment to giving to the next step with Global Game Changers, and proclaimed that her “Second Act” will be committed to helping kids realize that not only can they make a difference, but that they have a responsibility to Ignite Good!® to make that difference throughout the world. Ultimately her goal is to significantly impact the social-emotional and academic outcomes for Kentucky’s most at-risk children through intentional service-learning and leadership curriculum. The launch of Global Game Changers was the next step in fulfilling that commitment.
Jan has two grown children, Rachel Annette and Jackson, and lives in Louisville, Kentucky with her husband, Tim.
Rachel Annette Helson is an actress, producer, CEO, and philanthropist. Born and raised in Louisville, KY, Rachel Annette always knew that she would work in the entertainment industry. A graduate of Sacred Heart Model School and Louisville Collegiate High School, she honed her theatre skills locally at Sacred Heart Performing Arts School and Walden Theatre, while also spending her summers studying in NYC and Carnegie Mellon, before ultimately moving to NYC to attend New York University’s Tisch School for the Arts where she graduated from in 2009.
Rachel Annette has taken those talents honed in Louisville and New York to work as an actress, producer, script writer, and production company founder/CEO. On Broadway in 2009, while in college at NYU, she was a producer on two Broadway shows, “reasons to be pretty” and “title of show”. She is the youngest producer in Broadway history to be nominated for a TONY Award for her work on Neil LaBute’s “reasons to be pretty.” Online, Rachel Annette has been nominated for a Webby Award for creating and co-writing the award-winning web comedy “stalkTALK.” On TV, you may have seen her act in television shows like “Law & Order: SVU,” “The Knick,” “Power,” and in the recently released Netflix movie “The Polka King” with Jack Black. Rachel Annette is also the co-founder and CEO of One Cute Dog Productions, a video communications company that creates branded content for clients like PediaSure, Dork Diaries, Fuzzy Flyers, The Broadway League, Thermador, and Quicken Loans.
Rachel Annette has used her talents in the entertainment industry to raise funds for philanthropic causes including breast cancer prevention, improving the education system, and eradicating childhood hunger. In fact, Rachel Annette’s own experiences prompted the creation of the Global Game Changers. Upon her discovery at age 15 that four aunts had been diagnosed with breast cancer, Rachel Annette resolved to help in any way she could. Her parents, Jan and Tim, suggested Rachel Annette use her talents to help the cause. As a result, Rachel produced a musical at The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts two years in a row that raised over $100,000 for Komen for the Cure, engaging dozens of professionals across her community of Louisville, Kentucky.
When she moved to New York to attend college at 17, she brought the production benefit idea to Broadway – never forgetting her roots – benefitting both the Louisville and New York Komen chapters. Rachel Annette continues to use her talents to affect causes she feels passionate about, and she hopes to empower the next generation to do so as well.
Justin Walker serves as the Executive Director of the Global Game Changers and teaches as a professor on the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law Faculty. Raised in Louisville, he is a graduate of Sacred Heart Model School, St. Xavier High School, Duke University, and Harvard Law School. At Duke he became a nationally recognized blogger following Democratic candidates during the 2004 presidential primaries. He then wrote speeches at the Pentagon for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. At Harvard, he served as an editor for the Harvard Law Review.
Following law school, Justin practiced appellate law in Washington, D.C., and clerked for D.C. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh and Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. In 2011, he was named as a Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Law & Policy honoree.
Justin joined the faculty of the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law in 2015. There he teaches Legal Writing, advises the Law Review, and supervises students in a collaboration with Central High School to inspire and guide future lawyers.
Justin was raised by a single working mother who always taught him the value of giving back. He now lives in Louisville with his wife, Anne, who shares his passion for teaching kids about compassion (as well as his passion for college basketball), and his daughter Isabella.
Originally from North Carolina, Anne Walker is a career writer and researcher who has written for business, academic, political, and nonprofit entities. After earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science at Duke University and Master’s Degree in International Affairs at George Washington University in 2006, she joined the staff of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick in the Legislative Affairs Office. In 2009, she moved back to Washington, D.C. as an independent writer and researcher. In 2012, Anne also published her debut novel, The Booby Trap, which was listed on USA Today’s Happy Ever After Recommended Read list.
While still in D. C., Anne joined the Global Game Changers team, first writing policy content and ultimately developing academic curricula. In 2013, she relocated with her husband, Justin, to his hometown of Louisville, KY, to start a family and work full-time with Global Game Changers.
Anne’s academic and career experiences have led her to believe that all students need a strong background in Language Arts and that building compassionate citizens starts with our youngest students. Currently, Anne lives in Louisville, Kentucky with her husband Justin and daughter Isabella. She is happy to be living in a community that shares her values and exemplifies her love of family, education, and culture.
Sam Corbett is the Executive Director of Future Up, Advancing Louisville’s Public Schools (formerly the Jefferson County Public Education Foundation). For most of his career, Corbett was the owner/operator of Sam Meyers Inc., a 112 year old fourth generation family business started by his maternal grandfather in Louisville, Ky. For the past 25 years, Corbett has been heavily involved in public education in Kentucky. He has served as an elected member of the Jefferson County Board of Education, a member of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, on the committee for Transform Education Kentucky member, a Jefferson County Public Education Foundation Board Member, and a member of the Every1Reads Committee. He is married to Mary Michael Corbett and has three grown children.