Mint Voyagers:Helen Richardson

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

On July 26th, my fearless leader and boss, Steve McCann, gave me my list of half of the graduating class of The Distinctive Officer’s program. I was excited to get started and find out more about these individuals who have agreed to change their life and the lives of others by becoming more involved in the LBGTI community.

My first interview is with Helen Richardson, counsel for Canon Inc.

PGC: What is your background and age?

Helen: I’m 55 years old (13 in Leap Years, and thus tall for my age) and a corporate lawyer in the Philadelphia region.

PGC: What group were you in and who is your mentor?

Helen: I was a member of Team Minty Fresh. My mentor is/will be Roberta Jacobs-Meadway, the attorney who trained me many years ago and has been a mentor throughout my legal career, as well as a member of a series of boards for high-visibility non-profits.

Team Minty Fresh expressed an interest in getting involved with DVLF and also The Trevor Project. Ms. Richardson, at the reception, specifically stated that she would be using her background as an attorney and as a businesswoman to help develop a program for non-profits to help them run more like a business.

PGC: How did you get into the program?

Helen: Apparently, a couple of friends of mine nominated me (I still don’t know exactly who, so I can thank them properly). Side note, let Helen know! I am sure she would love to buy you dinner. Sorry, Helen, I just took artistic license there.

PGC: Tell me what you want people to know about you and the program.

Helen: I took much more from the program than I put in. I learned that there are as many effective leadership and communication styles as there were Mint Voyagers and team leaders. I became far more aware of the range and needs of nonprofits and political organizations serving the LGBT community. I saw a number of ways in which I can make a far greater contribution to that community, which was why I took part in the first place. I am smart enough to know how fortunate I am to be living, working and out in this era, as opposed to when I was growing up, in undergraduate and law school, and beginning my career. I also understand that we got to this point because people gave back and were and are unapologetic about who and what they are, and I am trying to do the same.

Everyone will take something different away from the program, but, more importantly, there is no developing or established leader who can’t benefit from the opportunity to network, to learn or polish skills we may not use every day, and to become energized about what needs to be and can be done.

We wish Ms. Richardson much luck in her new endeavor with The Distinctive Officer’s program!

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