From sketching out a hugely successful business plan for Equator Coffees & Teas with partner Brooke McDonnell on the back of a napkin at a Starbucks in 1992 and receiving awards from the 2020 Panama Cup and Good Food Awards to garnering 2016 Small Business Person of the Year for California – the first time in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s history that it selected LGBT business owners – Mill Valley resident and Equator co-founder Helen Russell is no stranger to being honored.

The cavalcade of kudos continued this month when Russell was honored at the San Rafael Chamber’s 2021 Women of Industry Celebration, which honors “exceptional women in business in Marin County.” “Helen has a genuine commitment to pushing boundaries, motivating others, and building relationships with colleagues and employees,” San Rafael Chamber Executive Director Joanne Webster said. “Helen is a mentor and advocate for the inclusion of everyone in our community, especially women and girls.” 

Russell has volunteered her time and business experience to local and international organizations supporting women and the environment including La Cocina Community Kitchen, the International Women in Coffee Alliance, World Bicycle Relief, and Challenged Athletes Foundation.

For the past 15 years, Equator has remained on The San Francisco Business Times’ list of the Top 100 Women-Owned Businesses. A portion of the event proceeds benefit the San Rafael Leadership Institute Scholarship Fund. For more info on the leadership institute, GO HERE.

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