Helen Russell is Co-founder and CEO of Equator Coffees & Teas® in San Rafael, CA. Under 19 years of her strategic guidance, Equator has grown from a tiny roaster in a small garage to an internationally recognized brand thriving at the intersection of sustainability, quality, and social and environmental responsibility. Over the years, Equator has become deeply engaged with women's empowerment initiatives, and recently became a Certified B Corporation.
Under Helen’s direction, Equator has achieved 10-15 % annual growth over the past 19 years. She has done this by remaining focused on developing strong, lasting partnerships with Equator’s customers and helping them execute their vision and business plans. Helen's consistent efforts have attracted and retained a cadre of prominent chefs and bakers, including Thomas Keller of The Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, Traci Des Jardins of Jardinière, Suzanne Goin of Tavern/Larder in LA, and Tyler Florence. Helen has been able to strengthen these and other partnerships by working every day with customers to make sure they have the support they need to execute their coffee program successfully.
Helen also volunteers her time and business experience to local and international organizations supporting women and the environment, including La Cocina Community Kitchen in San Francisco, the International Women in Coffee Alliance, and Brown Girls Surf. Helen has led efforts to make Equator a socially and environmentally responsible company by investing in an energy efficient roaster, a biodiesel delivery truck, hy-brid service vehicles and by purchasing coffees and teas from growers who practice responsible land stewardship and bio-friendly farming techniques. Helen holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Northeastern University in Boston.