Introducing... SVI Hudson Valley Fellow: Justine Porter

Justine Porter wears many socially conscious (you might say, fair trade) hats. She has not one but two staff jobs, is co-founding a social enterprise, volunteers with the Middle Main Poughkeepsie initiative and the United Way of Dutchess County, and is a 2015 candidate for MBA in Sustainability from Bard College. She says she's a "realist idealist" passionate about building community.

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Justine is a social entrepreneur through and through, and that's why we offered her our SVI Hudson Valley 2015 Fellowship.

Justine is working — along with fellow SVI attendee Nicole Ashey — to establish a social enterprise in the city of Poughkeepsie that employs women living in domestic violence shelters to make home goods.

Burlock Home Goods has the triple bottom line built into every aspect of its operations. In practicing open hiring, they empower a group of women to become financially independent. In doing hand-crafts and moving laterally within the company to experience other roles, the employees will develop the skills necessary to either move to a different business or take on a larger role within Burlock. The materials for their products are sourced locally, with the goal of using entirely re-purposed material as much as possible.

In the 9 to 5 world, Justine runs operations for Della, a fair-trade fashion company based in Ghana, and manages programs for New Energy Events, a Beacon, NY-based company that hosts outcome-oriented events designed to catalyze the development of world-class renewable energy projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. She had spent several years working in various parts of Sub-Saharan Africa and holds a degree in International Development and French from SUNY Geneseo.

Attending SVI Hudson Valley will allow me to meet people who are interested and working in this field, and to form a support network for the challenges ahead.

As part of her fellowship, she'll document for us her SVI Hudson Valley experience and how she’ll use it going forward. Bard College will also publish it.

The SVI Hudson Valley Fellowship is sponsored by the SVI Hudson Valley team (Antidote Collective, On Belay Business Advisors and Re>Think Local) with financial support from Topical BioMedics.