Menu The Helm

Meet Our Team

The Helm's team is made up of passionate and driven individuals on a mission to make it easy to invest in female entrepreneurs.

Lindsey Taylor Wood, CEO

Lindsey brings ten years of experience as a leader in the gender equality movement to The Helm.

An expert in the empowerment of girls and women, Lindsey is the Founder and President of LTW, an impact studio with an emphasis on contemporary feminism. Clients include actor Matt McGorry, MAKERS, The Conversation with Amanda de Cadenet, The Harnisch Foundation, Women Moving Millions, and filmmakers Jill Bauer, Ronna Gradus and Rashida Jones, among others. In partnership with these clients, LTW designed and implemented a wide range of programs, products, and systems, including but not limited to funding mechanisms and mentorship programs for media makers, content strategies for films and television programming, philanthropic strategies for family foundations, and social impact campaigns. Her ability to use philanthropy and culture symbiotically, and with a gender lens, has made her a sought-after strategist in the women’s rights movement.

Prior to consulting, Lindsey was on the founding team of Catapult, a crowdfunding platform for girls and women. Incubated as a project of Women Deliver, Catapult was designed to establish and maintain a sustained, long-term funding infrastructure capable of scaling to many thousands of projects and delivering millions of dollars in funds to benefit girls and women over the next decade. While there, she led the marketing, communications and outreach initiatives.

Lindsey also worked for Women Deliver, a leading global advocate for girls’ and women’s health, rights, and wellbeing — and among the first organizations to promote the investment case for girls and women. Cornerstone projects of her time there included the Women Deliver 50 Campaign which showcased the top 50 ideas and solutions for women and girls internationally, and the training of youth advocates from 11 countries throughout sub-Saharan Africa as part of an invitation-only regional consultation in Kampala, Uganda with government officials and agencies, policymakers, researchers, experts, and advocates focused on achieving the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goal 5.

Pre-NGOs, Lindsey worked with the Broadcasting Board of Governors, where she explained U.S. policy to Voice of America’s worldwide audience through editorials broadcast on television, radio and the internet; acted as an off-air reporter and producer for the TODAY show; and as the External Relations Manager for The Lunchbox Fund. She has contributed to a variety of campaigns centered on conflicts in Central Africa, as well as “The Enough Moment,” a book by John Prendergast and Don Cheadle. She has been named one of the 20 Young Champions for Women by The White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, currently serves on the Feminist.com Board of Directors, and advises the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum.

Erin Shipley, Managing Partner

Erin has spent the last decade working with and investing in startups. She has seen firsthand the challenges facing female entrepreneurs raising capital and building companies. At The Helm, she will be investing in world-changing products and people: exceptional teams with a unique vision and the passion and experience to execute.

Before launching The Helm’s fund she was an investor at Karlin Ventures, a seed stage venture capital fund based in Los Angeles. At Karlin, she focused on a broad set of industry verticals – Software as a Service, marketplaces, commerce technologies and frontier technologies like VR/AR – and sourced investment opportunities in Los Angeles, the Bay Area, New York City and Seattle. During her tenure, she evaluated hundreds of companies, participating in both the funding of new portfolio companies as well as supporting the raise of follow-on capital for existing portfolio companies.

Before joining Karlin, Erin established her career as an investor working in markets undergoing extreme transition. She started at Deutsche Bank on Wall Street during the summer of 2008, then worked for the company’s Middle East headquarters during the tumultuous years leading up to the Arab Spring. She then joined The Weinstein Company, where she helped structure more than $400 million in credit facilities for the studio. At Weinstein, she led new technologies initiatives as part of the broader investment and strategy team, focusing on startup opportunities with relevance across the film, television, music and digital groups.

Her work with startups began at Wharton, where she designed her own course of study focused on entrepreneurship and the issues around access to capital facing company founders. During her time there as a Joseph Wharton Scholar and a Wharton Research Scholar, she got her first taste of the power of entrepreneurial ecosystems in action while designing and implementing field research projects in Senegal and southern Italy, working with entrepreneurial networks and startup incubators in those countries.

Erin is passionate about the transformative power of innovation, and the overwhelming need to fund female voices and female vision when funding the companies that will shape our future. This means investing in women who are innovating across industries and not limiting the scope of investment in female founders to companies and sectors that are traditionally the purview of women. It also means creating data points that contribute to a shift in market behaviors around funding women-led companies. Her vision for The Helm’s fund is to optimize the experience of investing for both female founders and Helm members while creating outsized financial returns in the process.

Julie Weber, Chief Operating Officer

Julie has more than ten years of private and public sector experience in global media and advocacy, internal communications and project management. She has spent much of her career advocating for the health and rights of women and girls, and her role at The Helm provides the perfect opportunity for her passion and expertise to intersect.

Julie worked with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) for several years and in her various roles in both internal and external communications, she executed large-scale, high-profile international initiatives, developed key partnerships and connected diverse teams and stakeholders inside and outside of the organization.

As the Communications Focal Point for the H4+ (UNAIDS, UNICEF, UNFPA, UN Women, WHO, World Bank), Julie worked closely with the Secretary General’s Every Woman Every Child initiative; a global movement that mobilizes and intensifies international and national action to address the major health challenges facing women, children and adolescents around the world. In her role as Managing Editor of the internal organizational online newsmagazine for UNFPA, she reported on internal news and activities for the information of more than 2000 staff stationed in 165 offices around the world. She is especially proud of her early work with the Campaign to End Fistula, which brought a debilitating injury of childbirth to global attention through public awareness an advocacy campaigns, events, press briefings, and outreach. Among other initiatives, she coordinated a press trip to northern Nigeria and a media campaign targeting the United States Congress held on Capitol Hill.

In 2011 while on temporary assignment in New Zealand, Julie worked with world-renowned marketing agency IMG to facilitate the management of the Rugby World Cup 2011 VIP Commercial Hospitality Programme.

Julie holds a Masters Degree in Gender, Development, and Globalisation from the London School of Economics, where she focused her studies on exploring the gendered intricacies of post-conflict societies and their implications on women, peace, and security.

Venessa Rosely, Art Director 

Venessa Rosely is a New York-based multi-disciplinary Designer and Art Director.

In 2016/17, she was awarded the In-House Design Award from Graphic Design USA for her work on the Time Hotels Brand Identity and her visual essay Memory Matter was published in Book of Palms Vol. II The Caribbean Edition.

Her work has been exhibited during Milan Design week as a part of the WHATNOT collection, where she collaborated with a small group of emerging designers to color narratives through conceptual objects and installations.

She holds a Bachelors of Fine Art in Interior Architecture and Masters of Design in Designed Objects from The School of the Art Institute in Chicago. 

Emily Hughes, Head of Growth

Emily Hughes graduated from Villanova University in 2012 where she received both her BA & MA in Communication (with a minor in Mathematics) in a total of four years – the first to ever do so at the University. Hughes then became an account coordinator on the education team at Hager Sharp, a communications firm in D.C., working for clients like the National Center for Education Statistics and the National Council on Teacher Quality.

In 2013, she returned home to New York City and shifted to the magazine media industry, becoming part of the corporate communications team at American Express Publishing (later Time Inc.) as the Social Marketing; Digital Communication Manager for Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, Departures, and Executive Travel. In this position, she was responsible for the overall social media strategy of the company and worked closely with all departments (from C-suite executives and lawyers to the editorial and events teams) to ensure that everyone was informed and able to use platforms in consistent, optimized ways.

Hughes later moved to the Audience Development team as the Associate Marketing Manager where her social marketing-heavy skillsets expanded to include newsletter growth, syndication relationships, site optimizations, and overall traffic growth. Working closely with editorial, consumer marketing, and advertising sales departments, Hughes exceeded yearly traffic goals, contributing to significant digital revenue growth at the company. She also led the launch and growth of Food & Wine’s millennial spin-off FWx, which became a model for all Time Inc. brands’ comparable initiatives thereon. After two years at American Express Publishing/Time Inc., Hughes was hired by goop, Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle content and e-commerce brand, to lead all digital marketing and growth initiatives as their first-ever Director of Audience Development. Here she focused on implementing a social media strategy, growing the newsletter list, increasing partner traffic distribution channels, and optimizing conversion rates on site.

In January 2016, Hughes departed to start her own company with a former colleague from Time Inc. Together they formed digital marketing consultancy Loup Digital. Within two years, Loup Digital grew to over 20 team members and helped 30+ lifestyle media brands and e-commerce retailers acquire, engage, retain, and convert audiences in order to meet their business goals. When not working, Hughes sits on the Alumni Board at Villanova University and teaches in Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism – the youngest-ever member in both organizations. She lives in Hoboken, NJ, travels frequently, and can be found without fail with her rescue mutt Gus.

Rachel Waldman, Style Director

Rachel Waldman, a native New Yorker, has a longstanding career in fashion journalism. She is the former staff writer at Vogue, where her work of 100+ stories–which often explored the intersection of style and culture, but also included topics ranging from travel and beauty to fashion news–appeared in the magazine as well as on Vogue.com. Prior to features at Vogue, Rachel worked in the fashion market department at Vogue as an Assistant Editor and contributed to T: The New York Times Style Magazine as a Freelance Writer and Features Assistant. She graduated from New York University Gallatin School in 2012 with a BA in Individualized Studies and a concentration in Journalism and Media Studies. Wherever life takes Rachel, she’s likely in a good pair of flats and a version of the same glasses she has worn since the 3rd grade.

Jiya Pinder, Executive & Editorial Assistant

Jiya Pinder is a native New Yorker with Caribbean roots. A graduate of Northeastern University with a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs and Communications, her focus was impact investing; specifically, women-led social enterprises aiming to reduce poverty. Jiya also spent a semester in Cape Town, South Africa with the Etafeni Center which supports the economic empowerment of HIV-positive women from the Nyanga Township. Most recently, Jiya was an editorial assistant for The Wing’s magazine No Man’s Land, and in her free time enjoys travel, visual art, and photography.

The Helm