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Helen Russell

Equator Coffees & Teas, Inc.
Co-Founder and CEO
Helen Russell is the co-founder and CEO of Equator Coffees & Teas, Inc. in San Rafael, CA. Under her leadership for more than twenty years, Equator has grown from a small roaster and wholesale supplier into a national brand known for its values-driven approach, award-winning coffee, and impactful action around issues of environmental sustainability and economic empowerment.

Helen led Equator to become the first coffee roaster in California to earn Certified B Corporation status and a reputation as an early champion Fair Trade practices and direct relationships. For 12 years in a row, Equator has remained on The San Francisco Business Times’ list of the Top 100 Women-Owned Businesses, and in 2016, became the first LGBT Certified business to win SBA Small Business of the Year for the State of California. After two decades in the wholesale business, Helen guided Equator towards deepening its relationships with the local community by opening three retail locations in the Bay Area.

Equator’s constant innovation and focus on quality and culinary complexity has attracted a loyal 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. The company also collected its most recent Good Food Award for the first harvest from Equator’s own high-altitude coffee farm in Panama, Finca Sophia.

In addition to Helen’s focus on Equator’s success, she has volunteered 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 Girl 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, hybrid 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.

Helen Russell
Co-founder & CEO
115 Jordan Street
San Rafael, CA 94901
Equator Coffees & Tea