Board of Directors

Kate Chebatoris

Kate Chebatoris is a prominent sweater designer with more than 20 years of experience in the fashion industry working for Donna Karan, and Ashley and Mary Kate Olsen among others. She has lived in the Berkshires since 2006 with her husband and son. She joined the board of BerkShares, Inc. in 2014 and is interested in the potential of building more local industry based on Berkshire resources such as wool. She sees our local currency as a tool to help create a more self-sufficient and vibrant local economy that can provide fulfilling and sustainable livelihoods to the residents of the region.

Kate makes custom robes and wraps from her studio in South Egremont and is also a certified consulting hypnotist.


Catherine Chester

Catherine Chester is an attorney with the law firm of Hellman Shearn & Arienti LLP in Great Barrington, MA, where she specializes in the areas of real estate, zoning and permitting, and corporate formation and transactions.  She grew up in the Berkshires and returned to the area after living and working in New York City, most recently as an associate with Shearman & Sterling LLP.  She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in International Relations and French Studies and earned her law degree from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.  Catherine is actively involved in the community, currently serving on the boards of the Stockbridge Land Trust and the Olga Dunn Dance Company and volunteering for many local organizations including the Literacy Network of South Berkshire, the Berkshire United Way and the Stockbridge Library.  She is also a 2014 graduate of the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce’s “Berkshire Leadership Program” which further inspired her to make the Berkshires an attractive area for young people and their businesses.  Catherine recognizes that the economy and culture of the Berkshires sits at a critical juncture due to dwindling population and job growth and sees BerkShares as a unique and creative effort to assist in reversing that trend and achieving economic sustainability in the region.

Bob Climo


Bob Climo is the owner of The Great Barrington Bagel Company at 777 Main Street in Great Barrington.  Bob moved to the Berkshires in 1996 after graduating from the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts.  His first job in the Berkshires was as a line cook at Canyon Ranch in Lenox.  Bob worked at “the Ranch” for 9 years as Chef de Partie, Food Purchasing Manager and ultimately as the Demonstration Chef, teaching cooking classes both in Lenox and traveling the country teaching private and group classes.  Previously, Bob was the Wholesale Manager for Guido’s Fresh Marketplace’s wholesale division.  Bob started working as the manager of the bagel shop in 2006 and purchased the business from Marvin and Judy Lieberman in November 2014. 


Gillette Conner

Gillette Conner is passionate about building bridges between private, public and civil sectors to address both international and domestic development challenges. She is an integrative and holistic thinker with extensive experience in program strategy, design and management with focused expertise in stakeholder engagement processes, building alliances and spearheading and designing development partnerships. She works for the World Bank Group/International Finance Corporation where she is a Senior Knowledge Officer and is Senior Knowledge Officer in the Finance and Markets Global Practice. She has a diverse background with subject matter expertise in HIV/AIDS and women’s health, knowledge management and community and stakeholder engagement. She has worked across multiple sectors including financial services, oil and gas, mining, light manufacturing, technology and the hospitality industries engaging with companies, non-profit organizations and civil society across sub-Saharan Africa, the Russian Federation, the Caribbean, the Pacific Islands and the US.

Gillette is committed to local and regional development, and although relatively new to the Berkshires, she currently serves as a Commissioner for the Berkshire County Commission on the Status of Women, is a member with the Berkshire Business and Professional Women’s Association, and volunteers her time and expertise with Berkshire Starts. She also works with Halcyon Incubator in Washington, DC, where she has served as a mentor and in other capacities since the first class of Fellows in the fall of 2014. She received her MBA with a focus on Finance and International Business from Georgetown University in Washington, DC and a BA with cum laude distinction in Psychology and French from Wake Forest University in North Carolina.

Tim Geller

Tim Geller is Executive Director of the Community Development Corporation of South Berkshire (CDCSB), a non-profit development organization that creates affordable housing and economic opportunity for low- and moderate-income households. Over the last seven years, CDCSB has leveraged over $13 million in public and private investment for southern Berkshire County and created fifty affordable housing units. CDCSB has over 160 housing units in their development pipeline, and 40,000 square feet of commercial space.Before joining CDCSB, Tim was Portfolio Manager of the Western Massachusetts Enterprise Fund, and was Founder and President of the Berkshire Interfaith Community Investment Fund. He has a Master’s Degree in Community Economic Development from the University of Southern New Hampshire, as well as degrees in music from the Cleveland Institute of Music, Southern Methodist University and Princeton University.He has served on the Board of BerkShares since 2012 and also serves on the Board of Directors of the Stockbridge Land Trust, the Great Barrington Land Conservancy, and HousingUs, a tri-state affordable housing advocacy and development organization.

Jon Greene

Jon Greene recently retired after 35 years as a computer engineer. In 2008, Jon helped found Redline Trading Solutions, a technology company that develops high performance software to facilitate electronic trading in global financial markets. Jon received his undergraduate degree in mathematics from Harvard College in 1980. He has lived and worked in the Berkshires for the past 30 years and has served on the Boards of Gould Farm, the Unitarian Universalist Meeting of South Berkshire and the Lenox Contra Dance. Jon, an avid hiker, maintains a section of the Appalachian Trail and occasionally leads hikes in and around Berkshire County. He also regularly calls contra dances in the area. Jon has a growing interest in supporting and promoting local businesses, not least of which because he is seriously considering starting one of his own. Jon lives in Great Barrington with his life partner, Kathleen Larkin, and her two sons, Noah and Luke.

Wendy Healey


Wendy Healey has been in the banking and financial technology business for over 20 years. She has been active with local chambers of commerce her entire career, and has served on the board of three of them as well as serving as the President of the Avon Chamber of Commerce. She currently serves as the Treasurer of WAM Theatre. Wendy has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Connecticut where she majored in English Literature, as well as a Master’s of Business Administration from the University of Connecticut. Wendy lives in an 1832 home on an old dairy farm in Colebrook, CT with her partner Scott and their 3 rescue dogs.



Aaron Thier

Aaron Thier is a novelist and a critic. He grew up in Williamstown and now lives in Great Barrington with his wife and son. He's the author of three novels, Mr. EternityThe Ghost Apple, and The World is a Narrow Bridge, as well as a contributor to The Nation and The New Republic, a former columnist for Lucky Peach, and the recipient of a Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. He received his BA from Yale University and an MFA from the University of Florida.

Jo Valens

Jo Valens has been a resident of Berkshire County for the past twenty-four years.  This summer she retired from over thirty years of teaching, the last eighteen of which were as an Early Childhood teacher at the Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School.  The mother of a grown son, Jo lives in Great Barrington with her husband, sculptor and filmmaker Michael Thomas.  She has been an enthusiastic user of Berkshires since they were first available.


Susan Witt

Susan Witt is the Executive Director of the Schumacher Center for a New Economics, heir to the legacy programs of the E. F. Schumacher Society. She helped found the Schumacher Society in 1980 and led the development of its publication, library, seminar, and other educational programs.  She helped found the Community Land Trust in the Southern Berkshires in 1980 to create more affordable access to land for housing, farming, and small business development. In 2006 she co-founded BerkShares, and before that created and administered the SHARE micro-credit program, the precursor to BerkShares. A Rotarian since 1989, she was the first woman President of the Great Barrington Club.  She lives and works on Community Land Trust land in Egremont.