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.
Board of Directors
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.
She makes custom robes and wraps from her studio in South Egremont and is also a certified consulting hypnotist.
A graduate of Pittsfield High School and the University of Massachusetts, Mike has previously worked with United States Olympic Committee in Colorado Springs on their Games Planning team, for Kora Management, a startup hedge fund in New York City, and Bridgewater Associates, one of the world’s largest financial firms located in Westport, Connecticut. He brings with him a diverse background in strategic planning, investor relations, talent management, and emerging technology.
He is a member of Strong Towns, a planning advocacy group that promotes sustainable neighborhoods, and is an outspoken advocate for people-centered infrastructure and economic systems. He currently serves as an advisor to a group that will be launching a new research university in Massachusetts and is continuing his studies on urban revitalization. When he is not on the road, Mike can be found enjoying a cup of locally roasted coffee or brushing up on local history at the Berkshire Athenaeum.
Michael Tesoro lives in Windsor, MA (a northern Berkshire County town of 900 inhabitants) with his wife Robin, and two children Francesca and Nicholas, their dog Otto, and depending upon the time of year some 34 (+/-) chickens. Michael is passionate about expanding economic activity in the Berkshires and particularly expanding BerkShares’ presence in northern Berkshire County.
Michael is the Founder, Owner, and Chef of Ooma Tesoro’s, a specialty food company started in November 2009. Ooma Tesoro’s makes, markets and sells Ooma Tesoro’s marinara sauce (his grandmother’s recipe) throughout New England and New York in over 250 fine food stores, such as: Guido’s, Bizalions, Berkshire Organics, Berkshire Co-op, Wild Oats, LaBonne’s, Whole Foods Market, Wegmans and PriceChopper/Market32).
Michael has a broad and varied professional career. He started on the political campaign of Attorney General Joseph Lieberman for U.S. Senate in Connecticut and then served on his U.S. Senate staff for three years. Later, Michael lived and worked London, England; Kiel, Germany; Sydney, Australia, and Tanzania, Africa. He returned to the U.S. to serve as Managing Director of a strategic consulting firm Vogl International in Washington, DC. Michael also worked for a number of internet start-ups Outpost.com, Promotions.com, Thoughtbubble.com in New York. After 9/11, Michael joined ESPN, the worldwide leader in sports, as Director of Broadband and Interactive Television Sales. After moving to the Berkshires, he later served as a consultant to other media companies engaged in developing new business in broadband video and digital technologies, such as Turner Broadcasting, The Outdoor Life Network, Versus, and NBC sports.
Michael grew up in Sharon, Connecticut, and is a graduate of Indian Mountain School in Lakeville, CT, and Kent School in Kent, CT. He achieved his B.A. and M.A. from Drew University in Madison, NJ in Political Science and International Affairs. Michael played centerfield for the Drew University varsity baseball team. As an undergrad, Michael spent a semester at The United Nations in New York and The European Union in Brussels, Belgium. He wrote his Master’s thesis on the Maastricht Treaty and single currency for the European Union. He also participated in post-graduate work at The London School of Economics in London, England, and in the Advanced Studies Program at the Institut für Weltwirtschaft (IfW) [Institute for the World Economy] an economics research center and think tank, in Kiel, Germany.
Phyllis Webb is co-owner of the Magic Fluke Co. in Sheffield, MA, the largest U.S. manufacturer of ukuleles.
Sidney MacKenzie Fulop is a psychoanalyst. Her home is in West Stockbridge where she resides with her architect husband, John Fulop, and where they raised their two children. For many years she was director of psychology programming at the Wainwright House in Rye, New York where she organized a series of talks, seminars, and conferences on cultural subjects. She founded and for 15 years she administered her own program in Professional Enrichment in Jungian Theory and Thought. She has served on multiple non-profit boards including serving on the executive committee of the board of Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School, where her children attended classes. She brings an understanding of the role of boards in nonprofits and how those boards can act effectively, as well as experience organizing and framing public discussions.
Sierra King Watson was born and raised in Berkshire County. While still attending High School at Mount Everett, she started her career with Salisbury Bank and Trust (SBT) and began learning the dynamics of banking. She has since been with SBT for 8 years and served many different positions.
Sierra has participated in many community events, lending her skills and time while also building relationships throughout the business community. Many of her mentors and friends have inspired her to participate more in the public sphere, and she feels that serving on the board of BerkShares will be a great introduction to board service, and a way to help develop future changes to our community.
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.
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.
Van Shields was appointed the Executive Director of the Berkshire Museum in September 2011. Since his arrival, the Museum has launched several new initiatives including the WeeMuse early childhood education program, the BeMuse series for adult audiences, and increased collaboration with area cultural institutions. In 2013 the Museum became the ninth New England organization to be accepted as a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate.
Before coming to the Berkshires, he was the founding CEO of the Culture & Heritage Museums, created by a consolidation of several museums serving the greater Charlotte, North Carolina metropolitan region. Prior to his time in the Carolinas, he spent seven years at New York City’s Museum of the Moving Image and his career includes stints in small business and serving as an Air Force officer.
He has served on the boards of numerous organizations, from planning to social services, tourism, economic development, media, and the arts. He currently serves on the boards of the Berkshire Visitors Bureau, 1 Berkshire Strategic Alliance, Downtown Pittsfield, Inc., and Berkshire Creative.
He and his wife the artist Peggy Rivers live Pittsfield, Massachusetts.