Meet the Founder

I'm Vanessa Hornedo, founder and Board Secretary, of Inspiring Hands – a 501(c)3 tax exempt nonprofit corporation.

In 2013, I spent a year living, and working, side by side with women in a small mountain village in Dominican Republic. Their ancestors had settled there for fear of dictatorship. I was able to witness the realities of an isolated life - no running water or electricity, health issues, and low literacy levels. Bracelet-making gave me a way to build community and learn more about the women's lives. My own life has never been the same and I used that experience to create an organization that can serve and support this community of beautiful women, and others like them around the world, in a new and

profound way.

My background in journalism has allowed me to view the world in a curious, and exciting, way. I see a new culture full of strengths and difficulties and I can't wait to embrace it and share the story of the people. Inspiring Hands is my opportunity to live out my purpose of service to others and I am so grateful for everyone who has chosen to walk with me on this journey.

Board of Directors

Jessica Gottsleben, Board Chair

M.S. candidate in National Security, Intelligence and Justice

Bachelor's in Radio and TV Broadcast Journalism and Political Science

 

Fun Fact: Jessica has been recognized by the White House Council on Women and Girls and previously served as the first-ever elected #ILookLikeAPolitician Ambassador of Running Start, a nonprofit organization, training young women and girls globally to run for elected office. Jessica supports sustainable Fair Trade initiatives and believes in dismantling oppression, eliminating poverty, and promoting equity, peace, and prosperity by investing in women’s economic stability and empowering them to unleash the power in their own hands. 

Ivette Utsey, Events & Mission Chair

Ivette brings a lifetime of experience and compassion for the women we serve. Born and raised in a small, impoverished community in Puerto Rico and then moving to New York City as an adult, she has learned to succeed as an entrepreneur from the ground up. She currently works as a Household Manager providing support to working mothers in her community and specializes in time management, project coordination, and space function and design. With over 20 years of event planning experience and 10 years working specifically with fundraising events and campaigns, she has an expertise in community engagement and relationship building. Her story and her passion for supporting women who are facing the same struggles she has overcome is the guiding light that moves our mission forward.

Linda Keane, Product Design  

Linda brings over 20 years of experience in the jewelry business, founding L&J Accessories in 1991, where she and her husband, Jay Keane, led wholesale distribution of jewelry, precious stones and metals,

costume jewelry, watches, clocks, and silverware. During their time working in the fashion industry, Linda and Jay ensured their profits were put to good use, hosting seasonal fundraisers at their Maitland storefront to support local nonprofits. Linda brings an extensive background in product design, trademarks, and international distribution. In her retirement, Linda is focused on investing in and mentoring small businesses to promote positive change in her Central Florida community.

Advisory Council

Due to COVID-19 Travel Restrictions, all 2020 international service trips have been postponed. Subscribe below to stay up to date on future plans and new ways we intend to support our artisans.