Erin Helland

Senior Consultant

Erin’s expertise extends across several fields essential to community development.

Specializing in “start-up” initiatives, program design, and policy development, she is a dynamic business leader with 20 years experience in global corporate, nonprofit and small business sectors. Erin’s skills include prowess in strategic planning, partnerships, marketing and communications, and workshop design and facilitation.

Her company, HardHat Diplomat, was founded to help homeowners – especially women – confidently navigate renovations. In addition to coaching individual projects, Erin hosts in-person and virtual workshops across the US to make the home improvement process more approachable. Accomplished in commercial and residential rehabilitation, HardHat Diplomat recently created protocol for District Bridges’ “Facade Improvement” grants to restore and enhance storefronts in low-to-moderate income business corridors. Erin also designed the framework and standardized implementation for “Access Point DC,” an online technical training platform serving small businesses across Washington DC, operated and funded by District Bridges, the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), the Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD), and Main Streets America.

An expert in the fields of digital diplomacy and intercultural exchange, prior to HardHat Diplomat, Erin worked at the intersection of foreign ministries, civil society, and youth organizations focused on public diplomacy and cultural understanding. Her experience took her from Tunisia to Indonesia and across the globe. Erin designed and developed the virtual education exchange model for the nonprofit Youth For Understanding (YFU), overseeing curriculum development, partnerships, and the execution of programming which introduced intercultural learning opportunities to underrepresented youth in 70 countries. She has been a presenter and panelist at global conferences as well as contributed to publications by the Department of State, the USC Center on Public Diplomacy, and the Soft Power 30 report.

Erin holds a Master of Science in Business and a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Germanic Languages from Virginia Commonwealth University.

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