Gulienne Rollins-Rishon realized her calling to be the facilitator of conversations about the ways that a person’s race does and does not impact their identity and interactions with the world around them while she was pursuing her Gold Award in Girl Scouts, during her senior year in high school. The idea began as a newsletter for biracial kids and teens, grew into an online magazine, and now exists as HypheNation, an organization that runs workshops, facilitates panels, and guides diversity trainings both in community spaces and the corporate world. Her journey as the daughter of a first generation American German Jewish mother and an African-American Catholic father from the South has led to a level of cultural fluency in a wide variety of spaces, and it is her greatest joy to place the power of that knowledge into others’ hands.
Gulienne holds a B.A. in Communications and African & African Diaspora Studies from a top 40 private university that was listed as a “new Ivy” by Newsweek, and accompanied her formal studies with a position on the AHANA Leadership Council (a council representing the students of Asian, Hispanic, African-American, and Native American heritage) of the Undergraduate Government and as the Vice President and then President of the Hillel (Jewish student’s group). She has been recognized for her work in various communities as a Hakhel grantee, participant in the Meorot Fellowship at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, and with invitation to The Jewish Week‘s The Conversation.
Her most recent facilitation work has included a panel discussion at Harvard University on the METCO program (Boston’s voluntary school desegregation bussing program), a workshop centered on exploring the impact of the label Ashkenazi with a progressive Orthodox synagogue in Riverdale, a workshop exploring what it means to have Ashkenazi heritage or Jewish experience as a Jew of Color at JOC Convening, and a social justice workshop centered around personal identity and heritage at Workman’s Circle in Boston. Gulienne’s passion in community work can be previewed in her ELI Talk and Vanessa Hidary’s The Kaleidoscope Show.
She enjoys that her work follows her everywhere, from the ski lodge while taking a break from a snowboarding run to the spontaneous chat on a mountain peak after a hike. Her favorite parts of this identity work are the many road trips, the chance to show her inquisitive 3 year old daughter the variety and potential of America, and being part of the moments where a forgotten side of an employee, audience member, or workshop participant lights back up and comes alive. She hopes to be a part of that moment for you!