Cynthia Hellen is a Peruvian-American, entrepreneur, writer, producer, director and speaker of Spanish descent.
In her role as Founder and Chief Executive Officer, at SMPLCT Lab, Hellen is involved in all aspects of the company’s social and environmental impact. SMPLCT Lab is a for-profit R & D lab located in NY, New York, with a mission to create cross cultural collaboration between sectors; artists, designers, technologists, scholars, researchers, policy-makers, and citizens worldwide; design simple solutions for those living on less than $2 a day; and better educate society on sustainable living. SMPLCT Lab believes that with technology jobs can be created, society educated and our natural resources protected while living sustainably.
Cynthia produces shows, conferences, panels and workshops in the US, Latin America, and Europe. She is a speaker on socentech, a community for social entrepreneurship and technology in emerging markets. She is a mentor at Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College & Columbia University.
Cynthia is curator of Explorers Festival 2013, a one-week startup and innovation. She is a global ambassador and co-author Innovating Women: Past, Present, and Future, a campaign to crowd-create a book featuring research, stories and perspectives about women’s global participation in the innovation economy. She serves on the leadership board of New York Women Social Entrepreneurs, a nonprofit promoting young women social entrepreneurs by providing training, development, resources, networking opportunities, and general support for members. She volunteers at Project Sunshine, creating fun activities for children living with medical challenges in NY hospitals. She is fluent in English, Spanish, intermediate in Portuguese and French. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.
She began her career as a journalist in New York, and management consultant for International Nonprofits. In 2010, she co-founded, directed, and produced GIRLS WHO ROCK, a crowd-pleasing, change-making concert during Internet Week NY sponsoring girls’ education worldwide from.
In 2012, she became the recipient of a Bloomberg Businessweek and Sandbox Network Fellowship for empowering women in a remarkable way. She was named Social Innovation Rockstar by We Love Bold. Her work has been profiled by Bloomberg Businessweek, and been fortunate to receive a 2012 Big Ideas Festival Scholarship.
Cynthia was born in San Borja, Lima, Peru but moved with her parents at the age of two to El Porvenir, Trujillo, Peru, due to two major domestic terrorist groups that plagued the country, the Sendero Luminoso or “Shining Path” and the Revolutionary Movement Túpac Amaru. In fear of the safety and future of her family, her mother decided to leave Peru when Cynthia was four years old. Cynthia was raised in an Italian/American neighborhood in Elizabeth, New Jersey. She attended Saint Anthony’s School where religious, social, and intellectual principles where instilled into the minds and hearts of each child. At age 10, she enrolled in Calderone Music School where her passion of the arts were nurtured. She attended and graduated from Elizabeth High School and Kean University. Since the age of 12, she’s launched with her family several businesses in New Jersey where she learned about entrepreneurship, culture and collaboration. She and her younger sister became one of the first girls to attend an all boys Martial Arts School.