​Rachelle’s newest project is Forwards From Fifty,  a growing online community for the 50-plus generation that aims to also develop co-working facilities and a start-up incubator.

Volunteer work has always been an important part of Rachelle’s life.  Her first volunteer job was dusting the skeleton of the famed Hackensack Mastodon at the Bergen County Museum in New Jersey.  As a volunteer, she has also hand-milked cows and goats; taught democracy to developing political parties under dictatorships; co-taught seminars for young political leaders; and served as a Games Maker for the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

Rachelle has resided in the United States, Brussels and London, where she currently lives with her long-term partner Andrew.  Her hobbies include bread baking, reading, bird watching, and walking.  Sleeping does not figure highly in her life!​

Barbara recently started her own health and wellness business with Arbonne International.  Stepping out of her comfort zone and starting a new enterprise has allowed her to fulfill a lifelong dream of becoming an entrepreneur.  Barbara’s experience working in financial services and healthcare, bringing up a family and starting her own business inspired her to co-found Forwards From Fifty with her childhood friend Rachelle Valladares.

Barbara’s experience working in financial services and healthcare,  bringing up a family and starting her own business inspired her to co-found Forwards From Fifty with her childhood friend Rachelle Valladares.

Born and raised in Bergen County, New Jersey, across the Hudson River from Manhattan, Barbara attended River Dell High School and then graduated from Drew University with a BA in Economics and Sociology. 

After graduation, she worked for Citicorp Mortgage as an underwriter for three years. During the following six years, Barbara and her husband Dieter had four children.

​​​​​While raising her family, she worked in healthcare on a part-time basis.   Barbara currently runs a large medical practice which is not without its challenges given the changing reality of the sector in the United States today. 

Barbara Grenz-Eckert

Rachelle Jailer Valladares

A serial entrepreneur with extensive international experience,  Rachelle hails from New Hampshire in the United States and was raised there and in New Jersey.  

A graduate of The American University in Washington, DC (BA, 1984) and George Washington University (MAEd, 1989), Rachelle’s career path has been varied but always interesting.  

Rarely holding less than three positions at once, her fascinating career has included many years serving local communities; para-legal work; various political positions both paid and elected;  telecommunications; working with the independent media in the Balkans during the 1990s conflicts;  working in the meetings and events industry; running internships for students studying abroad; tech start-up work;  and running other meetings and travel-related companies of her own. 


​Seán brings a wealth of experience and enormous enthusiasm to his role at Forwards From Fifty, helping our innovative organisation and its growing community cut through the white noise of today’s fast-changing media to champion their awesome talent and potential.