We are a nontraditional team because this is a nontraditional mission. Our board members and staff have been invited to this work first and foremost due to each of our ability to clearly understand and apply the mission and vision of Social Tinkering. We come from a variety of backgrounds, combining our learned wisdom from our lives, educations, and work experiences to help our vision become reality.
Our Founder and Director
Jeanette Langston, she/her
Jeanette has been learning about social isolation, connection, belonging, and happiness her entire life. In 2018, she began forming the concept of Social Tinkering as she explored her personal experience with aloneness and connection while embracing her natural ability to help people connect with each other. In 2021 she and the founding Board established Social Tinkering as a nonprofit organization to empower connections and grow happiness.
In 2011, after 11 years in the field of recreation and public land management, Jeanette left a career with the Forest Service to start her family and to apply her knowledge and skills in a work environment more grounded in well-being. From 2022-23 she studied at the Centre for Executive Education at the University for Peace. She holds a diploma in Social Innovation, continuing to grow her knowledge and skills in global cutting edge social connection work with changemakers around the world.
Jeanette is a proud mother of 2 lovely small humans and 3 delightful fur-kids, and strives to be a loving partner of her husband of 25 years. She grew up in western Montana, has lived in 6 different states, has traveled all over the U.S. and a bit internationally. She sees herself as an unconventional kind of creative and loves to sing, hike, play, and have adventures exploring new places with her family and friends. She greatly values her friendships and enjoys meeting up with friends to listen to their stories, to laugh and cry, and to simply do life together.
Our Assistant Director
Marissa Arduca, she/her
Marissa was born and raised in Vermont and briefly left to go to college in Massachusetts. Upon her return, she felt an intense need to create deeper connections in the Rutland community, and to make a difference within the community.
Marissa’s background in working with individuals with autism has inspired her to create more inclusive and accessible spaces within the community as well as her personal ties with the LGBTQ plus community. Marissa is extremely passionate about teaching people within the community about compassionate care, understanding various ways of living, and about people who don’t always have a voice to stick up for themselves.
She is grateful for the opportunity to make a difference with Social Tinkering and the incredible team here; that fosters an environment-based on belonging and happiness, and the philosophy of bringing your whole self no matter where you are.
Our Program Director
La'Keiah Gillespie, NCMA, NCPT (she/her)
La’Keiah is a Chicago Native, that never knew, when she decided 9 years ago to move to Rutland, Vermont with her two boys, it would be a place they could call home. Next to her boys, healthcare is her heart because she “cares for the whole person with no questions asked”. “Making everyone feel like they belong and are important plays a huge part in providing adequate healthcare for each individual person”. When she started her journey in Vermont, La’Keiah was able to put into action the care she believes in while working at Rutland Regional Medical Center (RRMC) in many different roles from 2015-2023. La’Keiah has worked with many community organizations to help implement the mission that Social Tinkering has set, as one of the Core Leaders of the Rutland Belonging Collective for the last year and a half. Most recently, she has become the Program Lead to continue working on providing safe opportunities for all individuals to thrive in Rutland, as the area grows and becomes more inclusive. Also, still working in healthcare for ClearChoiceMD Urgent Care and ExamOne/Quest Diagnostics providing the best care for each and every person.
Our Board Members
Heather Wilson, she/her
A Connecticut native, Heather has lived in Vermont for the last 18 years. She is an artist, an auntie, a registered nurse, a former professional actor and vocalist, and a lifelong vintage clothing enthusiast.
Heather’s unique and varied background has given her a very personal glimpse into the many ways in which we all live with feelings of disconnectedness and loneliness at various stages throughout
our lives. As a nurse and artist, Heather strives to help others feel engaged and connected within themselves and with others. She is honored for the opportunity to continue this work and serve her community as a member of the Social Tinkering Board of Directors.
Heather works as a Clinical Nurse Manager for Bayada Home Health Care and is an artist member of the Chaffee Art Center in Rutland and the S.P.A.C.E Gallery in Burlington. Her visual art has been featured in various venues throughout Vermont and beyond. She teaches art to adults and children in the community and serves as a volunteer Bone Builders instructor. Heather is also a practitioner of Transcendental Meditation and enjoys encouraging others to slow down, be present in the moment, and feel the infinite fullness of life
Steve Harrington, he/him
Group Facilitator at Divided Sky Recovery Retreat in Ludlow, Vermont. Former Director of Grants & Communications at Rutland County Parent Child Center; Master’s Degree from Yale School of the Environment; Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology; International Relations from Tufts University; currently serving as Chair of Middletown Springs Planning Commission and Traffic Safety Task Force, and member of Trustees of Public Monies and Conservation Commission..
Kate Tibbs, she/her
Kate, avid gardener, book enthusiast, and lover of all things in nature, was born and raised in Rutland County, Vermont and has always known how wonderful the community is here. During her college years, Kate spent time in Troy, NY at Russell Sage College and graduated with a BA in Sociology. Kate was part of various groups and clubs such as Circle K, helping start an Animal Welfare Club, and participated in the Social Justice club. She soon found out that living the “city life” was not entirely what she wanted and missed her home state, Vermont, and moved back to begin her new life at home.
Kate met her husband, Dave, while interning with a local community action agency in Rutland in 2008, helping develop a Rock and Roll concert food drive with a local radio station. They now reside in the mountains of Vermont with their rambunctious doggo, Arlo.
Kate has been working in the human services field for over 10 years and is currently working as an Employee Life Navigator for Goodwill of Northern New England where she helps people connect with various resources that they need, and support them in all aspects of life. Kate also serves on the board of directors for various non-profit organizations in Rutland County.
Feeling connected, loved, and safe is an important part of our existence in this world, and Kate is thrilled to be part of Social Tinkering to help spread the word and importance of inclusiveness in our community and all communities.