The White Mountain School works hard to instill global consciousness and an interest in social justice in the minds of all of its students. It is our fervent hope that every White Mountain School student comes away from their time here with a strong awareness of their global community. Kelly Cornell ‘04 has done just that, bringing his experiences in our community to make the world of clothing production a little bit kinder.
Kelly works as the marketing director of April Cornell, a family-run home furnishings and ladies fashion retail business. After spending two years working in the production cycle of his family’s business, he’s recently begun development of his own business venture, a socially responsible men’s apparel brand. “With imported fabrics, local production, overseas manufacturing, and wide ranging inputs from a broad network,” he says, “I aim to create products that are connected to their creation that feel good to wear and support.”
Kelly is no stranger to socially conscious business practices, having traveled for extended periods of time to April Cornell’s production center in New Delhi, India. In that process he has overseen production, engaged in strategic planning, strengthened international relationships, and participated in several service-oriented projects. April Cornell itself funds projects that focus on community development and on generating resources for individuals in those areas to become self-sufficient. An integral portion of the April Cornell business model and core values is their sense of philanthropy and especially empowering women and children.
This fall, Kelly will be returning to southern India to find cotton sources, engage with the weaving process, and create the foundation for hands-on production relationships.
On a more personal level, Kelly is working to systemically connect the University of Vermont and the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program (VRRP). A local field office of the U.S. Committee of Refugees and Immigrants, VRRP helps refugees to form critical community relationships, acquire local language skills, and successfully adapt to life in the United States. As two important institutions in Vermont and Chittenden County, he hopes to integrate the volunteers, academics, and culture of UVM and the VRRP into a cohesive community of old and new Vermonters.
Kelly says of his experience at WMS, “One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned is that we, as individuals, are responsible for enacting the change in which we believe. You are never too small, too inexperienced, or too young to champion a cause. If you have convictions about the environment, social movements, equal rights, or global injustice, follow those beliefs. As a member of The White Mountain School community, I am proud to say that those principles were fostered and encouraged by my experience as a WMS student.”