This piece was originally published in the Jewish News.
According to Hillel International, the mission of Hillel on campus is to enrich the lives of Jewish students so that they may enrich the Jewish people of the world. This was the intention of “Nashim Networking: A Women’s Professional Brunch,” which was hosted by the Hillel Jewish Student Center at Arizona State University on April 19.
This event, funded by a grant from the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Phoenix, was part of an ongoing series of professional development and professional networking opportunities that Hillel has provided this year and plans to continue into next year.
As vice president of programming, it was my goal to bring together professional Jewish women and collegiate Jewish women in hopes of fostering connections and building networks for the future. With the help of Debbie Yunker Kail, Hillel Jewish Student Center at ASU’s executive director, and Jaime Stern, owner of the Jewish News, we were able to accomplish the vision I had for the event.
As a student, I am always thinking about what I can do to better myself for future employers. By providing students with resources from other Jewish women in the community, we were able to embrace Jewish values and the importance of being strong, independent women.
In addition to Jaime Stern, the women professionals who participated are:
- Gail Baer, vice president of major gifts for the Valley of the Sun United Way
- Alison Betts, director of open servicing at American Express
- Vicki Harris, CPA, Hunter Hagan & Company, Ltd.
- Jessica Langbaum, principal scientist of the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute
- Maryann Ortiz Lieb, marketing director of Raising Arizona Kids Magazine
Aliana Baskin, a freshman studying social work, said that she felt “very empowered after meeting with this group of awesome ‘go-getter’ women.”
At the event, which took place in the home of Phoenix philanthropist Sheila Schwartz, students and professionals participated in speed networking in which students could engage in intimate conversation for a few minutes. The time frame allowed students to practice respectful exit strategies that can be used in a professional setting.
“We each got a glimpse of their life, as well as advice for the future,” said Cayla Rabinowitz, a freshman studying nonprofit leadership and management.
Watching the one-on-one and small group interactions, I could see that the purpose of this program was being fulfilled.
Afterward, a few of our professionals gave TED style talks about topics such as “women in the workplace,” “balance of work and family” and “advice they wish they had been given as a college student.”
These talks were helpful because they addressed many questions that collegiate Jewish women worry about for the future.
Followed by a question-and-answer session, which engaged professionals and students in discussion about Jewish life, family life, professional life and more, we were able to dive deeper into the lives of these very successful women and derive tips for our own success.
By the end of the event, students and professionals had created an environment that fostered growth and connections for the future. The success of this event has inspired us to plan more events like this and continue to fulfill the mission of Hillel by enriching our students and inspiring them to enrich the world.
Photo courtesy Jaime Stern
Cassidy Siso is a sophomore at Arizona State University majoring in psychology and minoring in communication and criminology & criminal justice. She is the vice president of programming at Hillel at ASU.