A Springboard Story: How I Met A Former Google Superstar

by | Mar 1, 2018 | Hillel Ontario, Opportunities | 0 comments

Written by Naomi Brief, Social Media Springboard Fellow

As part of the onboarding process, all Hillel professionals are sent to the New Professional Institute (NPI) in St. Louis. I had the privilege to attend NPI in 2016 as a Springboard Fellow. One warm night, all new professionals met up at a bar. I got to socialize with future coworkers outside of a professional work environment which was an amazing opportunity to get to know them on a more personal level over a drink or two.

At one point of the night me and a few other Springboard Fellows decided it was time to leave. Coincidentally, Mimi Kravetz, the former HR Executive of Google decided to leave at the same time. We were standing outside the bar, debating whether to call a taxi. Not knowing how far our place was, or what the best way was to get there, we thought it would be a better idea to enjoy the warm summer air and go on a midnight stroll.

That midnight stroll turned out to be more of an exciting midnight adventure. Usually, I would have been annoyed by the fact that we got lost, walking through sketchy paths, construction sites, up and down staircases and who knows where else. But this was a different situation. Here I was, at an overcrowded conference, trying to meet as many people as possible, when all of a sudden, I have Google’s HR Executive, a very busy woman, all to myself, getting lost with me on the empty streets of St. Louis.

I started talking to Mimi, not really aware of who she was. We discussed our backgrounds, family and where we were from. I told her about my complicated Visa situation back in Toronto and she told me stories about her adorable children. It was a fun night. When we started talking about why she was considering working for Hillel, I learned that she started her superstar career with a Hillel fellowship upon which the Springboard Fellowship is based. From there, Mimi moved on to American Express and then to Google, where she held four positions over the span of nine years. Now Mimi is back with Hillel, as the Chief Talent Officer.

While walking with her, I realized that I’m not only unbelievably lucky because I got to spend about an hour with this super badass success machine, but also, because she started her impressive career in a similar position as I hold now.

Today, a year and a half later, I am almost finished my tenure as a Social Media Springboard Fellow, and Hillel Ontario is hiring two new Springboard Fellows for the 2018-2019 academic year. If you are looking for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, I suggest you apply and join the movement. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be the next Hillel professional to climb the ladder of success at Google.

Something New

Something New

The fall post-holiday period is always a good time for launching new things. To the extent we’re not completely exhausted, our five-day work weeks are back (instead of five days of work crammed into three-day weeks), and we’re able to get into something of a rhythm and build momentum in moving toward specific goals.

Adding to the sense of newness and adventure, the third post-holidays Torah portion of Lekh Lekha, which was read this past Shabbat, begins with Abraham receiving divine instructions to leave his home and begin a journey to a new land.  Commentators highlight the uncertainty inherent in the command’s wording: instead of being directed to a specific place, Abraham, at least initially, is told to go “to the land that I will show you,” a vague and undisclosed destination. While he is promised blessings galore for his obedience, setting out requires an element of faith and quite a bit of trust as he leaves his home land and father’s house for somewhere new.

While it’s certainly several orders of magnitude smaller than the journey Abraham undertook, Hillel Ontario is trying something new this week: we’re introducing a new section to our regular newsletters and will be including a d’var Torah to showcase our students’ and staff’s skills and present our readers with a bit of Jewish learning. We hope you’ll find these commentaries inspiring and meaningful and that they’ll provide a glimpse of the Hillel Ontario community that spans our nine campuses.

A Message from Hillel Ontario’s Student Presidents

A Message from Hillel Ontario’s Student Presidents

Dear students, parents, supporters, and other members of the Ontario Jewish community,

We are writing to you as the Hillel presidents representing nine universities across Ontario. 

We are often asked what it’s like to be a Jewish student on campus. And, in previous years, we would have taken a more upbeat approach to answering that question. The truth is that things have changed over the past 5 months.

Prior to this spring’s war in Israel, we had never experienced the level of vitriol and backlash that we did recently. We were caught off guard. Many Jewish students lost friendships and severed connections that had been created over many years. Our mental health was stretched to the limit; we have felt burnt out, isolated and anxious.  Even now, with autumn upon us, we are still feeling the exhausting effects of a summer spent advocating for the well-being of our fellow Jewish students. 

Walking back onto campus this week, it was difficult to see some students obviously (and understandably) anxious – both because of the pandemic, and because of the antisemitism Jewish students have experienced over the past several months. At the same time, we also feel more empowered than ever to proclaim pride in our Jewish identity, bolstered by the tremendous support we have felt from across the community.  

Whether you are a first year student, a parent, a sibling, an alum, or simply a member of the community concerned about what seems like an endless barrage of attacks aimed at Jewish students on campus, we want to assure you that as Hillel presidents, we are deeply committed to our roles and responsibilities. We hear your concerns. And, we are proud to serve the current and future Jewish students we support.  

We are working to build relationships with student governments, clubs, interfaith groups, faculty, and administrators on each of our campuses. We continue to empower our peers to learn, to educate, and to advocate for the issues close to our hearts. And, we continue to provide a safe and welcoming community for Jewish students, both on and off campus. 

We also seek to increase resources and staff available to our students so that no one feels unsupported or ill-prepared. We want Jewish students to feel like they can be their entire selves without having to hide a Magen David or avoid conversations about Judaism, Zionism or Israel. 

As we move into a new Jewish year and a new school year, we wish we could say with more certainty exactly what is to come in the next few months. However, it would be naive to do so. Instead, we would like to take this opportunity to commit to you that we will continue to have challenging, but necessary, dialogue with allies across campus. We will continue to support our peers when they feel uncomfortable. And, we will continue to ask for help when we need it. 

Time and time again, our collective history has proven that in a proud, empowered, and united community there is strength, and that from one another we can draw resilience. 

L’shana Haba on quieter, more inclusive campuses. 

Ariel Oren, Guelph Hillel
Evan Kanter, Hillel Student Leader Representative, Hillel UofT
Nathaniel Katz, Queen’s Hillel
Shira Miller, Hillel Laurier
Danielle Lebowitz, Hillel Waterloo
Hannah Silverman, McMaster Hillel
Jordan Goldenberg, Hillel Ryerson
Isabel Borisov, Western Hillel
Nicole Bodenstein, York Hillel

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