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.

Annamie Paul Joins Hillel Ontario

Annamie Paul Joins Hillel Ontario

Last month Hillel Ontario heard from Annamie Paul, leader of the Green Party of Canada. After winning the leadership race back in October of 2020, Annamie became the first Black person and first Jewish woman to lead a federal Canadian political party. Since then, she has been speaking to Canadians all across the country, spreading messages of hope and inspiration, during a time where these moments are a rarity. No matter the political orientation of the Zoom attendees of this fireside chat, everyone walked away with a few life lessons up their sleeve.

Here are some of my biggest takeaways. First, Annamie spoke about following your passion, a message that I know many students needed to hear. When I graduated from grade 12, I was constantly asked where I saw myself in five years, ten years, and sometimes even twenty years. Although I was asked with the best intentions, I’ve always felt overwhelming pressure to envision a clear career path. Annamie dispelled this myth by referencing the enjoyment associated with the process of discovering your passion rather than having a final goal in mind, and Annamie’s enthusiasm for human rights through a policy lens has shaped the course of her life. Second, Annamie spoke about the importance of speaking up in the face of injustice. Whether you consider yourself an advocate or not, Annamie highlighted the need to follow your moral compass, never remaining complicit. Following Annamie’s time as the leader of the Green Party, it is clear that she isn’t afraid to use her voice and position to shine light on racism, antisemitism, and sexism. These are two lessons I think everyone can learn from.

Annamie spoke about growing up in Toronto Centre (the riding where she will be running in the next federal election), her career as an international lawyer, and her decision to enter politics. As someone who doesn’t fit the mold of a traditional politician, Annamie referenced about the challenges that she’s faced as a Black, Jewish woman. Racism, antisemitism, and sexism were all constant throughout her leadership campaign, and her six months leading the Green Party. 

Throughout Annamie’s talk, I learned about the importance of elevating voices that have previously gone unheard. In a predominantly white space, Hillel students and staff need to work hard to ensure that Jews of Colour feel welcomed. 

After 45 minutes, the latter half of which consisted of an insightful Q&A, Annamie mentioned that she would love to be invited back to another Hillel Ontario fireside chat. For now, I’ll take Annamie’s lessons with me while looking forward to hearing about all of her accomplishments in a year from now.

  • Skylar Banks, Guelph Hillel
Collaboration Breeds Diversity and Inclusion

Collaboration Breeds Diversity and Inclusion

Collaborating with other student organizations allows us to diversify the students at our events, build coalitions, establish good rapport with other student groups and broaden the topics of the content that we deliver. 

This past month, we had the privilege of working with the Waterloo and Laurier chapters of Menstruation Redefined, which is committed to helping with the “institutional and social barriers surrounding menstruation that risk the health, well-being, and daily lives of many.” This mission resonated with us at Hillel because we understand the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion for all. These are values that we hold as Jews, and want to embody at Hillel. 

We joined forces to produce a fun evening of trivia and learning. The event allowed us to reach new students, educate others on Jewish practice for those who menstruate, and learn more about Menstruation Redefined’s mission. Collaborative events like this allow us to understand key issues and causes that other student-run campus groups advocate for and to build strong allyships and ensure that we propel Hillel’s values forward, such as inclusion and equity.

Jessica Bloom, HIllel Waterloo Student President
Veronica Grad, Hillel Laurier Student President

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