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.

A Hillel Staff’s Perspective

A Hillel Staff’s Perspective

Students have had a very different academic year. One that they have never experienced before. There has been isolation, lack of extracurricular activities and little to no in-person contact. In a recent McMaster Hillel student executive meeting on zoom, I said “we are in the business of community so we need to think creatively about what it feels like to be part of this community. ” How does one do this in a pandemic, when campus is closed and when we don’t see each other at all? How do we know how each of us are doing? Are we alone? Are we lonely? Are we coping? Do we bring our best selves to a Zoom and then grapple alone with our worries? These are the questions that I struggle with when trying to support a community despite the challenges that exist for us. 

From the beginning, Hillel pulled out all the pandemic stops to connect with students. Shabbat in a box and delivered to you? Yes! Zoom games night? Yes! Mental health and wellness box? Sign up here! We have you covered. These programs and services were created to keep our community together while at our own homes. We are able to connect through a screen and eat dinner, not together, but knowing that there were over 70 students enjoying the same meal in the comfort of their own homes as well. And we connected face to face over Zoom before and after, while enjoying our rugelach, of course!

All of these programs are great, but the individual connections are even more paramount. A text to a student to check in, a happy birthday wish on their special day or an unfortunate condolence call for those who have lost loved ones. For me, it’s putting in the extra effort to make a student feel special and finding ways to do this. Does the student have dietary needs that we can fulfill and can we make this student feel seen in making a special box for them? Did a student forget to sign up for Shabbat but do we have an extra meal for them anyway? Can we put an extra dessert in a bag, just because we know that student had a tough week? Even though we are in Hamilton, can we make an extra effort so our Toronto or out-of-province students also feel a part of our community and send them mailings and deliveries so that they feel part of our programming? Having inclusive programming is a cornerstone of Hillel’s mandate. In a pandemic, even more so. 

I miss seeing the students. I miss hanging out in the Hillel office and chatting over a bagel and cracking jokes over the lineup at the toaster. I miss bumping into students on campus, catching up on their lives, and being part of a place where they come for comfort and support (and food!).    With all the programming and outreach we have done in the past 10 months, I hope that we can continue to maintain our virtual community. That even though we are not in person, our students know we are still here for them. While the medium may have changed, the sentiment certainly has not.

 

 

 

 


Judith Dworkin,
Director, McMaster Hillel

Hillel Ontario Welcomes University of Toronto’s Anti-Semitism Working Group

Hillel Ontario Welcomes University of Toronto’s Anti-Semitism Working Group

Hillel Ontario welcomes University of Toronto’s recent launch of a new Anti-Semitism Working Group. The Working Group will review programming, activities, processes, and practices in place at the University of Toronto’s three campuses and develop recommendations to support the University’s response to antisemitism.

“The establishment of a working group focused on antisemitism is a much-needed measure for the University of Toronto,” said Rob Nagus, Senior Director, Hillel UofT. “Too often, Jewish students who have faced antisemitism on campus have felt that their serious concerns around anti-Jewish hate were dismissed. Given the positive impact of recent anti-racism initiatives on the campus community, it is incumbent on our institutions to also address the unique challenges inherent to combating antisemitism.”

“Across the nine campuses we serve, Hillel Ontario is committed to working with all university administrations to champion the voices of Jewish students,” said Marc Newburgh, CEO, Hillel Ontario. “We look forward to supporting the work of the University of Toronto by ensuring these voices are heard and acknowledged. Doing so will help the Working Group better understand how contemporary antisemitism manifests on campus.”

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