The thing about Israel is you must be flexible to make it here. Before I came to Israel, the shaliach [representative] from Nefesh B’Nefesh came to Baltimore to interview me in response to my aliyah application. She told me that it was probably a good thing that I had more than a few skills, rather than being “the foremost expert in exotic South American butterflies”. She assured me that this multi-skill approach would serve me well in my resettlement process.
In reality, I have relied on my doula, catering, childcare and marketing skills to make a few shekels. In the process I have evolved. What I came here hoping to do is not what I am ending up doing. The Israeli government recognizes this and is very good about, in some circumstances, reimbursing people with money for retraining programs.
Every month I make an effort to attend the Jerusalem Business Networking Forum (JBNF) which has both a Facebook presence and a Meetup.com group. Presenters talk about marketing, sales, personal development, time management, start-ups, funding and so much more. I can honestly say, I have met the best and the most dynamic people at this networking event (that is entirely staffed by volunteers). There is always time both before and after for networking and business card exchanges.
I have also attend workshops at a Haredi women’s start-up “business incubator” hub with training and support for women entrepreneurs. The workshops given by Estie Rand and Leah Aharoni at Temech/Jerusalem Hub have given me tools presented in a fast-paced and interesting format. The best part is that the class is located conveniently in the center of the city just one block from the Central Bus Station.
In addition, I studied personal development and business training with Lesley Josman Kaplan, owner of LAK Creations and Consulting. During that class we worked with other classmates and were encouraged to support and critique our businesses. The class was given in cooperation with Emunah Jerusalem. Lesley has recently taken the reins of the AACI’s Professional Women’s Network which meets once a month for learning and networking in Talpiot. This is a whole new chapter for businesswomen in Israel.
Over the past two years I have attended business classes in Talpiot at MATI Jerusalem. MATI which is sort of the equivalent of the American Small Business Administration. This was a fantastic course led and staffed by very generous and professional leaders in their fields. Now, I am taking advantage of the 20 hours of business mentoring offered to new immigrants to refine my business approach. MATI worked hard to find me the just the right MATI mentor. I am working with Chaya Ben-Dor. Chaya has a background in marketing, sales and coaching. Each week I am to meet with her, I have an assignment to turn in. This week, for example, I had to do a SWOT analysis on my program and one for my personality.
Through Nefesh b’Nefesh in Givat Shaul I went to several career workshops, most memorably one given on Marketing Tools by Mike Mintz, Esq. I learned so much from him in one half-hour lecture. Last week, I read that he was offering a 16 part class on “Internet Marketing: SEO, Social Media and Analytics”. I knew that I had found the program for me, at John Bryce Hi-tech College in the Malcha neighborhood of Jerusalem in the Industrial Park. It looks like it will be a challenge and I am looking forward to it.
So, I ended up interested in the program because three of my mentors and teachers opened my eyes to the fit between my personality and marketing. Imagine that.