By Sue Tomchin
When you plug the word “entrepreneur” into Google you get 791 million results. Rachel Braun Scherl has carved out a unique and gutsy category within this mammoth realm. She calls herself a “vagipreneur™ —an entrepreneur focused on the business of female sexual health and wellness.
The strong Jewish women leaders we feature for Women to Watch come from diverse backgrounds and fields. However, in common they have the Jewish wisdom informs their work - whether in Jewish or secular fields. Values passed down from generation to generation, observance of ritual, and appreciation of our shared history connects the legacy of women honored at Women to Watch.
The right advice, at the right time, can make all the difference in a career. Our Women to Watch have much of their own advice to offer, but here they share the best piece of wisdom that was passed down to them, propelling their careers forward or that helps to frame their values.
Honoring women in our community for the last 18 years has brought inspiration and joy to attendees of Women to Watch. For our honorees, being named a Woman to Watch can be a validation of their hard work, a recognition of their impact on our community, and a time to connect with contemporaries across many fields. Today, it’s ever more important to lift the work of women in our community and celebrate the accomplishments of those around us.
By Monica Edelman
I don’t know the race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, ability, or personal history of the vast majority of my fundraiser’s donors. In this digital age, for me they are generous little circular profile pictures alerting me of a new donation every thirty seconds. For two days I watched their faces flash and flash, over and over, continually curating new donations on the screen of my cell phone in what was a beautiful slideshow of names, both familiar and foreign, giving what they could to help out complete strangers.
By Susanna Lustbader
Don’t ask me to abandon my bed on a chilly afternoon in early December. After all, I have an appointment with my pillows to hole up with mac & cheese and binge watch an entire season of The Office. Why would I want to surrender my well-broken-in sweatpants for casual office attire, my day of splendid vegetation for a Young Women’s Leadership Conference?
By Valerie Brown
How my mom’s civic engagement has transformed from informed citizen to activist extraordinaire - and what she’s done for her community this year.
We asked our former Women to Watch honorees how they’ve seen women’s leadership change over the last decade, and their responses show us how far we’ve come together. There’s still so much work to be done, but by recognizing the incredible women in our community, we’ve marked and honored the legacy of women who came before us.
By Lori Weinstein
This time of year directs us to turn ourselves inside out, make amends, begin anew – with a fresh gaze and an open heart – all in our life journey to do better and be better. Open-heartedness is the journey of forgiveness. It is spacious and rejuvenating. It enables you to return to your daily battles with renewed vigor, commitment and optimism.
Three years ago, Jenny Abramson decided to follow a piece of advice that her mother gave her: If you want something done, do it yourself. Today she is the founder and managing partner of Rethink Impact, the “largest impact-oriented venture capital fund in the country with a gender lens.”
Mackenzie Barth is a self-described “bad eater” who didn’t touch a vegetable until she was 21. But that didn’t stop her from recognizing that college students needed a food resource geared to their lives and interests.
Wendy Feldman Block has built a 31-year career in the commercial real estate realm, completing leasing and sales transactions totaling nearly 12 million square feet. And while building her career in a male-dominated industry, she has also demonstrated an extraordinary passion for community service.
When Rabbi Lizzi Heydemann, then 30, moved back to Chicago in 2011 after being away for more than a decade, she wanted to connect with contemporaries but didn’t see a ready avenue. She founded Mishkan, named after the tent that the Israelites carried with them through the desert.
Dr. Logan Levkoff is a respected educator dedicated to perpetuating healthy and positive messages about sexuality and relationships. She teaches widely, has written multiple books about both teen and adult sexuality and is an oft-consulted expert appearing on such TV shows as Nightline, Good Morning America, and The Today Show.
Marlee Matlin has built a body of work – and a life – that reflects her versatility, her skill, her generosity, and her willingness to take risks. She has compelled us to see her not for her disability, but for her talent and humanity, and along the way has helped to normalize the inclusion of all deaf individuals.
Throughout Jill Saxon’s life, from the time on the number one U.S. high school soccer team, to her years as a Navy lieutenant and optometrist serving during Operation Iraqi Freedom, to her current work at the global headquarters of Bausch + Lomb, she has strived to excel, while fulfilling her goal to help people.
A 25-year Wall Street veteran, Beth Chartoff Spector often has been the sole woman in rooms where mergers, corporate debt refinancing packages, and institutional investment decisions are hammered out. Working “to address what is a pretty big gender divide in women coming into this field” has been one of her aims.
From the age of ten, Laurie Strongin showed a knack for leadership. But the full scope of her strength and ability to lead emerged when her son Henry Strongin Goldberg was diagnosed at age two weeks with a rare genetic disease, Fanconi anemia.
Through her philanthropic and hands-on involvement in multiple educational organizations throughout Montgomery County, Md., Linda Youngentob works to impact the lives of first-generation college students, many from immigrant families, by helping them apply for and succeed in college.
By Sasha Altschuler
With 67 days until the midterm elections, voting is on my mind. A vote is more than helping shape the future, it's about acknowledging and honoring the past. We are responsible for continuing the legacy of the women who fought for our right to vote; we owe it to our communities to act as a catalyst for change by taking our voices to the polls.
By Sue Tomchin
Former JWI Women to Watch, Kathy Manning and Susie Turnbull are among the hundreds of women who decided that 2018 was the right time to run for office.
By Steph Black
There are holidays for everything—National Hug Your Cat Day is June 4; National Ice Cream Day is July 1; and World Emoji Day is July 17. While I certainly love my cat, Goose, eat my share of ice cream and appreciate a good emoji as much as the next gal, I am also happy that there’s a day to honor friendship—June 8, national friends day.
I’d like to tell you about a friend who has impacted my life in an unexpected way.
By Sue Tomchin
Journalist Elaine Weiss thinks of herself as well-read. She votes in every election and considers herself politically aware. But five years ago she realized there was a glaring gap in her knowledge.
By Steph Black
The paycheck of the most important woman in your life will only be 71% of her male counterpart. The woman who raised and cared for you will be economically hampered due to stereotypes and bias. But we think your mom deserves better.
By Jackie Kossoff
The previous JWI events I have attended could not prepare me for the evening of inspiration and connection I experienced at the LA Women’s Leadership Network’s recent event, “Passion for Fashion.” I knew that we were gathered to hear Esther Brozin Feder, philanthropist and JWI supporter, talk of her journey in the fashion industry. What I didn’t expect was to share a powerful evening with other young, Jewish, female entrepreneurs.
By Jackie Kossoff
Starting out as an entrepreneur is one of the most exciting times of your life. Being able to follow your dreams and pursue your professional passion invigorates and empowers you in ways you never dreamed of.
By Sue Tomchin
Many Americans mistakenly believe that men and women are guaranteed equal rights in the Constitution, which isn’t the case. Has the ERA’s time finally come?
By Ariela Cohen
As a member of JWI’s Young Women’s Leadership Network I was fortunate to be able to attend The United State of Women (USOW) Summit that took place on May 5-6 in Los Angeles. The passion and commitment of the women I encountered galvanized me. I’m now ready to roll up my sleeves and get involved.
By Valerie Brown
This past weekend I joined a group of 15 people between the ages of 23 and 33 with Act Now Houston on a service/learning trip to Houston, Texas, to aid with Hurricane Harvey relief. Though the hurricane has disappeared from the news, rebuilding continues in Houston, primarily in low-income areas.
by Shira Epstein
We explored the need to hold both in our classrooms: Our biblical characters who speak up, and those whose voices are silenced or who censure themselves out of shame and fear. Those whose power is elevated through voice, and those who we never hear.