FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Meredith Jacobs, VP Communications
direct: 202.464.4803// cell: 301.529.8591
Washington, D.C. – Jewish Women International (JWI) is thrilled to announce the launch of its Young Women’s Leadership Network in Los Angeles, part of a multi-city, multi-year expansion effort to create engaged communities of young professional Jewish women around the country. The L.A. Network launches with a grant from the Jewish Venture Philanthropy Fund (JVPF) of L.A., which has provided seed funding for the project.
"The Jewish Venture Philanthropy Fund is thrilled to see its investment come to fruition in the launch of the Young Women’s Leadership Network L.A. group,” said Esther Feder, a longstanding JVPF member. “JVPF’s motivation for providing this grant was to create a meaningful platform for L.A.’s young, professional, Jewish women to receive professional and personal support, mentoring and networking opportunities and to create meaningful Jewish community with their peers. Last night’s event validated that there is a hunger for this type of engagement, where women can engage and inspire each other Jewishly, professionally and personally. I look forward to seeing L.A. Network provide this nourishment in our community."
More than 200 young professional women celebrated the launch of the L.A. Network at the sold-out inaugural event on May 17th at Creative Westside Studio. The event highlighted women's leadership in the workforce with a dynamic panel featuring Monica Levinson, president of production at ShivHans Productions, and Dominique Schurman, CEO of Papyrus - both former JWI Women to Watch honorees.
"From the beginning of JVPF’s process of reviewing JWI’s grant request, I knew this was a project with which I would engage personally, as a young, Jewish professional woman," said Adi Hepner, a JVPF Junior member. "I am thrilled to have joined the Advisory Board of JWI's L.A. Network and look forward to cultivating a strong network of my peers through Network programming and to stewarding JVPF’s investment in building this one-of-a-kind network for our community of Jewish women."
“JWI is exactly what I’ve been looking for,” echoed Brittany Sykes, who also attended the launch event. “I grew up in the Jewish community on the East Coast and coming to L.A. had me starting from scratch. I’ve been involved in another organization but this is different. This is a group where I’ll be making new friends for life with women who share similar values, while simultaneously improving myself as a young woman.”
Supported nationwide by The Bender Foundation, established Networks in D.C., New York, Denver, and now L.A., bring together thousands of young women in their 20s and early 30s to build their professional skills, strengthen their personal and career networks, advance their leadership on critical issues that impact women and girls, and give back to the community. The Young Women’s Leadership Network connects young women to the larger world, deepening their understanding of JWI’s key issue areas: Ending violence against women and girls, increasing women’s financial literacy and access to economic security, and empowering women leaders. Through hands-on civic engagement education and opportunities—be it in a private briefing with a congresswoman or through JWI’s Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill—the Network provides a channel for young women to engage in a Jewish context. Through mentorship, friendship, and advocacy, the Network emboldens its members to become advocates and leaders.
"The timing of the network is so important, as there are so many issues that women need to be on guard about," JWI CEO Lori Weinstein said. "We shouldn't have to still be fighting for equal pay and reproductive rights."
Mirroring the D.C., New York, and Denver Networks, the L.A. Network will offer monthly events focusing on professional development, social action and community building. A local board of young women will lead these efforts; organizing programming that will also include Shabbat dinners, holiday-themed events and happy hours. The first event will feature Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, creator of Sweet/Vicious on MTV, on June 21st.
"This is something so important and so needed,” Weinstein said. “There is nothing like this for young professional women in L.A."
Plans are in place for Networks in Chicago and San Francisco. For updates on specific programs or to get more information or become involved, contact Sasha Altschuler at [email protected]. To learn more about JWI’s Young Women’s Leadership Network, go to jwi.org/ywln.
Photos by Rachel Borkow Photography
Jewish Women International (JWI) is the leading Jewish organization working to end violence against women and girls domestically and internationally. JWI is a Steering Committee member of the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women and convenes the Interfaith Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and the Clergy Task Force to End Domestic Abuse in the Jewish Community, and is a member of the Gun Violence Table. JWI’s advocacy efforts focus on the passage of legislation that supports women and girls, ensures their economic security, and protects their right to live free of violence.