BRING IT FORWARD – An Alumni-born new initiative at Gvahim

by Rachel Hartman, Alumna of Career Program #23 

Last year, while driving home to Tel Aviv from a weekend up north, Fred got a call from a new graduate of Gvahim. Claire was a professional from France who had been living in Israel for about two years. She had recently completed Gvahim’s job accelerator program, and was looking for advice from someone in a similar stage in professional life, but who was more knowledgeable about the professional world in Israel. It was in this call that they both identified a problem that many Olim face: the lack of a professional peer social network.

When Olim come to Israel, we usually leave our social network behind in our home country. We know the impact this can have on our personal lives, but most don’t realize the impact it can have on us professionally. People use their professional social networks to not only find jobs, but to help with CVs, game plan answers for challenging questions in interviews, sanity check job offers, and more. While friends back home are usually just an SMS away, they’re no longer a good professional sounding board.

 

First Bring It Forward training at Gvahim’s Center

Bring it Forward’s mission is to fill this gap by helping new Olim establish a professional peer network in Israel. The program will match new Olim with Olim who have been in Israel longer, the more seasoned Oleh (referred to as a G-mate). The pairings are very carefully thought out, based on a variety of factors (such as age, language, and career aspirations), to ensure both parties will get the most out of the experience. Once matched, the G-mate and his/her Oleh partner will be required to meet once a month for four months, but can meet or talk on the phone as needed.

Before starting officially with the Bring it Forward program, G-mates undergo a training program. This training program is meant to both prepare the G-mates to make their pairing with the Olim more fruitful, and to create a community amongst the G-mates themselves. This inner G-mate community will become a high-value professional family, well worth the time and effort of joining. The end goal of the Bring it Forward program is to create a more vibrant and active community for all involved.

Claire and Fred have worked tirelessly to create the Bring it Forward program, and to organize it in a way that makes it both dynamic and a true value add to those involved and the community at large. Their tireless dedication to the betterment of the Gvahim community is appreciated by all, and serves as an example to future graduates. We all wish them will with the smart and ambitious endeavor, and look forward to seeing what happens in the future.