FROM OLA TO CEO IN ONE YEAR – Valerie Kaliski, Alumna of Career Program #52

by Marcus Gilban, journalist, Alum of Career Program #50

One year after her aliyah, French immigrant Valérie Kaliski, 41, has stepped into the role of CEO for Crediplace, “one of the world’s most disruptive start-ups in the finance sector,” as she describes. Her seventeen-year career working with international business development is back on track, crowning months of studies and networking in the Jewish state. Gvahim has had a pivotal role, she said.

Creditplace was founded by a group of Israeli senior economists and analysts. Why did they choose an olah chadashah to lead their company?
They were looking for a candidate with a strong international experience in finance. I was shortlisted with Israeli candidates from all over the world. I believe I was chosen due to a mix of reasons including education and professional experience, competencies, personal background and a bit of luck, of course. I wanted to be part of Israel’s success story. We left everything behind and decided to settle here, this is why I often picture us as pioneers. Telling my history to the board members may have had a positive impact.

You have dedicated part of your career to the Rothschild & Co bank in Europe. What are the main professional challenges to start a whole new story in Israel?
I have always been driven by the wish to explore and contribute to something special in the global context from both personal and professional viewpoints. Very early, I decided to study and work overseas, I guess it is a bit of the ‘wandering Jew’ cultural heritage. The crucial asset is the adaptability! Company size, cultural gap, business environment, everything is new and it’s all a matter of adapting fast enough.

I have read that one third of French olim chadashim have returned to France for not finding their dream job in Israel. Has this ever been a concern for you? Did you ever think of giving up during this first year unemployed?
I arrived in Israel and immediately started the ulpan classes, joined Gvahim, looked for a job, and had several interviews as part of recruitment processes. I confess I had no time for fear, we always kept a positive attitude. Aliyah was done, there was no way back. Failing was not an option.

What can you teach from your Gvahim experience with your mentor, HR consultant and sessions?
I strongly appreciate all the time and energy that they gave us. Attending the Gvahim program helped me trigger my new professional start. We are very lucky to benefit from such advice, coaching and network. No other country in the world offers that!