Since making Aliyah from France in his early 20s, Maxime Seligman has succeeded in building a thriving digital marketing agency. He subsequently founded a successful government-accredited school teaching digital marketing and full stack web development, with dozens of successful graduates. I sat down with Maxime in his office to hear his story and to seek his advice for those looking to build their life and career in Israel.

He is motivated by two major factors: maximizing his Jewish and family life; and helping people, whether by getting their products out in the market, or in guiding students to maximize their potential and secure a satisfying career in Israel.

Maxime grew up in Paris, near the Eiffel Tower, and earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Marketing at the Université X Paris Nanterre. He says that his university education was a great experience—including how to create traditional advertisements and formulating marketing strategies—but that much was insufficiently practical in terms of the daily running of a business. He says: “Today with online tools, you can definitely make an efficient marketing campaign without needing a lot of what I learned in five years at university. It was a lot of hard work, but nothing really that I use day-to-day. I was learning management and business. I built WebSchool because today a university degree will not help you day-to-day in running your business.”

Maxime made Aliyah from Paris in 2005, at the age of 23, because “I wanted to return to my roots. I was not religious in France, I wasn’t Shabbat observant. In France, you have to live two lives: your official life, and your private, family life. I was in a public school, and when you’re Jewish, you can’t display it. Not because of anti-Semitism, I had no issues due to anti-Semitism. My parents said “you’re Jewish”, it wasn’t a secret, but it kind of was. I wanted to be connected to my roots.”

After a few months of acclimating in Be’er Sheva, Maxime moved to Jerusalem to take a digital marketing job at a large French-speaking company, specializing in tourism services. There he ran the company’s digital marketing strategy, including its newsletter, online marketing campaigns, Google Ads, and Facebook campaigns. In parallel, he commenced a ten-month digital marketing and web design program at the John Bryce School in Jerusalem. During this time, he started building his professional Israeli network.

A few years later, Maxime opened Leadlike, his own digital marketing agency, to help Israeli hi-tech companies run their marketing campaigns. One of his clients was Kupat Holim Meuhedet—Israel’s third largest health maintenance organization—for which he and his team ran a social media campaign for two years.

Leadlike was so successful that Maxime and his Co-founder discovered that they were unable to meet demand. As a result, at the beginning of 2016, they opened WebSchool at Leadlike’s offices in the Jerusalem’s Talpiot neighborhood.

And what happened to Leadlike, his digital marketing agency? Maxime says: “Once we were running those courses, we didn’t want to compete with our students, so we stopped doing Leadlike. When we get requests for digital marketing through Leadlike, we redirect those people to our students. Today, if you knock on my door and you say to me ‘I want your marketing experience’, I can either teach you in one of my classes, or I’ll refer you to consult with one of my students.”

Before establishing WebSchool, Maxime participated in the Gvahim Career Program in Jerusalem, run at the time by Gvahim’s Jonni Niemann. During the program, his startup, Browz’in, was selected for Siftech, an accelerator for early-stage startups in Jerusalem.

Maxime’s accomplishments to date in Israel are very impressive, as are his drive to live life fully and make a positive impact on his world. I came away very inspired from my meeting with him and look forward to continuing to track Maxime’s already-impressive accomplishments.

I’d like to thank Maxime for his willingness to take time out of his busy schedule to meet with me, and Limor Schwartz, Gvahim’s Community Manager, for suggesting that I meet with him and for working with me on this project. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank the whole Gvahim team for the incredible work they have done and continue to do in supporting Olim. I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to get to know and receive guidance from many Gvahim team members in many contexts.

As a proud alumnus of Gvahim, Maxime gives back by mentoring and lecturing. In addition, he is offering a special discount on WebSchool’s programming courses for Gvahim alumni.