By Deb Silverthorn
Special to the TJP
A common prayer offered from the time a Jewish girl is born is “may you be like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah.”
If you were in the audience of the Jewish Women’s Philanthropy Center’s Career & Professional Affinity program Monday night, it was apparent that the Dallas Jewish community is filled with such leaders, as well as those of this generation, like guest speaker Mandy Ginsberg, CEO of Match Group North America, and the many who came together to share the power, joy, and respect of this community’s professional women.
“The Metroplex is filled with female icons of business and great success stories and the women at the event and in our community are evidence of that,” said Carol Kreditor, chair of the Jewish Women’s Philanthropy Center. The committee’s mission is to educate, empower and engage women in our community, fostering a culture of relevance, nurturing leadership and inspiring a commitment to philanthropy. “We are excited to once again — through networking, learning together, and hosting speakers — get people involved and engaged.”
Monday evening’s program was attended by close to 70 people and moderated by TJP Publisher and Editor Sharon Wisch-Ray. The event was the debut of the return of the Career & Professional Affinity, which is co-chaired by Laurie Betesh and Linda Glauben leading a committee of Jill Bach, Judy Barton, Megan Hyman, Jolene Risch, Amy Schachter, Deb Williams and Susan Wisch. The group, which has been renewed under the Community Outreach and Engagement division, is co-chaired by Cathy Brook and Pam Fine, and is a part of the Jewish Women’s Philanthropy Center, an umbrella that covers the Education Committee, the Women’s Campaign, the Leadership and Younger Set divisions of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas.
Kreditor introduced the Federation’s upcoming marketing moniker of #FedProud, inviting all to become more involved, engaged and educated as to where the almost $10 million raised in the 2015 Campaign was shared, and voicing the hope that the more people know, the more they will want to give, and give proudly.
“As women, we are strong, independent, and we have a voice that leads to inspire growth,” said Kreditor. “We are sisters and daughters, mothers and friends.”
Monday’s evening was filled with women from across the generational “un”divide, professional lines; corporate financial wizards and legal minds who office in tall buildings, women who run offices from home, sole proprietors and corporate leaders, and others who are the CEOs of their family. The group’s next meeting is March 14, again with a focus on bringing together like-minded Jewish women, who span a variety of industries and experience levels together to connect their professional lives with their philanthropic values.
Mandy Ginsberg, the CEO of Match Group North America, where she is responsible for Match U.S., Match Affinity Brands, OkCupid, PlentyOfFish, and the company’s overall North American expansion, is a Dallas native who went to The Lamplighter School and The Hockaday School. She grew up, the daughter of Buman and the late Joy, on Northaven, just down the street from the very Jewish Community Center building where she now returned to speak about the strength and respect of working women.
“The world is changing and there are so many women in the career-place trying to juggle it all. It’s hard to stop and connect; lunches, meetings, deadlines — it’s tough to get together but this kind of career-minded group, from within our community, definitely clicks with me,” said Ginsberg. She was a 2012 honoree by JWI — Jewish Women International — as a “Woman to Watch,” who was named and celebrated her bat mitzvah and first wedding at Temple Emanu-El and was a member of BBYO’s Fannie Sablosky chapter who summered at Camp Sabra.
Wisch-Ray, who called the evening her own “Oprah moment to take off my bucket list,” spoke also to the fervor she has as a businesswoman in a very male-laden industry.
“I inherited the passion for my profession from my parents,” said Wisch-Ray, who graduated from Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Texas at Arlington with a master’s degree in social work, and is the wife of Alex and mother of Benjamin, Sam and Jimmy. Her parents, Rene and Jimmy, both of blessed memory, founded the Texas Jewish Post in 1947 and instilled in her the spirit of hard work, respect and appreciation for the opportunity to own a business. “Celebrating successful women in both business and Jewish philanthropy, is a natural fit, and I’m thrilled to be a part of the Career and Professional Affinity’s program tonight. It was not lost on me — as we heard from Mandy and her passion for Match.com and how it brings people together — that perhaps the most important decision a successful businesswoman can make is whom she chooses as her life partner.”
Ginsberg, who attended the Federation’s Teen Tour to Israel program, returned later — when her first job out of college was as a tour guide for the program, ultimately making Israel her home for three years. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of California at Berkeley and an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Ginsberg then returned to Dallas, a single mom whose own mother was fighting a battle against ovarian cancer — one that Ginsberg wouldn’t let her fight alone.
“I’m not sure I ever pictured coming back to Dallas but when my mom got sick there was no question and it turns out that in every way it was the best decision,” said Ginsberg, the mother of Maya and Talia, and wife of Madhu Rajendran. Ginsberg also served as the CEO of The Princeton Review, where she expanded its services to include online services, including tutoring and college counseling for a new generation of students. Ginsberg’s customer experience acumen developed during her tenure as vice president of consumer technology for Edelman Public Relations Worldwide, then subsequently in her role as vice president of worldwide marketing at i2 Technologies.
For more information about future programs, call 214-369-3313 or visit http://bit.ly/2d9FAk9.