What is your favorite travel memory?
One of my favorite travel memories is from my time working as a JDC Entwine Fellow in Mumbai, India. Every morning began with a train ride from my neighborhood station in Byculla to the slum where I taught in a place called Kalwa.
After a hot and dusty journey, I'd walk until I came upon a shanty with dozens of tiny shoes piled outside, then step into the happiest place in the world: my classroom. Upon entering the room, I was met with fifty pairs of bright eyes and smiling faces, as my students stood at attention and shouted in sing-song, "Good morning Debbie teacher!" It never got old.
How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?
After more than a year overseas, I'd just returned stateside, was needing a job, missing the community of travelers I'd met while abroad, and didn't quite know where to call 'home.' Then, a few weeks after my return, I received an email from TALMA stating that they were looking for an alumni of the Fellowship to serve as the program's Recruitment Director. Suddenly, the world seemed a little brighter.
AI'm not sure whether it's more fair to say that I found my position with TALMA at a time of uncertainty in my life, or that TALMA stepped into my life right when I needed it; but my work with TALMA changed me, giving me a fresh outlook on life, and the realization that a true community can surround you, support you, and love you no matter how far or close your physical coordinates are.
What is the best story you've heard from a return student?
As a program that is improving and expanding each year, we learn from our mistakes, we build on existing partnerships, and we bring back as many of our alumni as we can so that TALMA's students can benefit from their experience and know how. The best story I hear from return Fellows is one that I'm lucky to get to hear over and over again from our participants..."This summer was even better than last summer!" Those words are magic.
If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?
The beauty of TALMA is that no matter which location you are in, you are part of one TALMA community - so while the scenery and student population you serve might look different from location to location, we operate the same program, with the same mission, schedule, and passion, no matter where it is you are placed. Plus, the beauty of TALMA is that you can return year after year and experience the program in each location...you don't have to choose!
What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?
What I believe makes TALMA unique is that we turn Israel into a lab for Fellows to explore how an increasingly diverse and entrepreneurial nation devises innovative solutions to deal with deep-rooted and multi-dimensional social and economic challenges.
By living, learning and teaching together, our Fellows form a network of powerful and influential change makers who take the lessons they learn in Israel and bring them back to their communities around the world.
What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?
The biggest factor in being a successful company is undoubtedly having a deep-seeded passion for your mission. Everyone who works for TALMA is passionate about Israel, educational equity, and social justice. In turn, we make a pointed effort to only bring others into our community who have a demonstrated history of embodying those passions.
When you can build a network of people who, first, share a passion, and then, share a powerful experience that works towards fulfilling that passion, you get buy-in, and when you have buy-in, success is sure to follow.