Photo Credit: Sasson Tiram
At the Machane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem, a typical night goes something like this: a vendor deep fries kanafeh (a traditional Arab dessert made with thin noodle-like pastry) and carefully stuffs the crispy flakes with succulent asado meat. Two steps away, the entire corridor of the marketplace, often referred to as "the shuk," is jammed with locals and international visitors, and at least five different languages are heard within earshot. And the music? It’s pumping. Whether it be international pop music or tunes of the Israeli Mizrachi—Jews of Middle Eastern or North African descent—the crowd dances along to what's playing.
On Wednesday night, women took over the shuk—more than 150 women who participated in the Forbes Women Under 30 Summit, which we were pleased to support with other philanthropic partners. They gathered at this cultural, food and music hub in the holiest city in the world to celebrate their past accomplishments and dreams for the future.
The week before, 45 of them participated in the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation’s REALITY Women: Under 30 journey, where they explored Israel while connecting with and learning from their peers. After that experience ended, they joined 450 others, including members of Schusterman's ROI Community, at the Summit.
Lynn Schusterman, our Founder and Chair Emerita, was a keynote speaker. In her remarks, Lynn shared her experiences as a woman in philanthropy and her advice for leaders. "At a time when our world is so divided, I think it's so important that we know what we stand for, not just what we stand against." Lynn said.
In between plenaries and sessions at the Summit, we caught up with a few of these women changemakers and the men championing their efforts. This is the wisdom that they shared with us, and—much like the mash-up of history and modernity encountered at the shuk on Wednesday—it is advice that's timeless and relevant to all.
Here's what a few of the influencers in attendance had to say when we asked them what their main takeaways were from their experience with Schusterman at the Forbes Summit—presenting the Five Be's from their perspective.
“Everyone you see and meet is doing something crazy. It’s amazing to see so many people doing things you couldn’t even imagine could be done. It’s an incredible platform to meet people in so many fields.”
Adi Lustig, Lecturer and Environmental Entrepreneur, Saving Our Future
Forbes 30 Under 30 2016, ROI Community Member
It was a theme heard repeatedly. Talk to everyone. In an environment where you’re surrounded by so many accomplished people, you never know who will inspire your mind and spirit. Who knows? Your future business partner or best friend may be sitting right next to you at an event or dinner. Say hello to spark the connection.
“I’m so grateful. They give me the opportunity to be who I am. All of us are leaders in our own way. I've acquired a certain set of tools through my life experience, and I’m grateful for the platform to express myself.”
Michal Hidas, Fashion Designer
Forbes 30 Under 30 2018, ROI Community Member, REALITY Design 2019
Every leader, no matter how talented, has had a dose of luck come their way. During REALITY journeys and the Forbes Summit, it is important to not only be confident in your strengths, but also to acknowledge and express gratitude for the forces in life that help you shine. It is no coincidence then that during REALITY journeys participants engage in gratitude—a short exercise to kick off the day where one can silently think of who and what in your life you are thankful for and why.
Be Immersed in Israel
“Come really open. Whatever you expect, it will be different from anything you’ve read in a headline or a book. Things shift so fast here. In Jerusalem especially—which is the microcosm of Israeli society. Everybody understands that all tribes here must learn to work together. In Jerusalem, we focus on our commonalities and not our differences.”
Lior Shabo, Economic Development, Bloomberg's JLM i-team
ROI Community Member
For every headline alluding to conflict, there are hundreds of other moments of collaboration, innovation and kindness. There's something magical about diving into the diversity of Israel to discover commonalities. From the arts to entrepreneurship, many community-building initiatives are happening in Israel— it's just a matter of exploring the places and engaging with the people to find them. The country is moving rapidly, but by leaning into that pace, the end results will be thought-provoking.
Be an Ally
“Being in a conference where strong, accomplished women are the majority is empowering—it's a safe zone, and suddenly, you’re the norm. It's a beautiful feeling to know we're in the same place with a similar mission and mindset. As someone who works in the women empowerment zone, every woman, and man, I’ve spoken to has been inspiring. “
Zo Flamenbaum, Founder, School of Shine
ROI Community Member
The Forbes Summit and REALITY Women: Under 30 journey were incredible opportunities to honor women's leadership. But, it is only one part of an ongoing conversation that elevates the importance of listening to all people and celebrating the successes of individuals of diverse backgrounds. It means being an ally for fellow women and others so empowerment can reach all.
"I learned to be unapologetic in my femininity and to see it as a strength as opposed to a weakness. I've learned that women are more powerful together. I've learned that love and care are intrinsic parts of our being and should be exalted."
Jasmine Jones, co-founder and COO of Cherry Blossom Intimates
REALITY Women Under 30 '19
With REALITY, participants zoom into the real—authentically being exactly who they are as unique individuals. That freedom also enables them to be completely open with the other participants and Forbes Summit attendees. Whether it be questions regarding maintaining a work life balance or negotiating a pay raise, everything was on the table. Why? Because we're all on the same page—to empower women to be the absolute best version of themselves.
These are just five of the “Be” moments that we celebrate from the Forbes Under 30 Summit. What will you be next?
The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation is proud to empower emerging leaders to explore their values, identity and new ways to strengthen their communities. We believe that as we work together to repair the world, it is important to share our diverse experiences and perspectives along the way. We encourage the expression of personal thoughts and reflections here on the Schusterman blog. Each post and quote reflects solely the opinion of its author and does not necessarily represent the views of the Foundation, its partner organizations or all program participants.