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5 Questions with... Rella Kaplowitz!

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We are excited to welcome Rella as our new Program Officer in the Washington, DC office! Learn more about Rella here.

1. Tell us what excites you most about your new position with the Foundation.

So many things! As a former campus Hillel president and a Kivun alum, I know firsthand that the Foundation funds incredible work that connects and engages young Jews and materially supports tikkun olam (repairing the world). I started my career in the Jewish non-profit world and have really missed contributing to the Jewish community in a professional capacity. After spending the last five years in the public and private sectors, I am so happy to come back home. 

2. What key lessons from your past experience do you plan to apply in your new role?

Data analytics and impact evaluation are critical to any organization, but can be challenging when the outcomes you want to see may be many years down the road. Planning for what you hope to achieve with a program, what you want to evaluate, what information you want to collect and how you are going to collect it is really important to comprehensive performance and evaluation that supports decision-making at all levels. I’m really looking forward to applying my skills and experience to support the Foundation, its strategic philanthropy and its truly important mission.

3. What is the best piece of professional advice you have ever received?

The best piece of professional advice I ever received was during our first Kivun retreat (thank you Adam Simon!). I learned that: It’s ok to be selfish about your professional growth. I was very committed to working in the Jewish community, but I just wasn’t finding the right professional development and career growth opportunities in the Jewish non-profit sector so I left for five years to work in the public and then the private sector. Now that I have developed a lot of expertise doing performance and evaluation work, I am thrilled to be able to bring that back to the Jewish community.

4. What hobbies do you enjoy outside of work?

I have a gluten-free and food-allergy friendly food blog (www.chosenbites.com) that I've run for the last five years, and that has pretty much been my main hobby since I started it. I have always loved to cook and bake, even from an early age (I was about 2 when I started helping my mom in the kitchen) and that interest has only grown as I’ve gotten older. For me, there is nothing better than coming home from a long day of work and throwing a batch of hazelnut chocolate chip cookies in the oven! I have started to learn more about photography, mostly as it relates to food, but that’s becoming a bit more of a hobby these days too. I am also an avid reader (according to GoodReads, I gravitate toward books about books, which is 100% true), I always carry my kindle with me.

5. What is your favorite keyboard shortcut in Microsoft Excel and why?

Ooh, this is a hard one. When you are working with large amounts of data in Excel, keyboard shortcuts are critical and the one I used the most is probably Paste Special or ALT+H+V. There are a number of reasons you might want to Paste Special—maybe you don’t want to take the formatting with you so you just want to paste the value (ALT+H+V+V), or you need to copy a column of data and transpose it into a row instead (ALT+H+V+T). Or maybe you are just a huge Excel nerd like me and love keyboard shortcuts and writing complex formulas!