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Establishing our first branch abroad

Article: Linoi Katsav, founder of the Pro-Women association

About two years ago I moved to New York with the desire to fulfill an old dream: to live and work in the largest and most vibrant city in the world.

Along with the personal dream, I and I had a vision to turn the association into an international organization that would connect talented women's communities from all over the world. So in the meantime we started small. Since our activity in Israel is mainly in academic institutions, upon my arrival in New York I naturally turned to well-known universities in the city and talked with female students to understand their needs and study style, and to re-characterize our target audience.

During the conversations, I understand that unlike most academic institutions in Israel, the local universities operate a large number of programs and clubs so that it will be difficult for female students to commit to a program like ours, or in other words, I felt that the time was not yet ripe to open a program at these institutions. We first need to build our brand and reputation in New York, and as a start, appeal to an audience that understands the value. I started talking to Israeli women who moved to New York with the goal of continuing to advance in their careers to understand what would interest and attract them. There are many communities of Israeli women in New York, Facebook groups, one-time meetings and various events, which personally helped me a lot when I moved to the city. I met new companies, I learned many things, but I did not find a structured program, one that has a beginning, middle and end, where one small group, goes through a significant process together and is focused on growth in career and personal life.

When I realize that I have a new direction that this time feels more correct, I turned to 3 wonderful, pioneering and talented friends: Neta Goldberg, Moran Golan and Daniel Kafir Dolitsky who agreed to join me on a journey of search, characterization, ups and downs of establishing a pro-women branch in New York. We need to raise money, partners, refine the messages and the value we want to give, generate awareness and exposure so that women get to know us and want to apply. It was an educational and exciting journey at the end of which we formed a group with 15 talented women, among them managers in the high-tech field, producers in the film field, designers, students of various degrees and more.

Unlike Israel, the program in New York is aimed at women with work experience and/or during advanced degrees who came to New York to continue developing their careers and hence the name:

ProWoman - Keep Rising as a Leader in NYC .

From the beginning, we worked with a professional consultant, Tali Galai, an organizational consultant and leadership development coach, who helped us characterize the group and the admission processes and accompanied the group until the end. Also, the group in New York focuses not only on the challenges of women in the labor market but also on the challenges we face as immigrants, dealing with cultural, language, etc. gaps. The program lasts about 4 months, which includes meetings with Israeli women living in the USA and leading Americans in their field of work who tell the story of their careers, about important decisions, significant challenges and give tips and guidance to the participants of the program, who are mostly at the beginning of their professional career. During the last program we met Yael Weinstock Shemesh, Senior Vice President of the Israel Division at Bank Hapoalim New York, Laura A. Clayton McDonnel, Vice President, Enterprise Sales at ServiceNow, Mia Cohen Proshaur, founding team member and VP of Business Development at Lemonade, and many other talented people. Alongside the meetings with the women, we held professional workshops with an emphasis on imparting professional tools such as public speaking, conveying messages to employees and managers, and more. Beyond the professional meetings, strong and exciting connections and true friendships were formed within the group, which are very necessary when moving to a new country. We have created a community with deep personal and professional connections that we believe will continue to develop and grow.

As in the activity in Israel, in New York we understand that our strength is not only in a 4-month journey, but in the journey of life, and therefore we are building a high-quality female community in New York that will grow over the years. This community will be a home for the program participants and pro-women graduates who will move from Israel to the USA and back. These days, as in the whole world, we are adapting to the new reality and moving some of our content to online meetings, which allows us to hear and learn from women without geographical restrictions.

It is important for us to say thank you to our partners at the beginning and those who allowed us to open the first cycle of

Pro-Woman New York: Birthright Excel and Procter LLP Goodwin law firm.

Good luck to the team that will continue to develop our branch in New York: Neta Goldberg, Shira Liebeber, Shani Rodan, Shelly Dotan and Ortal Geshri.

See you soon in the next round...

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