• Name: Talya Meyerowitz
• Family: Married to Paul Shipper; children Max, Josh and Ella
• Occupation: Founder and President, A Respectful Workplace
• Volunteer Efforts at Federation: Marketing committee, Women’s professional
events, Ramim 4 development committee

 

1. What do you appreciate about being Jewish?


“For me being Jewish is directly connected to my family; and to me, family is everything.
I am surrounded by warm, bright, thoughtful, creative and loving people—and for that, I
am grateful each and every day. I was raised in a home full of Jewish celebration, and
was encouraged to ask questions and talk freely about how I felt. My parents loved
being Jewish, loved Israel and were proud of both. We had Shabbat dinner every Friday
night and it was a wonderful time for us to connect as a family: a time where the chaos
of busy lives could slow down, and we could all be together. Beyond my immediate
family, my grandparents, aunts and uncles helped shape me. As a third-generation
Holocaust survivor, I grew up knowing how important being Jewish was and how
important it was to be proud of who I was and am. Now with a family of my own, my
Jewish identity as a parent has evolved, modulated and settled in its own space. I
married a ‘nice Jewish boy,’ who is funny and truly the most amazingly kind person I
know. Our children enjoy the same Shabbat experience I grew up with. My kids like to
say the Kiddush with my father and we celebrate when they get it right – their voices
booming. My daughter looks forward to lighting candles; it always gives me chills when
she covers her eyes to bless them. I love being Jewish. For me it is all about the love I
have for others and the good I want to do in the world. I am grateful to be Jewish and I
feel blessed.”


2. How do you practice Jewish values in your career?


“I am a person who is kind, open, honest and I always assume positive intent. I am
transparent to my core, and care about how others feel. I weigh the consequences of
my actions and choices on how they will affect those around me. I offer love willingly
and care to listen and connect. I believe everyone has a story and a reality they are
living in and with empathy as my director, I am able to meet people where they are. I
was raised by parents who taught me that respect is given, not earned; and that
everyone deserves it. My leadership and corporate culture consulting practice is based
on the belief that if people gave respect to those with whom they work, and spoke
honestly and candidly with kindness, many interpersonal issues that occur in the
workplace could be avoided or mitigated and discussed productively. Then important
work, innovation and creativity can find an important space without unproductive
distraction. Effective communication is a passion and a practice; and knowing that I am
helping people work together more enjoyably and efficiently every day is unbelievably
gratifying.”


3. What’s most meaningful about your work at Federation?


“I was asked to give a workshop several years ago, which I titled ‘Using Your Chutzpah
For Good!’ It was such fun and so wonderful to do the work I love with members of the
Jewish community. There was an immediate sense of community, support and
togetherness. Since then, I have been honored with several opportunities to volunteer
for the Federation and use my areas of expertise to help Jewish professionals. My
favorite experience was emceeing the 13 Extraordinary Women event. The women who
shared their stories and views of success were inspiring. They were humble and
graceful and it is an event that I feel impacted everyone in the audience of 500,
including myself.”


4. Can you share something interesting about yourself?


“My parents are South African, and I have more family around the world then I do in the
United States. I spent my first semester of my junior year abroad in London, and
decided from there that I wanted to go to Israel for my second semester. My mom
helped me get in an application to Hebrew University while I was in London and I just
made the deadline! I came home from London, washed my clothes, repacked and was
off!”

 

-Melissa Pheterson