WJC-supported Start Up Nation Mentorship program gathers for professional development retreat - World Jewish Congress

WJC-supported Start Up Nation Mentorship program gathers for professional development retreat

WJC-supported Start Up Nation Mentorship program gathers for professional development retreat

Students leading the Start Up Nation Mentorship gather in early October for a weekend retreat in NYC to cultivate strategies for bringing Israeli culture and values of innovation to their campuses (c) WJC / Shahar Azran

Students from prestigious universities around the world leading the Start Up Nation Mentorship (SUNM) gathered in early October for a weekend retreat in New York City to cultivate strategies for bringing Israeli culture and values of innovation to their campuses. 

The WJC-supported Start-Up Nation Mentorship program pairs student leaders with prominent Israelis in industry and government with the aim of bridging global and cultural gaps. In the past year alone, over 150 college students were paired with Israeli mentors according to their individualized interests.  

The immersive three-day retreat featured professional development and leadership training, as well as conversations outlining the state of anti-Israel sentiment on campus and how best to navigate it. Students also bonded at a Shabbat dinner hosted by Rabbi Benjamin Goldshmidt of the Park East Synagogue. 

Among other noteworthy segments of the program were sessions led by:  

  • David Sable, Co-Founder & Partner of DoAble, who shared how to better understand Israel through a marketing lens; 
  • Zvika Netter, CEO & Co-Founder of Innovid, who discussed the roots of Israel’s entrepreneurial success; and 
  • Max August, Founder of the Israel Summit, who suggested ways to creatively cultivate Israeli engagement at any age. 

The students also participated in a series of Innovation Challenges in which they brainstormed how to best improve the organization and foster deeper engagement from students. Start-Up Nation Voices, the program’s podcast, was emphasized as a core pillar for growth.  

Reflecting on the three-day retreat, SUNM CEO Ben Spilg said, “It was truly a sensational weekend of information, inspiration, and innovation. I remain humbled by the young Jewish leaders around me and tremendously grateful for all that the World Jewish Congress does to support Start-Up Nation Mentorship as we continue to pair extraordinary student leaders with Israeli mentors.” 

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