Heschel is proud to have alumni around the world with impressive accomplishments, both personally and professionally. We will be posting these spotlights regularly and encourage you to share your stories with us. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to send us your spotlight.
While in Australia, Josh founded LOCAL VIBES, a live music-oriented A&R firm that used fan data to differentiate its artists. The firm also empowered artists to become advocates for causes most meaningful to leveraging a mobile solution to raise funds direct from fans at showcases. The firm grew its presence across three continents.
After returning to New York, Josh sold the firm to an Australian music conglomerate, and he began angel investing in companies that had a "scalable social DNA". Simultaneously, Josh was interested in learning about the role of human capital in growing businesses. He joined Korn Ferry, a global organizational consulting firm, and was successively promoted to Senior Associate within the Global Asset Management & Alternative Investments Practice. During his tenure at Korn Ferry, he architected the firm's M&A capability for Asset Managers and served as a founding member of the Impact Investing Center of Expertise
Josh is now pursuing his MBA at Cornell, while also managing his early stage venture vehicle, Clearstone Enterprises. Josh says that "Clearstone seeks out companies with a scalable social DNA, meaning the more good it does, the more money it makes." Josh's focus has been supplying early capital and advice to startups addressing systemic issues facing society particular ones affecting the underserved, underbanked and small-to-medium businesses. He is particularly proud of helping SMEs become more investable using social credit factors, starting to move the needle in redistributing wealth in Bangladesh, unlocking reasonable debt capital for high achieving, low income students, and making mission-driven fixed income products accessible to the institutional investors market.
In addition to his busy professional and academic pursuits, Josh is the President of the Board of Directors for the America-Israel Cultural Foundation, Vice Chair of the Council of Young Jewish Presidents, a Board Member of the Polonsky Foundation, a Young World Fellow of the Duke of Edinburgh International Award Foundation, and an Advisory Board Member of Erb Institute at the University of Michigan Ross Business School.
Josh highlights Heschel's pivotal contribution to his underlying values: "Heschel largely influenced my worldview, teaching me how to respect and appreciate diversity of thought and background. It gave me the tools to be inclusive even if confronted with a diverging view. This holds true in business, volunteer work - quite frankly in any dimension of my life."
Siblings Suzanna (HS '08) and Matthew (HS '10) Grobman have taken unconventional career paths and are now running a family business together. One could say they flushed some of their initial prospects and created a bright (and more fragrant) future.
Suzanna graduated from Boston University after making a huge switch from Costume Design to a degree in Religion. While on her first vacation with her then boyfriend (now husband), Suzanna began to notice that he was frequently disappearing and re-emerging with gifts from the hotel lobby, and she became slightly suspicious of his whereabouts. After several days, he confessed that he was using the lobby bathroom. Inspired by the universal challenges of sharing a bathroom, and underwhelmed by the current crude-humored and mass market solutions available, Suzanna was determined to find a better option by creating a sophisticated and travel-friendly home fragrance for the toilet, which is when POTTYMINTS was born.
After graduating from NYU with a degree in Entrepreneurship and a short stint in Real Estate, Matthew joined the POTTYMINTS team. He now works side by side with his sister and has played an integral role in transforming this family business into a successful brand. POTTYMINTS is now available at over 3,000 retail locations including The Container Store, Urban Outfitters, Paper Source, and Ace Hardware.
Suzanna credits her ability to appreciate and learn from other people's ideas in both life and business to her experience at Heschel. "Heschel was an incredibly transformative experience, as it taught us to question everything and understand the reasoning behind making difficult decisions. Heschel taught us how to listen and how to value others' opinions, even if you didn't necessarily agree with them."
Matthew echoes Suzanna's statements saying that "Heschel helped define how I lead my life, and what I will leave for future generations."
Suzanna hopes to pass on the Jewish lessons learned from her time at Heschel to her 10 month old daughter, Rafaela!
Since graduating from Rutgers University with a BA in Philosophy and a minor in creative writing, Reuben Dreiblatt (HS '14) has been working as a production assistant on an upcoming documentary titled "Hidden Heritage: A Jewish Awakening in Krakow."
This documentary, by renowned filmmaker, Slavomir Grunberg (Karski and the Lords of Humanity), describes the Jewish revival in Krakow, Poland that has been going on over the past 30 years. It is a character-driven piece that will tell the stories of the youth in Krakow, rediscovering their roots and finding ways to embrace and incorporate Judaism into their lives. Production on the film has begun and Reuben had the opportunity to attend the 29th Annual Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow this past June, recording audio and video of preliminary interviews and concerts.
Reuben credits some of his interest in this project to his time at Heschel. "By being exposed to creative opportunities like working on the purim spiel and launching a newspaper column, Heschel enabled me to believe in myself. Working on this documentary has been a tremendous chance to learn hands-on cinematography from a seasoned professional and provide an understanding of the cultural awakening happening in Krakow. The multi-faceted learning methods at Heschel shaped my thinking of how I wanted to spend my professional life and where I could make the most impact."
Reuben is also taking an active lead in working to raise funds through the help of grant foundations and private donations
To learn more about this film, visit: http://logtv.com/a-new-film-in-production/
Sam, who was part of Heschel High School's first graduating class, took a gap year with Kivunim before attending the University of Michigan. Coincidentally, that was the first year that Kivunim offered the program to students. Aside from the incredible global exposure provided by Kivunim, Sam was excited to be a pioneer of this program.
After graduating from Michigan in 2011, Sam returned to New York City and worked at L'Oreal as a Brand Manager. He then moved over to the digital media industry at Thrillist, a digital publisher which covers food, drink, travel and entertainment, and then eventually shifted his focus to Snapchat.
When asked how Heschel has shaped who he is today, Sam said that "Heschel showed me the true value of curiosity, empathy and listening to others." He has taken those lessons with him through every stage of life and is now using them more than ever at Snapchat. He also said that Heschel "showed me how to build a Jewish community from a non-traditional approach and as a result strengthened my Jewish identity."
This past May, Sam was asked to join Heschel's Board of Trustees as the Alumni Representative. He says that the opportunity excites him because it gives him the opportunity to give back to an institution that shaped who he is. "Heschel has a unique approach to education and I look forward to being apart of its future."
Sam currently lives on the Upper West Side with his wife Dina Ufberg. They were married in 2015.
Adam Cole (HS '12) graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Digital Media Design. He is currently living in San Francisco, CA and working at Slack, a business application that aims to make work simpler, more pleasant and productive. Adam is a frontend software engineer on the Core Product Messaging team at Slack. He works on the user interface of the desktop application and collaborates with other teams to build, test and deploy new features.
In his time at Heschel, Adam learned a variety of digital media applications and create wide range of content, including some very memorable Shabbaton videos. By the end of this time at Heschel he was coding his own websites and creating sophisticated designs. He says that "Heschel gave me the tools, freedom, and encouragement to explore various digital outlets, and likely contributed to where I am today."