Jewish Woman Entrepreneur, a two-year-old networking and support initiative for religiously observant women, hosted its first conference on Sunday, May 5. The daylong conference at the Hyatt Regency in New Brunswick, N.J. drew approximately 300 participants from across the country.
JWE was founded by Lander College for Women-The Ann Ruth and Mark Hasten School (LCW) alumna Chaya Fishman. Fishman, ’09, ran a successful conglomerate of arts camps in her hometown of Cleveland prior to enrolling at LCW and during her time at the college. When she graduated, she worked as a financial analyst for two years, but her dream was to one day help women obtain the business moxie she had honed.
“I had a vision to create a network for Jewish women, especially those who are observant, that would address the issues they face in business,” says Fishman, who lives in Baltimore with her husband, Ariel and year-old son Aaron.
The conference offered session on everything from raising capital, social media marketing, and hiring and managing employees, to work-life balance — all while staying true to Torah values, according to Fishman. JWE, and by extension, the conference, was designed to empower women who either want to launch a business or grow one they have already started, and to do so while hewing to their religious practice.
The conference participant came from around the country and from across the spectrum of Orthodoxy, from Chasidic to Modern Orthodox.
Fishman first had the idea for JWE while still in high school. She left her job as a financial analyst after two years to attend law school — her end goal being to gain the legal skills to meaningfully assist other women with their business aims.
She launched JWE in 2011 and was flooded with mentoring applications. Women wanted support, and observant ones in particular needed it. They faced more challenges and had less experience interfacing with the secular world than other Jewish women. She submitted her business plan to Debevoise &b Plimpton, the prestigious 82-year-old law firm, which took on JWE pro bono, walking Fishman through the non-profit organizational setup.
“The goal of the conference is educational programming, to build networking relationships and build communication so that observant women can support each other on issues unique to them,” says Fishman.
For further information about JWE call (410) 205-6599 or email www.thejwe.com
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