I feel so fortunate that as a Birthright Israel Excel Fellow, I'm getting much more than a 9-5 internship. From lectures by prominent corporate leaders, politicians and academics to cultural events with our Israeli peers, the Birthright Excel Program has enabled each Fellow to experience Israel in a new way. We are not just a group of 36 Americans and 36 Israelis that come together at scheduled events – we have become a solidified group of 72 and the Israeli peers have done an amazing job including us in their lives by inviting us to Shabbat dinners and planning excursions for the group.
As a Business Strategy Intern at Tnuva, I have worked on some really interesting projects. My mentor, Guy Propper, is the Executive VP of Business Development and also the chairman of Tnuva USA. Instead of assigning me typical intern busy-work, my mentors have trusted me with creating a report on Global Food and Beverage Companies' Sustainability Initiatives, which I gave to Sarit Levi, Assistant to the CEO and Chairman of Tnuva. Additionally, I've had the chance to practice my Hebrew and sit in on a meeting with the Anat, the VP of Marketing in the Dairy Division, and Irit, the Director of Market Research and Consumer Insights. Right now I'm working on an exciting project regarding Tnuva's interest in exploring new markets. At Tnuva I've conducted extensive research on the global dairy market, analyzed competitors' marketing strategies and gained a deeper understanding of the global corporate environment. These are skills that I will apply to my future career.
This past week the Excel fellows and our Israeli peers were invited to the Israeli Presidential Conference. When I notified one of my mentors that I would not be in the office on Wednesday and Thursday due to the conference schedule, she exclaimed "Wow, I can't believe that. This is an opportunity that 99% of the Israeli population doesn't get. You are so lucky." I feel that this sentiment perfectly sums up Birthright Israel Excel. I am humbled by the amazing speakers we have heard from thus far, and I'm looking forward to the jam-packed calendar of events in the weeks to come.
The Presidential Conference was a once in a lifetime opportunity to hear from famous politicians including Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Rahm Emmanuel, Bibi Netanyahu and of course, Shimon Peres. The conference was broken up into different sessions, and we could attend whichever session interested us most. One of my favorite sessions was a Master Class by Professor Dan Ariely, during which he discussed his newest book, The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty. On Wednesday, a few of us attended the panel titled "Education: The Test of Tomorrow." I was especially excited about this session because Frederick Lawrence, the President of my university, was a panelist! During the cocktail party I was lucky enough to meet Dan Ariely and Ohad Knoller (he plays Nati on the Israeli hit television show Srugim), which was really exciting.
I also want to take a moment to express my gratitude to the entire Birthright staff and especially Lynn Schusterman and Michael and Judy Steinhardt – it was an honor to meet you and I want to thank you for helping make this an unbelievable summer.