Thanks to the generosity of Sharyn and Ezra S. Ashkenazi, PROPEL launched a new division designed to support the women entrepreneurs of the community. The division, PROPEL Entrepreneurs, was named in honor of PROPEL supporter Mrs. Chella Safra, and Rebecca Harary, co-founder of PROPEL.
On February 1st, the new division hosted an impressive event at The Club showcasing remarkable working women who were all professionally successful and to whom other community women could relate to who were aspiring to launch their own entrepreneurial dreams. The room was filled, and included in the audience were many PROPEL Ambassadors – there to support the next cohort of working women. Among them, Joyce Silverman of Joyce D. Silverman Interiors, Evet Balas of Light Lab, Julie Maleh of Jus by Julie, Joy Bijou of Hydrangeas & Co, Stacy Ayash, an interior designer, Barbara Kroub of Peace of Cake, Shelly Shmool of By Shelly, Nicole Cohen of Sketch 42, Alexis Cohen, designer of custom cakes and desserts, Karen Sabbagh, CBC Counselor, Celia Naomi, an artist, and Celia Beyda of On Reserve Events.
PROPEL’s all women professional team, alongside its board of directors led by Dr. Gayle Krost, inaugurated PROPEL Entrepreneurs with an all-star panel that included Batya Cohen, founder of Floorplay, Julie Danziger, co-founder of Embark Travel, Jennifer Nisan, founder of Front Row Live, and Sonia Mosseri, founder of Still Here in New York.
The female talent that evening included our moderators, three of PROPEL’s board members, Gitta Kaplan, attorney for Mamiye Brothers, Elaine Parker, Director of Business Development and Marketing Solutions at Promoshop, and Heleyne Mishan Tamir, co-founder and executive at luxury makeup brand, Surratt Beauty, as well as the owner of Bloom Bar Flower Market.
The questions asked drew the audience into the personal stories of how each of these panelists came to create and grow their businesses.
Julie’s honest, engaging, and humorous style kicked off the panel. We learned of Julie’s professional story, and how she came to head up Embark Beyond, a luxury travel company that boasts several hundred employees. Julie generously offered an incredible opportunity to a woman interested in becoming a travel advisor and agent, as Embark has its own training program.
Sonia, always artistic and creative, shared her remarkable experiences as she built her fashion jeans business and beyond. The audience was touched by the story of how her father came to this country from Egypt with very little, but he had a pair of jeans that eventually became old and worn. These jeans became a symbol to Sonia, and eventually, along with her husband, Sonia capitalized on this idea and has grown a business that sells to major retail stores. They also opened their own storefront in downtown Manhattan.
Batya was confident from a young age that she wanted to study to become an architect. While attending Pratt Institute, Batya acquired the training she needed and gained experience interning for several architectural firms. Batya began her business by consulting on furniture layouts, which quickly scaled to a one-stop-shop for Architectural & Interior Design services. Batya was incredibly professional and confident. She credited her husband with supporting her dream of building her own business. Today she heads up Floorplay, a growing business that employs a team of designers that work alongside Batya.
Jennifer, in describing her professional journey, revealed that she started with earning a degree in social work. She explained that she always, however, had a passion for fashion. Her business of sourcing and acquiring luxury goods for clients began when she noticed it was somewhat difficult to obtain designer items, and she realized there was a market for consumers to pay her to find these items. Jennifer has grown an incredible business and has expanded her reach into this industry allowing her to be successful in her market.
Each panelist was incredibly honest about balancing home life and work commitments. Many thank yous were given to husbands and mothers! Strategies in the kitchen to ensure Shabbat dinner and beyond were shared, and stories of being present at family events while simultaneously attending work-related functions and meetings were acknowledged.
The audience was in awe!
PROPEL has received many calls from burgeoning women entrepreneurs inspired that evening and hoping to build their own brands and businesses.
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