Q: First, can you tell us a little bit about your “work-life” and your “home life.”
Ah. I wish the AND actually existed. Currently, the two are very much interwoven where I try to be a mommy first and an entrepreneur second. But I can’t say the two don’t cross over into one another…while cooking dinner, I might find the inspiration for a marketing campaign for a salad dressing, and when working on a new ad design I may gain new insight into new parenting techniques.
My husband is a therapist and the person who helps ground me to reality AKA advises me to shut off the lights and curfew after 1 a.m. We have two girls; the loves of my life, who are the faces I look forward to seeing when coming home. I started the Anelis Group, a boutique marketing company, to channel my desire for fusing creativity and helping people build towards their business goals. Good causes are my niche. If there is a way to do something with a professional and creative edge, while at the same time benefitting a charity or making a difference, it excites me.
Q: What’s your typical day like?
It starts when I’m woken by Ayala, my 4-year-old, who wants to dress like a princess for the day or wishes to bring her dolls to school, and we learn the art of negotiating. Talking to corporate sponsors is nothing compared to negotiations with a 4-year-old! Then I do a quick scroll on social media to see if any life-altering milestones took place overnight. They didn’t.
It continues with my packing lunch for Shana, my 8-year-old, who supplies very specific salad instructions. Her favorite is hearts of palm corn, avocado, black olives, Romaine lettuce, and Caesar dressing.
After dropping the kids off, I head to Anelis Group headquarters and join my devoted team, taking a minute to “instastory” a behind-the-scenes activity curated back at the office. Then I decide: should I make a dedicated time to eat breakfast or just go for coffee and hope it carries me over till midday? Note to self: When I choose breakfast, the day is SO much better.
Emails. Nothing like that feeling of competing against your inbox and getting the emails down to single digits. Meetings and consults with new clients, brainstorming new ideas to make their brand and vision come alive. I always love the discovery process. Phone conferences. Don’t love those so much! I’m much more of a people person. Reviewing copy and art sketches for new campaigns. Coming up with new ways to collaborate. Love that! Team meetings to review goals and learning curves and explore new places to order lunch from. Calling a random single and convincing them to go out with someone extraordinary. I wish I can spend much more of my time doing this actually. Heading home and wishing that magically there is a fairy who moved in with us and made dinner, and chopped a fresh fruit platter. She has yet to come.
Q: How did you come to your current career?
When I was single I lived in an apartment with other girls, and we saw that a void existed; girls needed to have a place where they can turn to and have a sense of community. Daphne (Peled) Hanson was the one who had the vision to start this center and reached out to Rabbi Wallerstein with this idea. He took it on single-handedly and went on to build Ohr Naava. I was teaching limudei kodesh at the time and going to Parson School in the evenings. I always loved teaching and felt an excitement of being able to come up with a creative, out of the box approaches to get the message across to my students.
When I decided to go back to school, I never heard about marketing but something about the course description sounded right and appealed to me. It was love at first sight. I loved being able to apply that which I spent my whole life doing—G.O events, productions, yearbooks—on a bigger scale. During my time in school, I helped Ohr Naava, from behind the scenes, form its wings. And when I graduated, Rabbi Wallerstein asked me to join full-time as its marketing director. It was an amazing experience to play a role in building a grassroots organization into a world-renowned operation. Having had the zchus to see the incredible love and devotion Rabbi Wallerstein has for Klal Yisroel was a session in itself.
During my time at Ohr Naava, one of my main objectives was to create events for Ohr Naava which would help raise funds while at the same time brand its name. Some of the events which I am incredibly proud to have produced and marketed are the Avinu Malkeinu event, the Day to Disconnect Initiative and most recently the Brooklyn MRKT event. Together with a group of dedicated volunteers, the idea to start an event called the Brooklyn MRKT was conceived. Through this event, we’d allow women to be under one roof, helping them to grow their business, while simultaneously helping shoppers help Ohr Naava. It was a huge success because of the multi-layered aspects of how many people it helped. In the first year, we had 25 vendors. The second-year we had 40. The third year, 70. And this year BH we have close to 100!
Two years ago, I saw that the time had come for me to go out on my own and start my own company, which I always dreamed of doing. I started The Anelis Group, which is a combination of my husband’s and children’s names. Rabbi Wallerstein and I decided that the Brooklyn MRKT event was something Ohr Naava very much wanted to continue doing to help raise funds for the organization and allow so many local business owners to succeed in parnasa. He asked me to continue running and marketing the Brooklyn MRKT event under the Anelis Group umbrella. It’s wonderful to still be able to be connected to a place that I have tremendous hakaras hatov for.
Currently, the Anelis Group is a boutique marketing firm where I do my best to serve as its Creative Director, with an amazing team of writers, editors, photographers, videographers, and staff who are out-of-the-box thinkers and visionaries. I believe in connecting to the client and the goal prior to signing onto a new project. I see that the best work done under our umbrella is when there is a core understanding of what the unspoken need is, and we are able to help craft that message and then spread it to the world.
Q: Do you have a tip for other women – whether it pertains to finding success in your industry, success in building a career in general, or success in balancing work and home?
Do what you love. Don’t think about “Oh, it’s too late.” I went back to school when I was in my late 20s and had never previously taken a marketing course.
Let go of feeling guilty. It drains you and doesn’t accomplish anything. In fact, oftentimes, it’s the guilt that drains you and not the thing you think are draining you.
Surround yourself with positive people and vibes. It’s the most refreshing energy boost—ever. I’m blessed to have so many people like that in my life.
Give. Give. Give. Without ulterior motives. Because you truly care and want to help. We are all so busy doing “Boomerangs” these days. I think that’s the message of the Boomerang. Give and it will boomerang back to you.
Q: Do you have a grocery/errands/shopping and/or cooking strategy to save time and get it all done?
Order everything on an app. I hardly have time to go into a store and stroll. I find it actually a treat to go to walk through Target aisles. Super therapeutic.
The broil setting is my best friend. It helps me make a delicious grilled chicken or salmon in 10 minutes.
Make a photo folder called recipes and add your “go-to” recipes.
Have super organized balabusta friends who you can count on to share their recipes and tips.
Q: Do you have hobbies or interests that you devote time to outside of your work life or mommy life?
I love to travel. Love to spa. Love to read. Love to listen to Rebbetzin Spetner talk about parenting and Rebbetzin Yemima Mizrahi about life. Love to listen to Ted Talks about creativity. Love going out to eat with my husband and ordering a bunch of appetizers as opposed to main. Love to make photo album books and spend time laying them out. Love to declutter.
Q: When the day is so busy, how do you “connect” spiritually?
Believe it or not, the time I find myself being able to daven properly is Maariv. I am a night person and do my best work when all is quiet on the Western front. Some nights I find the energy to let go and realize that it’s not about me or about the right edit or concept… it’s up to a higher source. Carving out those moments to truly connect ripples over into so many facets of the next day ahead.
Finding tidbits of time to listen to a shiur online—even if for 15 minutes—is a must. You can only give as much as you have. We need to constantly refuel in every aspect of our life if we want to give over.
To purchase tickets to Brooklyn MRKT go to www.ohrnavaevents.com