Meetings with inspiring alumni

When the Tel Aviv University Alumni Organization was established in May 2015, it was decided that its focal goal would be strengthening the ties between the alumni and the university, and among the alumni themselves. Such bonds are highly beneficial for both parties: while influential, inspiring alumni enhance the value and reputation of the university, a renowned, outstanding university raises the value of every graduate's degree.

 

Tel Aviv University alumni hold central positions in every area of Israel's economy - an enormous asset which the Organization wishes to highlight, cultivate and utilize. Accordingly, one of the Organization's very first initiatives was launching a series of Encounters with Inspiring Alumni. In these unique meetings successful TAU graduates from greatly varied fields willingly share the story of their journey to the top with co-alumni.

 

Most meetings consist of two parts: first, the main speaker tells his/her inspiring story; this is followed by a special enrichment or entertainment program, with top lecturers and/or performers.

 

The unique series provides TAU alumni with an enjoyable platform for networking and personal enrichment, equipping them with tools for personal leverage in a friendly and pleasant social atmosphere.

 

Eeach one of the inspiring alumni who joins the series brings with him/her an entire world. Each comes from a different realm, offering a different kind of personal story and inspiration. But they all share a desire to give back, a joy of returning to their roots, and the satisfaction of inspiring those co-alumni who want to listen.

 

New events are continually advertised on the event calendar in this website and on the Facebook page of the Tel Aviv University Alumni Organization.

 

We look forward to seeing you with us!

 

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31 May 2015: Recalculating Route with Uri Levine, Co-Founder of WAZE, Founder & Chairman of Feex

The first meeting in the series, which took place in May 2015, featured our alumn Uri Levine, Founder & Chairman of FeeX and co-Founder of WAZE. Levine said: "The entrepreneur follows his dream. He is driven by a dream and a passion – something he wants to change in the world… If you ask a real entrepreneur 'What is your next startup?' he'll always have a ready answer, because at any given moment, the entrepreneur has several ideas on his mind." Levine compared the process of establishing a startup to falling in love, and said that after the passion stage, when the project actually begins, comes the stage of sacrifice, characterized by ups, but mostly by many downs, and so "If you don't love what you are doing – do something else, something you love, and enjoy your life."

 

Levine's talk was followed by a helpful lecture: 'From small-talk to big success.'

 

8 September 2015: An Inspiring evening with Actor, Comedian and leading TV host Zvika Hadar

The inspiring alumn in the second meeting, in September 2015, was Zvika Hadar – actor, comedian and leading TV host, who talked about the passage from the university to the University of Life.

 

His story was followed by the enlightening lecture: 'It's not what you know, but who you know'.

 

 

23 December 2015: An evening with Meir Brand, CEO of Google Israel, Russia, the Middle East & Africa

The third meeting was held in December 2015 at Zappa Herzliya, in interview format. Revital Hendler, alumna of the Steve Tisch School of Film & Television in the Faculty of the Arts, Founder of AllJobs and Founding Partner in BreezoMeter, interviewed Meir Brand, Faculty of Social Sciences alum, CEO of Google Israel, Russia, the Middle East and Africa, and VP of Google. Brand shared his vision with the audience: follow your heart, curiosity and passion, work hard and don’t look for shortcuts. His advice to entrepreneurs in the audience was: don't be afraid of failure, get used to the feeling, and learn to overcome it on your way to success.

 

After the interview the audience enjoyed an exciting performance by guitar legend Avi Singolda and his band.

8 March 2016: International Women's Day with Actor Limor Goldstein

The next meeting, in March 2016, was held in the spirit of International Women's Day. Theater, TV and movie actor Limor Goldstein, alumna of the Theater department in the Faculty of the Arts, told her personal story, speaking of  key sentences from her parental home, which had guided her and shaped her personality, such as: 'Don't place all your eggs in one basket'. She went on to describe how her love for acting got the better of this golden rule, and how, despite everything, she ended up placing all her eggs in the basket of her beloved profession.

 

The event ended with a performance of the feminine trio  'Shlosharot' - Aya KoremRaz Shmueli & Michal Geva – with a tribute to Israeli singing trios through the years.

2 January 2017: Welcoming the new year with Yuval Tal, founder and president of Payoneer

On 2 January 2017, the 5th meeting with Inspiring Alumni event was held in conclusion of a fruitful year of activities with and for TAU Alumni, and in celebration of the beginning of 2017. In the center of this meeting will be the inspiring story of Yuval Tal, Faculty of Engineering alumn, founder and president of Payoneer.

 

Then the alumni enjoyed a special performance by the Singer, Musician and Composer David Broza.

4 April 2017: An evening with Yonatan Winetraub

 

 
On the sixth meeting in the series - An informal evening with Yonatan Winetraub, Co-Founder of SpaceIL, which was included in Forbes30Under30, Forbes' 2017 list of promising young people.

 

 
Winetraub's presentation was followed by Hanan Ben Ari's music performance.
 
 

21 December 2017: An evening of Inspiration, Music & Humanities

To close 2017, four leading alumni of the TAU Faculty of Humanities participated in an evening of inspiration & music, during which each of them shared their own different roads to success: MK Yaakov Perry of the 'Yesh Atid' Party, Keren Elazari, analyst and cyber researcher at TAU, Motti Elmaliach, CEO of Bezeq International, and Dr. Amir Yerucham, Historian and member of the band "Shabak Samech".

 

MK Yaakov Perry was the first speaker and said, "My studies in the History of the Middle East department fascinated me. As a result, and while still a student, I chose to enlist in the Shin Bet Service. It was the humanities, together with the world of music, that gave me the tools for the choices I made during my life. From them I drew on improvisational abilities, teamwork alongside leadership and discipline. At every decision making junction I understood that we do not have to put boundaries between the different content worlds that make us up... tools from one place will connect to another, as the world of content from which I came served me in every twist of my road."

 

 

 
Afterward, the CEO of Bezeq International Motti Elmaliach said: "In retrospect, my studies of humanities gave me a perspective and a broad view of a creative, innovative and unconventional worldview, that helped me succeed in business. The professions of the future in the new era will require a combination of life sciences, technology and philosophical artistic thinking, which is necessary for understanding processes for development and for realization of human desires". 
 

Keren Elazari added to that, saying: "The studies of Humanities have helped me to develop critical and analytical thinking about the world and the course of history. In a very similar way to the hacker community, alumni of the humanities are those who do not accept reality as it is without discourse. They are the ones aspiring to change the world, to break conventions, to challenge existing perceptions, to point out systemic failures, and to present new paradigms that will reshape our future".

 

 

 
Dr. Amir Yerucham was the last speaker of the evening, and he shared: "I did not come to the university because of career considerations and what left me in school was only the desire to know and the desire to expand my horizons. The studies were a formative experience that changed my view of the world. Consciously or not, it designed my activities as an artist and as a creator".
 

11 March 2018: International Women's Day with Alona Bar On & Tali Moreno

 

 
In honor of the 2018 International Women's Day, TAU Alumni Organization held an event of feminine energy in Tel Aviv's urban garden (Ha'Oman 17 events). 
The event was sponsored by Fiat, Wissotzky, Studio C & Nestle ice creams. Additionally, the alumnae enjoyed alternative treatments of the Broshim Campus. 
The center of the evening was a dialogue between two leading alumnae: Journalist & host of Channel 10 News' main edition Tali Moreno, alumna of the Faculty of Humanities, and the Chairperson and Co-Owner of Globes newspaper Alona Bar On, alumna of the Faculty of Social Sciences and the Coller School of Management. 
 
After the fascinating conversation, there was a stand-up performance by Orna Banai.

 

 

 

The following anecdotes came up during the conversation between Moreno and Bar On:
 
Alona Bar On told secrets from the board of directors of Bank Leumi under the leadership of Galia Maor, and praised Maor's female managerial energy, like giving Vitamin C to a worker who caught a cold, and commented in a thoughtful way to the men who were late for a meeting. "Women are less in the "I deserve" mindset, and I'm not sure that they are the most excluded from the discourse: Small businesses are more excluded than the LGBT community, for the example, which is more likable.
 
 
Tali Moreno lingered on the different methods and managerial abilities of females than those of men, in her opinion: "We don't have to adapt ourselves to the existing world, but to treat people as we would like them to treat us. A female managerial avenue allows the female workers under us to open up and discuss the things that bother them and bring them together. I was personally hurt by a chauvinistic behavior, and I promised myself that I would not be like that. I will nurture and hug anyone I see who need support. Any woman who comes to a position of influence should give support to the women below her - This is how a change will come".

 

 

 

28 May 2018: An Automatic way with Prof. Amnon Shashua

In a meeting held in May 2018, under the theme of '70 Years of Innovation,' it was Prof. Amnon Shashua, Co-Founder of Mobileye and alumni of TAU's Mathematics and Computer Science departments, who shared Mibileye's story.
 

At the start of his speech, Shashua surprised with a sincere confession: "Everything you'll see and hear today is in a scientific stage. The question is how to turn everything into massive and affordable use, and the experimental cars are still far from it. In addition, it is impossible to maintain an entire industry without ensuring safety".
 

Referring to driving lessons, he said: "There is an enigma here. We all had to take driving lessons and dozens of them, which means driving is complicated thing, but on the other hand everyone is free to drive. That's why we need AI". Shashua also lingered on the issue of the very precise maps required for an autonomous vehicle, well beyond the level of Waze, and said that even here the mission had not yet been completed. Drivers, by the way, he calls "Car Agents".
 

23 October 2018: Between Fiction and Reality with Avi Issacharoff

In October 2018, a meeting was held with television personality Guy Meroz and with Avi Issacharoff, creator of the Netflix hit TV series 'Fauda'.
 
Meroz said that he completed his BA at the age of 56, and that the doctorate he is currently writing, about traffic accidents in Israel, is progressing slowly because his life is in chaos (which is the meaning of the word Fauda in Arabic). 
He shared that the focus of his doctoral thesis is on how to reduce the number of accident fatalities by 50%, but added that the issue is not really a national priority, unfortunately: "130 kilometers of separation fence on Route 90, at a cost of NIS 60 million, would have prevented an entire family from dying just last week. This amount is equivalent to the purchase of four tanks or the establishment of one Jewish settlement".
 
Avi Issacharoff, the main speaker of the evening, told the alumni that "the success of 'Fuda' is a mystery to me, it was almost by mistake, as our intention was to write a book about the undercover IDF units. We tried to bring both sides - the Israeli and the Palestinian - approached the different players in the TV industry, and we heard a lot of no, no, no until we heard Yes".
 
During his lecture he showed clips from the show and mentioned that they were filmed in the Arab towns Tira and Kafr Qasim, where the production team (which includes more than 100 people) received excellent hospitality, and he also spoke of the actors who became celebrities in both the Jewish and Arab communities, and of the diverse reactions he had personally received from the West Bank and other Arab countries.
 
After both speeches, the alumni enjoyed a musical performance of the Beatles' songs performed by the tribute band ummagumma.
 

24 December 2018: One on One with Ynon Kreiz & Naama Sikuler

Globes' editor Naama Sikuler, alumna of the Faculty of Social Sciences, conducted a one-on-one interview with Ynon Kreiz, CEO of the world's largest toy manufacturer Mattel, alum of the Coller School of Management and the Faculty of Social Science, and did not spare any questions.

 

When she asked about the toy company's responsibility for educating generations of children and toddlers in the new era, Ynon said that Barbie had worn hundreds of figures over the years. She was an astronaut before men landed on the moon, and President of the United States before Hillary Clinton ran for office. Today she also wears "masculine" professions, "So yes, we invest a great deal of thought and creativity in this responsibility, which reflects the social diversity".
 
 
When asked about Trump, Ynon refused to comment, but agreed to say that he favors regulation to protect the individual, and against regulation that prevents competition.
 
 
On the personal side, he shared that his wife Anat, is also a TAU alumna (though the decade's difference between them). The couple has four children, they live in the entertainment capital Los Angeles and speak Hebrew at home , including slang.
 
 
Kreis has extensive experience in the field of entertainment. At the beginning of his career he founded together with billionaire Haim Saban the Fox Kids Europe company that was acquired by the Disney corporation. Later he served as CEO of Dutch content and production company Endemol (creator of "Big Brother," "One Against One Hundred" "Don't drop the Million" and more). In 2014, when he was at the head of the Maker Studios, the studios were bought by Disney for $ 500 million.
 
 
Today, he serves as Chairman and CEO of Mattel, the company that brought Barbie dolls, American Girl, Polly Pocket and many other leading products.
 
 
Sigalit Ben Hayoun, head of the TAU alumni organization, told the attendees: "In the coming days we will launch a fundraising campaign from all alumni in Israel and around the world, with the goal of raising 300 scholarships for 300 students. Any generous donation will bring us closer to our goal".
 
 
As part of the campaign's launch, Uri Zror, alumni of the Faculty of Law and Coller school of Management, vice president of business development at Buligo Capital which donated a scholarship as part of the campaign.
 
 
Zror said that he thanks TAU not only for his degrees, but like many others - he too met his wife on campus. About the schollarship he said: "I truly hope that the scholarships raised by TAU alumni will enable students to work less and learn more".
 
 

10 March 2019: Game Changers: Adi Soffer Teeni, Sarit Firon & Lilac Sigan

 

Our tradition of saluting TAU Alumnae on International Women's Day continued in 2019 with a special event celebrating alumnae who are Game Changers, which was held at the EAST:Tel Aviv Club.
 
At the beginning of the event, the CEO of the Krembo Wings Youth Movement Talia Harel Bejerano, alumna of the Coller School of Management, spoke about women and social activism.
 
She was followed by TAU President Prof. Joseph Klafter, the only male voice at this event, who said: "Tel Aviv University strives to promote gender fairness and to reduce the persistent inequality between men and women in the academic staff, and specifically to our world - women researchers. As part of the goals we have set for ourselves as Israel's largest public research university, we are the leading research university in Israel when it comes to gender equality. I call on all alumnae to take action for each other, alumnae for alumnae and alumnae for female students. If each woman helps the other, the female power will be strengthened".
 
 
At the center of the evening was a performance by singer Dikla, not before three inspiring alumnae had a discussion on changing the rules of the game as they did themselves: Facebook Israel CEO Adi Soffer Teeni, alumna of the Faculty of Law and Coller School of Management, Managing Partner in the Cerca Partners venture capital fund Sarit Firon, alumna of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Coller School of Management, and Author and Journalist Lilac Sigan, alumna of the Coller School of Management who moderated the panel.
 
 
In the conversation, the following anecdotes came up:
 
Sarit Firon, who donated a scholarship to the TAU Alumni Campaign raising 300 scholarships for 300 students, explained the background to her decision to donake: "When I started my studies I could not follow my heart - I wanted to study physics or medicine, but the economic situation I was in did not allow it. A week before the year started I enrolled to study accountancy and economics, as I was told that accountants make lots of money and that's what I needed. I hope that my do savenation will save at least one student from what I went through".
 
She also shared about women's decision-making process: "The right decision comes from both the gut and the mind. That's my philosophy and that's what sets us apart as women".
 
 
Adi Soffer Teeni, CEO of Facebook Israel, spoke of the difference between a manager 20 years ago and today: "20 years ago, a chief had to be a chief, the one with the white hair who knows everything and has the most experience. The same chief, today, is not supposed to be the smartest person in the room, and if that's the case then either he should be fired or everyone else in the room. The manager is supposed to be the one who can create a discussion and express the power of the people he has recruited. Its a more important and significant role than in the past".
 
 
The sponsors of the event were the Japanese luxury car brand Lexus, which unveiled the new urban crossover Lexus UX (The first that was designed by female Engineers) for the first time, before it was introduced to the general public. The event was attended by Lexus Israel CEO Dror Goralnik, alum of the Faculty of Social Sciences and the Coller School of Management. 
 
 
Owner and CEO of the Israeli fashion brand DANIELLA LEHAVI, Ori Lehavi, another alum of the Coller School of Management, attended the event and the brand fave a gift to each participant in the event as well as donated a scholarship for the Alumni Campaign.
 
 
In addition, the alumnae enjoyed alternative treatments from the "Broshim Campus".
 
 

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