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!
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.'
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'.
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.
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 Korem, Raz Shmueli & Michal Geva – with a tribute to Israeli singing trios through the years.
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.
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."
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".
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".
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.
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.